Children with ASD and ADHD
I see a lot of children with ASD and ADHD and also others with learning and behavioural issues with no diagnosis. There are many things we can do to help these children thrive and be the best version of themselves. I see that part of my job is to help the family work out how to do this via nutrition, lifestyle and understanding the biochemistry behind some of these issues. However I also like to let parents know of other approaches that complement a healthy lifestyle and can really help their child thrive.
One issue that comes up time and time again is retained reflexes in these children. I’m not a chiropractor or osteopath and don’t specialise in this area but as an ex special needs teacher and just through observation and experience I can often pick it out.
In the womb and when you are a wee baby when the decision making process has not fully developed, your brain stem has several reflexes called ‘primitive’ or ‘neonatal’ reflexes. They help us to grow safely. As we get older these reflexes are no longer needed so they fade into the background and the higher brain takes control. This is a normal stage of development. However, in some people the primitive reflexes may remain dominant. This means that your nervous system will automatically react inappropriately and undesirably in certain situations.
Some examples of these:
- Low tolerance to stress
- Dislike of change or surprise
- Holds breath
- Overly clingy
- Can’t think and move at the same time if under stress
More reflex which is the earliest form of adrenal “fight or flight response”:
- Hypersensitivity to sudden noise, light or movement
- Difficult in new situations
- Anxious, especially when anticipating new situations
- Emotional and social immaturity
- Sensitivity to foods or food additives
- Allergy, asthma or chronic illness may be more prevalent due to adrenal fatigue
There are many more which may cause your child to be floppy, a toe walker, have poor organisational skills, poor posture, extreme fatigue etc.
If you are concerned your child may be affected by retained reflexes seek an assessment with an experienced chiropractor or OT.