Movement is our first language. In utero, we begin to develop reflexes that will help us to interact with and survive in our environment. These reflexes, called primitive reflexes, originate in the central nervous system and are the first part of the brain to develop. They play an essential role in the birthing process and help us to survive in our early months. In typical development, these reflexes inhibit in the first year and replacement reflexes, called postural reflexes, emerge. Postural reflexes are more mature patterns of response, controlled by higher centres of the brain. These reflexes control balance, coordination and sensory motor development.
Each child’s development should follow a specific developmental sequence and, their motor skills provide an insight into this developmental progression. Primitive and postural reflexes can be assessed to establish whether, and at what stage, any disruption to development has occurred. When considered with the child’s age and developmental history, reflex information can inform us of the maturity of the function of the individual’s central nervous system.
Retained primitive reflexes can interfere with balance, motor control, eye-functioning, hand-eye coordination, perceptual skills, fine motor skills and all levels of social, emotional and intellectual learning. They can result in behavioural symptoms such as frustration, hyperactivity and hypersensitivity. Neuro-motor Immaturity is hence the functioning of the central nervous system below the expected level for the biological age of the individual. At Unlock Learning and Health, NMI can be assessed through a clinical assessment, using standard neurological tests.