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Primitive Reflexes and Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Reflexes are the key building blocks of the nervous system. A reflex is a sensory input that results in a motor response. Primitive reflexes emerge in-utero and most of them integrate within the first year of life (some take longer until around 3-4 years of age).

The first role of a reflex is for protection and survival. It later assimilates and integrates and provides the pathways for higher levels of development. Once mature, the reflex kicks in only when it is needed. If reflexes do not integrate within the normal development time, then issues with posture control, impulse control, hyperactivity, learning issues, fine motor skills, social and emotional maturity, vision issues, prolonged bed wetting, sleep, etc. can be seen. This is the foundation on which the remaining brain development occurs. If this foundation is weak, the development is said to resemble swiss cheese (i.e. holes in whole development). Reflex integration maybe a key piece of the ADD/ADHD, autism, cerebral palsy, learning disorders, emotional disturbances puzzle.

There are a couple of Primitive Reflex integration programs (MNRI, QRI etc). The most comprehensive of these is Masgutova Neuro Sensory Reflex Integration (MNRI).  Quantum reflex integration (QRI) makes use of low level cold lasers to integrate reflexes.

Dr. Masgutova, a Russian neuropsychologist and creator of MNRI, has done clinical assessments of  thousands of children and case studies of hundreds of kids. The results point to many unintegrated primary infant reflex patterns in kids with neurodevelopmental differences. For example, parents who see aggression in their children, have found that working on unintegrated reflexes (bonding, asymmetric tonic neck, Thomas automatic gait, Babinski, hands pulling, leg cross flexion, moro, hands supporting) helped resolve the aggression issues.


  1. Book: “Symphony of Reflexes” – Bonnie Brandes (2016)

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