Retained Primitive Reflexes

Occupational Therapy Retained Reflexes

There are many times when a child is struggling to gain sensory-motor, academic, self-care, or social-emotional skills despite receiving traditional therapy services and/or additional academic support. In some cases, this is the result of retained primitive reflexes. Primitive reflexes are a normal and necessary aspect of child development, as they are automatic movements that teach a child to move their bodies and attain motor milestones. In some children, these reflexes do not integrate fully, continuing to be activated by sensory input. This results in automatic movements at an age when they are no longer appropriate, and negatively impact the development of motor skills, social-emotional skills, visual perceptual skills, academics, behavioral regulation, and attention/focus. An occupational therapy program focused on integrating these primitive reflexes will allow the child to develop a mature sensory system to gain skills expected for a child their age.