INPP Research

Scientific research has shown that a child’s brain develops fastest in the earliest years of life. We now know the crucial importance of the correct stimulation during this period to improve a child’s development intellectually, physically, and emotionally and to help lay down solid foundations that will allow children to maximize their future learning abilities. We also now know that a lack of these developmental opportunities can result in motor delay and learning difficulties.

There is a direct relationship between activities and the stimulation children receive when they are babies and young children and their ability to do well at school. Extensive research has shown that the better a young child’s neurophysiological development, the better will be their ability to read and learn. Neurophysiological development occurs when the brain creates the connections as it learns about the body, the world around it and learns to move in response.

Retrain the Brain can offer you research-based programs proven to support brain development, learning & health. The first five years of a child’s life are the most important for brain development, learning, and mental health. However, once children are at school and difficulties are apparent all is not lost! With Retrain the brain you can go back. Through Primitive Reflex integration and JIAS sound Therapy and family coaching programs, you can retrain your brain and give you or your children a second chance to make learning and life easier.

Improving Educational Attainment Through Movement Programs

Further evidence that intervention in the form of movement programs aimed at the level of primitive reflexes improves education. Researchers include:

2006 Hunter Pauline MA, University of Middlesex
This effectiveness of a developmental exercise program, designed to be used with children with special needs.

2005 Goddard Blythe SA*
Releasing educational potential through movement. Child Care in Practice, Volume 11/4: 415 – 432.

2003 Preedy P, O’Donovon C, Scott J, Wolinski R*
Exercises for learning – a Beacon Project between Knowle CE Primary School and Kingsley Preparatory School.

2003 Jändling M*
A follow-up study of a group of children, two years after they had completed the INPP Developmental Exercise Program for Schools. Results demonstrated that the children had maintained the gains they had made two years earlier.

2002 Bertram S*
A report prepared for The Birmingham Core Skills Partnership studying learning enhancement through reflex inhibition.

2001 Pettman H*
This study demonstrated the effects of developmental exercise movements on children with persistent primary reflexes and reading difficulties using a controlled trial.

2001 Bein-Wierzbinski W*
This paper studied children with specific learning difficulties, persistent primitive reflexes in elementary school children and the effect on oculo-motor and visual perception.

2000 Lancet, McPhillps, Hepper and Mulhern*
A double blind controlled study examining the effects of replicating primary reflex movements on specific reading difficulties in children.

1997 University of Indianapolis*
O’Dell and Cooke found Bender’s exercises based on movements involving creeping (crawling) against resistance were of value in overcoming hyperactivity. Stopping Hyperactivity – A New Solution (Avery Pubs, NY).

1989 Faulkner P (Bucks School)*
A study investigating the effects of a reflex stimulation and inhibition program on reading.

Dala Clinic Report*
Gothenberg examined the impact of a reflex inhibition program on educational achievement in a group of 15 children diagnosed with specific learning difficulties.

NB: *Indicates use of INPP Program

Reflex Stimulation and Inhibition Programs

For many years, INPP has researched reflexes, education and efficacy of reflex stimulation and inhibition programs. Researchers include:

2005 Goddard Blythe SA*
Releasing educational potential through movement. Child Care in Practice, Volume 11/4: 415 – 432.

Research into the relationship between abnormal reflexes and reading problems, and the efficacy of The INPP Program for Schools is ongoing in several schools in Northumberland and Tyne and Wear.

2004 Taylor M, Houghton S, Chapman E
Primitive reflexes and Attention Deficit Disorder: developmental origins of classroom dysfunction. International Journal of Special Education (Vol. 19/1)

2003 Kesper G
This paper studies the effects of persisting infantile reflexes on motor behavior and central processing.

2001 Goddard Blythe SA
This study examined Neuro-Developmental factors in 54 children who had received an independent diagnosis of dyslexia. All participants displayed evidence of abnormal ATNR and TLR, together with other Neuro-Developmental factors.

