My journey with Primitive Reflexes..

My journey with Primitive reflexes

Ever since I was an Occupational therapy student, I remember loving to study and understand about primitive reflexes. However, in my college days, we used the primitive reflexes to learn and work more with kids who had delayed motor milestones. I still remember the discussions that we used to have about them with various books in our hand in our college library or while sitting on the steps.

Much later, around three years back, I met my friend primitive reflexes again. I wanted to learn more and more about them. I started voraciously reading about them and also started my search for people who could teach me about primitive reflexes. I started with Sally Goddard’s book on “Reflexes learning and behaviour”. Then there were so many more books by her and I was becoming a fan of her program called as the INPP program. Her book “Neuromotor readiness to learning” describes the details on how crucial is the role of these primitive reflexes in learning.

I was also very fascinated by the program which Nancy Green offered called as the Brain Highways which really helped me to get a base on primitive reflexes. I found Nancy very helpful and more than that she is so systematic. I love the way she has organised her course and also the way she passes the information week by week. It was just fantastic.

Then came a time, that I attended a series of webinars by Svetlana Masgutova. Somehow, I felt everyone was talking about their perspective of primitive reflexes and with each book, with each webinar and with each course-my understanding of the primitive reflexes deepened. I started to see the presence of these reflexes in kids who come for therapy and started blending primitive reflex integration with Sensory integration. There are some “aha” moments in our life and in our learning which is what occurred to me when I did my course on Rhythmic Movement Training (RMT). The instructor Patty had drawn a bucket with holes in it. The holes of primitive reflexes were at the base and the the holes of postural reflexes were on the first floor of the bucket. Then came in other areas like how we all typically know of the learning pyramid. So the learning in the “aha” moment was –“Oh! I really need to fix up the holes not just at the level of postural reflexes but even primitive reflexes for the learning to happen, for the information to go in and to be processed. It is escaping from the holes on the ground floor.” So, I discovered the basement for the pyramid of learning!!

RMT is also another fantastic approach to integrate the primitive reflexes. And the book called “Movements that Heal” is a wonderful book by Dr.Harold Blomberg who coined the word Rhythmic Movement training. As I said earlier, I feel Jean Ayres too focussed on primitive reflexes along with postural reflexes-she too emphasized on Vestibular, Proprioceptive and the tactile inputs. They all talk about the three sytems and have named their protocols as per their understanding of the subject.

But, I feel you see miracles happening with kids when you combine primitive reflexes integration with sensory integration.

And my journey still continues to learn more and more about the primitive reflexes….

You may start your journey with Sally’s book or share your story about your experience with primitive reflexes.

Reena Singh

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