A fifth of children in the UK have some sort of learning delay…

  • A tenth are dyslexic

  • 44% of British 11 year olds did not pass standard reading, writing and math tests (Robin Pauc 2004).

The function of your child’s brain and central nervous system are vital to your child’s ability to thrive at school and their expression of health throughout their lives. Did you know a baby’s brain doubles in size in their first year of life? By the age of 5, your child’s brain is 90% of the weight of an adult brain. In those 5 years your child has learnt to walk, talk, feed themselves and may now be preparing to start school for the first time – but what happens if their brain isn’t quite ready?

Some challenges that parents and teachers might discover are:

  • Inability to concentrate and focus
  • Anxiety or Hypersensitivity to touch, certain fabrics and tags
  • Bedwetting
  • Trouble with comprehension and reading
  • Messy handwriting
  • Poor speech or picky eating
  • Ants in the pants
  • Clumsy
  • Poor posture
  • Trouble playing ball sports, falling over feet
  • Temper Tantrums/Impulse control

Do any of the above ring a bell?

Your child’s incredible nervous system started to develop just 21 days after conception and when they were born contained 100 billion neurons (that’s the equivalent of stars in the universe!)

While they were developing in the womb, a group of reflexes called primitive reflexes were emerging. These reflexes are important survival reflexes that are present at birth and give an indication about the function of the Central Nervous System. Over the first year of life as we start to lift our head, explore our surroundings and begin to sit, these reflexes should integrate so that our postural reflexes emerge allowing us to adapt to a gravity based environment eg. crawling, standing and walking. But approximately 40% of children these reflexes don’t fully integrate.

So what does this mean for your child?

As we learn and grow our brain develops from the bottom up. Primitive reflexes are controlled by the lowest level of the brain – the brainstem and spinal cord. If these reflexes don’t integrate it causes a disruption in your child’s ability to develop higher levels of brain function which in turn may affect how they to learn at school, stay dry at night and play with other children.

At Northcote Chiropractic our wonderful Chiropractors are trained in identifying retained primitive reflexes and working with you and your child on supporting the nervous system through Chiropractic, at home exercises and advice to enhance their ability to learn, grow and thrive in their environment and in themselves.

Moro Reflex – also known as the startle reflex. This is our fight or flight reflex, this helps baby take the  first breath – think of it like when you try to fall asleep and feel like you’re falling. If this doesn’t integrate your child may be overactive, ADD/ADHD, prone to illness, allergies or hypersensitivity to foods.

Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex – This reflex helps us determine where the head and body are in space. If the reflex doesn’t integrate properly this may contribute to delays in reaching motor milestones like crawling and walking, may be clumsy, have problems with motion sickness.

Palmar Grasp – Placing your finger in a babies hand causes their fingers to close. If this reflex doesn’t integrate properly it may contribute to poor handwriting, pencil grip and hypersensitivity of the hand.

Rooting and Sucking Reflex – stroking a babies lip or cheek causes them to open mouth. IF this doesn’t integrate it may interfere with the development of speech, articulation challenges, trouble chewing or swallowing foods.

Asymmetric Tonic Neck Reflex – Turning babies heard causes arm to straighten and leg to bend. This helps during birth and allows for the development of hand/eye coordination. If not integrate your child may have trouble with reading, writing and coordination.

Spinal Galant Reflex – When you stroke next to the low back of a baby their muscles contract, helpful in the birth process. If this reflex doesn’t integrate properly your child may seem like they have ants in their pants, coordination problems, bedwetting.

Symmetrical tonic neck reflex – This reflex helps your child discover how to move, preparing them to crawl. If this reflex does not integrate they may have trouble with crawling, poor posture, have difficulty changing eye focus from book to board and poor hand eye habits.

At Northcote Chiropractic our focus is to provide quality care to inspire the whole family to achieve optimal health and wellness.

If you’ve read this article and thought of a loved one or someone at your school who might benefit from a consultation to support their development and improve their learning capabilities please feel free to drop us an email at info@northcotechiropractic.co.uk or call us on 020 7350 1100 to learn more about how Chiropractic can help unlock your child’s incredible potential.