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Arch Med Sci. 2018 Jan;14(1):167-173. doi: 10.5114/aoms.2016.60503. Epub 2016 Jun 13.

Persistence of primitive reflexes and associated motor problems in healthy preschool children.

Author information

Rehabilitation Developmental Laboratory, Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, Medical University of Wroclaw, Wroclaw, Poland.
Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, Medical University of Wroclaw, Wroclaw, Poland.



Retained primitive reflexes can disturb natural development and involve difficulties in social and educational children's life. They can also impact on psychomotor development. Mature responses in a child's psychomotor progress can only occur if the central nervous system itself has reached maturity. The process consist the transition made from brain stem reflex response to cortically controlled response. This study define the occurrence of primitive reflexes in healthy 4-6 years old children and analyze the impact of survived primitive reflexes on psychomotor development.

Material and methods:

The study involved 35 participants aged 4-6 years healthy preschool children. The study tools were: primitive reflexes tests by Sally Goddard for children and Motor Proficiency - Test (MOT 4-6 test) in 18 tasks.


Over a half (65%) preschool children had survived the primitive reflexes on the residual level. Eleven percent of them had no retained primitive reflexes. According to the psychomotor ability, 9% of the children were in the category of "altered development", 29% in "delayed development", 59% in "normal" and 3% in "very good development". The greater the severity of the reflex, the motor efficiency was lower (p < 0.05).


It seems reasonable to introduce reflexes integration therapy in children's with low psychomotor skills. Primitive reflexes routinely tested, can contribute to improved early psychomotor development in children with needs, thus preventing many difficulties which children can encounter within their social and school life.


MOT 4–6; preschool children; primitive reflexes; psychomotor development

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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