Retained primitive reflexes affect learning and behaviour

Our son was delivered at 37 weeks by emergency C-section due to pre-eclampsia and a placental abruption. He was a demanding baby who never slept through the night, but was otherwise 'normal' - whatever that is! When he went to nursery they told us he had difficulty interacting with other children and was obsessed with sharpening pencils! When he was 4 years old he commenced Reception at a private school and experienced a lot of difficulties. We were informed that he found academic tasks extremely challenging and very tiring, that he had problems with social interaction and was obsessed with uncertainty and the colour yellow. He hated the school bell and always covered his ears when it rang. The teacher sat him away from the main peer group, facing the wall, and a yellow spot was used to mark his place on the floor. She told us that he was 'not normal' and that she had never experienced such a difficult child before. We were advised to consult an Educational Psychologist and find another school for him. Details of a residential school for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders were passed to us. We consulted an Educational Psychologist and moved him to a state school because other local private schools rejected us. The Educational Psychologist felt that he fitted somewhere under the umbrella of autistic spectrum disorders, but was very mild. The school advised us to get a medical diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome in order to apply for a statement of special educational needs. We obtained the diagnosis, but were refused a statement! We were simply advised to join the Autistic Society. He was made very welcome at his new school and settled in well. We read Tony Attwood's book on Aspergers Syndrome but failed to recognise our son. A friend suggested that we take him to see a Chiropractor. The Chiropractor could tell that he had been manhandled at birth and urged us to consult a Homeopath, whose holistic system could help him to change his behaviour and realise his full potential. Soon after commencing these two treatments we began to get very positive feedback from his teachers. Most noticeable was the disappearance of his obsession with the colour yellow and with uncertainty. The Homeopath suggested that I read "Reflexes, Learning and Behaviour - A Window Into the Child's Mind" by Sally Goddard, and here I finally recognised my son! I learned that in order to survive, each baby is equipped with a set of primitive reflexes designed to insure immediate response to its new environment and changing needs. Primitive reflexes are automatic movements directed from the brain stem and are essential for the baby's survival in the first few weeks of life. They should however have a limited life-span and, having helped the baby survive the first hazardous months of life, be inhibited to allow postural reflexes to take over. In some children primitive reflexes can be retained and cause developmental delay. It is not known why this happens but a difficult birth is thought to be a contributing factor, and children born by C-Section who do not "unscrew" through the birth canal are thought to be at higher risk. Retained primitive reflexes can cause a wide variety of difficulties including motion sickness; poor balance and co-ordination; allergies and lowered immunity; poor stamina; frequent ear, nose and throat infections; speech difficulties; hadwriting difficulties; fidgeting; bedwetting; poor posture; difficulty learning to swim; poor attention; poor social skills; auditory problems; poor spelling; poor reading; poor adaptablility etc etc etc! ( The Homeopath referred us to Frances Emmett 01494 881600, a Neuro-Therapist based near Henley, and she diagnosed Neuro-Developmental Delay. This meant that our son had a cluster of retained primitive reflexes, the strongest being the Moro Reflex which left him with an exaggerated startle reaction causing him to over-react to certain stimuli. Hence all the difficulties at school! We embarked on an 18-month daily exercise programme designed to shut down the aberrant reflexes, and a completely different child started to emerge! We were eventually able to get him re-assessed by the Paediatrician and have the diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome withdrawn. Once this was complete he underwent a course of Vision Therapy with Owen Leigh, Behavioural Optometrist 01730 710174, to improve his visual skills, focus and concentration. Our son is now in Year 9 and was awarded a scholarship last year. He is mature and focussed and doing extremely well academically. He is very independent, fit and healthy and sleeps well! He has not needed to see a doctor for many years and has not taken any anti-biotics or any other allopathic medicine. Our second son was also born by C-Section and we discovered that he had co-ordination and handwriting difficulties. He too was diagnosed with retained primitive reflexes and has also successfully shut them down. Both boys attend a school where the principal knows all about primitive reflexes. Because they are so common, all children are routinely screened in the primary school and an exercise programme is offered in school to those children who require it. This is very progressive and the reason why we chose the school. There has been a very great increase in the number of children being labelled with various 'syndromes' and I wonder how many simply have retained primitive reflexes that could be dealt with using this non-invasive approach?

Thank you so much, you have given me hope!
My son was just diagnosed as having retained primitive reflexes today and I have been in a state of distress wondering what is ahead for him, but reading this has given me hope that he will move past this and have a 'normal' life.
Incidentally, his birth was induced. I have read that RPR is often caused by trauma.
Thank you, Diane.

