BRAIN GYM - Primitive Reflexes

General Observations That May Indicate The Presence Of Unintegrated Primitive Reflexes

(Excerpt from Brain Gym in the Classroom).

This is a guide to difficulties that preschool and school age children may exhibit. If a child shows a number of the difficulties below then it is important that action be taken. They are signs of unintegrated primitive reflexes that are still active in the child’s system. Children do not merely grow out of these; they merely camouflage their presence or create diversions.

•Is easily distracted, daydreams, lacks concentration.

•Poor abstract reasoning skills

•Doesn’t understand what is asked even though they have listened well

•Can’t remember more than 2 instructions at one time

•Can’t focus on more than one thing at a time e.g. can’t listen and write at the same time

•Slow to do tasks and doesn’t finish work

•Over emotional – laugh, scream, cry at inappropriate times and for too long

•Always tired and bad tempered, mother reports they don’t sleep well

•Tight, tense, often curled up fingers or grinds teeth

•Speech is unclear, garbled, missing endings and missing some sounds

•Incomplete or mixed laterality. Child may use left foot, right hand, left ear or may use left or right interchangeably for the same task.

•Poor handwriting and expression of ideas in the written form.

•Reverses letters, numbers or writes from right to left.

•Eye sight problems

•Difficulty copying from the board or any activity that involves rapid adjustment of near to far vision and vice versa.

•Reading problems. Cannot track across a page when reading – jumps words and lines

•Children who read well but don’t understand what they have read.

•Children who read satisfactorily but cannot do maths.

•Children who can do maths but don’t read well.

•Speech and articulation problems.

•Poor coordination. Cannot catch a ball easily.

•Difficulty crossing the midline. Picking up items with one hand and passing it to the other.

•Homolateral, instead of cross-pattern movement when cross-crawling, walking, marching skipping.

•“W” sitter – sits on floor with legs splayed.

•Winds feet around chair legs, sits on legs (s).

•Leans on desk, table, wall instead of standing on two feet.

•Leans on non writing hand.

•Seems to be clumsy bumps into people, doorways, always dropping things.

•Constantly moving around the room.

•Makes noises constantly including chatter but doesn’t realise it.

•Hits, kicks or punches other children or plays with children older or younger in preference to children of a similar age.

•Very quiet, stands at back of queues and is hardly noticed

•Doesn’t want to go to school or kinder.


The “Power X” and “Brain Buttons”: an Answer for Bullying and Self doubt?

by Evonne Bennell Edu-K Consultant/ Therapist. March 17th, 2011

The start of a new term, new classes and new relationships can sometimes challenge a child’s own sense of self.  Often posture matches this feeling of vulnerability.  I love teaching children in my consultations and in schools, the brain gym activities that will support them so that they feel clear and composed.  Surprisingly their stance often changes and they can make eye contact and feel more at ease – in just a few moments.

An activity called “Brain Buttons” always helps to feel clear.

Find the collar bone and start at the shoulders then trace along to where the collar bone ends.  Drop down just below and feel for little hollow spots on either side.  Gently massage with one hand with thumb on one point and one or two fingers on the other while you have one hand on your navel.  Placing the hand over navel brings attention to the gravitational centre of the body for orientation and balance.  This alerts your vestibular system, (which gives the brain information about your position in gravity) which stimulates the Reticular Activating System, to wake up the brain, ready for incoming sensory information.

You can test your dynamic balance and the navel by standing on one foot and notice how easy or difficult it is to keep your balance.

Stand with both feet on the floor and put a hand over your navel.  Now stand on one foot again, keeping your hand over the navel.  Notice if this helps you keep your balance.

As you continue to balance on one foot, experiment with moving your hand on and off your navel.  Notice if there is a difference.


Another activity –“The Power X” is good for your children to put on every morning.

Have your children buckle up their Power X by anchoring one arm across the navel to opposite hip.  Then the other arm in an X shape.  Each child can select their own colour, texture, even sound or smell when they put on their Power X.  One of my students has an orange scented rainbow sparkly one which she puts on before she steps out into the playground at lunch.

Try it yourself, buckle up and notice your thoughts, feelings and your posture.


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