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Primitive Reflexes and Early Motor Development

BARTLETT, DOREEN M.Sc.P.T.
Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: June 1997
Original Articles: PDF Only

ABSTRACT.

To investigate the relationship between primitive reflexes and typical early motor development, 156 full-term infants with normal 18-month developmental outcomes were assessed using a modified Primitive Reflex Profile (PRP) and the Alberta Infant Motor Scale (AIMS) at 6 weeks and 3 and 5 months. No significant positive or negative correlations were obtained between the scores of the PRP and the AIMS at any of the ages assessed. Similarly, PRP scores did not differ between infants scoring above and below the 50th percentile on the AIMS. Primitive reflexes were unrelated to motor development. If this finding is maintained among infants at risk for motor disability, observational assessment of spontaneously generated movement, rather than isolated testing of primitive reflexes, might yield more valuable information on the child's overall level of maturation. Intervention for children with identified motor delays or neurological impairments might not need to be focused on either suppression or enhancement of these motor functions.

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.