Thanks for your message.
I can give you even more hope - my son received the Headteacher's Award for Outstanding Contribution in all areas of school life at at the end of last term!
Regards Margaret

Thankyou so much!
My son was diagnosed with this last week and I have been so upset, not knowing what is in store for him! I am so happy to hear thatthere is hope for my wee man, I am glad it all worked out for you:) He was born naturally but I was sick during my pregnancy, one of my kidneys started to fail and he was almost 3 weeks overdue and posterior. I ticked almost all of the symptoms you mentioned earlier.

I am so pleased that you now realise that you are not alone and that there is plenty that you can do safely and non-invasively to help him overcome this. The great news is that your son has been correctly diagnosed - many others slip through the net! Good luck.

Margaret, I came across your post..I am researching the problem of RPR, since my son, 19 months is having some developmental delays and I suspect that they may be due to RPR. He was also born via a c section. You mentioned in your post that you son had undergone an 18 month program to get rid of his RPR, I wonder what that program consisted of, who administered it. I live in the US and am looking for ways to help my son. Could you please e-mail me at Thank you so much in advance.


Thank you for this great post, although we knew that my son had retained reflexes as he has been in a program for the last year, we now have found that he is dyslexic as well!  Its a wonder that he has so far managed to achieve anything yet he has!


I am really keen to spread the word that once started on a program (not medicated!) so many things start to improve and my son is already a different boy, we have a way to go but there is definately light at the end of the tunnel.  If only more schools and teachers knew and understood these symptoms and behaviours then perhaps more children would get help.


Many thanks for such a positive post


Dear Beckie

Thanks for your message and I agree with you wholeheartedly!

My boys continue to go from strength to strength.  The eldest has started sixth form having completed his GCSEs.  He held down a busy holiday job during the summer and has been invited back next summer.  Neither have taken any form of medication for years and they are both fit and healthy. 

It takes determination to stick with it but the results speak for themselves. Keep spreading the word!

Best wishes


 Dear Margaret,

not every day I come across such an inspiring story, well done to you and your children!

I wanted to sk however about the chiropractor and the homeopathy treatment, what did they treat and at what age was your son when you started with therapy.


Also from your story I gather your son had difficulties with social communication and was wondering how verbal was he at the point of dx?


Thanks so much for sharing your story again.



Hi Svetlana

My son was about 5 or 6 when he first saw the Chiropractor and Homeopath.  Their treatment is holistic and so they do not treat anything specifically - just the person as a whole.  We have continued treatment ever since - around twice a year.  My son was late starting to talk - he was around 2 1/2 or 3 before he started to make any sense, but by the time he started school he had an above average vocabulary.  He has never been good at making friends up until recently, but has never felt lonely.  English is now his favourite subject at school and he would like to write a book.  He is very eloquent.  

My second son saw the Chiropractor a little earlier.  After his very first treatment he suddenly started to talk non-stop in the car on the way home!  It was as if someone has turned a switch on!  The next day after nursery the teachers called me aside to say that they had seen a huge change in him that day and that he had been very talkative.  They couldn't believe it when I explained why! 

I hope this answers your queries?

Best wishes, Margaret

Dear Margaret,

Could you please tell me the exercises that your sons did to get rid of the primitive reflexes?  Thank you.


 Hi Margaret,

Thanks so much for this info. I can't understand why this disorder has never been mentioned to me. I have 4 boys, 3 of them triplets who were 11 weeks premature and in nicu/scbu for 6 weeks. The middle triplet who is now 6 displays every one of these symptoms. I am not sure where to turn now for help as we live in Spain so it would be great to know what exercises you used. I shall definitely take him to my homeopath and to see a chiropractor also as you found these beneficial. It's great to know his issues can be overcome as I do often worry about him falling behind his brothers, so again, thank you.

Kind regards,


Hi Rachel

I agree, I find it really frustrating that this excellent treatment isn't in the public domain. 

Take a look on this website  There is a book called 'Reflexes, Learning and Behaviour' by Sally Goddard (you will find it on the website) and it contains all the exercises.

You could also look at this website  We did our exercises with Frances, she is a lovely lady and I am sure if you contacted her she may be able to point you to somewhere in Spain where you could get help.

I'm so pleased you found me and I'm sure that your son's issues will be overcome.  

