This is a question I get asked, on a regular basis. Another one I hear a lot, is, “Why does my child have the difficulties they do?” And still further, comments like – “I wish I could understand why my child’s brain is ‘wired’ differently.” As a mother of a child who is not ‘neuro-typical’, I asked myself those very same questions. (To be honest, how many of us really are ‘neuro-typical’ ?)
The first step with understanding how our childhood reflexes are related to difficulties/challenges, is to understand what they are in the first place. The job of our reflexes, is to get us moving – moving as a foetus in the womb, moving as a new born, finding their way in the world. (Going from being flat on the floor, to being upright). Reflexes enable us to speak, to make eye-contact, to walk, to run, to use our hands effectively, and enable networks to develop between the different parts of our brain.
As we use our reflexes to move, movement stimulates new nerve nets to form in our brain. The nerve nets in our brain, start at a very simple level as a foetus, and get increasingly more dense, with every experience that we have. The integration of our reflexes, or not, plays an integral role in the way those nerve nets develop.
Click on the link for a visual illustration:
The other job of our reflexes is to protect us. They stay with us for life, many of them popping in and out, to support us, depending on what we are having to cope with, on the journey of life. They are the foundation blocks of all our development. If any of the blocks in each stage don’t integrate, (or remain active, beyond their time), then there is a knock on effect to everything that comes afterwards. In addition to this, if the reflexes become active again, as a result of extreme stress in our lives (popping out to protect us), then it can affect our functions. So, for example – being diagnosed with a chronic fatigue type syndrome – where suddenly you start to find things far more effortful, than you used to. Why does that happen? (I’ll share my personal story on that one, another time).
We are all ‘hard-wired’ to go through specific stages of development. Each of those stages is essential for the next stage of development to embed effectively. There are specific difficulties that we can encounter, if the reflexes don’t integrate properly. (I will cover examples of these difficulties, over a period of time.) Reflex integration is the foundation. The next stage is: sensory development, then gross motor coordination, then fine motor coordination (think hands, feet and eyes), and so on…
Through the movements in the Rhythmic Movement Training programme, we can teach you how to stimulate the integration of active reflexes, and the growth of new nerve nets, naturally.
To sum up: reflexes are vital for movement, and movement is essential for the integration of reflexes. They are mutually fundamental for emotional, physical and intellectual maturation.
Does this resonate? What happens if we don’t move enough? Do modern day parenting techniques and baby equipment encourage enough movement for our infants, today? What happens if we have to / choose to sit still for long periods of time? Do our education systems encourage enough movement? If not, what are the consequences we are increasingly seeing, amongst our young people, today? More importantly, what can we do about it? LOTS.
Stay tuned, to find out more.
Rhythmic Movement Training, is an educational programme that has been developed over years of research. Dr Harald Blomberg, and Moira Dempsey along with a lady called Kerstin Linde are the founders of the educational programme. Dr Harald Blomberg wrote a very interesting book called: Movements That Heal: Rhythmic Movement Training and Primitive Reflex Integration. It has been co-written by Moira Dempsey, from Australia.
Available through Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/Movements-That-Heal-Harald-Blomberg/9781742840529
and as an ebook from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Movements-that-Heal-ebook/dp/B005DEQV9W (America), http://www.amazon.co.uk/Movements-that-Heal-Harald-Blomberg-ebook/dp/B005DEQV9W/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1410354304&sr=1-1&keywords=movements+that+heal (UK)