Primitive Reflexes: What’s behind my child’s Sensory Issues and Developmental Delays

By: Integrated Learning Strategies

Low birth weight infants have stronger retained reflexes and a higher incidence of delayed motor development compared to normal term infants. This is due to the immature central nervous system, which can lead to a primitive reflex that holds on and doesn't integrate.

Reasons for retained primitive reflexes include low birth weight, prolonged or premature birth, trauma, severe illness, lack of tummy time, decreased ability to explore environment, and missing crawling stage.

The idea of a child retaining a reflex due to a traumatic birth or emergency C-section is logical as many reflexes are stimulated by passing through the birth canal. Other possible reasons for retained primitive reflexes include limiting the baby's ability to explore their environment, which improves their motor skills and allows them to develop higher-level cognitive skills. Lise Eliot's What's Going On In There suggests that brain activity is largely confined to subcortical structures, which are responsible for the characteristic reflexes of newborns.

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