Common Back-to-School Challenges in Children

The new school year is already here and summer has flown by like always. When you think back to last year, maybe your child had challenges with any of the following: Reading speed, reading comprehension, handwriting, concentration, sitting still, behavior, or sensory processing. Any one of these will no doubt make the school year and homework harder than it needs to be. Or maybe they have an official diagnosis that makes school harder for them: ADHD, Dyslexia, OCD, SPD, ASD, Tourette’s, etc.

There is one thing I consistently see in all kids struggling with these challenges: They still have their Primitive Reflexes. These are reflexes we are born with and they help us survive the first few months of life. By about 6 months old, these reflexes should go away, and the brain can continue to develop and do more complex things.

The brain grows from the bottom up: from the brainstem, to the midbrain, and finally to the frontal cortex which is known as our “academic brain.” That’s where we are able to develop higher level intelligence, use logic, and excel in school.

Primitive reflexes live at the area of the brainstem. If you or your child still have their primitive reflexes, it’s a direct window into the brain saying the lower level brainstem hasn’t developed or matured to its fullest ability. And because the brain grows from the bottom up, if the brainstem hasn’t developed properly, there’s no way the academic brain can develop to its fullest. I’ve seen kids and adults of all ages with retained primitive reflexes, there is no set age where they automatically go away.

There are several different primitive reflexes that can contribute to a variety of symptoms. Anything from the ability to sit still and concentrate to eye-tracking and reading comprehension. The amazing news is your brain is extremely moldable at all ages and these reflexes can remediate and go away in a reasonable amount of time.

As a back to school special, if you mention you’ve seen our article in EDGE, we are offering either a complimentary consultation so you can ask more questions about your situation (in-person or over the phone) OR if you decide to schedule a Primitive Reflex Assessment and Exam to see if this is what’s contributing to your child’s challenges, you will receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card. Call our office at 402.504.4676. Good luck to all students with the upcoming school year!

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