Please understand that Osteopathic treatment relates to the musculoskeletal aspect of the condition (eg. helps with muscle contraction, relaxation & movement co-ordination)
Movement is an essential part of learning. Right from the start of life the baby learns to move & learns by being able to move. In the school aged child movement allows the nervous system to process information better so learning is easier and is an essential part of remedial teaching.
In normal development the child passes from one stage to the next stage. Each developmental stage requires the proceeding stage to be fully matured so the nervous system integrates information properly & primitive reflexes are inhibited. This allows the nervous system to progress in development & enables learning to be more effective. If there is retained primitive reflex activity this will act as “noise” to nervous system processing of information & make learning more difficult. “Noise” is like static in an untuned radio.
Movement programs help the nervous system to process information better. These are based on specific qualitative movements. The nervous system then can process information better & adapt to the demands placed on it and can neuroplastically change. For example, as the child learns & is being taught the learning connections become more strongly “wired”
An example of practical application is an exercise to integrate & inhibit a retained symmetrical tonic neck reflex (STNR). This is often seen in child posture working at a desk. Inhibition of this reflex will allow the nervous system to integrate and progress in development making learning easier & more effective. The childs full potential will not be impacted (see photos). More information can be obtained by investigating the bibliography references .
These photos demonstrate an exercise designed to inhibit the STN reflex. The start and end phase is illustrated
Ayres AJ. Sensory Integration and the child. Western Psychological Services. 3rd Edition. 2005
Goddard-Blythe S. Attention, Balance and coordination. The ABC of learning success. Wiley Blackell. 2009
Doige N. The Brain that changes itself: stories of personal triumph from the frontiers of brain science. 2010. Scribe Publications
Haynes W, Kyte J, Johnston W. Specific modes of Physical Activity & Cognitive Development in Children – Journal of Integrative Medicine, Dec 2011, Vol 16 No3.
Physical activity education, obesity and academic achievement : A 2 year longitudinal investigation of Australian elementary school children. Telford R D (Phd), Cunningham R B (MS), Fitzgerald (Phd), Olive L S (BS), Prosser L (Phd), Jiang X (Phd), Telford R M (BS). American Journal of Public Health ((AJPH) , Sept 2011
Lifestyle of our Kids study – http://www.look.org.au/v2/ . Part of this research involves the examination of postural stability development, fine motor control and spatial awareness in the Lifestyle of our Kids (LOOK) study headed by professor Richard Telford. This study examines the developmental profile of 800 children beginning in year 2 in a longitudinal quasi experimental research format with a control & intervention group over 4 years. The intervention group received 4 years of specialized PE from Bluearth specialist coaches.