Primitive reflexes are reflex, involuntary movements that originate in the brain stem and occur without conscious control. They are present at birth and are important for survival in the first year of life, helping a baby to locate and attach to the breast, to suck and to swallow. Typically, these reflexes are inhibited by the natural development of the brain and are replaced by more mature postural reflexes. Postural reflexes control balance, coordination and sensory motor development.
Sometimes primitive reflexes can be retained beyond the normal age, suggesting an immaturity of the central nervous system (CNS). Studies of school-aged children have found immature motor skills and postural instability associated with the retention of some of the primitive reflexes.
At the Children’s Osteopathic Centre, Rhythmic Movement Training (RMT) is utilised to treat retained primitive reflexes in children of all ages. Movements are practised for a few minutes each day, over a period of months. Most parents find RMT to be a cost- and time-effective way to help strengthen their child’s neurological foundations. It may be suitable for children suffering from anxiety, struggling with formal learning (including dyslexia), low muscle tone, poor balance and posture, as well as children with ADD/ADHD and ASD.