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Primitive Reflexes

What are primitive reflexes?

The foundation of a child’s ability to learn & develop starts with their primitive reflexes. In their first few months of life, primitive reflexes — the reflex actions in the central nervous system — are essential for their brain development. To a parent, primitive reflexes such as these can appear very basic:

  • responding to food
  • tilting or moving their head
  • grabbing with their fingers
  • posture
  • crawling

These subtle movements are signs of a healthy newborn. In the course of their development, children should integrate these basic primitive reflexes and no longer display them after 5-7 months.

However, retained primitive reflexes can result either from a problem at birth or during those initial few months. Retained primitive reflexes can occur from something small like a lack of crawling to something more severe like a fall or head injury. If the body’s initial development does not integrate these primitive reflexes within the proper time frame, a child can struggle with:

  • hypersensitivity
  • poor eye-hand coordination
  • poor balance
  • poor motor development
  • poor posture
  • inability to sit still
  • speech problems

Even if a child has retained primitive reflexes, fortunately, there are ways to assess and retrain the brain using vision therapy, and ultimately create the neural pathways necessary to integrate them.

To learn more about vision therapy, contact Shelburne Primary EyeCare today.

Shelburne Primary EyeCare serves patients from Shelburne, Melancthon, Alliston, and Collingwood, all throughout Dufferin County.