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What Are Primitive Reflexes?

It's no secret that the change in environment from the womb to the outside world is disruptive to infants. In order to survive at birth, babies become equipped with a set of reflexes (called primitive reflexes) to ensure quick and adequate responses to changes in the environment. These reflexes are automatic movements and not dependent on any thinking. 


Though the reflexes are needed for the baby’s survivalthey become unnecessary after infancy and should not remain present beyond about 12 months of age. If the reflexes are retained past 12 months, they can interfere with other movement patterns which help the child through development and cause many problems (see below). 

The main reflexes that we test at Charron Vision Therapy are listed here: 

Moro Reflex

Long term effects of retained Moro Reflex include:

  • Motion sickness, poor balance and coordination

  • Physical timidity

  • Ocular motor and perceptual problems (stimulus bound effect (can’t ignore irrelevant visual material within the field of vision to the eyes tend to be drawn to the perimeter or shape much to the detriment of the internal features)).

  • Photosensitivities (difficultly with black text on white paper)

  • Tires easily with fluorescent lights.

  • Poorly developed CO2 reflex

  • Dislike of change/surprise – poor adaptability

  • Difficulty shutting out background noise or hypersensitivities to specific sounds

  • Poor stamina

  • Adverse reactions to drugs/medications

asymmetric tonic reflex (ATNR)

Asymmetric Tonic Neck Reflex

Long term effects of retained Asymmetric Tonic Reflex (ATNR) include:

Symmetric Tonic Neck Reflex

Long term effects of retained Symmetric Tonic Reflex (STNR) include:

  • Poor posture

  • Tendency to “slump” when sitting, particularly at a desk or table

  • Simian (ape like) walk

  • “W” leg position when sitting on the floor

  • Poor eye-hand coordination (messy eater, “clumsy child” syndrome)

  • Difficulties with readjustment of binocular vision (cannot easily change focus from board to desk)

  • Slowness at copying tasks

Tonic Labyrinth Reflex

Long term effects of retained Tonic Labyrinth Reflex (TLR) include:

Spinal Galant Reflex

Long term effects of retained Spinal Galant Reflex include:

  • Fidgeting

  • Bedwetting

  • Poor concentration

  • Poor short term memory

  • Hip rotation to one side when walking

Schedule Evaluation

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