The Spinal Galant reflex develops in utero and stimulates inversion of the fetus in late pregnancy, adjusting its position for birth. This reflex also starts the development of auditory processing in utero, possibly affecting hearing, by transmitting vibrations along the vertebrae.
The Spinal Galant reflex is stimulated when something(touch) is run along either side of the spine (approximately 1-2 inches from center spine) from the base of the neck down to the base of spine causing a flexion(bending) of the body on the stimulated side.
The Spinal Galant reflex remains active for the first 3-9 months after birth and affects the muscles of the lower back, buttocks, pelvic area, and back of legs, preparing an infant for standing and walking by developing gross motor coordination.
It is possible for the reflex to be retained on only one side, or both sides. If it is retained on only one side it can cause Scoliosis of the spine. If both sides are retained it can be the cause of bedwetting in children over the age of 5. If both sides of the spine are stimulated simultaneously, which can happen during sleep by bed sheets or adjusting sleeping position, it can cause involuntary urination.
Characteristics and effects of a retained Spinal Galant reflex:
- fidgeting and squirming from stimulus touching the back (ex. clothing, chair backs), unable to sit properly in chair
- hyperactivity due to constant stimulation of the reflex by clothing, child will discharge energy in disruptive ways
- difficulties with gross motor coordination, gait may be asymmetrical with occurrences of self tripping
- difficulties maintaining balance and posture
- uneven hips or Scoliosis of the spine
- hypersensitivity in the lumbar area and low back pain in anticipation of stimulation of the reflex
- may dislike tags or tight clothing around their waist
- may exhibit speech disorders (development of auditory processing)
How does a retained Spinal Galant reflex affect my child’s learning?
- inability to sit still, or maintain proper posture in a chair
- ‘ants in their pants’ makes concentration and focused attention almost impossible
- difficulty processing information due to constant fidgeting and mental fatigue
- possible speech disorders and spelling difficulties
- preference to do homework lying on the floor to prevent irritation
If this sounds like your child, there is a high possibility their Spinal Galant reflex needs to integrated so they can move forward.