There were smiles all around as he and his mother told me the news. He was sleeping in his own room for the first time in over two years! This ten year old boy had been working with me for about 4-5 months at the time and had been sleeping on a mattress on the floor of his parents bedroom because he was too scared to sleep alone.
What kind of work had we been doing? We’d been working on something called “Primitive Reflex Integration”. “Primitive Reflexes” are early motor patterns that are present in utero through the first few years of life. “Integration” refers to the finishing or completing these movement patterns to make way for more sophisticated, voluntary movements and higher functioning reflexes. At Brain Fit Academy, we help kids work through these early motor patterns using movement. More specifically, with this child, I had been using intentional movement to integrate what is known as the Fear Paralysis Reflex.
Now, you might be saying to yourself- “Wait, she said that those primitive reflexes are present in utero through the first few years of life- so why is a ten year old boy working on that?”
Although I can’t tell you exactly why, I can tell you this…sometimes, for various reasons, primitive reflexes don’t “integrate” or finish, when they are supposed to, or they get “stuck”. Sometimes, this may be because of lack of movement as a baby, or maybe it has to do with a trauma to the mother or baby. There are many possible reasons (some that we may never be able to identify). But here is what I know for sure. When you work to integrate these early motor patterns, things change.
Kids (and adults) can go from:
- Scared- to more comfortable
- Shy to confident
- Sad to joyful!
Joyful- the smiles.
The smiles all around are what melted my heart. The smiles all around are what made me know that I needed to continue with this work. The smiles are what brought tears of joy to my eyes.
This boy- this ten year old boy, that I was working with was now feeling comfortable enough to sleep in his own room- something he hadn’t been able to do in a long, long time.
The work, is Primitive Reflex Integration.
The rewards, are the smiles.