Which first: Primitive reflex integration or the Safe and Sound Protocol?

I am often approached by parents seeking out primitive reflex integration as a result of seeing the film “Attention, Please!”

Some people will go on to have a good look at my website, and might see my hierarchy of neurodevelopment, which is the way Move2Connect works:

In simple terms, the Safe and Sound Protocol addresses the Autonomic Nervous System.

Preferably before, and most definitely after SSP, I recommend a couple of sessions with a cranial osteopath, OR some very gentle work with me in person on a weekly basis (with no home programme).

The Central Nervous System layer and upwards in this hierarchy is what most people know as “primitive reflex integration”. I urge anyone looking into this to research the Safe and Sound Protocol (Autonomic Nervous System) first, particularly if you are dealing with anxiety or behavioural outbursts – and especially if you have a child with trauma. In many cases, SSP will offer a huge kick-start to any other interventions.

Because primitive reflexes are getting to be quite well known as a result of “Attention, Please” and Chris Evans’ revelations, people fixate on reflex integration as a magic bullet. The reality, however, is that our nervous systems and the way our brains are wired are intertwined, and we cannot do one without the other!

Please also bear in mind that primitive reflexes are what we see on the surface – they are a SYMPTOM of brain dysfunction. We need to work with the whole brain, by addressing autonomic dyfunction first and then the central nervous system, sometimes revisiting the autonomic nervous system if need be.

One frequently asked question is “how long does it take?”. When you start to work with neuroplasticity, you are embarking on a long-term process. If you start with primitive reflex integration, you may see rapid progress initially, which then starts to tail off and plateau if we have not addressed an early enough stage of neurodevelopment.

Retained REflexes

When we look at movement, we want the movements I teach you to be rhythmic, coordinated, symmetrical and exact. If they do not meet these criteria, we can assume that there are unintegrated reflexes at play, and, more broadly, that the central nervous system is under-developed. Quite simply, the more consistent you are, the more consistent the progress will be.

My greatest advice to parents looking into primitive reflexes/SSP is to work on yourself FIRST. I know you will probably ignore this advice – I would have done so too, had I read this 8 or so years ago. However, I expect I would have wasted far less money on interventions for my child had I been through the process myself FIRST. I’m particularly looking at you if you have taken your child to every assessment under the sun in order to get them to fit in. The reason why I say this is because you are the centre of your child’s world – you are their safe person. You need to provide your child with their boundaries and safety. If you do not have strong boundaries yourself, how can you do this? Additionally, it is extremely valuable for a parent to understand for yourself how it feels to undergo a programme – also how it feels to work WITH rather than ON a child.

Whatever you decide to do, please be prepared for this to be a long-term process that does not “fix”, but helps a person to be the person they were born to be.

For further information, please contact me.

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