What are Retained Primitive Reflexes?
After conception, at around 5 to 6 weeks, the embryo develops the brain stem. This enables the embryo to move around. These movements are called primitive reflexes. They are coded into us, ensuring our safety and helping with our survival.
Movement in the womb is also dependant on the newly developing sensory system. The vestibular, tactile and propriocepton senses in particular.
It’s important to remember that these early reflexes are located in the most primitive area of the brain, the brain stem, and are involuntarily movements. We have no control over them. As the higher parts of the brain develop, the cortex, responsible for thinking and reasoning, and the midbrain, the organisation centre of the motor and sensory systems, take over the functions of the primitive reflexes. These functions are then transformed into responses and actions that can be consciously controlled.
If the primitive reflexes fail to inhibit or subside, the more sophisticated neural structures of the brain, along with the postural (adult) reflexes, cannot develop properly. The normal development of motor and processing skills and integration of the left and right sides of the brain are affected. The child is stuck with immature responses to their environment as it is still holding on to survival mode.
What helps the situation?
The answer here is movement. Not any movement but intentional, controlled movements. Specific movement programmes have been designed after years of study. These movement programmes are appropriate for all ages, hopefully offering help to those diagnosed or not. Helping those with anxiety, emotional, behavioural, educational, speech and some physical issues.