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What are Primitive Reflexes?

27 January, 2017


What are Primitive Reflexes?

Primitive reflexes are a set of automatic movements that we are born with - we don't think about them, they just happen.

These reflexes help with the birthing process and for survival in the initial stages of life. They form the foundation for later motor and cognitive skills.

As the brain and nervous system matures, they disappear and give way to more complex patterns to allow improved learning, motor coordination and socialisation. This disappearing act is called primitive reflex integration.

When a primitive reflex doesn’t integrate - or disappearing as we expect it should - we call this a Retained Primitive Reflex.

Retained primitive reflexes may delay and alter a child’s normal development process. Addressing retained primitive reflexes often involves games and exercises to do at home.

What signs might my child display at home or school?

  • Difficulties riding a bicycle
  • Difficulty catching a ball
  • Struggle to stay still
  • Easily distractible, having difficulty with attention
  • Occasionally miss letters or draw them backwards
  • Awkward grip when holding a pen / pencil
  • If there is a loud, sudden noise, they may over-react
  • Bum-shuffle rather than crawling
  • Suffer from motion or travel sickness
  • Slouch and have poor posture
  • Troubles sitting upright