John McAtamney, D.C. - 516-233-2883

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What does chiropractic have to do with kids with Developmental Delays? The answer is everything! Kids that have developmental delays are under-functioning in so many ways and the largest and most consistent abnormality is in their MOVEMENT! At Infinity we see amazing result by getting kids moving the way they are intended to move!

The most consistent finding in all kids with developmental delays is abnormal movement and muscular development! Kids with delays have abnormal development of Gait (walking), Posture, and Muscle Tone! What most people don’t realize is that the same areas of the brain that coordinate those movement strategies also coordinate ATTENTION, BEHAVIOR, and LEARNING! If your child does not move appropriately, they also cannot develop those other aspects as well!

Kids With Delays Have Abnormal Development of: Primitive Reflexes, Core Stability (muscle tone), Postural Reflexes, Vestibular Systems (balance, coordination), Eye Tracking and Stability, and Complex Movements!

At Inspired Chiropractic we do an exam to assess these aspects of your child’s development, identify their weaknesses and develop a 
comprehensive plan to restore your child’s function to the best of their abilities.

The following techniques and activities are examples of what may be included in your child’s plan of care:
•     Specific, Gentle Chiropractic Care
•     Diet and Nutrition Modifications
•     Gross Motor Development Exercises
•     Balance and Coordination Exercises
•     Hand-Eye Coordination Exercises

Every child has a different ability to heal. It is our goal to remove any interference to that ability, so they can heal and function 
to their God-given potential.


Evaluating Reflexes

Primitive Reflexes

Primitive reflexes are automatic, instinctual movements that assist in development, growth, and survival. Primitive reflexes are reflexes that present themselves in the womb and help with the birth process and early years of life. These reflexes should then develop and go away before the toddler ages! In most cases of kids with neuro-developmental delays these reflexes and others don’t develop the way that they are supposed to! I am going to list the most common reflexes we find in kids, what they help to develop, 
and symptoms associated with them!

MORO Reflex

This reflex is an automatic reaction to sudden changes in sensory stimuli. Sudden bright light, loud noise, touch, and change in body position can trigger this reflex.

The MORO reflex creates instant arousal of the baby’s survival systems, in essence, the baby responds as if reacting to a threat. The Moro reflex trains the baby’s nervous system in developing the “fight or flight” survival response. It is also the baby’s instinctual response to summon a caregiver.

When the MORO gets activated these physiological responses occur: Release of stress hormones adrenaline and Cortisol, Increased breathingrate, shallow breathing, and Increased heart rate and blood pressure.

An unintegrated Moro Reflex is often accompanied by hypersensitivity to incoming stimulus and health challenges such as allergies and asthma.

Ideally the Moro emerges in the womb 9-12 weeks gestation and is integrated by 4 months of age. Moro integration is complete when the baby learns more mature startle reflexes, sometimes called the Strauss Reflex.

Common long-term symptoms that present from the MORO Reflex:
•     Sleep disturbances
•     Easily triggered anger or emotional outbursts
•     Shyness
•     Poor balance and coordination
•     Poor stamina
•     Poor digestion
•     Weak immune system
•     Motion sickness
•     Hypersensitivity to light, movement, sound, touch and smell
•     Difficulties with vision, reading and writing
•     Difficulties adapting to change
•     Cycles of hyperactivity followed by extreme fatigue
•     Easily distracted, difficulties filtering out outside stimuli
•     Difficulties catching a ball
•     Difficulty with visual perception
•     Easily fatigued, irritable under fluorescent lighting


Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex

The tonic labyrinthine is broken up into two parts, the forward TLR and the Backwards TLR. The Forward TLR is present as the head bends forward, the whole body, arms, legs and torso curl forward in the characteristic fetal position. In the backwards TLR, as the head is bent backwards, the whole body, arms, legs and torso straighten and extend.

