Pyramid of Potential



Neurodevelopmental Delay - Causes




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July 3, 2015


Hey Folks!


This month and next I will be writing about the development of the brain - including during stages of development as well as developing it later to fill in what was missing. This month I will concentrate on developmental delays - what they are, what causes them, and of course what we actually do to improve functioning. Remember - the concept of neuroplasticity means that the brain can change, so there is always hope!!


We will be having a sale for the Summer. We are discounting the 10 pack of Maintaining Brains Everyday. If you are a professional and have clients that can benefit from doing the Primitive Reflex Exercises, this is the product for you. Order now!


Thank you so much! Kathy

Neurodevelopmental Delay - Causes



Before we delve into what causes neurodevelopmental delay, let's look into the diagnosis and what it actually includes.


According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-5), neurodevelopmental disorders "are a group of conditions with onset in the developmental period. The disorders typically manifest early in development, often before the child enters grade school, and are characterized by developmental deficits that produce impairments of personal, social, academic, or occupational functioning."


In other words, it happened early, not caused by an accident later. Also, it causes a variety of problems in everyday life.


The following is a list of disorders under this umbrella:

  1. 1.     Intellectual Disabilities

    1. a.     Intellectual Development Disorder
                            b.     Global Development Delay 

            1. 2.     Communication Disorders
                                    a.     Language Disorder
                                    b.     Speech and Sound Disorder
                                    c.     Childhood-Onset Fluency Disorder (Stuttering)
                                    d.     Social Communication Disorder

      1. 3.     Autism Spectrum Disorder

      1. 4.     Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
                              a.     Combined presentation
                              b.     Predominately inattentive presentation
                              c.     Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive presentation

        1. 5.     Specific Learning Disorder
                                a.     With impairment in reading
                                b.     With impairment in writing expression
                                c.     With impairment in mathematics

          1. 6.     Motor Disorders
                                  a.     Developmental Coordination Disorder
                                  b.     Stereotypical Movement Disorder
                                  c.     Tic Disorders
                                               i.     Tourette's Disorder
                                               ii.     Persistent (Chronic) Motor or Vocal Tic Disorder
                                               iii.    Provisional Tic Disorder

              1. 7.     Other specified or unspecified developmental disorder


When you look at the list, you immediately notice that learning disabilities, problems with speech and language, movement and coordination issues and autism are all here. Since they are called Developmental Disorders, it means that the child never developed them, when he or she was supposed to. By the time they are in school, the issues are pronounced enough that they are diagnosed, and treatment or accommodations can begin.


So, the child did not develop fully. Why not?


First let's look at normal development. A baby is born and has certain behaviors that protect him and help him survive. For example, the Moro Reflex is an exaggerated startle reflex. The baby, when startled, gasps and his arms and legs fly up, protecting his head in case he is dropped belly-first. While this is happening, the baby feels the fight or flight response - adrenalin coursing through his body, nervous system put on alert, digestive system shuts down, peripheral vision narrows, and auditory system is heightened. The baby does this frequently in the first 4 months of life as his body matures. Normal development would be that this reflex is not needed for simple everyday activities, and only exhibiting the moro reflex when under duress.


Abnormal development - yet this happens quite frequently - is the retention of the moro reflex long after the age of 4 months. You might see an extremely shy child who jumps and hides (flight) at loud sounds. Or a child who hits (fight) when another child bumps into him. These children cannot help their behavior because they did not develop and mature through early stages of development. It leaves their bodies and their brains immature.


There are many other reflexes, stages of development, that babies should go through. If they skip stages, it means that there will be some type of delay. The delay does not necessarily mean that they will not be successful in life. It depends at that point on how other pieces of their life develop and how much of a delay is present. Every person is different.


For example, if a child skips crawling, it most probably is because for some reason that baby did not develop the arms, neck and back muscles needed to hold themselves up. This muscle development is usually developed first during the Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex stage.


Take a look at the video to learn more.



