Early Years Web Summit

Early Years Web Summit

You can now sign up for the Free online Early Years Summit, focused on children’s physical development. Hear from specialists and experts around the world about the truly holistic nature of children’s physical development.

Sign up for free at: www.earlyyearssummit.com

Published: 18th August 2017
Category: Sally Goddard Blythe

Hawthorn Press – A Modern Fairy Tale by Sally Goddard Blythe

Published: 1st August 2017
Category: Sally Goddard Blythe

Published Today: Raising Happy Healthy Children. Why Mothering Matters

Published today, Raising Happy Health Children.  Why Mothering Matters.

Raising Happy Healthy Children is a fully-updated second edition of What Children and Babies Really Need. With new information carefully added, this book examines the crucial early years from a child’s perspective. It draws on the latest scientific research to show how the first few years determine the way children develop, body and mind, for the rest of their lives.

The keys to this development are parents, and in particular mothers. A society which really cares for its children, says Sally Goddard Blythe, values parents and makes it possible for them to spend time and be actively involved with their children for at least the first two years of life. Raising Happy Healthy Children presents convincing research to show how a baby’s relationship with its mother has a lasting, deep impact. Recent social changes, such as delayed motherhood, juggling of work/life balance, limited uptake of breastfeeding, and use of parent-substitute baby
equipment and electronic devices, are interfering with key developmental milestones that are essential for wellbeing in later life. Sally Goddard Blythe says: ‘We need a society that gives children their parents, and most of all values motherhood in the early years.’

  • Latest research about pre-conceptual, baby and child development.
  • Explains how social changes have unleashed a crisis in the experience of childhood.
  • Explores the crucial early years and child development from the child’s perspective.
  • Shows how parents can give their child the best start in life.
  • Values motherhood.

Foreword; Foreword to previous edition What Babies and Children Really Need; 1 Introduction; 2
Conception and society – the politics of fertility; 3 Does early development matter?; 4 Events
surrounding birth; 5 Events following birth – risk factors; 6 Breastfeeding; 7 Movement instinct; 8
Language instinct; 9 Building on the first year – the neuroscience of developing emotions; 10 Factors
parents can control; 11 From Toddlers to Teens: why parenting matters; 12 What needs to be done;
Resources; Bibliography; Index
Sally Goddard Blythe is the Director of the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology in Chester
which researches the effects of neurological dysfunction in specific learning difficulties and has
devised screening and assessment tools, and remedial programmes. Her other books include The Well
Balanced Child, The Genius of Natural Childhood, and Attention, Balance and Coordination – The
A,B,C of Learning Success.

Published: 1st August 2017
Category: Sally Goddard Blythe

New Research. Why physical foundations for learning matter

Why Physical Foundations for Learning Matter
Sally Goddard Blythe MSc.


Educational policy by successive governments has increasingly been driven by aiming at outcomes rather than seeking to understand the processes of how children learn.

New research confirms that there are wide differences in children’s physical readiness for learning and suggests that more detailed attention should be given to the physical foundations for learning in the pre-school and school years.

Healthy babies, born at full term are equipped with a set of primitive reflexes, which support survival in the first months of life. Examples of primitive reflexes include the rooting and sucking reflexes, which facilitate feeding; the palmar grasp reflex and other reflexes which respond directly to stimulation of the balance mechanism.

As connections to higher centres in the brain develop during the first six months of post-natal life, these early primitive reflexes are inhibited and/or transformed into postural reactions, which provide the foundations for subconscious control of posture (needed to sit still), balance (needed to provide a stable base for eye movements involved in reading, writing and copying) and coordination (the medium of expression in the classroom). In neurological terms, the process of early reflex integration consists of transition from brain stem reflex response to cortically controlled response.

If primitive reflexes are retained beyond the first year of life or postural reactions do not develop fully, they provide markers of immaturity in the functioning of the central nervous system, can interfere with natural development and contribute to later difficulties with psychomotor development affecting social skills and educational performance.Numerous earlier studies have pointed to a relationship between residual primitive reflexes and educational under-achievement .

In 1996, based on a method originally devised at The Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology (INPP), a screening test and school intervention programme was developed to enable teachers to identify signs of immaturity in psychomotor development, which might undermine school performance . Following extensive evaluation, the screening test and school intervention programme was published in 2012 followed by a screening test for clinicians and health practitioners in 2014.

