When a child makes his or her entrance into the world, they are born with what we call primitive reflexes, or neonatal reflexes. These are tools which help him or her survive their early months of life, such as how to get attention, how to feed etc. Obviously as time goes on we would expect these reflexes to be replaced with new skills, and usually by the time their first birthday rolls around, they will have learnt new ways to get attention, how to voice their needs, how to eat, how to move around etc.
This is all very normal, however in some cases these neonatal reflexes hang on, and in this case we call them retained neonatal reflexes. When your child doesn’t seem to be developing at the same rate as you would expect, or you compare them to children belonging to friends and family, you may become worried that something is wrong, which can be a worrying and stressful time as a parent.
Why children retain these reflexes can be down to a myriad of reasons, but premature birth, birth injury, stressful birth,caesarean section or chronic ear infections can be some of the causes. On top of this children who have been diagnosed a little later in their childhood with such conditions as ADHD or autism could have had these retained neonatal reflexes in early life.
Symptoms can also be wide-ranging, but a few to look out for are anxiety or being overly fearful, problems with reading, handwriting, being very restless, not being able to concentrate for very long, poor memory, not crawling or sitting correctly. Obviously there can be many causes for these symptoms, but it is important to have them checked out to identify the specific cause and seek the necessary help.
If you’re worried about your child’s development and on reading this you believe that it ticks a few boxes, then don’t hesitate to call the practice now on 02 9938 5456 , and set an appointment. We will do a detailed assessment and determine if your child does have any retained primitive reflexes. If they do, we will advise you on the best course of action.