Special Kids: Newsletter No 37
The day I learnt about Retained Primitive Reflexes
Many years ago, we had the opportunity to consult with Prof. John Rodda about our son Lucas. Our paediatrician had told us that Prof. Rodda was the person we needed to see, and so we braved the long queues at Baragwanath hospital to get his opinion. 

When we finally got through to see him, he had a group of students in attendance that he was teaching, and they started looking Lucas over. We hadn’t yet been given a clear diagnosis for Lucas’ condition, and up until then all we had been told was that he had been labeled ‘high-at-risk’. Prof. Rodda stood Lucas up, and watched him bear weight on his feet. He watched his little arms as he laid him flat on his back, and then on his sides. He grabbed him by the hands and pulled him forwards and tried to put something in his hand to grasp. Curious, I listened in on the chatter amongst the students and then asked Prof. Rodda what he was looking for. He explained how the reflexes he was exploring give clues as to what's going on in the brain. By observing Lucas’ involuntary primitive reflexes, he was able to demonstrate how many of these were present when they should have been dormant. It was with this interview that we were for the first time alerted as to what was to emerge, and to how Lucas’ development would unfold. Some of those primitive reflexes took years to disappear, and I still remember Lucas at age 5 startling with the Moro Reflex.

Retained primitive reflexes often go to the heart of many of our children’s issues, which include among them Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sensory Issues, ADHD, Speech Disorders, Learning Disabilities. This is a growing area of diagnostic and therapeutic interest, and Tara Hunkin's article  'How Retained Primitive Reflexes May Affect Your Child' is a fascinating read into an insight that is only now becoming more commonly written about.

Nina Zylstra
Editor of Special Kids
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