Retained Neonatal Reflexes

Reflexes are predictable and unconscious motor reactions that occur in response to stimuli which are mostly protective in nature. Primitive or neonatal reflexes are involuntary actions developed by the brain during infancy to help survival, for example breastfeeding, movement and grasping, but which should disappear with age. As the brain develops these reflexes are overridden by the higher order thinking centres as certain milestones are reached. Some reflexes are not desirable in the older child or adult and may indicate under-development of parts of the brain. This can affect areas involved in speech, learning, movement and social intelligence if the neonatal reflexes are not integrated or inhibited in children.