Primitive Reflex Integration: The Power of Brain Boost

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My Child May Be Silently Struggling. What is my next step? 

If you notice that your child is experiencing the signs and symptoms associated with active Primitive Reflexes listed on this page, the good news is that there is a simple way to determine if they are related to retained primitive reflexes. Through our comprehensive evaluation process your child’s primitive reflexes are assessed to identify if any remain active and, if so, to what degree are they interfering with their development. 

Once identified, Scribble 2 Script’s signature Brain Boost program can integrate your child’s primitive reflexes using the most up-to-date technology. When your child’s reflexes are integrated their signs and symptoms are reduced and learning becomes easier.

Complete this convenient form to schedule a comprehensive evaluation for your child with Scribble 2 Script Founder, Megan Eldridge.

We’ll contact you no later than the next business day to schedule.

The Scribble 2 Script Mission is to assist your child in overcoming obstacles that inhibit their academic success now and their potential to live their best life, long-term. We’ll look forward to meeting you and your child.

If you have spent time around babies you have most likely seen primitive reflexes in action. A reflex is an automatic, instinctual response to stimuli. For example, a light touch to an infant’s cheek turns their head in search of food (Rooting Reflex).  

If you place your finger in the palm of their hand, they grasp your finger tightly (Hands Grasping Reflex). Quick movements or loud noises will startle an infant and they instantly throw open their arms and legs, tilt their head back, take a deep breath and then cry (Moro Reflex). 

From very early on, these primitive reflex movements literally grow the brain.

 Some reflexes are meant for survival. Other reflexes help get our bodies into motion for motor coordination, upright posture, balance, learning to differentiate between the two sides of the body, eye-hand coordination, language development, process sensory input and more. The sequence and development of primitive reflexes play a vital role for optimal learning and behavior later on.  

They are the building blocks of our nervous system and, much like building a house, a strong foundation prepares our bodies for all further development. Primitive reflexes develop in a sequence and each one has as a specific job to do within a relatively short period of time. For example, newborns do not have control of their head or neck.  However, if you lightly touch either cheek, they will turn their head in search of a food source.  

This movement is not voluntary, it is reflexive. The purpose is for survival (search for food) and is also the first step in developing independent head and neck control. Having the control to turn your head leads to developing eye-hand coordination which leads to grasping and exploring objects and eventually developing the fine motor skills needed for zipping, buttoning, coloring, proper pencil grip, shoe tying and handwriting!  

This is just one of many examples of how vital primitive reflexes are for successful, long-term development of higher centers of the brain.

Importance of Integrating Primitive Reflexes

Primitive reflexes exist to help an infant survive, move and develop.  Under optimal circumstances, these reflexes emerge into more sophisticated patterns of movement and then integrate and are no longer active. The integration process should be complete within the first year of life.  If integration does not happen within the first year of life, it can have a negative impact on the development of physical coordination, balance, communication, learning and emotional well-being.

Primitive reflexes are housed in the brain stem (otherwise known as the survival brain). If they are not integrated the survival brain is consistently stimulated.  When in survival mode, the body may get stuck in a developmental holding pattern. That holding pattern can limit the ability to access the prefrontal lobes of our brain which is used for memory, attention, flexibility, planning and problem-solving.   

When primitive reflexes remain active the body can experience chronic stress, body parts cannot easily move independently, and it can take tremendous amounts of effort and energy to complete tasks.

Retained Primitive Reflexes and Their Effect on Learning and Behavior

Let’s explore some of the primitive reflexes, what they do and how they influence learning. When a child has an active Moro Reflex the body is constantly on high alert. Stimulation of this reflex can elicit a “fight or flight” response.  Sudden changes in stimuli such as bright light, loud noise, touch or even a simple comment such as “time to sit down to do your homework” can elicit a fight or flight stress response.  

Children with an active Moro Reflex often exhibit:

  •  Significant mood swings
  • Have meltdowns and/or anger
  • Anxiety
  • Phobias
  • Distractibility 
  • Have difficulty accepting criticism
  • May have low self esteem 
  • Hypersensitivity to light, movement, sound, touch or smell
  • Difficulty adapting to change
  • Difficulty with peripheral vision

When a child has an active Spinal Galant Reflex, a light touch or stroke to their back on either side of their spine will cause the muscles on that side of the spine to contract and raise the hip. These children are often seen sitting oddly in their chair because if they sit “correctly” it stimulates this reflex and they are observed to be “wiggle-worms”.  

Children with an active Spinal Galant Reflex often exhibit:

  • Difficulty sitting still
  • Poor concentration 
  • Poor short-term memory
  • Bedwetting (after age 5)

When a child has an active Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ie. ATNR) turning their head to the right causes their right arm and leg to extend and their left arm and leg to bend and vice versa. This provides training for eye-hand coordination as well as an understanding that we have two sides to our body that work independently of the other.  

Children with an active ATNR often exhibit:

  • Left/right confusion
  • Confused handedness 
  • Reversals of letters and numbers
  • Loses place when reading
  • Poor handwriting
  • Clumsy
  • Difficulty with eye-hand coordination

When a child has an active Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ie. STNR) movement of the head is linked to movement of the arms and legs. For example, head movement backward causes the arms to extend and the legs to bend while head movement forward causes the opposite; the arms to bend and the legs to extend. This reflex helps lift the head for developing the ability to focus at distance as well as prepares the baby for crawling.  

