Let's Integrate That Primitive Reflex!

A surprising amount of children who come to Learn 2 Focus have retained primitive reflexes, which are meant to be integrated when the baby is at a certain age. If they’re not integrated at a developmentally appropriate age, they can cause certain symptoms that are similar to ADHD, ADD, and autism, such as lack of focus, attention, anxiety and more.

One of these primitive reflexes is known as the parachute reflex. It’s a variation of the Moro reflex, which I talked about earlier in my blog. The parachute reflex can be tested by a pediatrician by suspending the child in the prone position, and then moving the child downward toward a soft surface on the floor. Don’t worry, it’s a safe test!

If the parachute reflex is normal, the infant will extend the arms, hands and fingers on both sides in a protective reaction. It’ll look as though the baby is trying to prepare himself or herself from contact with the surface or a fall, even though he or she might not yet be able to walk.  This is why the parachute reflex is also called startle reflex.The baby should be at about 4 to 6 months at the time this reflex is positive.

Since primitive reflexes which are retained into older childhood years or even adulthood can cause symptoms similar to ADHD, ADD and other disorders, many children are often misdiagnosed. Instead of immediately resorting to taking medication or being labeled as having a learning disability, I always suggest that parents look into the possibility of a retained primitive reflex. Why? Because almost 100 percent of the children who come to me have a retained primitive reflex! Once we determine that as part of the problem, I can assign certain exercises and training methods such as Quantum Reflex Integration or Rhythmic Movement Training, which help to integrate primitive reflexes and resolve problematic symptoms.