primitive reflexes, Miss Jaime OT, retained reflexes, testing for retained reflexes

What do Retained Primitive Reflexes Look Like?

What are ReTAINED Primitive Reflexes? 

Primitive reflexes start to develop in utero and they actually help the baby get down the birth canal during labor. (Who knew!?) A reflex is an automatic motor response that is triggered by a stimulus.

These primitive reflexes assist the baby in their developmental milestones, helping them with things like breastfeeding, rolling and crawling. But if the reflexes don’t integrate (go away), they can hinder a child’s development. Retained reflexes can cause:

  • Sensitive to touch, sound, smell and taste
  • Balance issues, is clumsy, struggles with sports, runs into furniture
  • Freezes or is in constant fight or flight mode
  • Poor impulse control, easily distracted, severe mood swings
  • Can’t cross the midline, trouble with hand-eye coordination, struggles with fine motor
  • Has difficulty tracking when reading and writing
  • Poor posture, attention issues, wraps legs around chair, wets the bed after age 5
  • W-sitting, poor muscle control, toe walking

how Do YOU tell if your child has a retained reflex?

Get your Free Signs of Retained Reflexes:

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Get your Free Printable “Signs of Retention” Handout

The primitive reflex course from Integrated Learning Strategies teaches you how to test for each of the reflexes, as well as the exercises to do to help integrate them.

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Click here to sign up for the E-Course

TESTING The Moro Reflex

The Moro Reflex is usually present in infants 3 to 4 months. The child responds to a sudden loss of support by spreading their arms, then bringing them in, and crying. This reflex should be integrated by the age of 6 months. If the reflex does NOT integrate, the child may exhibit signs of distractibility, poor balance and coordination, emotional outbursts, food sensitivities, withdrawn behavior, or frequent car sickness.


A child attempting to pigeon walk, as part of the testing for a retained Moro Reflex. The child’s awkward arm position indicates that the reflex IS NOT yet integrated. Other signs of a retained Moro Reflex may be distractibility, balance and coordination difficulties, emotional outbursts, food sensitivities, frequent car sickness.  

An Integrated Moro Reflex:


Integrated Moro Reflex- the Cross Over Test

Are you intrigued?  You can sign up for the Retained Primitive Reflex Course here. These videos are showing two ways to test for the Moro Reflex, which should be integrated (gone) by 6 months of age. Looking at these videos, it’s easy to see which child has a retained Moro reflex. The other child has a simple time performing the exercises.

The Retained Primitive Reflex Course is available for early bird discount ($99.00) until March 19th.   After that, the course goes up to $127, and is available until April 1st.

Primitive Reflexes e-Course and Handbook includes the following:

  • More than 40 videos of personal instruction, testing for the reflexes and exercises to integrate the reflexes
  • 85-page digital handbook with signs and symptoms of primitive reflexes, myths about primitive reflexes, testing, and exercises
  • 7 charts and graphs that include parent observation sheets, exercise schedule, progress tracking sheets, learning and motor development checklists and much more
  • Private Facebook group where you can ask questions about testing or exercises, visit with other parents or OTs that have had similar experiences and receive additional instruction or training as needed.


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14 thoughts on “What do Retained Primitive Reflexes Look Like?

  1. Rebecca says:

    Hi, I have a 6.5 month old who can crawl on hands and knees and has begun standing and pulling up on things. However, he cant sit on his own yet. Is this a sign hes just a busy-body who doesnt want to sit? Or can skipping sitting and moving to crawling and standing first cause a retained reflex??

    • Jaime S says:

      Hi Rebecca! Nothing “causes” a retained reflex, but I think you want to look at his core strength. Ask your pediatrician about this. The good news is he’s still moving forward (and upward!) It’s also a good sign that he’s crawling on his hands and knees, as this is an important foundation for upper extremity stability and hand strength.

  2. Corinne says:

    Hi, on the page to download the Free Printable “Signs of Retention” Handout (which looks very helpful), it requires checking the box that you’ve read and agree to the Terms of Service, but there is no link to the Terms of Service, only to the Privacy Policy. Is the link broken, not there, or am I missing something? 🙂 Thanks!

    Hey Corinne – that handout it actually from a partner of mine, Integrated Learning Strategies. I will follow up with them!

  3. Molly Duran says:

    How long does it take on average to reintegrate these primitive reflexes? My 6 yr daughter has 4-5 primitive reflexes still, and we are working on the Moro. It’s been about a little over a month doing exercises 5-7x a week, and she is still showing the Moro. I feel we have a long road to integrate all of the primitive reflexes. Any tips ? Lastly, is there a certain order they should be done to integrate ? Thank you!

  4. Jason Sani says:

    Hi Miss Jaime,

    The videos are very interesting but I am wondering if you have the before and after videos of children who have successfully reintegrated the reflexes and are no longer present?

  5. Amy says:

    Hi, is this something an OT in mainstream ( like a major medical center) would check for , or is this not considered mainstream and would requires a consult with a private OT ?

    • Jaime S says:

      It is a good idea to ask the therapist. Different companies have different policies/ procedures. A school therapist would not check for this, but a medical facility or sensory clinic most likely would.

  6. JENNY says:

    I was reading about retained moro reflex. MY 1 YR old son get startled like he did when he was a small baby. How would I know the difference between a retained reflex and a spasm seizure??

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