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Can the way you give birth put your child at risk?

by HEALTH talk

Well, according to Ruth Perrot of VisionCare Development the answer is yes. Ruth is an Optometrist who has many years’  experience in Behavioural or Developmental Optometry and here she talks in some depth about Primitive Retained Reflexes

What are Primitive Retained Reflexes?

Primitive retained reflexes are automatic stereo-typical movements initiated from the brainstem and which require no conscious thought.

They are needed for the survival and development of the foetus before and during birth and in the early months of the baby’s life.

However, as higher functioning, more sophisticated areas of the brain develop, any retained reflexes can become a nuisance and must be integrated, for the proper neurological organization of the brain to fully develop.

What happens if Primitive Retained Reflexes are not integrated?

If the Retained Reflexes are retained past the first twelve months of life, they can interfere with academic, social, and motor (muscle) learning.

Basically, the perception of our inner and outer environment and our response to it may be disrupted; that is, conscious thought and life may be disturbed.

Children with learning disorders, ADHD, Autism Spectrum and various other neurodevelopmental disorders are known to have primitive retained reflexes, which contribute to their symptoms and the level of dysfunction.

Each retained reflex is associated with one or more of the Sensory Processing Systems:

  • Visual
  • Auditory
  • Taste
  • Tactile
  • Smell
  • Vestibular
  • Proprioceptive and/or Interoceptive

Therefore, if primitive reflexes are retained, a child/person may experience dysfunction within one or several of the sensory processing systems.

This can lead to what is known as Sensory Processing Disorder.

Causes of retained Primitive Retained Reflexes

Children born via caesarean section, who have experienced foetal trauma, toxicity exposure, anaesthetics, etc. are more at risk at having retained primitive reflexes.

Other causes that may contribute to associated developmental problems are :

Insufficient tummy time as an infant

Lack of, or little, creeping or crawling

  • Early walkers
  • Head injuries
  • Excessive falls
  • Chronic ear infections.

Assessment and Treatment

After an initial assessment, specific movement and exercise programmes are offered at VisionCare Development, which allows primitive reflexes to be inhibited- allowing for proper neurological development to take place.

The long-term results of such treatment are better social behaviour, an improvement in academic and motor (muscle) learning and an overall improvement in physical health, emotional health, and overall wellbeing.

Inhibition of Primitive Retained Reflexes will also help develop a stronger and healthier functioning Sensory Processing system.

VisionCare Development specialises in developing the visual skills of children and adults who have reading and writing difficulties.

Additionally, anyone who is experiencing vision problems following a brain or eye injury, or has problems with double vision or a lazy eye will benefit from our knowledge and vision development experience.

For more information visit VisionCare Development or call 01904 261126.


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About The Author

Smalltalk Magazine

Since 2005 Smalltalk Magazine is a printed A4 information magazine aimed at parents, distributed throughout the Yorkshire region. Printed 6 times a year it is distributed free to over 300 parent-friendly locations in the area. Full of useful and informative articles about family life.