What are Infant Reflexes
These are reflexes relating to the very early stage of human development and are unconditioned and in-born, most developing in utero. The baby doesn’t learn these reflexes. They simply develop naturally during the pregnancy. An example is the grasp reaction of a baby. This Robinson Grasp Reflex is triggered by specific touch on the baby’s hands.
Most Infant Reflexes are present before birth and the earliest one, The Fear Paralysis Reflex, develops at 5 to 8 weeks of pregnancy. Most mums-to-be don't even know they are pregnant at this stage. Many infant reflexes assist in the birth process, most are protective and some are present to establish bodily functions necessary for survival.
For example, the two Spinal Infant Reflexes, Spinal Pereze and Spinal Galant, are stimulated by touch to the back. During the birth process they help the baby wriggle down the birth canal during contractions and also empty the baby’s bladder to rid the body of waste.
This automatic response assists the birth and promotes normal functioning of the baby’s bladder and bowel. Having served their purpose during the natural birth and in early life, the reflexes are no longer required and they become progressively inactivated by a process of maturation leading to reflex integration.
However, if these Spinal Infant Reflexes are not stimulated during birth and subsequently inactivated, they can result in later difficulties, for example with attention, sitting still and/or bedwetting, soiling and other far-reaching problems.
Such difficulties may be related to birth by Caesarian section (in which the baby does not experience passage down the birth canal), a breech birth (which provides stimulation in reverse), or a fast last-stage or assisted birth (ventouse or forceps) that may not provide the time or stimulus for the natural processes to complete.
This is just one example of how the incomplete maturation of Infant Reflexes can affect the older child in many ways. If this Infant Reflex Integration process is incomplete, the functioning of the brain can be affected. The Central Nervous System (CNS) may then be unable to function efficiently in various ways, potentially influencing the whole child, physically, socially, emotionally, behaviourally and/or intellectually, depending on the nature and extent of non-integration.
There are twelve Infant Reflexes addressed by the Brainchild Individualised Program. We refer to these as the KEY INFANT REFLEXES.
Although each reflex has particular influences on physical, emotional, social and educational areas, their combination can multiply the effects. A complex reflex profile can produce wide ranging difficulties.
Children with cerebral palsy or other difficulties involving gait (walking) may benefit from working on the integration of additional infant reflexes beyond the twelve key ones. These are not included in the online program, but they can be accessed at The Brainchild Centre.