fix bar
fix bar
fix bar
fix bar
fix bar
fix bar
background

What is the Palmer/Grasp Reflex?

  • By Nageena

Introduction

In a baby, when you place your finger in his palm, the fingers will close and hold on. This reflex goes back in evolution to when babies clung on to their mother for safety.
If the reflex does not integrate properly the child could have problems with hand and finger control, poor pencil grip, hand writing and hypersensitivity of the hand.
Due to this reflex’s association with the Rooting and Sucking Reflex, this child may often also dribble profusely and suffer delayed speech and articulation. You can often see the child’s mouth and tongue move when they are writing and drawing.

The symptoms of the Palmer/Grasp reflex

Some symptoms of a non-integrated Palmer/Grasp Reflex

  • Challenges with motor control of the hands; weak hands
  • Poor fine motor (hand, finger) coordination; poor handwriting, drawing, knitting, playing musical instruments
  • Unusual pencil grip
  • Poor speech, articulation, and communication skills
  • Intertwined speech and hand movements which can lead to difficulty with speech.
  • Difficulty grasping or letting go of objects, which can also affect sports like golf and baseball
  • Associated sensory systems: tactile and proprioception.

Exercises to help the brain developing the Paler/Grasp Reflex

Exercise One - Ball Squeeze

Using a small soft ball first squeeze with all fingers including thumb 20 times. Both hands, twice daily

Ball Squeeze Palmer Grasp Reflex
Ball Squeeze Palmer Grasp Reflex

Exercise Two - Finder to thumb squeezes

Then squeeze with each individual finger, moving from one to the other and back again. Do 20 squeezes for each finger. Both Hands twice daily.

Ball Squeeze Palmer Grasp Reflex
Ball Squeeze Palmer Grasp Reflex
Ball Squeeze Palmer Grasp Reflex
Ball Squeeze Palmer Grasp Reflex

Exercise Three - Drawing, X’s, Alphabets and Shapes

Using a brush or pen firmly stroke the palm in the shape on an X, continue to Draw X’s 20 times or until you can no longer elicit the reflex. Repeat twice daily. Further integration can be done by drawing the letters of the Alphabet and Shapes and ask the child (eyes closed) to guess the shape and or letter/numbers.

Drawing, X’s, Alphabets and Shapes Palmer Grasp Reflex
Drawing, X’s, Alphabets and Shapes Palmer Grasp Reflex
Drawing, X’s, Alphabets and Shapes Palmer Grasp Reflex
Drawing, X’s, Alphabets and Shapes Palmer Grasp Reflex

Exercise Four - Finger Taps/Squeezes

Ask child to firmly press each finger to the thumb, creating a circular shape (pincer grip) not finger pad pressed against one another. Repeat 5 times for each finger. Both hands twice daily.

Finger Taps/Squeezes Grasp Reflex

Exercise Five and Six - Wheel Barrow and Circling Thumb Around Finders

Wheel Barrow hold child above ankle and while keeping the spine straight ask child to ‘walk’ forwards using their hands. Do this for 1-2 minutes. Twice daily

Wheelbarrow Palmer Grasp Reflex

Ask child to use the thumb to circle each finger 3-5 times, try to avoid touching the finger. All fingers on both hands, twice daily.

Wheelbarrow Palmer Grasp Reflex

Exercise Seven - Push Ups

Ask child to do push ups start with ONE push up twice daily and build by 1 push up each day up to 10-15 push ups twice daily.

  • Day 1 One push up 2/day
  • Day 2 Two push ups 2/day
  • Day 3 Three push ups 2/day
  • Day 4 Four push ups 2/day
  • Day 5 Five push ups 2/day
  • Day 6 Six push ups 2/day
  • Etc..
Wheelbarrow Palmer Grasp Reflex