Coffee Talk Primitive Reflexes


Shane: Hi, and welcome to another Coffee Talk at Austin Community Wellness! This is me and Dr. Sarah here. I’ve got some questions for her today about primitive reflexes. Here we go! So, Dr. Sarah, what are primitive reflexes?


Dr. Sarah: Primitive reflexes are reflexes that you’re born with. They should go away at different milestones in a child’s life. Sometimes brain injuries or developmental delay can actually bring these back or prevent these from actually fully going away in a child. So, these are all the things that we are looking for with primitive reflexes.


Shane: Cool! Why is it important for these to be checked?


Dr. Sarah: I actually check primitive reflexes on every child exam that I do. I test for these mainly because they are predictors of neurodevelopmental delays in children, and there are a lot of exercises that can be done that can actually help these go away like they’re supposed to. That’s kind of the importance behind them.


Shane: Okay, so if a child has these reflexes present does it mean they are delayed?


Dr. Sarah: So, if they have the reflexes present it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are developmentally delayed. There are different body types and different developmental timeframes that children have, but for us it’s a really good indicator of how we can help introduce exercises that help with that neurodevelopmental period of time. I use these reflexes as a baseline so that I can get a really good idea of where I’m going to focus with this child.


Shane: Okay, then why isn’t it good to skip these milestones?


Dr. Sarah: Milestones are super important. Skipping steps basically means that the brain is not developing in certain areas. So, by making sure a child goes from crawling to using their hands to pick themselves up on furniture to letting go and walking, these are all very pivotal points for brain development so that synapses can be created between the left- and right-hand side of the brain. This allows the brain to communicate better. So, when we have kids that are skipping these steps, they are also skipping the building of these synapses. As far as primitive reflexes are concerned, we look at these to try to make sure that we are hitting all the steps and if they are not, we can then introduce exercises to help them get back on track.


Shane: It sounds like a pretty important thing to look at in kids. I’m glad we’re able to talk about it here. Alright, well thanks for your time, guys. We’ll see you again, thank you.  Also read my other article on Cranio Sacral Therapy here

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