Is Your Child Struggling in School and You Don’t Know Why?

Is homework a frequent struggle?

Do learning challenges create school related anxiety that of course makes learning even more challenging?

Maybe you have tried extra tutoring and it has helped some, but … ?

Of course there are many reasons why a child struggles in school. We all have different learning styles. Perhaps your child’s is in conflict with the existing school situation. There may be issues outside of school or some medical condition.

Did you know that kids who demonstrate the most “high quality” and varied movement at 14 months had the best grades at 14 years? (Beverly Stokes- Amazing Babies Moving). In his popular book SPARK John Ratey, M.D. states: “Movement is critical to every other brain function, including memory, language, emotion and learning. Our ‘higher brain functions’ derived from movement and still depend on it”. Or as my teacher Anat Baniel always says: “Movement is the language of the brain.”  

What I do know is that if movement skills are more or less adequate, issues related to movement, balance and the incomplete integration of  “baby reflexes” are typically overlooked.

Children who struggle with balance and coordination often struggle with academics as well. Sometimes, not always, incomplete integration of infant reflexes plays a role.  Imagine a young student who is struggling at school quite notably with writing. She “refuses” to sit up at her desk and instead slumps extending her legs. To make matters worse she is perceived as “defiant” because she excels at horseback riding where she sits very erect with bent legs of course.

There is a reflex important to development in babies that should disappear by the time a child is in school. The reflex “dictates” that when the upper body begins to bend the lower half straightens and when the upper body is erect the lower half bends- perfect for riding a horse, but not so good if you need to look down at the paper on your desk and write. This young student shows clearly how incomplete reflex integration can contribute to struggles at school.

The good news is that integration is possible at any age with appropriate hands on work and exercises. Balance and other sensory and motor issues related to school success can be similarly addressed.

I offer an inexpensive screening for the issues described in this article and have the tools to address them. Is your child or one you know struggling? If you have questions as to why, I would love to speak with you. Please give me a call at 206-842-4608.

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