Retained Primitive Reflexes

There are 8 primitive reflexes that can affect the development of a child

Moro Reflex  – Otherwise known as startle reflex. When a newborn is startled or receives sensory input, the arms will fly out and a baby curls up quickly crossing both arms and legs. This is an involuntary reflex and part of normal development that should disappear between 2-4 months of age. Because the reflex is triggered by sensory systems it can cause an array of problems if retained. 

Having a retained Moro Reflex can affect:-

  • Easily distracted
  • Hypersensitive to sensory stimulus
  • Or under sensitive to sensory stimulus
  • Overreacts
  • Impulsive or aggressive
  • Withdrawn, or shy
  • Emotional immaturity
  • Sensitive to light, sounds and touch
  • ADHD
  • ADD
  • Autism spectrum
  • Sensory disorders
  • Difficulty making friends
  • Depression
  • Health problems
  • Allergies or Asthma
  • Anger or Emotional outbursts
  • Poor balance or coordination
  • Poor digestion and or food sensitivities


The ATNR Reflex – Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex should be integrated and gone by about 6 months. If not, it can cause motor issues, reading , maths and other learning problems. 

Having a retained ATNR Reflex can affect:-

  • Hand eye coordination problems
  • Awkward walk
  • Difficulty in school
  • Immature handwriting
  • Difficulty in sports
  • Maths and reading issues
  • Poor balance
  • Eye, ear, foot and hand dominance not the same on both sides 
  • Difficulty in things that require crossing over the midline of the body
  • Shoulder neck and hip problems
  • Poor depth perception


Landau Reflex – Develops a few months after birth and should integrate at about 12 months. If this reflex remains, it can cause memory and motor issues.

Having a retained Landau reflex can affect:

  • Poor posture
  • Low muscle tone
  • Short term memory issues
  • Concentration problems
  • Organisation problems
  • Poor motor development
  • Tension in back of legs


Palmar Reflex can be noticed when a baby grips round an object that touches their palm. During infancy, it’s completely normal. It should however disappear when a baby is around 3-6 months. If it is retained it can cause many different problems.

Having a retained palmar reflex can affect:-

  • Slumpy posture when using hands
  • Anger issues
  • Speech and language issues
  • Dysgraphia
  • Bach aches when sitting down
  • Poor fine motor skills
  • Messy handwriting
  • Poor pencil grip
  • Sticks tongue out when using hands
  • Poor ability to put thoughts to paper


Rooting Reflex  – You will notice  in a newborn if you brush your finger down one side of the mouth, the baby will turn toward the stroke and open the mouth. This is normal but should integrate (disappear) by about 4 months.

Having a retained rooting reflex can affect:-

  • Speech and articulation problems
  • Difficulty swallowing and chewing
  • Hyper sensitive around mouth
  • Difficulty with textures and solid foods
  • Thumb sucking
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Thyroid problems and autoimmune tendency
  • Dexterity problems when talking


Spinal Galant – In infancy this reflex is important to help the baby out of the birth canal and also to urinate after birth. This reflex should integrate at 3-9 months as higher muscle control develops. Fidgeting and wiggling which can affect concentration and bed wetting can become a problem if this reflex is retained.

Having a retained Spinal Galant reflex can affect:-

  • Poor concentration
  • Attention problems
  • Bedwetting long after potty training
  • Fidgeting
  • Hip rotation
  • Chronic digestive issues
  • Short term memory problems


Tonic Labrynth – This reflex is the foundation for head control. A baby needs it to roll or crawl, then stand and walk. Usually integrates by 3.5 years otherwise can cause issues with neurological connections

Having a retained Tonic Labrynth reflex can affect:-

  • Poor balance
  • Poor posture
  • Difficulty paying attention when head down at a desk
  • Muscle tone issue
  • Dyspraxia
  • Poor sense of rhythm 
  • Walks on toes
  • Spacial issues
  • Bumps into things and peope more than others
  • Speech issues
  • Auditory difficulty / processing issues