Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a diagnosed disorder characterized by impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity.
Research tells us that physical exercise enhances brain activity and modulates neurotransmitter systems, which improves memory, focus, learning, and mood. Science reports consistent exercise that is cognitively, socially, and aerobically challenging offers the most benefit, enhancing cognitive development and reducing the symptoms of ADHD.
What are primitive reflexes?
Primitive reflexes are automatic motor movement patterns controlled by the brain that help in children’s development, growth, and survival. Primitive reflexes emerge in utero and should be integrated by 6-12 months after birth. Each primitive reflex has it’s own benefit and is the foundation for development in children. Thus, when reflexes are retained they will affect all aspects of development.
How Primitive Reflexes and ADHD are Linked
Recent research has linked Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to the retention of primitive reflexes (Konicarova & Raboch, 2021). Konicarova & Raboch, found that ADHD in children has neurological pathways that are linked to primitive reflexes, specifically, ATNR in girls and STNR in boys. Brain imaging research shows balance deficits are associated with prefrontal cortex dysfunctions. These dysfunctions influence attention and executive functions, which are core symptoms of ADHD.
What does this mean for children with ADHD?
ADHD is a complex disorder that requires a comprehensive assessment and brain-based treatment plan. Treatment plans should be based on the data collected at the evaluation including primitive reflex retention. Treatment should include movement and specific primitive reflex programs that target the retained reflexes.
At Mindful Child, we assess reflexes and develop a plan based on the data from the assessment. Our occupational therapy sessions are individualized. The Mindful Child team collaborates with parents for carry over into the child’s home. Learn more about our occupational therapy services by going to our Occupational Therapy page.
Bob P, Konicarova J, Raboch J. Disinhibition of Primitive Reflexes in Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder: Insight Into Specific Mechanisms in Girls and Boys. Front Psychiatry. 2021 Nov 8;12:430685. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.430685. PMID: 34819879; PMCID: PMC8606578.