Body to Brain Learning Professional Development Series | Integrating Thinking

Why Educators and Allied Health Professionals Should Learn About Primitive Reflexes and the INPP Method of Reflex Integration

May 30, 2024

Education and therapy professionals continuously seek effective ways to support children and adults with learning and functional difficulties. One often overlooked yet profoundly impactful area is the integration of primitive reflexes.

Understanding and applying the INPP (Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology) method of reflex integration can bridge significant gaps in practice, leading to remarkable improvements in coordination, learning, attention, and overall functionality.

The hidden impact of primitive reflexes

Primitive reflexes are automatic movements that develop in utero and during infancy.  They are crucial for survival and early development. However, these reflexes should integrate into a mature nervous system (or be inhibited) in the first three years of life, making way for more advanced postural and neuromotor skills. When these reflexes persist beyond infancy, they can disrupt a child or adult's ability to learn and perform daily tasks.

Challenges faced by individuals with retained primitive reflexes:

  • Coordination and balance issues: difficulties in smooth, coordinated movements and maintaining balance.
  • Learning difficulties: struggles with reading, writing, and crossing the midline (the ability to use one side of the body in the space of the other).
  • Attention and self-regulation challenges: constant fidgeting, inability to sit still, and difficulty focusing attention.
  • Emotional and behavioural concerns: increased anxiety, irritability, sudden meltdowns, as well as difficulty expressing ideas clearly.

The role of the INPP Method

The INPP method of reflex integration addresses these underlying neurophysiological issues by targeting immature central nervous system elements. By helping clients mature these systems, practitioners can see transformative results:

  • reduced fidgeting and hyperactivity
  • improved focus and attention
  • enhanced reading and writing skills
  • better coordination and balance
  • increased ability to sit still and participate in classroom or therapy activities
  • improved sleep and reduced anxiety.

Bridging the knowledge gap

Many educators, occupational therapists, speech therapists, psychologists, social workers and others have not encountered the significance of primitive reflexes in their formal training. This gap can leave them puzzled when students or clients plateau or fail to reach their potential despite high intelligence and effort. The INPP method fills this crucial gap, providing a framework to understand and address these hidden barriers.

Common questions addressed by the INPP Method:

  • How do early life movements impact learning in school-aged children?
  • Why is integrating primitive reflexes important?
  • How can we identify and address neuromotor and sensory immaturity?

Supporting practitioners in learning about and implementing the INPP Method

As the INPP Australia Principal, I teach the INPP Practitioner Training course and support practitioners in Australia and New Zealand on completion of the course. This course is tailored for educators and allied health professionals.  I offer personalized attention and ongoing mentoring. The INPP Australia approach includes:

  • Personalized training: Small group settings ensure individualized support and practical application.
  • Ongoing mentorship: Continuous guidance as you integrate these methods into your practice.
  • Professional development opportunities: Further seminars in the INPP method and complementary programs like "Body to Brain Learning @ School" allow further skill development and application in different settings.

Addressing challenges and misconceptions

Professionals often struggle to see the connection between early reflexes and later learning challenges. The INPP method explains and demonstrates how the body supports learning and function. If the body's foundational systems are not aligned, cognitive efforts can be hampered. By using a bottom-up approach, we help the brain to function more smoothly and naturally.  The INPP method leverages principles of neuroplasticity to enhance learning and performance for those who experience challenges associated with neurodevelopmental immaturity.

Key insights for practitioners:

  • understanding that addressing foundational neurodevelopmental stages can resolve higher-level learning difficulties
  • realizing that less can often be more, avoiding overload and overstimulation
  • recognizing the importance of duration, repetition, and consistency in reflex integration practices.

Understanding primitive reflexes and the INPP method of reflex integration is invaluable for educators and allied health professionals working with children and adults facing learning and functional challenges. It provides a missing piece in the puzzle of developmental support, leading to significant improvements in students' and clients' lives. By integrating these insights into your practice, you can help unlock the full potential of those you serve.

For more information on our courses and how you can get involved, visit

 Let's work together to support and enhance learning and development through the power of reflex integration.

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