Vol. 2, #4
Daravida News - Special Edition for Parents of Kids
Ages 1 and Up
Welcome to Daravida's online newsletter! Our goal for this publication is to create a resource for empowering our patients, both current and future, to live their healthiest lives.
Welcome to a special edition of our newsletter: for all the parents of kids over age 1! If you arrived here from our website's kid's page, here is the additional information you're seeking.
What Are Primitive Reflexes?
Primitive reflexes are involuntary movements of the central nervous system that help a baby develop muscle tone, head control, and integrate their senses. They are known as primitive because they originate in the "primitive" part of the brain, the stem. These reflexes include sucking, rooting, the Moro reflex, the Babinski reflex, and the Bauer reflex.
Sucking and rooting are related to feeding, while the Moro reflex is a defensive response where a newborn appears startled, throwing their arms to the side when their body balance is shifted. The Babinski reflex occurs when a baby's toes respond to stroking of the bottom of their foot. The Bauer reflex assists in delivery while baby is moving through the birth canal and later aids in crawling.
Primitive reflexes typically begin to integrate ("go to sleep") around 4 to 6 months of age, when baby's movements become controlled, voluntary and they begin moving independently. Kids, and even adults, will show signs if primitive reflexes are retained beyond infancy. Read on!
Crawling: Is It Really That Important?
If your child did not crawl but scooted around before walking, or skipped crawling completely, there's no need to panic. However, a baby's brain does benefit from the developmental stimulation that crawling provides. As we discussed in our infants issue, crawling is a milestone in development.
The criss-cross motion of crawling helps develop a band of over 200 million nerves in baby's brain called the corpus callosum, which travels between the brain hemispheres and supports the communication of information between them. Hand-eye coordination, motor skills, and balance are all strengthened by crawling. In effect, baby's brain is being "organized."
“When both eyes, both ears, both hands and feet are being used equally, the corpus callosum orchestrating these processes between the two hemispheres becomes more fully developed. Because both hemispheres and all four lobes are activated, cognitive function is heightened and ease of learning increases.” - Dr. Carla Hannaford, 'Smart Moves: Why Leaning Is Not All in Your Head'
So how are primitive reflexes and crawling related? In addition to the development of motor skills, crawling helps integrate primitive reflexes including the Bauer crawling reflex. If these are not integrated, neurological processes can be blocked in baby's brain.
Retained Primitive Reflexes
Coordinated movement is important for a child's cognitive development. It is the foundation for hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, which are in turn the foundation for speaking and higher learning.
Dr. Gloria would love the opportunity to help you and your child get to the root of any difficulties.
Along with chiropractic adjustments, Dr. Gloria will perform an examination of your child to test for retained primitive reflexes. If she finds any, she will recommend exercises that are targeted to help your child's brain integrate those reflexes. These exercises can be done at home and are often fun for your child to practice. Let's get their brain balanced!
Does your child seem frustrated when trying to focus or have you been told they are hyperactive? Have they received a diagnosis of ADHD?
Several studies have shown that kids diagnosed with ADHD are more likely to have retained primitive reflexes, however it is not clear yet if the two conditions are always linked.
Two primitive reflexes are thought to be closely linked to ADHD, or symptoms of ADHD: the Moro reflex and the Spinal Galant reflex. We've discussed the Moro reflex here; the Spinal Galant reflex occurs when a baby's back is stroked, causing the back to arch, and aids in crawling. A child who has retained the Moro reflex may be hypersensitive to outside stimuli, appear fidgety or restless, and be easily startled. Retention of the Spinal Galant reflex can lead to difficulty concentrating, short-term memory problems, or fidgeting.
A study published in 2012 concluded that "ADHD symptoms may present a compensation of unfinished developmental stages" while another published in 2013 stated, "ADHD symptoms may present a process related to primitive neural mechanisms, such as primitive reflexes, interfering with higher-level brain functions due to insufficiently developed cognitive and motor integration."
Dr. Gloria would love the opportunity to help you and your child. No worries, no fear! If you'd like to explore a natural path to wellness for your children, please contact her.
I hope this information has been helpful and comforting. I absolutely love working with kids and watching them grow and find resolution for difficulties they're facing. It's never too late to begin healing! - Dr. Gloria