Primitive Reflex Integration and Reading Achievement in the Classroom

Tessa M Grigg, Ian Culpan, and Wendy Fox-Turnbull




Objective: Children’s primitive reflexes typically integrate within the first twelve months of life. If this process is interrupted through maternal or environmental stress, developmental immaturities can occur, leading to educational challenges for children. While other reflex integration exercises have been studied within group settings, the set of rhythmic based movements used in this research has not. As rhythm is a valuable element in a child’s development, this aspect of the movements was of interest. The research was conducted post-2011 Christchurch earthquakes, a devastating event for the city. The participants were in utero or infants when the quake struck. Method: This article reports on a reflex integration intervention used in six New Zealand classrooms. The research lasted ten months, and 98 six to eightyear- olds completed four movements for five minutes daily, three-five times per week. This mixed-methods research evaluated reflex retention scores, reading, and teachers’ perceptions of achievements.
Results: The conclusion showed post-intervention that the intervention group’s reflex profiles were lower than the control’s by a statistically significant (p = 0.018) margin. Reading scores increased significantly (p = 0.002) when the movements were used four or more times per week. It was also noted that the reflex scores for this group of children were higher than expected and higher than that of another group of New Zealand children.
Conclusion: Decreased retained primitive reflexes, improved reading scores and teacher comments showing general class improvements suggest that there is benefit in using movement-based reflex integration activities within a classroom setting.

Published on: February 26, 2023
doi: 10.17756/jnen.2023-103
Citation: Grigg TM, Culpan I, Turnbull WF. 2023. Primitive Reflex Integration and Reading Achievement in the Classroom. J Neurol Exp Neurosci 9(1): 18-26.