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What are Primitive Reflexes?

baby crawling, primitive reflex

Each one of us is born with a set of primitive reflexes. These reflexes are involuntary signals from the brain that help us learn to move. It's the reason why all babies go through the same series of movement patters, such as rolling, sitting, crawling, and cruising.  


Primitive reflexes typically disappear within the first year of life.  If these reflexes persist, they can hinder higher level skills from developing. As a result, a child may appear clumsy, have difficulty sitting still, or struggle with coordinating their upper and lower body together, impeding their ability to play on the playground or be proficient in sports.  Higher level skills will also be effected, such as eye-hand coordination, visual functioning, and perceptual skills. As this child ages, these difficulties can impact their feelings of self-confidence, decrease frustration tolerance and impede executive functioning from developing. 

Retained reflexes can sometimes be misdiagnosed as, or may exist in combination with, attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  For this reason it's critical for a child with retained reflexes to be identified correctly, so that these retained reflexes can be treated.  Otherwise, the child will always be compensating and will developing splinter skills. 


SMART Pediatrics uses the Masgutova Method ("MNRI") to support the integration process of primary motor reflex patterns. MNRI primary motor reflex pattern techniques alone have the power to improve general function. For even greater, long term results, SMART Pediatrics combines reflex integration techniques with sensory motor integration activities.


The correction of dysfunctional motor patterns can profoundly and positively change a child's behavior and improve self-confidence in regard to their bodies and ability to engage with their peers.  


An individual who demonstrates basic integrated sensory-motor reflexes and primary movements is ready to:

  • learn more advanced motor skills

  • respond to multiple and diverse stimuli

  • attain higher levels of cognitive development.

To learn more about the MNRI technique, click the link below

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