The Resilient Family – How Retained Primitive Reflexes Influence Behaviour with Yvette Halpin

mood learning & behaviour video

My conversation with Yvette Halpin of Nimble Kids on how retained primitive reflexes influence development and can contribute to behaviours such as aggression, anxiety, fear, phobias, dyslexia, movement struggles, and symptoms of autism and ADHD.


  • How our kids move in utero, during birth and early infancy has an influence on later behavioural and learning challenges because movement is an important method for wiring our brain circuitry
  • We are born with many primitive reflexes which we need for survival in the early months. Most of them should be gone by about 6 months of age, all of them should be gone by age 3
  • We integrate these primitive reflexes by moving. We do it naturally and instinctively as infants and in our early play as children. So it’s important to give our babies and children space to move, which allows these primitive reflexes to integrate once they are no longer needed
  • A child who has retained some of these primitive reflexes (ie has not integrated them) is likely to struggle with learning, sensory processing and often behaviour because the nervous system has not been able to “move forward” in its development
  • Yvette assesses kids for 18 reflexes to see which ones have been retained and then provides exercises/movements to help the body integrate those reflexes
  • This assessment process has a big impact on parents because they start to learn why their child is struggling
  • Because of the brain’s plasticity, retained reflexes can be integrated at any stage of life using simple, repetitive movements. When we do that we help the brain develop and therefore many symptoms like aggression, anxiety, fear, phobias, anger can be dissolved and often even diagnoses such as Autism, ADHD and Dyslexia can be dropped (or at least symptoms can be reduced dramatically).
  • Yvette shared stories of children she’s worked with – one with fear paralysis/withdrawal, one with autism, one with aggression – explaining how integrating their retained reflexes helped them function better. She also talked about how reflexes impact the ability to read in a way that is missed by most optometrists.

About Yvette Halpin
Yvette has been helping children reach their greatest potential for over twenty years. Through assessment, individualized programs and workshops, she guides children and their families to integrate reflexes and develop sensory functions that were missed, allowing them to achieve milestones that were previously out of reach. Yvette’s aim is to have children work towards their potential without the mindset that there is something ‘wrong’ with them. By providing simple and fun exercises, children begin to treat the underlying cause of their issues and gain confidence. She also offers cold laser therapy to quicken the maturation of the nervous system, propelling her clients to even greater results.

Through Nimble Kids Yvette can provide a receipt for Ontario and Quebec residents as a Naturotherapist registered with the Association des Naturotherapeutre du Quebec (ANQ).

Connect with Yvette here.


More resources

Padovan Method of Neurofunctional Reorganization

Dr. Blomberg Rhythmic Movement Training (BRMT)

Sonia Story Developmental Movement Program

Quantum Reflex Integration (QRI)


About Jess Sherman, FDN-P, M.Ed, R.H.N

Jess is a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner, Registered Holistic Nutritionist and a trauma-sensitive Family Health Educator specializing in brain health & resilience for kids. She is also a teacher, with a Master's degree in education. Her Calm & Clear Kids introductory course, her Amino Acids (with kids!) Quickstart program, and her signature Resilience Roadmap,  along with her book Raising Resilience, have helped families in at least 44 countries improve the lives of their children with learning differences, anxiety, ADHD, and mood disorders and reduce their reliance on medication. She is the 2019 recipient of the CSNNAA award for Clinical Excellence for her work with families, and she continues to bring an understanding of the 5 Core Needs For Resilient Health to the mainstream conversation about children’s mental health, learning, and overall resilience through her blog, courses, workshops and as a contributor to print and online magazines. 

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The content on this website and in the guides and courses offered here is meant to provide information so that parents can make informed decisions and discuss these issue with their health care teams. It is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or individualized care.