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Friday, January 10, 2014

What's the Deal with Retained Reflexes?

At Easyread, we work with parents around the world who have tried various therapies to help their children succeed. One that is rising in prominences is Retained Reflexes Therapy - or Primary Reflex Training.  Perhaps you've heard of it in your work, or have experienced it directly.  If so, please do leave your thoughts in a comment!

If not, here is one parent's story.


“During the summer holidays this year, we decided to arrange for Sammy to meet up with a Speech Therapist in France and Caroline Hurst a Behavioral Optometrist working in St Neots, Cambridgeshire.

A speech therapist had already confirmed that Sammy had some measurable difficulties with reading and spelling but reassured us that we were on the right track trying to help him with the use of a private tutor and signing up for Easyread, however, it also showed we needed some additional specialist help. A few days later we met with Caroline Hurst as Easyread had already identified Sammy had some eye-tracking difficulties that we felt needed further investigation. Yet, we were not sure what to expect from our appointment… From the beginning it was clear this was a very different eye examination to anything we had attended before! It started with a Q&A session, followed by very comprehensive testing that lasted for over an hour, after which we were moved to another room where much to our surprise, Caroline asked Sammy to perform some exercises, that included hopping, skipping, commando-style crawling, balancing etc. She explained that probably as a consequence of Sammy walking early and by-passing much of the important crawling phase, he had inadvertently missed some essential developmental steps. She tested for five primary reflexes (Moro, Tonic Labyrinth Reflex (TLR), Spinal Galant (SG), Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR), and Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (STNR)) noting that the presence of TLR, STNR and Moro reflexes were still very apparent, which she strongly believed had greatly affected his learning of gross and fine motor skills, crucial to visual development.

We were assured that by completing a course of Ocular Vision Therapy (OVT), Sammy would almost certainly begin to perform better at school and resolve his reading difficulties. We were given literature and Sammy was shown exercises he needed to complete everyday. We were given a diary to keep track of his progress and we made an appointment to connect on Skype so Caroline could conduct a progress evaluation one month later. In addition, she also prescribed bi-focal glasses for Sammy to be worn for reading, writing, board work and whilst watching T.V. or working on his computer.

Elation, confusion, shock, scepticism and guilt were just some of the emotions we experienced during the two hour drive back to our home in Suffolk. Could walking early really be at the root of all Sammy’s problems?

Three days later Sammy received his new glasses which he found challenging to wear at first, but has now adapted to very well and seems to love his new ‘intellectual’ image!

It has been over three months and Sammy’s progress has been impressive; his confidence has grown, he no longer yawns constantly when asked to read.  His attention span, focus, comprehension and memory have dramatically improved, meaning he no longer follows the repetitive rhythm of learning, forgetting and repeating his lessons.  His marks have improved in recitation and dictation, as well as mental arithmetic.  Despite being good at math, he could never recite his times tables.  He would learn them and then forget almost immediately!  So, it is amazing to us that he has committed most of them to memory, and finally this week, to my delight he has read his first ‘proper’ book in English from cover to cover, albeit with a few pronunciation errors!"


David Morgan is CEO of Morgan Learning Solutions, publishers of the Easyread System. Easyread is an online course for children who are struggling with reading and spelling due to dyslexia, auditory processing disorder, undiagnosed difficulties, visual issues, poor working memory, and more. 
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