1998 British Journal of Occupational Therapy
Goddard Blythe and Hyland researched the reliability of a screening questionnaire to identify children who might have a degree of underlying NDD. Screening for Neurological Dysfunction in the Specific Learning Difficulty Child (10/98).

1994 University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
Wilkinson replicated Rider’s study and found a link between abnormal primitive reflexes, learning difficulty and underachievement.

1976 University of Purdue
Bender examined the effect of one reflex – the STNR on education – and found it present in 75% of a group of learning disabled children. It was not present in a comparison group of children with no history of learning disabilities. She developed exercises designed to inhibit the STNR and many children improved. The Bender Purdue Reflex Test (Academic Therapy Publications, CA).

1971 University of Kansas
Rider (O.T.) assessed the prevalence of abnormal reflex responses by comparing normal second grade children to a group of learning disabled children. Children with normal reflexes scored consistently higher on achievement tests than those with abnormal reflexes.

1970 University of Kansas
Gustaffson (O.T.) compared the reflex levels of a group of neurologically impaired children with a group of children with no known neurological impairment and found all the children with neurological impairment had abnormal reflexes.

NB: This list is only a sample of research in the field.
NB: *Indicates use of INPP Program

Neuromotor Immaturity as a Factor in Under-achievement

Screening for Neurological Dysfunction in the Specific Learning Difficulty Child
Authors: Blythe, Sally Goddard; Hyland, David
Source: The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, Volume 61, Number 10, October 1998 , pp. 459-464(6)
Publisher: College of Occupational Therapists

A developmental questionnaire was given to the parents of 140 children. Seventy of the children had a history of specific learning difficulties which had not responded to normal remedial education. The remaining 70 had no history of specific learning difficulties. The research was undertaken to ascertain whether the developmental questionnaire could be used as a reliable instrument to detect the neuro-developmental delay underlying the specific learning difficulties and preventing remedial intervention from being effective.

The results revealed that the screening questionnaire did discriminate between the two populations. At a 98% confidence level, a child with a score of 7 or more belonged to the specific learning difficulty group and a child scoring 2 or less did not. A score of 7 or more is therefore necessary to identify a neuro-developmentally based specific learning difficulty. The two populations were also compared on individual questions to identify which early developmental factors were significant in predicting later learning difficulties when viewed as part of a developmental profile.

Neurological Dysfunction as a Significant Factor in Children with Dyslexia
Author: Blythe, Sally Goddard
Source: The Journal of Behavioral Optometry, Volume 12, Number 6, 2001, Page 145

It is an accepted medical fact* that the continued presence of primitive reflexes above the age of six months and the absence or under-development of postural reflexes beyond three and a half years of age are reliable indicators of neurological dysfunction, which can affect both motor and perceptual development. A series of standardised neurological tests for abnormal reflexes were carried out on a sample of 54 children who had previously received an independent diagnosis of Dyslexia, to see if neurological dysfunction was a significant factor underlying their Dyslexic symptoms. Additional tests were carried out to assess oculo-motor functioning, visual-perceptual performance and cerebellar involvement including dysdiadochokinesia to see if other areas related to motor development were also a significant factor in the sample.

Abnormal primitive and postural reflexes were found to be a universal underlying factor in this sample. A high percentage of the sample also demonstrated difficulties with oculo-motor functioning, visual-perceptual skills and dysdiadochokinesia, suggesting a positive relationship between abnormal reflex activity and immature postural, motor and visual functioning.

Neuromotor Immaturity and Intervention

Neuro-motor Maturity as an Indicator of Developmental Readiness for Education
Author: Blythe, Sally Goddard
Source: Ruch, Wzrok, Słuch – Podstawa Uczenia Się/Movement, Vision, Hearing – The Basis of Learning, Pages 121-136

Two independent projects were undertaken with 64 children in schools in Northumberland and Berkshire to investigate whether neuro-motor immaturity, defined by the continued presence of three primitive reflexes, was present in children in mainstream primary schools in the United Kingdom. Children were also assessed for performance in reading, writing, spelling, maths and drawing using SATS results or the Salford Sentence Reading Test.

