Primitive reflexes develop in-utero.
As the baby moves in-utero, the movement helps to develop the central nervous system.
When the time comes to leave the watery environment of the womb and the baby is engaged in the mothers’ pelvis, the baby begins a series of movements initiated by the primitive reflexes to allow passage into the earthy world of gravity.
With his head down and his spine aligned along the left side of the mother’s body the baby starts a rhythmical movement along his spine to push against Mum’s cervix. The primitive reflex, spinal perez along with a series of other primitive reflexes helps him along these movements. To help twist his shoulders, baby will use another primitive reflex spinal galant. As he is pushed through the birthing canal his cranial bones are molded so that the parietal bones fold over each other. Baby reacts with the change of environment from the watery womb to the world of air and gravity, he takes his first breath.
In this world of gravity baby is no longer free to float and move about as he was when he lived in the womb. Instead of floating as he once was able, he must now overcome gravity.
The baby’s milestones have long been recorded in the baby’s “red book” or birth book given to the parents at the birth of their baby. These milestones help us to understand how baby is developing and if he is developing as expected. For example, did baby crawl before he walked. How long did he crawl for? Did he walk or speak later than is considered the optimal time?
The primitive reflexes, alongside other neurodevelopmental assessments help us to understand the growth and neurodevelopment of the baby. The primitive reflexes are our “blueprint” and are expected to become active at a certain point in time, they each have a job to do. We can tell when they are integrated when their specific job has been actioned and the reflex has been integrated into the neuromotor system.
Sometimes the primitive reflexes don’t active and it is clear that the function is not present. Sometimes the primitive reflexes do activate but don’t quite complete the job they are designed to do and are not integrated into the neuromotor system. The child continues to grow, however, they will find some things more challenging, perhaps sitting still the classroom. As the reflexes have not fully integrated higher cortical areas will try to compensate and do the job of the reflexes. This might work ok, unless you have to sit still and concentrate in class. Rather than being able to sit still, the higher centres of the brain are trying to keep the child still instead of this being automatic. Concentrating so hard on being still the child is unable to also pay attention to learning in class as he is unable to free his high cortical areas for learning.
Sitting still is a requirement for school readiness and learning.
Primitive reflexes are an integral part of the neuromotor system and if they are unintegrated some of the following symptoms can result.
Lara has undertaken training in Dynamic and Postural Reflex Integration, Archetypes, Tactile Integration and Reflex Integration , Trauma and PTSD Recovery, Intronaut and Infant Reflex Integration as well as having taken part in a Family Conference. Lara is now able to incorporate these therapies in her practice at Hands on Health Family Chiropractic. Lara is currently one of the few practitioners in the UK using the MNRI protocol at this level.
The MNRI protocol is designed to integrate the primitive reflexes, the therapy helps the brain learn the correct motor response to a given stimulus which is usually a sensory input, it is the process by which the system is shown the correct use of the reflex.