Primitive reflexes can underlie many problems children and adults face. According to the Retained Neonatal Reflexes training group they can be the cause of:
- Anxiety and stress
- Poor concentration
- Attention difficulties
- Handwriting issues
- Compulsive traits
- Adrenal fatigue
- Speech problems
- Problems with fine motor skills
If you are concerned that you or your child are suffering from
retained primitive reflexes, call us now on 02 8039 6700.
What are Primitive Reflexes?
Primitive Reflexes are a group of behavioural motor responses that are normally present in infants and babies. The reflexes are called ‘primitive’ because they are precursor reflex movements to our more complex adult movement patterns. They form the building blocks from which all other movement is made from. During infancy, the primitive reflexes become ‘integrated’ at different age milestones depending on the specific reflex involved. For example, the grasp reflex. Up until about 4 months, when the infant’s palmer part of the hand is touched, it will reflexly grasp whatever is touching the palm. In an adult, this reflex should be inhibited so that if someone was to touch your palm, you should not reflexly grasp his or her hand!
It has been long recognised that these reflexes exist in newborns and infants and that the higher, more mature parts of our brain, suppress them. In the traditional medical model, when these reflexes re-appear it is mostly due to frontal lobe damage in the brain. However, more recent research is suggesting that in some cases, the presence of primitive reflexes may in fact, not be due to lesion, but rather a failure of maturation of some areas of the brain.
Why can they persist?
Brain development is due to movement and the reflexes present at birth provide some degree of interaction with the environment, which in turn allows the brain to grow and develop and ultimately inhibit the reflexes. However, due to birth trauma or other normal developmental restrictions these reflexes might remain uninhibited. This creates a nervous system that will react inappropriately. This can adversely affect a child’s normal development and can restrict them from reaching their full potential.
Many practitioners believe that these persistent primitive reflexes underlie many behavioural and learning disorders like ADHD and Dyslexia, and their experience suggests that treating these neonatal primitive reflexes can improve these problems.
How To Integrate Primitive Reflexes?
A thorough assessment needs to be made as to the presence or absence of any primitive reflexes. Primitive reflexes in children and adults can be the result of serious problems and need to be assessed by a qualified professional. As part of her post-graduate neurological and paediatric training our chiropractor, Dr Rachael Veronesi, has studied the identification of these retained primitive reflexes.
If a primitive reflex is found then there are specific exercises and other home care advise that can be given to assist your child through this problem. We understand that many people are unsure of what is required or involved in treating these reflexes. To help you with this please call to schedule a Free 10 minute phone call with Dr Veronesi to enable you to discuss your concerns.
Phone 02 8039 6700 to book your Free call now.
J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2003;74:558-560 doi:10.1136/jnnp.74.5.558
The grasp and other primitive reflexes
J M Schott, M N Rossor