The TLR helps the baby to adapt to gravity and learn neck and head control! This reflex gives the baby and opportunity to practice balance, increase muscle tone, and develop the proprioceptive and vestibular sense. Eventually the TLR interacts with other reflexes and body processes to help develop coordination, posture and correct head alignment. Head alignment with the rest of the body is necessary for balance, visual tracking, auditory processing and muscle organization. All of which are vital to the ability to focus, 
pay attention and learn.

Common symptoms if reflex is retained:
•     Balance and Coordination issues
•     Shrunken posture
•     Easily fatigue
•     Muscle tone to weak or too tight
•     Difficulty judging distance, depth, space and speed
•     “W” leg position when sitting
•     Motion Sickness
•     Visual, speech, and auditory difficulties
•     Tendency to be cross eyed
•     Toe walking

Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex

They Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex is the most common reflex found in our office and creates some of the largest symptoms when not developed well. This is a reflex that happens when the infant turns their head, what happens is the infants arms and legs on the side they turned the head toward automatically straighten! The ATNR provides stimulation for development of muscle tone and the vestibular 
system. The ATNR also helps to develop hand eye coordination. By 6 months of age this reflex should be developed and evolve into more complex movements. It should be inhibited prior to crawling and if not developed well creates abnormalities in crawling. It is also the most significant cause of inability to function well in school!

Common Symptoms that patient present with:
•     Dyslexia
•     Reading, listening, handwriting, and spelling difficulties
•     Poor sense of direction
•     Confused handedness
•     Focus and Balance Difficulties


Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex

The STNR is a reflex that helps to develop neck control and low back control so a baby can lift their head and focus far distance. The STNR also prepares the baby for creeping and crawling. The STNR is a reflex that links head movements to arm and leg movements, so when still present it allows the baby to move their head and create automatic movements of the upper and lower extremities. This is important because it allows us to build muscle that is vital for later movements like crawling and walking! This is another 
reflex that if still present will create problems in school! This is because up-and-down head movement causes the arms and legs to reflexively move. This distracts attention always from concentration and learning more difficult!

Common symptoms when reflex is present:
•     Squirming and fidgeting: poor posture, slouching
•     Headaches from muscle tension
•     Difficulties writing and reading
•     Apelike walking
•     Vision disorders
•     Trouble Staying on task
•     Clumsy and messy eating


Spinal Galant Reflex

The Spinal Galant reflex is a rotation of the hips when the back is stroked along the spine in the low back. It is thought to help infants balance and coordinate the body for belly-crawling and creeping. It is likely connected to bladder function, because a high percentage of children who are bedwetting past age 5 have an active Spinal Galant reflex.

Common symptoms:
•     Bedwetting
•     Hip rotation to one side
•     Poor posture
•     Difficulties sitting still
•     Scoliosis
•     Fatigue
•     Poor concentration
•     Poor Short-Term memory
•     Irritable bowel syndrome


Oral, Hand and Foot Reflexes

Some of the Oral, Hand and Foot reflexes are linked at infancy. We often see babies kneading their hands while they suckle. When these reflexes stay active, we may see adults move their mouths or tongues while writing. Many Foot reflexes may interfere with walking and can result in toe walking to compensate

Common symptoms:
•     Speech delays or difficulties
•     Difficulties in social situations
•     Manual dexterity issues
•     Handwriting difficulties
•     Loose, easily sprained ankles
•     Flatfooted or walking on side of feet
•     Difficulties expressing written ideas
•     Swallowing difficulties
•     Drooling
•     Poor pencil grip
•     TMJ issues
•     Toe walking
•     Hip rotation


Improving Function

There are many more primitive and postural reflexes that effect how children develop if they are not inhibited at the appropriate times.The ones listed above are the most common ones that we see in our office, and they most common symptoms we see coming along with them. In any case Dr. “Mac” does not treat those symptoms, he is helping children to function better and develop their movement reflexes 
correctly! In most cases that allows these symptoms to get better or completely resolve!