A reflex is a reaction that happens without consciously thinking about it. When a person jumps at a startling event, like a dog suddenly appearing and barking, the reaction is caused by an automatic reflex. Each reflex is a pre-programmed brain and body pattern, which develops in a specific sequence. These are integrated as we grow from the first few weeks of development in the womb through early childhood. These reflexes are responsible for our survival when we are young or in perceived danger.
In An Ideal World…
In an ideal world our primitive reflexes will be integrated by the time we are 3 years old. However, for some, one or more of the reflexes never became integrated, because it may have been triggered in the wrong way or at the wrong time, or may have developed or be responding improperly.
The reflexes help to develop the essential neural networks of the brain. Each area of the brain needs to be sufficiently integrated and accessible for all learning and life skills. Un-integrated reflexes can affect coordination, focus, concentration, and the emotional state.
Why are reflexes important now?
For a downloadable PDF with more information about the role of reflexes in learning, see Importance of Reflexes.
Learning challenges and behaviors may be rooted in a reflex that is not integrated properly.
Symptoms that may be related to un-integrated reflexes
- ✔ Sensory issues
- ✔ Motivation
- ✔ Dyslexia
- ✔ Attention issues
- ✔ Anxiety
- ✔ Visual problems
- ✔ Motor and balance issues
- ✔ Clumsiness
- ✔ Bonding issues
- ✔ Auditory problems
- ✔ Aggressiveness
- ✔ Lack of social skills
- ✔ Speech disorders
- ✔ Bed Wetting
Syndromes and disorders related to integration issues
- ✔ Cerebral Palsy
- ✔ Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- ✔ Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
- ✔ Autism Spectrum Disorders
- ✔ OCD
- ✔ Anxiety Disorders
- ✔ Dyslexia
What does reflex integration look like?
Rhythmic Movement Training (RMT) is a program that teaches the brain and body movements that it has not yet naturally acquired. It helps in developing fluid movement, learning ability sensory integration, and lays down the foundations for neural pathway growth. Developed by psychiatrist Harald Blomberg, MD, it is particularly useful for children and adults with challenges including ADD/ADHD, attention issues, dyslexia, coordination difficulties, developmental, speech and learning delays, sensory processing disorders, and many other challenges. Professionals that use RMT methods to improve therapeutic outcome include Occupational Therapists, Massage Therapists, Educational Specialists, Speech Therapists, and Vision Therapists.
Reflex integration consists of Neurodevelopmental Movement and other tools that develop and mature the body’s reflexes for optimal functioning. The movements we use are based on reflex patterns and rhythmic movements that babies make naturally from the womb on. Most of the movements are done on the floor, either with a partner or solo.
Doing Rhythmic Movements regularly provides profound benefits and helps to increase functioning in the following areas:
- ✔ Attention
- ✔ Impulse Control
- ✔ Muscle Tone
- ✔ Sensory Processing
- ✔ Motor Abilities
- ✔ Reading
- ✔ Learning Ability
- ✔ Writing
- ✔ Visual Skills
- ✔ Speech and Language Development
- ✔ Brain Connectivity
- ✔ Physical Strength and Stamina
- ✔ Muscle Control
- ✔ Emotions
For a downloadable PDF on research from the past 30 years which highlights the impact of unintegrated reflexes on learning, see Research on Reflexes. For an extended list of publications, see Reflex Integration: Supporting Research.