In Northumberland, 52 children age 7 – 8 years were divided into two intervention groups: One group took part in a daily programme of developmental movements (The INPP Program); the other group participated in a less specific program of daily physical exercises (The Activate Program) for one academic year.

In Berkshire, 12 children who had been identified as under-performing in reading, spelling or handwriting were assessed using the Salford Sentence Reading Test. Six children participated in The INPP Program at school every day for one academic year. The results of both groups on the Salford Reading Test were compared at the end of the year.

The results indicated that neuro-motor immaturity was present in 88.5% of children age 7–8 years and 40 % of children age 4-6 years in the Northumberland sample. There was a correlation between higher scores on tests for retained primitive reflexes and lower performance on the Draw a Person test. Children in the INPP group in the Northumberland study showed a significantly greater decrease in scores for abnormal reflexes (an indication of increased maturity in neuro-motor skills) than children in the Activate group following intervention. There was no significant difference between the INPP and Activate groups on SATS scores for reading, writing, spelling and maths.

Six children who followed The INPP Program for one academic year in Berkshire showed significant improvements on the Salford Sentence Reading Test at the end of the year compared to six children who did not take part in The INPP Program.

Physical Foundations for Learning
Author: Blythe, Sally Goddard
Source: Too Much, Too Soon – Early Learning and the Erosion of Childhood, Pages 131-146

Learning is not all in the mind but is also a physical activity. 1 One of the first tasks a young child needs to master is physical control of his body in space, with movement experience acting as both the challenge and the teacher. Throughout life, movement acts as the primary medium through which information derived from the senses is integrated, and knowledge of the world is expressed. Even thought and perception are an internalized simulation of action.2 A child’s motor abilities are therefore essential tools for learning, and motor skills at different stages of development provide a reflection of maturity in the functioning of the central nervous system – the relationship between the brain and body- which provides the foun­dation for learning.

A child’s brain is not the same as an adult brain. Different regions of the cerebral cortex, the largest structure of the forebrain which contains the higher brain centres controlling intellectual, sensory and motor functions, mature at different rates. The first area to mature is the motor area, followed by the sensory area, with association areas being the last to mature, continuing growth into the twenties or thirties. 3 The higher problems of thinking, planning and problem solving performed by the frontal lobes take years to develop.4

At birth, connections to the superficial layer of the cortex are only tenuously formed. The neonate is equipped with a series of survival responses to various environmental stimuli which enable him to breathe, to ‘root’ or search for the breast if the side of his face is touched, to suckle and to grasp if something is placed in the palm of his hand, or pressure is applied to the soles of his feet. He also has a series of reflexes which evoke responses to change in position.

Neuro Motor Development and National Curriculum Attainment
Author: Peter Griffin, Open Doors Therapy
Source: A study of 114 ‘Key Stage 1’ children, at Bentley West School, Walsall, to see if certain physical
immaturities (Neuromotor Delay), might act as a barrier to attainment

‘Neuromotor Delay’ is described by Sally Goddard Blythe, in ‘Assessing Neuromotor Readiness for Learning’, as the ‘retention of immature patterns of movement control’ (page 4). Her book outlines developmental screening tests for children and intervention programs. There is clear evidence, both from clinical practice and research, to show that ‘Neuromotor Immaturity’ is a barrier to some children’s learning, and that if this barrier is removed, through a specific exercise program, the children can better access what a school has to offer.
The screening for 4-7 year olds includes assessing:

  • aspects of neuromotor maturity;
  • the presence of primitive (baby) reflexes;
  • visual perception and visual motor integration.


Bentley West School have used the developmental screening tests to assess their KS1 children and are now targeting s children with the INPP exercise program. It is too early yet to come to a judgement about the efficacy of the program. However we can interrogate the data to see if there is any link between various aspects of ‘Neuromotor Immaturity‘ and the children’s attainment against National Expectation.

Research looks at ‘Neuromotor Delay’, primitive reflexes, balance, crawling and finger/thumb opposition.