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Primitive and Postural Reflexes


Reflexes are :


  • Automatic

  • Instinctive

  • Unconscious  - reflexes respond to stimuli in the same way each time the stimulus is presented (Rooting reflex – when the cheek is touched the baby turns the head to that side)


~ Primitive reflexes are present in utero and in the first few months of life before diminishing as the central nervous system begins to mature.  They are mediated at the level of the brainstem.  

~ Postural reflexes develop after the baby is born and interact with gravity.  They are mediated at the level of the midbrain and indicate that higher brain involvement is taking place over the brainstem.  These reflexes remain with us for life.

~ The presence of primitive reflexes beyond 6 months of age, or the absence of postural reflexes after 3 years of age indicate that part of the developmental process has been interrupted.  Early indications that this may have happened generally begin to reveal themselves around the time a child begins to attend school. 

~Children may have difficulties with concentration and/or coordination problems, they may find it difficult to socialise and may have emotional or behavioural problems in and out of the classroom.  There may be a general feeling that the child is under-achieving even though they seem to be intelligent. 


Some of the primitive and postural reflexes are listed below along with the signs that may indicate reflex issues.

If you are concerned that you child may have some retained or underdeveloped reflexes check the child screening questionnaire on the home page and if you had seven or above yes answers then INPP may be able to help your child.


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