How A Retained Primitive Reflex Can Affect Your Child

When babies are in the womb, they develop primitive reflexes (PR) necessary for survival and proper development. These reflexes are usually retained into the early months of life and then normally disappear at a certain time when they are integrated into the higher control center of the brain.

There are many reflexes that come into play as involuntary responses to external stimuli like a touch, noise, heat or an internal stimulus like hunger. For example, the Moro reflex, also known as the startle reflex, is an infantile reflex normally present in all infants up until 4 or 5 months. When the infant feels like he or she is falling or in other danger, he will spread out the arms and usually cry. That’s why parents are recommended to swaddle the baby, to prevent them from waking themselves up during their sleep if the Moro reflex sets in. 

Unfortunately, if a PR is not integrated at the appropriate age, it can become an issue. A retained primitive reflex can disturb the development and integration of subsequent reflexes, and even disturb some or all functions of the higher brain centers. These higher brain centers include behavior, learning, integration of movements and more. Issues can be a part of hormonal, anxiety, depression and so forth.

Some of the ways a retained PR can affect our children are:

·         Fear Paralysis Reflex: Parasympathetic ANS issues such as anxiety, panic attacks, SID

·         Moro Reflex: Sympathetic ANS issues such as aggression, ADHD, asthma, immune system disorders

·         Palmar Reflex: Poor verbal and written expression, fine motor skills, posture

·         Asymmetric Tonic Neck Reflex: Learning difficulties, misjudging distances, shoulder injuries

·         Rooting Reflex: Hormonal dysfunctions in the HPA axis, especially thyroid

·         Tonic Labyrinthine Reflexes: Motion sickness, LD, Balance and visual disturbances

·         Spinal Galant Reflex: Hyperactivity, Bedwetting, Scoliosis, Gait abnormality


This is why 75 percent of all the keiki undergoing the Interactive Metronome (IM) program at Learn 2 Focus are also going through customized PR integration program. These PR programs we assign use sensory motor exercises to improve neural connections and integration of infantile reflexes which are no longer developmentally appropriate. For more info, feel free to call me at 808-352-0116 or drop me a line at