We all know that many looked after children find it difficult to regulate their emotions, process information and interact with others appropriately. They can be under or over responsive/reactive to sensory input (sounds, smells, tastes, other people) struggle with reading and writing, concentration and behaving at school and may have issues with physical activities such as riding a bike, swimming or climbing.
Such developmental delay has been attributed to trauma and lack of stimulation as well as living in hostile environments before and after birth. However there is another cause to add to the mix, and one that can be easily rectified.
We are all born with primitive reflexes that are usually integrated within the first year or so of life as they no longer serve us. Think of infant reflexes such as sucking and rooting and the plantar grasp where the toes curl when the foot is stroked. Two reflexes prevalent in our children are the moro (startle) and fear paralysis reflex which if not integrated are believed to contribute to learning challenges, behavioural challenges, anxiety, emotional imbalances and overwhelm. These reflexes are closely related to our stress response. The moro is linked to the fight and flight part of the response and the fear paralysis to the freeze. By repeating simple movements usually done in infancy through the guidance of a Rhythmic Movement Consultant (Gill is qualified) these reflexes can be integrated and our children more regulated.
What can also happen is that the parent on the receiving end of a negative behaviour can be traumatised and their reflexes become active, causing them to dis-regulate. A dis-regulated parent can contribute to a negative downward spiral within the family dynamic.
Rhythmic movements and touch for regulation and attachment will be covered in our new course launching in March; Attachments Through Touch
"This course is very informative. Will definitely be using some of the exercise with my carers. This training was very interesting. It gave me a wider understand of how trauma can affect the children in our care"
- Shauna Grant – Social Worker -
Member of the International Stress Management Association
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