The Role of Movement

Children are constantly moving. The role of movement in the development of the brain is of critical importance. Movement affects not only their co-ordination and physical ability but also on their learning ability and self esteem. Movement enriches all areas of a child’s life.

Early childhood development is an automatic sequence of events which are predictable and sequential and result in the capacity to learn. We learn through our sense of touch, sight, hearing, taste and smell and also through our internal sense of movement, balance, body position and muscle control. Genetics and environment also affect our development.

Motor development occurs as the children gain control over their bodies. They need to develop three basic levels:

  • Reflex motor – automatic movement such as breathing, sucking, rolling and creeping.
  • Gross motor – large muscle movements such as jumping and kicking a ball.
  • Fine motor – small muscle movements such as writing, using a knife and fork, tying shoelaces.

These levels build on each other. If one level is not properly developed there will be problems in the levels above it. Proper reflex development is basic and vitally important for complete motor development.

It should be remembered that each child is different and develops at a different rate.

However children for various reasons are not being allowed to move as much.When babies sleep on their backs they have more difficulty gaining control of their heads and they often dislike being on their fronts so do not crawl which develops the ability to cross the midline of their body and develop hand dominance.

A new born infants brain develops from the bottom up, so that the automatic, unconscious regions of the brain are the first to function. It is this area of the brain that houses the infant reflexes. These Reflexes support the baby in utero, aid the birth process and protect the baby in early life, usually they are no longer active by the end of the child’s first year. The reflexes become integrated as a result of movement.

The treatment takes the form of a Motor Movement Programme. This is our main treatment tool. Developed from knowledge and training about normal and developmental movement patterns, this programme seeks to emerge and properly integrate a child’s reflexes. The Motor Programme uses movements drawn from several therapies to successfully integrate the reflexes, most notably Rhythmic Movement Therapy, as well as Developmental Movement Therapy, Brain Gym, and specific massage .