Best wishes


Hi again Rachel

I forgot to add that I have since discovered the importance of a traditional nutrient-dense diet and recommend this website

Best wishes



Very comforted to read these posts.  My 8 year old daughter (born at 42 weeks by C/S) has just been diagnosed with retained Moro reflexes. She has huge emotional mood swings/outbursts (far more so and far more regular than the average 8 year old girl!) and cannot deal with uncertainty and 'what if ...' hypothetical situations and has high anxiety. I have just had a consultation at the David Mulhall Centre in South London and wonder if anyone has any knowledge on David's practice?  He devises a programme of 'body brushing' which is to be done at home for 10 mins twice a day for a period of up to 9 months.  This apparently 'releases' the reflexes.  I can only liken it to cranio for babies I guess? Wonder if anyone can through any more light on it?   Should I look to complement it with homeopathy? She also has 'eye tracking' issues which seem to be resulting in very poor spelling and handwriting (although oddly she devours books and has absolutely no problems with reading).  Is it right that the special optimeric glasses are worn for around 6 months and the tracking issues then disappear?

Thank you so much for any advice anyone can offer! Best regards.

We have done brushing.  This was recommended by the Occupational Therapist.  Whilst everything helped a bit, we decided to take a break from Occupational Therapy (and brushing) to do Neuro Therapy instead, despite being warned that it would not (could not even?) work.  However it worked wonders, particularly with the Moro Reflex and when we revisited the Occupational Therapist afterwards she did have the good grace to admit it.  So, brushing can help, but we had better results with Neuro Therapy.  The vision therapy we did was a series of exercises that also worked wonders.  My son now wears yellow tinted glasses for reading.  Homeopathy works alongside all of this.  At times of stress the Moro can return and the homeopathic remedies really help.

Best wishes



Thank you so much for this. Our daughter was over due, but came after a very speedy home birth and was a 'blue' baby.  She still doesn't walk although she will be 2 next month, and Great Ormond Street are unable to diagnose her balance, vision, co-ordination issue.  We took her to the B.I.R.D centre in Chester - which is miles away from us, but they are a charity who did quite a few tests on her and have diagnosed her as having retained all of her primitive reflexes more or less.  We don't know whether this is the source of all of her problems but we know it must be the reason for at least some of them.  We have started the programme, but with her age it is a bit difficult keeping her in the prescribed positions and she does cry sometimes to be forced into different poses etc.  However we are persevering. 

I would like to know the name of your Homeopath, I am wondering whether Homeopathy can compliment her treatment?

Thanks so much


Hi Connie

I am so pleased that you are making progress at last.

Sadly our wonderful Homeopath passed away suddenly and unexpectedly this time last year.  However, we have found a new one, Anita Happs RSHom, 01344 867 411 and would recommend her.  I think Homeopathy is an essential complimentary treatment. 

Best of luck, and do keep perservering - I know it can be difficult at times, but so worth it in the end.  The Homeopathy can really help and support you too!

Best wishes


 Hi all,

I'm also thankful to see these posts. My daughter is going on 6 and has just done her first year at school. I've been on a long journey these past 3 to 4 years of homeopathy and now neuro developmental therapy, she is just 6 days into the programme which sounds the same, it lasts 12-18 months and she has retained moro, atnr and other reflexes, I haven't got the full report yet. It's been really fantastic to meet a therapist who can shed light on this as i was heading in the direction of a diagnosis, probably aspergers though homeopathy has lessened a lot of the behaviour, school is overwhleming not so much academically but socially.

Today I was at the school sports day and although my daughter has come on a lot I was sad to see she drifts away from the group a lot and doesn't seem to follow the plot of what is happening. For people who don't know her she appears 'not with it' but I know she is very intelligent and creative and fun and i find it so hard to watch her in those social situations. I came away today really hoping it would be enough, all that we are doing and after reading this i feel much reassured.

I'd also like to say that it seems in some cases even with a natural birth, my daughter was born at home, with no interventions or anything at all, these things are genetic and passed on. I'm really thankful to hear of other children doing so well. I am going to continue with homeopathy and neuro developmental therapy and I'd be grateful to hear of any other specific therapies which others have used in conjunction with these. 

Grateful Mother 


Hi Shiv

I'm so pleased you have found these posts encouraging.

My advice is to stick with the programme for the full 12-18 months no matter how tedious it can become! It is also best not to do more than one therapy at a time. What you are doing is perfect. You will see the benefits in years to come. The worst thing I ever did was follow advice to get a diagnosis! Your daughter does not need a label! She is a unique and special person and she will develop into a well rounded adult if you carry on with what you are doing, especially the homeopathy. Also pay special attention to diet - a traditional nutrient dense one with plenty of nourishing fats - no vegetable oils! Unpasteurised organic butter or coconut oil is best. Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates.

