Primary Reflexes

Primary Reflexes


Did you know our earliest movement patterns affect our personality throughout life? These infant movement patterns or ‘primary reflexes’ play a critical role in sensory processing. Primary reflexes must be addressed early on so they are properly integrated into our personalities.

What are Primary Reflexes?

Primary reflexes are fetal and then infant movement reflexes that are critical to the survival of the newborn. When a newborn grasps a finger that is placed in her palm, they are exhibiting a primary reflex. Other examples include the Moro Reflex ( fight or flight reaction), STNR ( the crawling reflex ) and the Palmer Reflex.

Why are Primary Reflexes Important to Our Everyday Living?

They help us survive as infants but the infant reflexes that aren’t integrated successfully can lead to delay in development. If primary reflexes continue late in infancy they can help form issues with concentration, balance, intellectual learning, sensory perception, coordination, fine motor skills and more.

What are the Problems Associated with Primary Reflexes?

Primitive reflexes that are retained after infancy can lead to developmental delays found in developmental disorders such as sensory processing disorder, autism, ADHD and learning disabilities.

For example the rooting reflex. The rooting reflex assists the infant in the act of breastfeeding. Rooting is triggered by the stroking of a baby’s cheek, which causes her to turn and open the mouth. If an infant retains the rooting primary reflex for longer than four months it may result in her having issues with poor articulation, issues with solid foods and thumb sucking.

If you would like to learn more about primary reflexes and how they relate to developmental disorders such as sensory processing disorder, autism, ADHD and learning disabilities, contact Dr. Leah Light in our Hollywood, Florida medical offices at (954) 987-8887 or click here.