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  • emilymroper

Primitive Reflexes: The Secret to Early Childhood Development

Updated: 5 days ago

Today we're delving into the world of primitive reflexes. If you're new here, don't worry. We will touch on everything you need to know about these crucial early developmental milestones.


Understanding Primitive Reflexes


Primitive reflexes are innate, automatic movements that infants are born with. These reflexes are essential for survival and early development, assisting babies as they navigate their new world. From the moment they're born, these reflexes help regulate everything from their breathing to their sensory responses.


As infants grow, these reflexes are gradually inhibited as more sophisticated neural circuits develop. This inhibition process is critical because it allows for the emergence of higher brain functions and refined motor skills. However, when these reflexes fail to integrate properly, it can lead to developmental challenges down the road.



The Impact of Uninhibited Reflexes


Take the Moro reflex, for instance—the infamous startle reflex. It's triggered by sudden changes in the environment, like a loud noise or a sudden movement. While essential for survival in infancy, an unintegrated Moro reflex can manifest as heightened sensitivity to sensory stimuli as children grow older. This can contribute to issues such as anxiety, poor emotional regulation, and attention difficulties.


For many children, living with a retained Moro reflex means navigating a world that is too loud, too bright, and too overwhelming.


The Moro is just one of many primitive reflexes. The Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR) is another common one. It influences hand-eye coordination, academic performance and visual-motor skills. Children with this reflex often struggle with reading, writing and academic performance. It disrupts the way that they head, hand and eyes communicate and work together. These are foundational skills that kids need BEFORE academics.


Hope for the future


While retained primitive reflexes are clear indicators of neurological immaturity, the brain and body are remarkably adaptable. With the right therapeutic approach it's possible to support children in re-establishing these missed developmental milestones. I see incredible growth and changes in the kids I work with every day! If you're concern about your child, pop over to my website and fill out a screening questionnaire.


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