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Spinal Galant: What is a Retained Spinal Galant and Why Does it Make my Child Wiggle and Squirm? |

Spinal Galant: What is a Retained Spinal Galant and Why Does it Make my Child Wiggle and Squirm?

This article provides important information about a retained spinal Galant reflex and how it affects a child’s attention and focus in the classroom. Affiliate links are included for your convenience. Integrated Learning Strategies (ILS) is a learning and academic center. As a reminder, ILS is not a health care provider and none of our materials or services provide a diagnosis or treatment of a specific condition or learning challenge you may see in your child or student. If you seek a diagnosis or treatment for your child or student, please contact a trained professional who can provide an evaluation of the child.

Deep inside the womb, the twenty week old fetus shows signs of an emerging primitive reflex called the spinal Galant. This important reflex assists with the development of the fetus’s auditory processing system and further down the road, the spinal Galant assists with balance and coordination when the baby begins creeping and crawling.

The spinal Galant reflex takes an active role in the birthing process, by facilitating hip movements for the infant to move along the birth canal. Its development in the fetus and the newborn is controlled significantly by the many primitive reflexes that emerge and then integrate into another mature response or movement. The entire time lapse of this great development is almost like witnessing an overture with an entire orchestra moving in its individual parts. Some instruments will have their own solos, while others are always playing the melody. The spinal Galant comes in a little later than other reflexes, but the importance of this reflex is not to be overlooked.

Spinal Galant: What is a Retained Spinal Galant and Why Does it Make my Child Wiggle and Squirm? |

Potentially, overall school performance could suffer as a result of a primitive reflex that is simply still present.

If the spinal Galant reflex does not integrate after a child is born, you will notice some of the following signs as your child reaches school-age:

  • ADHD like symptoms
  • Struggles with written and verbal instructions
  • Loses focus frequently
  • Can’t sit quietly
  • Often chooses to do homework or watch TV while lying on the floor
  • Higher chances of bed-wetting when child is potty-trained
  • Dislikes sports or other physically engaging activities
  • Gravitates to loose fitting clothing around hips

Just think, every moment in school can be potentially aggravating for the child with an unintegrated spinal Galant reflex. Something as simple as leaning back in a chair at school may activate the response, causing the child to move and wiggle. The belt or waistband on the child’s clothes can also elicit the response over and over throughout the day, causing the student to pour more mental energy into calming his or her body instead of absorbing the information that the teacher is introducing.

If there is little to no energy left to push the information into working memory and eventually into long-term memory, school performance starts to fracture.

Important Role of the Spinal Galant

When you hold a newborn suspended and face down in the prone position, trace a finger down one side of the lower spine. This will cause the hip on the same side to curl towards the touch, demonstrating a side flexion. If both sides of the lower spine are stroked at the same time, this can activate the reflex and can cause urination.

Why Does it Make my Child Wiggle and Squirm? |

Does This Reflex Disappear?

The spinal Galant reflex remains present in the baby for about six months after birth. It should then integrate and lay dormant. If the spinal Galant reflex persists in the child after a year, it can potentially be considered a sign of a neurological problem.

The spinal Galant reflex integrates around 6 months after birth.

Signs that a toddler may have a retained spinal Galant include struggles with standing, walking and running. This reflex supports the development of the muscles in the lower back, pelvic area and legs. It is an integral part of preparation to help the child develop gross motor coordination. The toddler may have an unbalanced gait and may trip frequently.

Signs in Toddler and Preschool age Children

  • Unbalanced gait
  • Struggles with running
  • Uncoordinated climbing stairs for a long period of time
  • Trips frequently

When a child with a retained spinal Galant reflex reaches the age to attend school, he or she may experience great challenges with focus and concentration in general. Tight clothing and even certain textures of material may trigger a reflex response on the back and cause fidgeting and squirming. This increases the child’s hypersensitivity to any tactile stimulation. Because of these experiences, the child could have difficulty in concentrating on both verbal and written instructions.

Potentially, overall school performance could suffer as a result of a primitive reflex that is simply still present. Many times, a retained spinal Galant reflex in an older child is misdiagnosed as ADHD. ADHD can also be present, but many times it is the discomfort of a present reflex that is causing the attention problems.

…every moment in school can be potentially aggravating for the child with an unintegrated spinal Galant reflex.

In Symphony of Reflexes, by Bonnie Brandes, she specifically goes over the challenges that someone could experience if the spinal Galant is retained. In the book, Brandes says:

“When the spinal Galant is retained, it is associated with numerous challenges: difficulty with leg control while walking and running, often leading to a dislike of sports; susceptibility to scoliosis and other spinal abnormalities; hypersensitivity to tactile stimulation that causes fidgeting in class and a preference to lie down instead of sitting during activities; challenges’ with focus, concentration, and school performance; poor short-term memory and mental fatigue; impairment in fine motor coordination, notably handwriting; and bed-wetting.”

Integrate with Success Program

If you suspect your child has one or more retained Primitive Reflexes, there is a way to test your child and help integrate the reflexes with a few simple exercises you can do right in your living room. The Integrate with Success program helps parents, therapists, teachers and professionals integrate six basic and most commonly retained Primitive Reflexes.

To enroll in the course, join the waitlist here. You can also download a free copy of our Retained Primitive Reflexes roadmap that provides information on how to begin navigating your way toward reflex integration. To download your free copy, complete the form below.

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Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning challenges achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs

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