Children with an active STNR often exhibit:

  • Poor posture or slouching
  • Difficulty copingcopying off the board
  • Preference to stand while completing schoolwork or when eating
  • Twists their legs around the legs of a chair when sitting
  • “W” sitting
  • Clumsy or messy eating
  • Toe walking
  • Challenges with using the eyes together as a team

When a child has an active Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex (i.e.. TLR)  their head bends forward the entire body curls inward. As the head bends backward the entire body straightens and extends.  This helps a child develop balance against gravity, increase muscle tone as well as develop their proprioceptive and vestibular senses.   

The development of these early skills allows for more mature coordination, balance and correct head alignment later in life, which is needed for visual tracking, auditory processing and proper muscle tone. 

Children with an active TLR often exhibit:

  • Balance and coordination challenges
  • Leans down over the paper when writing
  • Easily fatigued
  • Poor depth perception
  • Poor tracking and convergence of eyes
  • Poor near/far accommodation (focusing of the eyes)
  • Motion sickness
  • Visual and spatial perceptual difficulties
  • Difficulty with organization
  • Accident prone

What Causes Primitive Reflexes to be Retained?

Several things can disrupt the integration of primitive reflexes including high-risk pregnancies, birth trauma, c-sections and emergency procedures. In addition, modern-day conveniences such as car seats, propping devices, walkers, jumpers and safety concerns all limit an infant’s ability to move freely. Abundant opportunities for tummy time and for a child to move their arms, legs and head against gravity are necessary for the integration process to occur. 

Even if your child integrated their primitive reflexes effectively within the first year of life, traumatic experiences such as a car accident or serious illness can cause one or more of those reflexes to come back to life, no matter what age we are.

Be sure to review the results other parents and children have attained in Scribble 2 Script programs.

I’m a walking, talking billboard for Scribble 2 Script. I can’t express my gratefulness to the amazing staff and the services they provide. My son was 5 at the time of receiving services, and we were having daily melt downs about simple things like wearing jeans or eating certain types of food. I immediately noticed the difference in his attitude after only one Brain Boost appointment. After completing the entire Brain Boost program, my son was wearing jeans without issue, having significantly less melt downs, became much calmer, and even started eating a lot more foods (among other things). In addition, I absolutely adore the staff. They always went above and beyond addressing my concerns and meeting my son where he was at. It was so special to see someone else love my son and truly want the best for him. I’m incredibly grateful to S2S helping my boy become who he was meant to be. He is obviously happier now, and it is the greatest gift. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
~ Kelly Lippert

Scribble 2 Script has been so instrumental in getting our son ready for Kindergarten.  Deacon had really poor handwriting in preschool and pre-k, but as a parent it was hard for me to know at such a young age what was just his age or an actual delay.  During the initial evaluation, Megan was able to show me clearly what he should be able to do, and what was very obvious that he struggled with.  Within 3 sessions at Scribble 2 Script, his Pre-K teacher was able to show me writing samples from before starting S2S and after- and the difference was night and day!  

I was a little nervous about Brain Boost.  Would it help?  Was it necessary?  Would it do anything at all?  The day after his sessions were always really tough- and I could tell it was doing something!  Over all, it felt like it deregulated everything about his behavior the next day, and then throughout the week he would build back up making huge strides in maturity!  And then the next week we’d start over again at square one.  Dinner time has been notoriously awful with Deacon since he was a baby, and brain boost has helped with him sitting at the table and eating food peacefully more than anything we’ve tried!  Every bite is no longer a fight, and we can all enjoy our dinner again.  He also has made great strides in sitting in church and being more in control of his body overall.

The very best thing about Scribble 2 Script was how much Deacon loved it.  He recently graduated and every week he asks to go back and see his “favorite adults.”  He had to work really hard while he was there, and he had to do a lot of homework with me- but he still looked forward to going every week.  Miss Sara was wonderful with him and was great at articulating how he was doing, and how I needed to help him at home.  Having the support of Scribble 2 Script was invaluable, for Deacon and for me!  It was wonderful to have so many people in our corner, wanting the very best for Deacon and truly bringing the best out of him! 
~ Rebecca Oates

Our child was identified by a teacher as having some sensory issues during the classroom day.  We have struggled with school attendance, in spite of the fact that the cognitive abilities of our child are very high.  It wasn’t until we went though an OT testing process with Scribble to Script that we understood the huge impact that primitive reflex integration issues were having on our child, both academically and socially.  Since doing Brain Boost we see a more engaged person, age appropriate with comments and questions, much calmer at night for bedtime and a willingness to participate in family activities. This program has drastically changed our family’s life for the better.  We are so thankful. 
~ Stephanie Thies

Before attending Scribble 2 Script I had a bright child who struggled to get his thoughts down on paper. All of his classwork would come home blank and writing at home ended in frustration with messy work. I was searching for answers and thankfully a friend recommended Scribble 2 Script. I thought the evaluation was very thorough and informative about my child’s needs. The staff was kind, professional and very helpful. They did a great job in motivating my sometimes difficult child to grow and learn in ways that I found remarkable. The brain boost program helped alleviate some concerning temperament issues, as well as improved his balance and coordination. He ultimately graduated the program by completing the handwriting therapy too. At the beginning of the school year, he could only get a few words down on a page and by the end of the program he was independently writing five sentence paragraphs with beautiful handwriting. I would highly recommend the services at Scribble 2 Script. 
~ Rayme Ellett 

See more results children (and their parents) experience at Scribble 2 Script

Contact us today!
480-614-1232