Primitive Reflex Activity in Relation to the Sensory Profile in Healthy Preschool Children

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Nov 6;17(21):8210. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17218210.


The presence of active primitive reflexes (APRs) in healthy preschool children can be an expression of immaturity in the functioning of the nervous system. Their trace presence may not significantly affect the quality of child functioning. They may also undergo spontaneous and complete integration within the stages of child development. However, a higher level of active reflexes and their significant number can disturb sensory-motor development and lead to additional problems in a child's motor activities, social life, and education. The main purpose of this study was to examine the types of sensory disorders noticed by parents of children, if any, that accompany the presence of active primitive reflexes. The study was conducted in a group of 44 preschool children (aged 4-6 years). The sensory profile of children was determined using Child Sensory Profile Cards, and Sally Goddard-Blythe tests were used to measure their primitive reflexes. The coefficient of determination (R-squared) indicated that the level of reflex activity was most strongly associated with sensory disorders such as dyspraxia, sensory-vestibular disorders, and postural disorders, at a level of p < 0.005. The obtained research results show that the examination of non-integrated reflexes might be a screening tool for children of preschool age. Knowledge of the subject of reflexes and their impact on sensory-motor functions may contribute to more accurate diagnoses of the causes of problems and higher effectiveness of possible therapy.

Keywords: neurodevelopment; preschool children; primitive reflexes; sensory profile.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reflex
  • Reflex, Abnormal*