chapter  7
26 Pages

Primitive or baby reflexes

WithJill Christmas

Reflexes are early inbuilt automatic movement patterns, some of which start in the womb, and are a normal part of early development. The Moro reflex is present as early as the first nine or ten weeks in the womb and is normally inhibited within two to four months in the young baby. It is elicited in response to an incoming, usually unexpected or unpleasant stimulus. The consequences of a strongly retained Moro or 'flight, fight or fear' startle reflex may be observed in some children with autistic spectrum disorders who appear to be experiencing a high level of underlying stress. An Asymmetrical tonic neck reflex (ATNR) is an automatic whole body movement pattern which emerges in the womb and remains present up to approximately six months after a baby's birth. A retained Symmetrical tonic neck reflex (STNR) may be present in children with a developmental coordination disorder or motor dyspraxia.