Latest research shows us something quite astonishing- that children who are developmentally delayed still retain many of their primitive reflexes. Typically babies’ reflexes fade out as they get ready to continue on in their development- the different parts of the brain can mature only when these reflexes have diminished.
According to Brain Highways, babies who miss the crawling stage or go through it too quickly, have not effectively suppressed the asymmetrical tonic neck reflex, a precursor to creeping and eventually crawling. A major part of the Brain Highways program is to have children re-visit the creeping-crawling stage by going through the identical motions and allowing them to properly outgrow it, thereby inhibiting this infant reflex. Only then does the brain graduate to the next level of development.
This Brain Highways video explains exactly what could happen to a child with an underdeveloped brain as a cause of a retained primitive reflex:
Sounds like a child with sensory disorder, doesn’t it? My son MeMe can star for the video, it describes him so incredibly perfectly. On the other hand, my son SeSe who is extremely mature for his age, had the longest creeping-crawling stage of all my kids. MeMe practically flew through the crawling stage, he went almost immediately to standing upright and cruising.
Vestibular difficulty, hypersensitivity, hyposensitivity, postural problems, poor hand-eye coordination, poor sense of time, low muscle tone, sensory overload, and more- all of these may be a result of the infant reflexes still around in the child’s (or adult’s) brain. The brain simply never had a chance to develop further.
Besides for re-training children’s brains, Brain Highways also teaches parents how to assist their own child in outgrowing primitive reflexes.
As an aside, Brain Highways has a terrific blog called The Cortex Parent. Solid information goes a long way for understanding why children commonly do what they do, and not because they want to behave badly but because that is the developmental level that they are at. Thoroughly check out the blog, you’ll find yourself suddenly enlightened as I was!
Primitive reflexes are such an integral part of sensory processing disorder, I plan to stay on this topic for a while. 🙂
Comments? Questions? Feel free to let me know how much the concept of retained primitive reflexes astonishes you. 🙂