Neuro-Motor Immaturity, as defined by the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology (INPP, UK) is; "The continued presence of a cluster of Primitive reflexes (beyond 6-12 months old) and/or a cluster of underdeveloped Postural reflexes (above 3 1/2 years old)".
In utero, we begin to develop reflexes that will help us interact with and survive our environment in the early months. These primitive reflexes originate in the central nervous system and are the first part of the brain to develop. In typical development, they inhibit in the first year of life and replacement reflexes, called postural reflexes, emerge. These reflexes are more mature patterns of response and are controlled by higher centres in the brain. They control balance, coordination and sensory motor development.
Primitive reflexes lay the foundations for how physically literate a child will be, to how they will behave and even learn. If development does not go according to plan, primitive reflexes can be retained and cause issues with balance, motor control, eye-functioning, hand-eye coordination, perceptual skills, fine motor skills and all levels of social, emotional and academic learning. They can affect behaviour and result in anxiety, frustration, hyperactivity and hypersensitivity. There are a range of factors that cause the retention of primitive reflexes from a traumatic birth, lack of natural movement, poor nutrition, to the overuse of baby equipment and screens. At Unlock Learning and Health, primitive and postural reflexes can be assessed to see if NMI is the underlying cause of your child's difficulties. Help is offered through Neurodevelopmental therapy which works to inhibit any retained primtive reflexes, strengthen postural reflexes and develop sensory integration.