NDD Research

There are many theories as to the cause of learning difficulties. Research is currently quite prolific. The decade of the 1990’s has been referred to as the decade of the brain.

There are many who have found structural and functional deviations in specific areas of the brain. Many have found discrepancies in the frontal lobe and basal ganglia in the case of ADD/ADHD. Many have also determined a low level of Dopamine (nerve chemical transmitter). Paula Tallal has found that each phoneme area within the language decoding centre is smaller in dyslexic’s. Post mortem examinations have found the cerebellum to be smaller in some people diagnosed with dyslexia. Some suggest that the cause is over migration of brain cells during foetal development due to increased testosterone levels. It is known that brain cells do not develop where they finally reside, that they do in fact migrate. It is also known that testosterone does change the configuration of the brain. Therefore this theory is very plausible. Galaburda {1978} wrote of asymmetries between the left and right brain noted in some dyslexics.

Many of the findings above may not be a direct cause in themselves, they could easily be as result of abnormal development happening at a low level, i.e. within the brain stem, resulting in underdevelopment of higher structures. In the same way that if the foundations are weak so will the building, or if the roots are underdeveloped so will the plant.

Doman and Delacato {1959} discovered the link between absence or shortened creeping (crawling on hands and knees) and later learning difficulties.

Jean Ayres {1979} described the link between integration difficulties and learning, she also developed exercises to promote integration.

The presence of Primitive and Postural Reflexes has been known for many years and the effect of an abnormal profile of reflex development is well known in brain injured children. It is also recognised that many of the detrimental effects of cerebral palsy are as a result of retention of Primitive Reflexes with underdevelopment of Postural ReflexesINPP, the institute where I received my training into the importance of the reflexes and the administration of the exercise programme, was established in 1975. INPP recognised the relevance of an abnormal reflex profile in children with learning difficulty, and adults with certain Neuroses, in individuals who had no obvious sign of brain injury. Initially the condition was known as minimal brain dysfunction, it was later changed to neuro-developmental delay. Much research has been done since that date.

Blythe P. (Co-founder and current Director of INPP) {1979} Demonstrated a physical basis for neurosis and learning difficulties.

Faulkener (INPP trained) discovered a link between high intelligence and a retained STNR, with reading and writing difficulties despite the high intelligence. She determined that the high intelligence gave the child the means of problem solving without reliance upon the normal instinctive reflexes and that failure to rely upon these reflexes had caused persistence of the reflex, together with persistence of the actions of that reflex.

Cermak and Henderson {1985} found that 60-95% of children with learning difficulty also have co-ordination problems; eye head co-ordination difficulty, low muscle tone, poor spatial orientation, poor equilibrium righting reflexes, and poor balance.

Capute A. {1986} Studied the effects of the early motor reflexes in infancy.

Levinson {1989} has determined a link between abnormal vestibular function and dyslexia and that the dyslexic symptoms are relieved when given anti-motion sickness medication.

NASA discovered a link between prolonged weightlessness and dyslexic type symptoms.

Bakker D. {1990} discovered the development of reading as a progression from right brained visuo-spatial, whole word skill, pre aged 7, to a subsequent verbal, phonetic left brained skill.

Wilkinson (INPP trained) {1994} replicated the study done by Bender 1976 and found that it was possible to determine reading difficulty by detecting the persistence of an STNR and to correct that difficulty by an exercise programme that inhibited the reflex.

Goddard Blythe S. (INPP Director) {1998} has demonstrated that the “Children Screening Questionnaire” indicates a 98% probability of retention of Primitive Reflexes when a score of 7 or more is obtained on specific questions. This probability rising to 99% with a score of 9 or more.

McPhillips (INPP trained) {2000} determined a link between retention of specific Primary (Primitive) Reflexes and learning difficulties. He has also measured the beneficial effects of exercises, based upon infantile movements, upon those Primary Reflexes and subsequent patterns of learning.

Goddard Blythe S. (INPP Director) {2000} demonstrated a higher incidence of retained Primitive Reflexes amongst a population of dyslexics than could be expected within the normal population.

There are many other significant pieces of work that could be listed in this section.