The Myths about Retained Primitive Reflexes that could be Holding Your Child Back in their Learning and Motor Development
This article provides information about myths regarding retained Primitive Reflexes and how parents, teachers and therapists can help their child with these issues. 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.
Because retained Primitive Reflexes can be confusing and often misunderstood, there are several myths out there that many parents and teachers overlook when considering if they should address their child’s learning and developmental challenges that could stem from retained Primitive Reflexes.
Remember, we all are born with Primitive Reflexes, but for many kids, these reflexes “go to sleep” once they hit certain milestones after they are born. However, those kids who retain the reflexes are the kids that often struggle in developmental milestones, classroom learning and emotional regulation. If you find your child is falling behind in their developmental milestones like crawling, balance, walking, grasping, talking or classroom learning, a retained Primitive Reflex could be to blame.
Myths about Retained Primitive Reflexes
As you start recognizing the signs and symptoms of retained Primitive Reflexes in your child, it’s important to take into consideration a few myths that may continue to hold your child back from excelling at home and at school.
Myth #1: There is no mind/body connection
This couldn’t be more false! Because the body and the brain are connected in many ways, we often find kids that can’t learn and excel in the classroom because there are disconnections between the body and the brain. That is why we often find kids who are struggling with balance, coordination, attention, focus, emotions, fine motor skills, reading and handwriting also have one or more retained primitive reflexes holding them back.
Myth #2: My child will grow out of retained primitive reflexes
We hear this all the time from parents. “My doctor says my child will just grow out of it.” This is not the case for most children. The body “hangs on” to primitive reflexes because for some reason (at birth or if they experienced a brain injury) the body and the brain have gone into survival mode. If your child doesn’t have the right intervention to integrate these reflexes, you will most likely continue to see issues in learning and motor development.
Myth #3: My child’s diagnosis or symptoms can’t improve
Of course your child’s symptoms can improve with the right exercises! The brain is ever changing and can be “molded” to help our kids excel at home and at school. To help a child who experiences learning challenges, attention issues or emotional problems, we need to “awaken” the brain with movement exercises to help.
Why a Retained Primitive Reflex is often Mistaken for ADHD
While a retained Primitive Reflex mistaken for ADHD is not necessarily a “myth,” it does prevent many parents and kids from getting the help and correct intervention they need to help improve their symptoms. If a child squirms in their chair, fidgets at their desk, lays on their desk, wraps their legs around their chair and avoids looking at the chalkboard, there is a good chance a retained Primitive Reflex is the culprit.
Many of these behaviors may look like ADHD symptoms at home and in the classroom, but could be easily corrected with a few exercises if it is only a retained Primitive Reflex. However, it’s important to remember that kids with an ADHD diagnosis can also have retained Primitive Reflexes. That is why it’s important to have your child tested to know exactly where they are struggling and what interventions target both areas to help your child.
What intervention is available to help my child?
These myths are just a few that may hold you back from getting the right intervention to help your child. We find so many parents and children who opt not to address retained Primitive Reflexes often fall further behind our other students in reading, writing, emotional grounding and attention and focus. Working on retained Primitive Reflexes is yet another missing piece in every child’s learning and motor development.
One of the easiest and most powerful interventions we do with our students to integrated retained Primitive Reflexes is movement exercises specifically geared to helping kids with these types of delays. Parents often find their child has an “awakening” of sorts to the world around them when doing these exercises, including eye-opening moments with topics and concepts taught in the classroom.
Retained Primitive Reflexes 101 e-Course
If you feel your child may have one or more retained Primitive Reflexes and want to help them with these movement exercises, we have developed an easy-to-follow training e-Course and handbook specifically targeting these areas of development.
Remember, even if your child is already seeing an Occupational Therapist or Behavioral Therapist, there still isn’t enough time in each one of their sessions to cover all they need to do for Primitive Reflexes. Therapists need your help! Kids should be working on these reflexes 3 to 5 times a week, but most children only see a therapist 1 to 2 times a week. It’s only when we had the help and support of parents at home that we finally began to see huge strides in our students’ learning development.
What does the e-Course provide?
- More than 40 videos
- Personal Instruction
- Testing for Reflexes
- Schedule and Timeline for integrating reflexes
- Exercises to integrate the reflexes
What does the handbook include?
- 85-page digital handbook
- Signs and symptoms of primitive reflexes
- Myths about primitive reflexes
- Testing and exercises
- Parent Observation Sheet
- Exercise Schedule
- Progress tracking sheet
- Learning and motor development Checklists
If you are interested in the Retained Primitive Reflexes e-Course and handbook, don’t wait to join! The e-Course and handbook is only offered three times a year and open enrollment is only available for a short time. To register for the e-Course, click here.
Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning disabilities 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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