The boy who couldn't sit down - why overriding reflexes matter
There once was a boy who couldn't sit down. Well, he could sit down, but he wouldn't stay there. At nursery he wouldn't sit on the carpet during story time. He would wriggle and squirm. Staff reported he always had 'ants in his pants'. His mum and early years practitioners scratched their heads, why was this so difficult for him?
At school at carpet time he would suddenly stand up in the middle of story time, and not know why he did it. At home he either wouldn't sit at all and, as he got older, preferred to stand to do his homework. On a school trip he spent the entire journey wandering about the coach much to the annoyance of the teachers who begged him to "sit down!"
All the adults, (myself included) believing that he must be able to control his impulses, told him “Sit still!” and “Concentrate!”, which only made him feel anxious and bad about himself.
All through the years there were other interesting behaviours; waistbands and labels in garments make him flinch, tucking his shirt in irritated him beyond belief, so much so, that he would rather get a detention than tuck fabric into his waistband.
This little boy had not overridden one of the reflexes he was born with. His had not overidden his spinal galant reflex. This can can be seen when anything makes contact with the lower back region of the spine.
Every time a child's back is against a chair, the floor, a piece of clothing, the reflex is activated so the child wiggles. Or in the case of the 'boy who couldn't sit down' - he stood up.
Perhaps you know a little boy like this. I know this one really well, because he's mine. He's the boy who could't sit down.
The Spinal Galant Reflex is vital to help the baby wriggle down the birth canal. But once my boy had emerged, he had no further use for it. The fact that it failed to be 'inhibited' (got rid of) means he needed more exploratory floor play (dance even!). Rolling, making snow angels, wriggling on his bottom, flying like superman. Anything that helped him feel his hips will help him to work through his reflex.
Why he didn't override it is an interesting question to me... I'll let you know how I get on unpicking that one!