New Research

New research carried out in Poland in 2016 and 2017 suggests that these screening tools should be more widely used by professionals involved in child development and education to help identify children who show signs of neuromotor immaturity (NMI) and who would benefit from physical intervention programmes to minimize the influence of developmental disorders on educational achievement.

The first study involving 135 children (64 boys and 71 girls) in two age groups: 4-6 years (pre-school group) and 7 – 9 years (school age group), revealed that despite the theory that primitive reflexes are naturally inhibited in the first six months of life, they can and do persist in the general population. The authors commented that, “the study shows that spontaneous integration of reflexes is fuller in school age children than in pre-school children” and that “the introduction of screening and treatment of reflex integration at the stage of preschool and early childhood may be a part of the prevention of developmental disorders”. They also commented that wider population studies are recommended to define more accurate age standard for integration.

A second study by the same team involving 35 pre-school children assessed using both the INPP Screening Test(10) and the Motor Proficiency Test showed that the greater the severity of the reflex(es), the lower the motor proficiency. The authors concluded that, “it seems reasonable to introduce reflex integration therapy in children with low psychomotor skills. Primitive reflexes routinely tested, can contribute to improved early psychomotor development in children with needs, thus preventing many difficulties which children can encounter within their social and school life”.

Further Reading

Abstracts of this new research in English may be found by following the links to references 12 and 13 in the  article or:



For further information about the screening test, intervention programme and training courses: https://www.inpp.org.uk

  1. Gustafsson D, 1971. A comparison of basic reflexes with the subtests of the Purdue-Perceptual-Motor Survey. Unpublished Master’s Thesis, University of Kansas.
  2. Bender ML. 1976.Bender-Purdue Reflex Test and Training Manual. San Rafael, CA. Academic Publications.
  3. Rider B, 1976. Relationship of postural reflexes to learning disabilities. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 26/5:239-243.
  4. McPhillips M & Sheehy N, 2004. Prevalence of persistent primary reflexes and motor problems in children with reading difficulties. Dyslexia 10/4:316-338 5.
  5. Goddard Blythe SA, 2001. Neurological dysfunction as a significant factor in children diagnosed with dyslexia. Proceedings of The 5th International British Dyslexia Association Conference. University of York. April 2001.
  6. Taylor M et al. 2004. Primitive reflexes and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder: developmental origins of classroom dysfunction. International Journal of Special Education.19/1:23-37.
  7. Goddard Blythe SA, 1996. The INPP Test Battery and Developmental Exercise Programme for use in Schools with Children with Special Needs. Chester. INPP Ltd. Restricted Publication
  8. North Eastern Education and Library Board (NEELB) 2004. An evaluation of the pilot INPP movement programme in primary schools in the North Eastern Education and Library Board (NEELB), Northern Ireland. Final Report. Prepared by Brainbox Research Ltd for the NEELB. www.neeelb.org.uk.
  9. Releasing educational potential through movement. A summary of individual studies carried out using the INPP Test Battery and Developmental Exercise Programme for use in Schools with Children with Special Needs. Child Care in Practice.11/4:415-432.
  10. Assessing neuromotor readiness for learning. The INPP screening test and school intervention programme. Chichester. Wiley-Blackwell
  11. Goddard Blythe SA, 2014. Neuromotor immaturity in children and adults. The INPP screening test for clinicians and health practitioners. Chichester. Wiley-Blackwell.
  12. Gieysztor E, Sadowska L, Choińska AM, 2017. The degree of primitive reflexes integration as a diagnostic tool to assess the neurological maturity of healthy pre-school and early school age children. Journal of Public Nursing and Public Health. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/
  13. Gieysztor E, Choińska AM, Paprocka-Borowicz M, 2016. Persistence of primitive reflexes and associated motor problems in healthy pre-school children. Archives of Medical Science. https://doi.org/10.5114/acms.2016.60503
Published: 20th June 2017
Category: Sally Goddard Blythe

New research investigates the incidence of neuromotor maturity in school aged children

The degree of primitive reflexes integration as a diagnostic tool to assess the neurological maturity of healthy preschool and early school age children

To read this article please follow this link, the English Translation of the abstract is below the main article.


Published: 13th June 2017
Category: Sally Goddard Blythe

◄ Older Blogs | Newer Blogs ►