News, events and schools' information for families across Bath and West Wiltshire

Jacqui Ellis from Deep Connexions discusses one of the reasons why your children might be struggling at school

So, it is that time of year where we are fast approaching the summer break and the end of another academic year. How you are feeling re your child’s progress…

Did you start this academic year full of new hope that this was a fresh start? Yet here you are:

  • Still feeling frazzled…
  • Still pulling your hair out…
  • Still dealing with the same issues/struggles…
  • Still having the same arguments over completing homework…
  • Still watching your child under achieve at school or on the sports field…
  • Behaviour is getting worse – there are more push backs and meltdowns or anxiety…

Family life is tough as a result. Nothing is making sense and you feel like you are failing.

This was me in the playground at the end of Year 3 when the class teacher walked over to asked if I could help our daughter understand number bonds 1-20 over the summer holidays. What?! I was flabbergasted! This was a key learning objective that should have been solid at the end of Year 1!

I made it my focus to sit down with our daughter for 15 minutes every day during the first week of the holidays. I was a teaching assistant at the time so surely, I could get our daughter back on track?

The answer was no. She couldn’t remember what we had covered from one day to the next. I started to notice other gaps in her academic ability. It didn’t make sense because she could recall and talk avidly about so many things, but not this. Clearly something was not right. But what?  

We both became extremely frustrated and upset. We stopped. I would have to find another way, but how?

That was when I found out about retained primitive reflexes and how their continued presence can impact an individual’s ability to learn. We are all born with a set of reflexes that are necessary and designed to help us survive our first few months of life. By the time a child reaches their first birthday, most of these reflexes should have been matured and integrated.

However, for numerous reasons they can become ‘stuck’ and potentially interfere with all aspects of life. Research by The Institute for Neuro Physiological Psychology (INPP) suggests that a high proportion of underachieving children have such retained immaturities, and much has been documented with regards to abnormal reflexes playing a part in specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia/DCD, ASD, hyperactivity and sensory disorders.

Learning and behaviour are products of how the brain and body work together. To read, a child needs to develop smooth eye movements, while writing demands that the eyes and hand work together. Indeed, all motor skills are linked in some way to the functioning of posture and balance. Any problems in these areas will undermine the individual’s ability to achieve in the classroom meaning their symptoms are not necessarily linked to intelligence.

So, what can be done?

The good news is that there is a drug free non-invasive solution available by means of a Reflex Stimulation and Integration Programme. Developed by INPP more than 45 years ago, this programme is designed to improve general physical maturity whilst enhancing individual academic performance.

A detailed diagnostic assessment will identify your child’s current reflex status and developmental level. A programme of simple and effective daily exercises is then prescribed which help re-educate the pathways between the brain and the body, creating a more secure foundation for all aspects of learning.

Progress is reviewed at six weekly intervals where the movement is adjusted accordingly.  A programme of this type can take 12-18months to complete and is supported throughout by other therapies such as Cranio Sacral and Integrative Baby Therapy.

All three of our children have completed this programme to great effect – our daughter went on to gain a first class honours degree in Occupational Therapy.

Having worked in this area for over 14 years, it is amazing to see my clients literally ‘grow into themselves’ and start achieving their true potential. They say it literally changes their lives!

To find out if Reflex Integration/a developmental movement programme could help your child, please contact Jacqui Ellis at Deep Connexions. email hidden; JavaScript is required Tel 07790 783280