So let's go deeper - why didn't the children go through the stages/reflexes?


There are many theories, and they are all probably correct. Children's brains and bodies develop so much in the first year that there could be many reasons. Before you read on, you MUST understand that no one should blame the mom. All moms are doing the best they can with the information they have at the time. Perhaps things they were doing while pregnant or after the child was born was done for the SAFETY of the baby or the ADVICE of loved ones or doctors. No blame.


  1. Chemical. If the mother passed chemicals from her body to the baby in utero, the baby's body and brain chemistry could be altered. The chemicals could be alcohol, recreational or prescription drugs, or stress hormones like cortisol and adrenalin.
  2. Prematurity. If the baby did not mature enough in utero, it might be delayed after birth.
  3. C-Section. There is a correlation between c-section births and certain reflexes.
  4. Birth trauma. If the cord is wrapped around the baby's neck, there may have been oxygen deprivation, and brain damage.
  5. Infancy spent in orphanage. If the baby is swaddled too long and not comforted, having a bonding experience, or swung back and forth, there may be delays in vestibular (balance) system and retained reflexes.
  6. Not enough floor time. Many years ago the doctors told us moms not to put our babies on their tummies because they could get SIDS. Don't put them on their backs or they could spit up and aspirate. Don't put them on the floor because there are germs. And companies created swings, front packs, back packs and car seats that popped out so we didn't have to pick up our children. We did everything right, yet our babies did not have the chance to be on the floor going through the stages of development fully.


With each stage of development, there are many parts of the brain and body that get developed. By missing a full stage of development, a child may be missing many pieces; by going quickly through a stage she may be missing only a couple pieces. Next week I will write about 6 stages - primitive reflexes - that can hold a child back physically, emotionally, socially, and academically. I will give details of the symptoms to see which are probably still retained.


To help someone go through the 6 stages of development from the first year of life, purchase Maintaining Brains Everyday, either the DVD or download. You can purchase 10 at a time to save money. These can be given away to students or clients, or resold at retail.


Just go to 



Contact Us
Kathy Johnson, MS Ed

Bob Johnson

Pyramid of Potential
245 Washington St #3369
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Take a Look!
Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex
Kathy Johnson, M Ed describes the Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex, and how it impacts learning if retained after infancy.
Kathy Johnson, M Ed describes the Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex, and how it impacts learning if retained after infancy.
Upcoming Local Presentations


Improving Handwriting and Composition Abilities

August 20. 6:30 - 8:30

63 Putnam Street, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866


Improving Math and Word Problems When the Methods Don't Work Well Enough

September 17, 6:30 - 8:30

63 Putnam Street, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866


Where's Kathy?

It is now time to set up your professional development at your school - Kathy is available for many dates this Fall! Call now to secure YOUR date!


Below are the upcoming workshops that Kathy Johnson is giving. If she is not coming to your area, why not hire her for your next professional development?


  Kathy Johnson Photo 2010


Wednesday, September 23, 2015 in WHITE PLAINS, NY 
Early Registration: $189.99 

Thursday, September 24, 2015 in PLAINVIEW, NY
Early Registration: $189.99 

Friday, September 25, 2015 in MANHATTAN, NY
Early Registration: $189.99 


Wednesday, October 7, 2015 in Poughkeepsie, NY
Early Registration: $189.99 

Thursday, October 8, 2015 in Springfield, MA
Early Registration: $189.99 

Friday, October 9, 2015 in Albany, NY
Early Registration: $189.99 

Wednesday, November 18 2015 in San Antonio, TX 
Early Registration: $189.99 

Thursday, November 19, 2015 in Austin, TX
Early Registration: $189.99 

Friday, November 20, 2015 in Houston, TX
Early Registration: $189.99 



If you aren't near any of these on-site professional development conferences, consider the following:


Dyslexia, Dyscalculia & Dysgraphia: An Integrated Approach   Price: $169.99  Author: Kathy Johnson, MS Ed.  Format: DVD