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Neuro-Developmental Delay

Imagine a group of children attending a tennis coaching course. Some have good quality tennis rackets, some have, in varying degrees, inferior rackets, and some have rackets with missing strings or perhaps a large hole in the middle. The solution to the problems of the latter group does not lie just in demanding greater concentration, nor in the number of extra lessons they are required to attend, but in their acquisition of good quality rackets. Without this, meaningful progress will not occur, or will at any rate be seriously impaired.

During the early years of life, the Central Nervous System (CNS) clearly undergoes considerable development. Of crucial importance are different sets of reflexes which should come in and which should also be inhibited at certain specific times. Every one of these reflexes has a specific reason for being present at the appropriate time. Developmental therapists have been concerned for some time with the remediation of some of these reflexes, and knowledge of the Primitive and Infant reflexes is already available. These reflexes should be inhibited (at the latest) by about 12 months and 24 months after birth respectively. There are also the Postural reflexes which should be in place by about two years of age.

The association of therapists who practise the Development Integration Technique (DIT) is, in addition to the above, concerned with the inhibition of foetal reflexes which are present in the foetus during most of pregnancy, and which should be inhibited by the time of birth.

The purpose of therapy is precisely to correct anomalies in this natural chain of development, and to give the client, with8in the scope of the treatment, equipment for success, the foundations upon which educationalists and other therapists as appropriate, can build. To parents who question why their child appears physically,k psychologically, emotionally or intellectually immature, the presence of still active reflexes will often provide the answer. Whilst the majority of DIT clients are children, treatment is equally applicable to adults, many of whom could benefit hugely from therapy.

Why do these neurological anomalies of development occur?
An article in the British Daily Mirror (June 16th 1997) stated that "the average baby has 500 more chemicals in his or her body than a child born 70 years ago - and all are man-made". In the same article Dr. Theo Colborn also warned that "recent studies suggested terrible problems with children linked to pollution, including visual, short-term memory difficulties and attention deficit disorder".

As far back as 1936, Senate Document No. 264 warned Americans that the soils used to grow fruits and vegetables were seriously deficient in needed minerals. Even then the ravages of pollution were robbing the soil of the minerals needed to sustain healthy life. The situation can be assumed to be much worse now.

Stress, shock or illness at the time of pregnancy can also cause developmental problems. Whilst the reasons for anomalies are interesting, greater emphasis should perhaps be placed on the remediation of the difficulties, whatever the cause may have been.

Certainly the difficulties caused by aberrant reflexes are no new phenomena, but they would appear, by all accounts, to have risen sharply in both incidence and severity in the last thirty years. A significant proportion of the younger generation is affected in varying degrees. Of those, one third of children will be unable to achieve their full potential, but will manage a reasonable degree of success. The next third will be experiencing a rather greater degree of difficulty, whilst the educational progress and life skills of the bottom third will be severely compromised.

What form does the treatment take?
Before undertaking therapy, the person concerned attends an Introductory Session. Tests are carried out in order to assess the suitability of the treatment and the likely chances of success. Tests are at all times simple to perform and are non-invasive.

Assuming the therapy is found to be appropriate, the next stage is a full Developmental Assessment, followed by the Report, where the findings of the Developmental Assessment are discussed. Therapy which then follows consists of easy exercises to be carried out at home.

DIT exercises are of two kinds, somato-sensory stimulation and simple movement exercises. These take no more than 15 minutes per day to perform; they are all non-invasive, and there is no use of any kind of drugs.

What conditions can be treated?
It is important to realise that the purpose of therapy is to correct anomalies in the development of the CNS in regard to aberrant reflexes. The range of symptoms which may occur as a result of such aberrance is huge. The most common presenting symptoms include Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, Dysphasia, Dyscalcula, language delay, emotional/behavioural problems, organisational problems, bed-wetting and sleep disorders.

For further information about DIT, send a stamped addressed envelope to:
Paul Burnett, Secretary (DIT), Natural Therapies, 9 North Road, West Wickham, Kent, BR4 0JS