Primary movement is a unique movement programme addressing balance and motor problems. It replicates the primary reflex movements of foetus and newborn and has been shown to have significant impact on educational attainments of children with specific learning difficulties. Research at Queen's University, Belfast, supporting the efficacy of the programme has been published in the Lancet, Psychologist and Dyslexia Review. This work has been brought into the public domain by Primary Movement, which is a charitable trust. www.primarymovement.org.uk.
Primary reflexes present in foetus and newborn should be inhibited in early life. Persistence disrupts emergence of secondary reflexes.
Automaticity of movement can be lost. There may be eye-tracking problems. In an educational setting the child may be so involved with the mechanical aspects of the task that cognition is hindered. They may lack fluency, comprehension, sequencing skills with poor reading and writing. Despite adequate levels of intelligence, achievement is below that expected for them.
All Primary Movement teachers are trained and certificated by Primary Movement. I have used this program with children experiencing a variety of difficulties. It may have been poor balance and co-ordination, poor concentration, poor reading, writing and comprehension skills, alongside lack of confidence and underachievement. It can be associated with specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and ADHD. Children with aspergers syndrome and autism have also benefited.
A primary movement course involves the slow repetition of a particular movement daily, for a period of 6 to 8 weeks, working through movements sequentially, corresponding to foetal movements.
It could be viewed as a second opportunity to go through that developmental phase with the associated inhibition of primary reflexes leading to emergence of postural set, in turn leading on to improved and more fluent reading, comprehension and writing, improved co-ordination and balance, greater confidence and enhanced achievement.
Where I have used this with children attending Chuter Ede Primary School, Balderton, Newark there have been improvements in academic progress in a variety of areas. Parents report on changes in their child such as better swimming, able to ride a bicycle or no bruising on the legs because they no longer are so clumsy. They report improved attitude to school, reduction of tantrums, improved concentration, ability to track words along a line, better handwriting and pasture. They want to read and write and are more successful with spelling. They are much more confident and willing to tackle new things.
A practitioner working solely with pre-school autistic children has found them starting to communicate in speech where this had been absent, having eye contact and parents were purposely introducing change to routines and the children were found to be much more able to cope.
For some children where there is enuresis without medical reason, the life of the whole family has been transformed by the cessation of this problem. A mother no longer has the associated laundry and the child is free to go to sleep overs without anxiety.
Primary Movement has designed a Nursery course to bring in developmental movements to help prepare the children for school and enable them to take advantage of the education offered. The whole class has taken part including the children with known difficulties. Improvements in attitude to learning have been noted and most importantly the ability of the children to maintain concentration. The movements are designed to be enjoyable and are incorporated in action songs. The children are happy to partake in the session each day and are gaining in the opportunity to move with rhythm.
Where the school does not provide this, the programme can be done by the individual at home, with parental supervision. It involves attending for an initial assessment and a review every 6-8 weeks through the programme, followed by a final assessment. The assessment covers attainment and development. Support and advice is provided throughout the program.