The Importance of Retained Reflexes in Developmental Delays

by Sally Goddard Blythe Ever wonder why babies startle, grasp your finger or turn their heads toward an out-stretched arm?  These behaviors are primitive reflexes that emerge as early as nine weeks in utero, and are fully present at birth. Primitive reflexes are automatic movements, executed without thinking. They assist in the birthing process, are essential for the infant¹s survival in the first months of life, and provide training for many later skills. Primitive reflexes are considered “aberrant,” however, if they remain active beyond age 6 – 12 months.  They should be inhibited by the brain, allowing more sophisticated neural structures to develop. The continued presence of any of twelve primitive and postural reflexes is a sign of central nervous system (CNS) immaturity, which can have a profound impact upon a child¹s development, learning and behavior. What Do Retained Reflexes Have to Do with Learning and Behavior? Motor control lays the foundation for learning and self-control.  We acquire new skills…