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So What is Neurodevelopment?

Since working with neurodevelopment therapies, this is the most frequently asked question. What is it, how does it work? Neurodevelopment therapy essentially gives the neurological system a second go at development. Simple huh? It works on the principle that the neurological system develops through movement and the developing child moves in specific ways in order to facilitate that development. These movements are not conscious, but reflex movements, similar to closing your eyes when you sneeze - you don't do it intentionally, and you can't stop it. Consequently one of the things we do with a neurodevelopment program is Primitive Reflex Integration. This simply means that where some of these immature reflexes remain active, they can interfere with development, so we can help them integrate.

These reflex movements start at around 5 weeks in utero, different movements develop, become established, then should transform into other movements or should disappear when they are no longer needed. They appear and disappear in a specific order and all have a job to do. They organise the neurological system and prepare the body for birth, feeding and bigger movements. These primitive reflexes should give way to transitional reflexes which prepare the body for standing and walking and these then become postural reflexes which allow us to stand walk and run. The reflexes cause the body to move and movement allows each reflex to go on to the next. We can look at each reflex in more detail over time.

So reflexes help the body to move, they are integrated by movement and each new reflex emerges as the result of movement. They create good organisation with the brain, the body, the sensory system and emotions. Sometimes this complex process gets interrupted, sometimes through outside influences and sometimes simply due to genetic predisposition. Consequently your child may keep falling off her bike because one of her neck reflexes hasn't integrated properly, so when she turns her head her arm jerks, or he may still wet the bed because his spinal galant reflex is still active, or they may be super sensitive to the hoover or hand dryers because their auditory moro reflex is still active. This is where a neurodevelopment movement program can help by revisiting those particular stages with a tailored movement program that will echo the movements related to those stages and help move things along.

Having looked at many reflex integration programs, my preference is for a program called Rhythmic Movement Training or RMTi for short. It's not a quick process, it requires that the movements are done regularly and accurately (which is difficult to begin with), but the movements usually only take a few minutes a day, and they are simple and fun. But they are building new pathways in the brain, connecting up areas that haven't been connected before and reorganising the neurological system to function more effectively. When you're not having to spend all of your energy trying to hold your head up because of an undeveloped reflex, you can concentrate better on what you are supposed to be doing! For more information or to book an appointment, click through to my website or for more information on RMTi click through here

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