Neuro-development in Children- Part 2
Heartfulness eMagazine|July 2021
DR. ELISABETH BOUDERLIQUE and DR. BIRGIT DÜRR have specialized in behavioral disorders in children from a neurodevelopmental perspective. They were interviewed by PURNIMA RAMAKRISHNA for World Mental Health Day, October 2020, and in part 2 they explore reflexes, the brain hemispheres, and creating rhythm in the brain.
PURNIMA RAMAKRISHNA
BD: The two most important aspects of supporting the development of the brain are integrating primitive reflexes through motor exercises and stimulating the underdeveloped hemisphere, mainly with sensory stimulation.

If there is no damage or pathology in the brain, if it is an electrical imbalance, it can be corrected. And when the imbalance in the brain is corrected, all of the other imbalances are most often corrected as well.

Q: Primitive reflexes. Can you tell us more about their role in brain development?

EB: Primitive reflexes are automatic, stereotypical movements essential for the development in the womb and during the baby’s first months. They are part of a normal pediatrician’s examination. These primitive reflexes develop in the brainstem before birth and contribute to the development of the nervous system. They help the baby to come out of the birth canal and are the foundation necessary for the baby’s development. They are essential for survival during the first weeks of life. These reflexes allow the baby to interact with the world and thus contribute to the development of their brain. Most of these primitive reflexes are integrated (meaning we don’t see them anymore) during the first year of life, as a more complex part of the brain takes control.

The most common primitive reflexes are:

Fear Paralysis Reflex
Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex
Asymmetric Tonic Neck Reflex
Moro Reflex
Spinal Galant
Symmetric Tonic Neck Reflex
Babinski Reflex
Palmar Grasp
Rooting /Sucking Snout Reflex

These reflexes, which persist beyond the first year of life, are called “persistent primitive reflexes.” They can affect normal neurological development, and therefore be the cause of a multitude of symptoms, including learning difficulties and behavioral issues. There are simple exercises that can help to integrate them.

I will give you one example, because most people know the Moro Reflex. If you make a loud noise, the baby will suddenly open their arms and close them again. If this reflex persists for too long, it becomes the root of many symptoms, such as impulsive behavior, hypersensitivity to light, sound or sudden movement, dislike of change, difficulty with new or stimulating experiences, chronic anxiety, uncontrollable flushing when embarrassed or nervous, mood swings, and aggressive outbursts. This reflex can persist even in an adult, so it is important to look for these primitive reflexes.

I won’t go into too much detail about brain development, but it’s important to remember that the brain develops from the bottom up, meaning from the brainstem to the cortex, and then the cortex regulates everything from top to bottom. So, it’s important to help the brain develop from the bottom up, by integrating the primitive reflexes which are located in the brainstem.

Q: Can you tell us more about the hemispheres?

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