By Sue Cook, Apr 17 2018 11:07AM
Every single quadruped animal in the world spends almost its entire life on all fours (not lying on their backs). Being on all fours or on the tummy from birth creates a brain that functions optimally.
It will ensure the following: well integrated hemispheres (achieved by the crawling); proper functioning 3rd, 4th and 6th cranial nerves that enable the eyes to function properly (yoked vision; pupillary control, correct tracking); balance that is properly developed (where the ears are working properly and linked to the eyes which will enable effective classroom skills and sporting skills); optimum functioning of smell, taste, sleeping mechanisms, skin sensitivity.
These are the things you need, to be functioning optimally. They are the things that are not working properly in, say, a dyslexic brain. So it follows that placing babies on their backs will reduce optimum development. So will car seats, baby gyms, baby walkers, bouncers and so on. Chuck out the equipment and keep the baby on the floor, on their front. My son refused to be on his front, he would scream until I turned him over. Certainly it would be easier to work with a baby that doesn’t have issues. But that’s what this is about; reducing the potential with knowledgeable intervention. When my son was born I knew he was different but I didn’t know how to help him. But I do now.
What is neurotypical development?
This is the process through which every neurotypical individual on the planet passes, and it is the same for everyone. An overview of the stages that constitute the neurotypical process from birth would include the following: finger movements head movements leg movements rolling over
sitting up lying on front and lifting bottom in the air then straightening arms and lowering bottom crawling backwards crawling forwards getting ready to stand and walk.... Deviations from this can indicate that stages have been missed and there may be a learning issue present. The brain is resilient and I have seen and heard of children who never crawled who have been perfectly fine, so don’t despair. What I am sharing, though, is answers and general support for all babies, and especially those with a potential issue.
Why is it important to make the effort?
Problems with the stages listed above may not be obvious while they are still babies. They will be visible later on, and show themselves later as learning difficulties. They would have been created here when this series of events was deviated from at some point. The earlier the deviation occurred, the more severe the problems will be and vice versa. My son was different from birth, and was diagnosed with severe dyslexia. From birth he would scream if I laid him down, he insisted on being held constantly. And he fed constantly too. And he never slept in the day. People don’t understand what it’s like not to have a neurotypical baby and that some really are more demanding. I knew my son was different but I didn’t know how to help. Some people think that our special children should not be helped. If your child is happy, then fine, but so many aren’t, and my son certainly wasn’t. And speaking from personal experience, sensory distortions are uncomfortable and even painful, so I am all for sorting them out. For example my hearing is ultra-sensitive and I do not tolerate loud sudden noises very well. It hurts. I am also light sensitive and bright lights can give me a headache. Other people have sensitive skin, or sense of smell. It can be any sense or several of the senses that might not be working properly, and then you have a situation you are going to need help with, such as autism or ADHD. I am also dyscalculate, so I can speak from personal experience about life on the spectrum. Cinema sound is too loud for me so I wear ear plugs and then I am not in pain and can tolerate watching a movie.
Why are sensory distortions painful?
Poorly calibrated senses send either a super strong message to the brain, insufficient message (this is when stimming occurs), or white noise signals which give inaccurate information. Pupils that do not contract enough will allow too much light into the eyes. This is painful as it can be like snowblindness. There are examples like this for each sense. I’m sure you can think of a few of your own.
When senses overload, that is when irritability and tantrum occur. When the senses are poorly calibrated that is when the feeling of overload happens, it’s not an individual’s fault that they experience this, it’s just that the senses are poorly calibrated.
My ears hurt the way they do because I can hear at four decibels. Most people do not perceive sound as I do. The threshold of hearing of most people is much higher than for me, so I perceive things louder and sharper. I could quite happily wear ear defenders all day and I could still hear what’s going on. When our children go to school, it is expected and assumed that their brain is ready and the same as everyone else’s, and any deviation from that is down to naughtiness or stupidity. Not so. Development varies from person to person and if there have been deviations from the typical process, as described above, then there could be problems visible at school age.
In the UK we start school on the September before our fifth !24
birthday. That means four year olds can be in school full time. Consider that the arrival of the top two front teeth is a typical signal that the brain is ready to read (it is no coincidence that in many countries of the world children start school at seven which is when the teeth usually erupt). Dr Ames in her out of print book ‘Is your child in the wrong grade’ explains this so well.
The arrival of the top two front teeth also coincides with reading in the brain moving into the more iconic right hemisphere that sees in pictures, this means that when we read, we can see the whole word such as say ‘elephant’ without having to sound it out. We just recognise the whole word. It’s the same with long words like ‘philosophy, photography, dinosaur, pterodactyl’. When you read those you didn’t say to yourself ‘eeelllllleeeeeefffffaannnntttt’ and sound it out. You just knew what it said because it is familiar; your brain sees the whole word. Before the top teeth come in that is harder to do because reading occurs in the left hemisphere until the teeth come in and then it moves to the right which sees in images. Of course there are exceptions; this is an observation. That is why children sometimes can read quite well, and they then struggle at around seven.
School may seem like a long way off when you are sitting holding your newborn. You want to give baby the best chance of being the best they can. And I can help you do that.
How does the brain learn through movement?
Remember those unfortunate Romanian orphans who were strapped to their cots? And at ten years old were like newborns? They were incontinent, could not walk, talk or do anything. The brain only knows what is going on because the body tells it. Our perception of our environment is only from what our eyes, ears, skin, nose, balance and so on tell us. So if the input information is not working properly, then guess what, the brain gets incorrect information and the output will therefore be not functioning very well. In other words, if the eye tracking is not working, then you can’t read or copy from the board or catch a ball. When a child is assessed for dyslexia or whatever, only their output is measured (their reading for example) and not their nerve input (whether their pupils are contracting to control the amount of light going in, or whether they can actually track properly). So no one ever gets to find out what is truly not working. Neurodevelopment such as I practice is one of the only ways in which you will have inputs measured. If the input is wrong the output will be. Lying your baby on its front and supporting optimum development will give your child the best chance of having optimum nerve inputs which means they can read, and ride a bike and be able to catch a ball and so on.
So when a baby is placed on their front and turns their head to the side, the different images going into the brain from each eye are training the brain that the eyes are independent. When a baby lies on its back staring at something in its baby gym, the eyes are seeing the same image and so the brain does not learn that there are two independent eyes. So this means that when it comes to gaining binocular vision (seeing in 3D; depth perception), this might not happen. Without 3D vision it is very hard to drive a car, catch a ball and so much more.
The bottom shuffler babies, the ones who don’t crawl, tell us by the simple fact that they didn’t crawl, that a stage has been missed earlier on that would have facilitated crawling (the movements babies do before crawling are all preparatory work for crawling). Crawling integrates the hemispheres and trains the 6th cranial nerve to work properly and this prepares the brain for reading. I do know individuals who were bottom shufflers and are extremely academic and successful.
It just goes to show that things can seem to be wrong, but are actually ok. One teenager I know who was a bottom shuffler dislikes sport and is not good at it, but is academic. The development that would have led to him crawling properly would have also enabled him to be sporty. It is important to know that even when things seem to be not going well, there might not be any academic or sport problems.