Struggling in Math? Could this be why?
Hey there! Today I’m excited to share on a topic I am very passionate about - Primitive Reflexes! What’s that, you ask? If you’re not familiar with the term, head over to THIS post to learn the basics!
So, reflexes and math. How do they go together? Actually there are quite a few connections between a retained reflex (meaning it stuck around too long and needs to be integrated) and math struggles. Retained reflexes halt the brain development process and are the root cause of many students’ learning struggles. By integrating these reflexes you can finish developing those higher centers of the brain and make progress in school!
There are a few specific symptoms regarding math issues that are red flags and point to a retained reflex. Do your children have a few of these symptoms? If so, it may be time to try reflex integration.
Seems to not have good math sense in general - doesn’t understand basic concepts like place value
Poor sequencing, like trouble counting in order
Poor sense of time or struggles to learn to tell time
Difficulty staying on task or paying attention
Seems to forget concepts previously learned or not retain new information
Trouble copying problems correctly
Switches numbers around or writes them backwards
Generally avoids math like the plague
Let’s delve deeper into these symptoms!
Poor Math Sense
This symptom is indicative of a lack of general math understanding. If your child struggles to understand math concepts like place value, decimals, integers, they may have a retained reflex
Poor Sequencing Skills
Sequencing is responsible for putting stories in order, learning to count or say the alphabet, and even steps like the order of operations or following multi-step word problems. If sequencing is weak, doing multi-digit problems may be a no go. Often we will see in sequencing issues that students will skip numbers when counting, struggle learning skip counting, have trouble learning to count to 100 without losing their place.
Trouble Learning to Tell Time
Telling time is a crucial life skill. If your child struggles to understand general time or can’t read a clock, this is a red flag that they may have a retained reflex. Sometimes kids will learn to cope with this weakness, so older kids can slide by without being able to read a clock that’s not digital. They may also struggle as they get older with knowing when to leave in order to be on time, how long it will take them to get ready, and other essential tasks.
Difficulty Staying on Task
Attention is not necessarily a math-only issue, but it can certainly rear it’s ugly head when it’s time for math lessons! Children who struggle with attention skills will often space out, lose track of their step, get up often instead of focusing, or be super fidgety. Movement is always a good idea for these kids. Sitting on a yoga ball or doing math facts on the trampoline can help! But, fixing the underlying issue is even better, and odds are they may have a retained reflex!
Poor Retentions Skills
Okay, you know what I’m talking about here. Little Sally just learned her 3’s. Later in the week you pull out the SAME type of problems and she looks at you like you have 3 heads. Yikes! This is a very frustrating challenge for both the student and parent. Brains that have retained reflexes will often struggle to remember and retain because they aren’t able to use their whole brain efficiently.
Copying Problems Incorrectly
Students who struggle to copy their questions down correctly, or do so very slowly, are very likely to have a retained reflex. This has to do with brain development with tracking side to side and up and down. Reflexes train the brain and eyes to work together and effectively. Tasks like copying down problems from a board or from the book can be excruciating if this reflex is retained.
Switches numbers or Writes them Backwards
Another similar issue is writing numbers out of order or writing numbers backwards. Of course, it’s important to remember that young children will do this and its developmentally appropriate. After the age of 8 though, this issue should be resolved. If not, a reflex may be the culprit.
Avoids Math Like it’s the Plague
This is not an actual symptom, ha! But, it certainly sums up what may be happening at home if your child has a retained reflex. And here’s why: their brains are working overtime and inefficiently trying to keep up with their school work. Math can be a particularly painful subject if the brain isn’t able to work the way it’s designed to.
So, are you ready to integrate some reflexes? We would love to help! Our membership program, Path to Success, opens again March 15th. There you’ll find resources like my full course on Reflex Integration, midline integration, working memory exercises, and So. Much. More. Snag the pre-launch price and learn more about the program below!