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Is your child’s fight or flight response getting in the way of their true potential?

When a baby is born, they are born with a variety reflexes designed to protect the baby from harm called primitive reflexes. These reflexes typically integrate, or are no longer present, usually by one year old, as the baby becomes more mobile.


These primitive reflexes serve as a foundation for proper development and really pave a path for future skills


One of those primitive reflexes is called the Moro reflex, also known as the fight or flight response. The Moro reflex is the startle reflex in babies that often looks like their arms flailing backward if you lean them back or lay them down too quickly. It is also the reason that newborns often “startle” themselves awake if they are not swaddled. This reflex typically integrates between the 2nd and 4th month, however if a baby is born early, that reflex may be present longer.


Sometimes, for whatever reason, these reflexes do not integrate properly and are “retained” or still present in the body. Without proper integration, there are often delays in development.


For the Moro reflex specifically there is often a hypersensitivity to sounds, sights, smells, touch and tastes. Some signs of a retained Moro reflex include:

  • Poor coordination

  • Balance problems

  • Motion sickness

  • Sensitivity to bright lights

  • Difficulty reading back print on white paper

  • Dislike of loud noises

  • Easily distracted

  • Allergies and lower immunity

  • Dislike of change

  • Sensory overload

  • Poor impulse control

  • Decreased visual perception

  • Hypersensitivity

  • Hyper reactivity

  • Aversion of different clothing textures

  • Picky eating

  • Mood swings

  • Low stamina or endurance


Occupational therapy can help integrate reflexes and decrease the impact the symptoms above have on the entire family unit.


Is your child struggling with any for the following, reach out to us for a free consultation to see how we can help!


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