Very best wishes

 Hi Margaret,


I have been really encouraged to hear your story. My son has been doing a neuro developmental programme through a chiropractor for 12 months now, prior to that he was diagnosed with RPR. He was born by c- section as he was breech and did not feed at all well, lost loads of weight  and was basically an extremely unhappy baby who did not thrive. However, by 18 months he seemed to be over his problems and other than some gagging issues was fine. He loved nursery and reception and I was told that he was an exceptional child at the end of his reception year and honestly thought all his problems had been overcome. How wrong could I be. Within 4 months of starting year 1 he was a completely different child. He couldn't learn to read and write, was becoming incresingly distressed, developed behavioural problems and had involuntary movements. At times he seemed demented and I was really worried that he may have a brain tumour or a degenerative brain condition as he had gone downhill so fast. He certainly looked as if he had ASD.


I am pleased to report that things are very different now. The neuro work has been extremely effective though at times very difficult for all of us and he has started to be able to learn normally. His main issues now seem to be inattentiveness and fine motor skills. He is also physically smaller than I would expect and I am not convinced his gut is as it should be. 


I wondered if you thought I should add in homeopathy to help? He is currently taking fish oils and zinc, magnesium and bvits ( recommended by the neurodevelopmental therapist) and eats a good diet ( most of the time!), a cooked protein breakfast every day, plenty of fruit and veg and balanced high quality carbs. No processed foods, e number or fizzy drinks.

Best Regards




Hi Amanda

I am sorry to hear that you have had such a challenging time, but thrilled that you are now making such good progress and that you have stuck with it! It isn't easy, but worth it in the end.

I would thoroughly recommend Homeopathy, and also suggest that you take a look at, and the book 'Nourishing Traditions' by Sally Fallon (available on Amazon) for sound nutritional advice. I am not a fan of supplements and fish oils are not all they are cracked up to be. I have discovered that modern nutritional advice is mostly incorrect and that it is better to return to traditional nutrition, and especially to traditional fats e.g. butter, which is highly nutritious and not unhealthy! There is politics involved here, but if you take a look at the research conducted by Dr Weston Price on the above website, all will become clear!

My family use Homeopathy and we never cease to be amazed at how effective and powerful it is.

You may also like to take a look at the work of Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride. You can google her, or her book 'Gut and Psychology Syndrome' is available on Amazon. She is also a member of the Weston A Price Foundation.

I hope this is helpful. Let me know if I can help further and keep up the good work!

Kind regards

Hi Rachel,

A group from Queen's University in N Ireland have done peer-review research on this. Their non-for-profit organisation is 'Primary Movement' My 8yr old daughter is following this program with encouraging results in less than 2 months. Looking forward to her next school report.

Good luck! Oonagh



Hi. I am an applied kinesiologist and have just attended a workshop to learn techniques which can very quickly assess whether a child has issues with retained reflexes and also correct the issues and remove the reflexes. This can happen in just one session. I urge parents to seek out a kinesiologist to help, one can be found through the Association of Systematic Kinesiologists.

This is great news. I'm a big fan of Kinesiology. My family have had allergies eliminated this way - no need to suffer when there is simple non-invasive therapy available!


can I ask the name of your homeopath and Chiropractor?


Please e- mail at:




Hello Margaret

How wonderful to find this website, I hope you can offer some advice.

My son (now 8) has been undergoing brushing at DMC for 8 months now, but although we saw some improvements early on nothing seems to be changing over the past few months and most of my son's issues still remain. 

We don't know whether to consider switching or complementing this programme, but it is very difficult to know what is the most successful.  My friend and I (another mum with a child on the DMC) have briefly looked at places such as Tinsley House, Jenn Clarke, Sound Learning Centre etc but we are frankly worried and confused.

My family currently live in Prague so it is very costly and disruptive to make the 4 weekly appointments in London.

Would you mind sending me an email with your experience and advice on actual places/people we should consider. As a family we are currently very worried.

Many thanks my details

Kate, I'm also in the us, my daughter has devlopmentL delays that are severe... She cannot sit or crawl or walk on her own at the age of 2years. I wondered if you have found any help in the US? Thanks...

You could contact INPP in the UK to find out who to contact in the US - they operate in many countries,, or I googled INPP USA and found this site - they may be able to help?





Hi! My son is having a lot of similiar symptoms and seems to have the MORO reflex. What are the homeopathic remedies? I am unable to find anyone near us that can point me in the right direction. I am going to order the 2 books someone mentioned earlier. I appreciate any help you can offer!!! My email is