Neurodevelopment and Adults
May 30, 2019
Usually I work with children, but a significant part of my neurodevelopment practice has always been adults. We are remarkably adaptable creatures, Darwin always talked about survival of the most adaptable rather than survival of the fittest and when faced with challenges, it’s always impressive how people are able to adapt and work around the challenges that they face. However, neurodevelopment and reflex integration can have a profound impact on improving the quality of life for my adult clients.
I find that adult clients fall into two categories – which tend to overlap. Firstly, those who received a diagnosis later in life, usually of Aspergers (rather than Autistic Spectrum Condition), ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, MS or Parkinson’s or feel that they have processing issues that present as the preceding conditions but which haven’t had an official diagnosis, and I’d include anxiety, anger management problems and OCD in this category. Secondly adults who have come because they want to improve their sports performance, have chronic pain or recurrent injuries or postural issues. However, there is a big crossover within these two groups as someone who comes with help for focus and attention may not realise that neurodevelopment will also improve their golf swing.
I discovered that I had dyslexia and dyscalculia (inability to process numbers) when I was in my 40’s, when my daughter was also diagnosed with dyslexia. It was a complete revelation to me, I had spent my entire school career thinking that I was stupid because I struggled at aschool to get the information in my head on to paper, I struggle to organise myself, I’m very messy and I struggle to get anywhere on time. I never knew that those were symptoms of dyslexia, I can read and I can spell and I always thought that dyslexia was about not being able to spell, not that it was also about not being able to catch a ball and do your filing properly.
I discovered that my story was a fairly common one, I recently was talking with a friend who had been diagnosed with dyspraxia in his 40’s as well. The problems that gave him led to depression and anxiety, he was aware that he was bright and could think way ahead of his peers yet he didn’t achieve as well as he should have done academically, including a much lower degree than he or his tutors expected. Dyspraxia primarily affects the cerebellum, so causes problems with balance, posture, fatigue, integration of both sides of the body, poor hand/eye coordination, lack of rhythm, clumsy gait, accessory movements when running and generally poor proprioception – which is why it’s seen as “clumsy syndrome’. As well as causing academic issues the problems that this causes with playing sport made life really difficult for an essentially sporty boy. Both my friend and I spent much time confused about why we felt like we were bright but academically not where we should have been. Gaining a diagnosis at least makes sense of this, but it doesn’t help solve the problem. A neurodevelopment program can address these issues. As well as being able to help with focus in the work place, integrating the primitive reflexes that prevent good brain connections will also help with posture, hand/eye coordination and those other symptoms already discussed. As he is a keen golfer, tennis player and walker, this could improve both his work life and his recreation life. Interestingly he also has problems with his feet. Unintegrated foot reflexes can cause flat feet and also affect gait. So even though he is now the other side of 50, a good neurodevelopment movement program that’s done rigorously should improve or correct all of theses problems.
I had another client, in his mid 50’s who was a keen semi-professional tennis player but who kept sustaining calf injuries and had also worn orthotics for 30 years. He probably could have been given a diagnosis of ADHD, yet he had held down an extremely responsible corporate job for 30 years. He was told that the injuries were simply because he was older, it was easy to see that he had a retained Spinal Galant reflex, a retained Tendon Guard reflex and retained/undeveloped foot reflexes. The repeated damage to his calf was due to the tightness down the back of his legs caused by those retained reflexes, including those in his feet. Doing a Rhythmic Movement Training program regularly, with a daily foot massage has made an incredible difference to him. His posture has changed noticeably, with much less tension across his back. His focus and concentration has improved, his tennis game has improved but he has no longer an injury in his calf and can stop taping it up before each match and he has stopped using his orthotics. This isn’t a quick fix, this took over 6 months but only takes around 10-15 minutes a day.
Ii have had many adult clients with similar issues and all of them feel relief at finding something simple that they can do themselves and that doesn’t involved taking medication. This is especially true for my clients with anxiety, depression or compulsive behaviours. A movement program can also be used alongside any medication, which is why it’s great for conditions such as MS and Parkinson’s, or people already on anti-depressants. And because its a movement program done at home, people feel like they have some control over whir own health – something I’m all for!
For myself, weirdly I’ve found that I can walk downstairs without holding on to something, I’m less terrified of things than I used to be (particularly public speaking), I am better able to organise myself and my time keeping is improving – but I still have my off days!
If any of this sounds like you or someone you know, please don’t hesitate to contact me, to other come for a consultation or learn RMTi for yourself – you never who you might end up helping!
Please see my website for upcoming talks or training courses www.organisedmind.co.uk