Children and Neurodiversity
As a family Chiropractor, Naomi has more than a decade of experience caring for children and young adults. The number of children with symptoms of ADHD, autism spectrum disorder and Retained Reflex Syndrome coming to the practice has grown in recent years, and Naomi typically checks and adjusts 6-10 children a week with some form of formal diagnosis.
According to the Child Development Centre, Retained Reflex Syndrome (RRS) is "when a person retains some foetal or primitive reflexes, which have an adverse impact on our ability to learn and interact with the world around us." This is thought to be due to due to some form of stress during pregnancy, birth or early infancy and may be the root of many childhood disorders such as ADHD, dyspraxia and dyslexia.
Since all of these disorders have an element of Central Nervous System dysfunction, and the central nervous system is at the very core of Chiropractic practice, it seems natural that parents would seek our input to help support their child. While Chiropractic does not directly treat these conditions (some of these diagnosis are labels for a group of symptoms, which have in common neuro-developmental delay, but with no known underlying cause), our role in helping improve the function of the nervous system as a whole, often results in an improved quality of life for the children who see us. There are increasing numbers of case studies in publish research to support this.
As a Chiropractor, Naomi holds a post-graduate Masters Degree in Paediatric Musculoskeletal Health. This means that she has undertaken specialist training to understand the impact these first years have on childhood development and quality of life. She is also trained to check for retained reflexes at all ages from non-weightbearing infants, to children and adults.
Primitive reflexes are known as "primary survival reflexes". The reflexes Naomi will check for are:
- Retained Moro reflex
- Retained Gallants reflex
- Asymmetric tonic neck reflex (ATNR)
- Symmetric tonic neck reflex (STNR)
- Eye tracking and accommodation
- Retained suck reflex
- Retained rooting reflex
- Retained palmer grasp reflex
- Acoustic blink reflex
This is all checked alongside our Chiropractic assessment which includes a range of other neurological tests including co-ordination, posture and balance.
Every consultation begins with an individual assessment based on your child’s life history and age to make sure they are meeting their developmental milestones. We also look at a broad range of health-related factors such as diet, sleep patterns, mood, toilet training, balance, co-ordination, posture and musculoskeletal development to get a full picture of your child’s health before creating an individualised plan for your child alongside lifestyle advice and any home exercises to aid reflex integration which might be appropriate.
If you are interested in exploring how Chiropractic might support your neuro-diverse child, the simplest thing is to book a consultation for them. During that hour there is lots of time to have your questions answered, your child can be fully assessed and they can get a sense for our approach to supporting them. This is usually all families need to decide if Chiropractic is going to be right for them and their child.