Are Retained Reflexes holding you or your child back? Could Neurodevelopmental Therapy help?

by admin / 15 October 2017 / No Comments

What are Retained Primitive Reflexes?

In the womb and in the early stages of infancy, when the decision making processes have not fully developed, your function and survival are ensured by a host of reflexes called ‘primitive’ reflexes. They stimulate effective growth and development and play a crucial role in keeping you safe. For example, they help you in the birthing process, breast feeding and gripping onto things. As you mature, these reflexes are no longer needed so they inhibit to allow the higher brain to take over control. This is an essential and ‘neural-typical’ stage of your development, allowing you to perform the more complex tasks required in learning, movement control, emotional maturity and social interactions. However, it is becoming increasingly more common for these reflexes to remain present. As a consequence of this, your nervous system may automatically react inappropriately and undesirably in certain situations. This can adversely affect your development, learning and behaviour and is referred to as Retained Primitive Reflexes.

How would I recognise this in myself or my children?

If retained, the reflexes can play havoc with our ability to function effectively and age-appropriately. Often, this can present as ASD’s, dyslexia and dyspraxia type symptoms but also a myriad of symptoms of developmental delay including immature behaviour, shyness, speech & language difficulties, poor focus, concentration & classroom learning, weak pencil grip, poor sleep patterns and even a difficult relationship with food and digestion. There may also have been indicators in the early stages such as a delayed or difficult birth, feeding/ latching issues, reflux, delayed speech, teething or walking, failure to crawl (or bum shufflers), W-sitting, toe walking and a general failure to thrive.

The treatment programme

It is a very straightforward assessment process to establish if the primitive reflexes have indeed been retained. Once a profile of the reflexes has been built in the initial assessment, the treatment is then a series of neural stimulation programmes that are delivered at home in the morning and evening – it takes less than 5 minutes. It’s then necessary to follow-up 6 weeks later.

Jo Rodhouse

Jo Rodhouse

Jo Rodhouse (BSc Hons) is a qualified and insured Neuro Developmental Therapist practising out of Thame Therapy Clinic and the Castle Street Clinic, High Wycombe.

For more information call the clinic on 01844 215555  or email: or visit

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