ACCESS POTENTial

BOB ALLEN
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what we do

We work with children and adults who present with ‘neuro-developmental delay’. This refers to an immaturity in the functioning of the central nervous system, as highlighted by the presence of retained ‘primitive’ reflexes.

‘Primitive’ reflexes are automatic, involuntary responses which develop when we are in the womb and are essential to the birthing process as well as our survival and development in the first year of life.

The primitive reflexes should inhibit (‘switch off’) by the time we are 12 months old. If they remain active beyond this time, they can act as a barrier to normal development of the central nervous system and this can result in a host of behavioural, emotional, learning and physiological issues.

We offer a non-invasive, drug-free neural stimulation programme (carried out at home) that combines tactile skin stimulation with physical exercises and is designed to inhibit any residual primitive reflexes. This enables normal development of the central nervous system to be restarted and to proceed unhindered; in other words, the brain is given a second chance to develop.

In our experience, this can lead to reduced anxiety, greater ease of learning, improved emotional self-regulation, more age- and socially appropriate behaviour and better motor control and co-ordination.

Perhaps most importantly, the programme also tends to have the effect of  bringing to maturity an immature psyche which so often goes hand-in-hand with neuro-developmental delay. The children and adults we work with tend to develop greater confidence and a stronger sense of ‘self’, enabling them to realise their true potential.

issues we may be able to help with

An immaturely functioning central nervous system resulting from the retention of primitive reflexes tends to affect individuals differently but can give rise to a wide range of issues, including:

Behavioural & Emotional difficulties

Anxiety >>
Panic attacks
Depressive feelings and behaviours
Hyperactivity
Mood swings
Poor impulse control
Anger and aggression issues
Withdrawn and/or timid behaviour
Low self-esteem
Separation issues
Dislike of change 
“Shyness”
Excessive daydreaming and fantasising
Controlling behaviour
OCD behaviours
ODD behaviours
Feelings of overwhelm
Immature and over-reactive behaviour 
Dependency issues

learning difficulties

Dyslexia
Dyspraxia
ADHD and ADD type symptoms
Issues with working memory
Processing issues
Issues getting ideas on paper and handwriting
Poor concentration/ distractibility
Poor organisational skills
Sequencing difficulties
Difficulties telling the time
Dyscalculia
Difficulty conceptualising
Discrepancy between oral and written performance
Slowness at copying tasks
Difficulties with tracking and readjustment of binocular vision

Physiological difficulties

Stressed immune system
Chronic digestive issues
Frequent infections
Bedwetting after the age of 5
Thumb sucking after the age of 5
Problems with balance and coordination
Poor muscle tone
Poor hand-eye coordination
Clumsiness
Tactile issues
Avoidance of games and sport
Hyper/hypo response to pain
Toe walking
Poor manual dexterity
Messy eating
Motion sickness
Inability to sit still (‘ants in pants ‘ child)
Poor swimming skills

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What are Primitive Reflexes?

A reflex is an instinctive, automatic physical reaction to a particular stimulus that occurs without conscious thought. For example, if we trip and fall, we instinctively put our arms and hands out to break our fall; if we touch something hot we instinctively withdraw from the source of contact. We have hundreds of these reflexes.

Babies are born with a set of so-called ‘primitive’ reflexes. These develop in the womb and are essential to the birthing process, help the newborn take its first breath and support its early survival. They instinctively enable us to perform certain tasks such as feeding, grasping and responding to danger. As human babies are born before their brains have fully developed, they rely on these automatic, instinctive reactions to survive. Primitive reflexes are also crucial to our early development, each teaching us a certain function such as rolling over, crawling, standing and walking.

The early survival reflexes are called ‘primitive’ reflexes because they emanate from the lower or ‘primitive’ regions of the central nervous system (i.e. the spinal cord and brain stem). Broadly speaking, the central nervous system develops in stages, “from the bottom up”, starting with the spinal cord and brainstem. The last part of the central nervous system to mature is the cortex , which is responsible for higher cognitive functions, such as thinking, conceptualising and learning.

All being well, the primitive reflexes should serve their purpose during the baby’s first year of life and should then ‘ inhibit’ or ‘switch off’, as the higher centres of the brain begin to mature and take over. They don’t completely disappear but form the foundation for adult postural reflexes which in turn enable the higher more sophisticated centres of the brain to develop.

Whilst all babies are tested for the presence of primitive reflexes shortly after birth, no follow-up testing is generally carried out to ensure that these reflexes have inhibited.

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