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Neuro-Developmental Delay

Neuro-Developmental Delay (NDD) is a term used to describe an immature and underdeveloped nervous and reflex system that have held up stages of early development. The immature reflexes interfere with subsequent motor development, visual functioning, hand eye coordination and perceptual skills of the child. We often talk about retained primitive reflexes leading to NDD.

Many children can be essentially intelligent but fail to learn in the way that the majority do. Initially most movement is a reflex response to an infants head position. As babies brain’s mature they develop more complex abilities and control moving from primitive to more adult postural reflexes. The postural reflexes support control of balance, posture and movement in a gravity based environment. Postural reflex development is mirrored in the infant’s increasing ability to control it’s body, posture and movements. We know that the very movements of our baby days, such as rolling, crawling, are essential for our later development. It is these movements that promote the development from the baby wiring to the more adult wiring. If these primitive reflexes are not fully integrated during infancy, control of voluntary, skilled and complex movements can be affected. This condition is called Neuro-Developmental Delay. 

Causes of retained primitive reflexes
Retention of primitive reflexes can be caused by a variety of factors. The birth process is a key factor in the integration of these reflexes. Therefore a traumatic birth experience or birth by caesarian section may lead to retained reflexes. 
Additional causes can include: falls, traumas, lack of tummy time, delayed or skipped creeping and crawling, chronic ear infections and head trauma etc.

Treatment – How we can help? 
Our trained therapist is here to help you and can provide a full remedial programme for both children and adults. 

Initial Assessment (1 hour)

This is a fact finding session where the child’s questionnaire is discussed to decide if assessment and treatment would be helpful. This is your opportunity to ask questions and discuss your child’s problems. The process would normally take 1 hour. 

Diagnostic Assessment of Neuro Developmental Delay

If a Neuro Developmental Assessment has been suggested at the initial consultation this process will take 2 hours. During this time extensive tests are carried out on:

Gross and fine muscle coordination
Motor development
Presence of reflexes
Occulor-motor functioning
Visual perception ability
Visual motor integration

At this assessment parents need to be present and at the end the results are correlated and a home program designed. The home program consists of a series of Reflex Stimulation and Inhibition Movements to perform each day at home. The movements have been designed by the Institute of Neuro-Phsiological Psychology in Chester (INPP). The brain develops through movement so these carefully chosen exercises are formulated to correct the reflexes. As a result the nervous system is stimulated and maturation in the physical development of the child is clearly seen. This in turn gives them the equipment needed to succeed in an educational setting. This programme should take approx 12 months to complete.


The home program is reviewed every 6 -8 weeks and then amended according to the child’s progress. The review takes about 45 minutes. On average, treatment will last for approximately one year.

Common presenting factors:

1. reading and writing problems
2. numeracy and organisational difficulties
3. Dyslexia
4. Dyspraxia (DCD)
5. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
6. Aspergers Syndrome
7. co-ordination problems and clumsiness (hand eye co-ordination
8. balance problems
9. Anxiety and panic attacks
10. poor concentration / distractibility
11. visual and auditory processing difficulties
12. daytime poor bladder control and / or bed-wetting
13. hypersensitivity: both physical and emotional
14. delayed speech and language disorders