Primitive Reflexes and vision

To gain a better understanding of how this works, let’s start with the basic building blocks of sensorimotor development – primitive reflexes.  Primitive reflexes are also called survival reflexes.  They originate in the brainstem, which is the first part of the brain to develop, and protects the fetus in-utero, helps guide them through the birth canal, and helps the newborn learn and develop.

Primitive reflexes are involuntary movements that an infant makes in response to a stimulus, like light, touch, or sound, and account for most of the movement patterns an infant experiences during the first few months of life.  Pediatricians and some obstetricians look for these reflexes as a “system’s check” to confirm if a newborn’s brainstem is functioning normally.  As each reflex fulfills its function and the higher cortical brain (the thinking part of the brain) integrates them, postural reflexes, which are more advanced balance and movement patterns, will emerge.  The integration of primitive reflex sets the stage for all future behavior, movement and learning.  Disruption in this process will negatively affect normal sensory and motor development because the brainstem interferes with cortical processing and cerebellum development.

Read more on Primitive Reflexes by looking up research and books by Sally Goddard Blythe, Peter Blythe, Brendan O’Hara, Philip Teitelbaum, Al Sutton and Patricia Lemer.

So, What Does Primitive Reflexes Have to do with Vision?

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