The Correlation between Residual Primitive Reflexes and Clock Reading Difficulties in School-Aged Children-A Pilot Study

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2023 Jan 28;20(3):2322. doi: 10.3390/ijerph20032322.


The aim of the pilot project was to research relationships between the occurrence and level of intensity of primitive reflexes in primary school children, the ability to read an analogue clock and to tell the time. A group of 28 children (14 girls and 14 boys) who attended Montessori Primary School was examined. In the first stage, participants were assessed for the presence of five primitive reflexes (PR): the asymmetrical tonic neck reflex (ATNR), symmetrical tonic neck reflex (STNR), spinal Galant reflex, tonic labyrinthine reflex (TLR) and Palmar grasp reflex. Romberg's test was employed to identify signs of difficulties with control of balance and/or proprioception. In the second stage, pupils underwent tests that challenged their ability to read a clock and calculate passing time. After summing up points obtained for all tests, a correlation coefficient was made from which the results were derived. There is a negative correlation between the ability to read an analogue clock and the continued presence of some primitive reflexes. Lower neuromotor maturity (higher points of PR) correlates with lower ability to read a clock. The highest correlations between difficulty with telling the time were found with persistence of the STNR, ATNR and Romberg's test.

Keywords: children; clock; developmental disorders; dyscalculia; neuromotor development; primitive reflexes.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Dyslexia* / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Reflex
  • Reflex, Abnormal*

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.