The Institute in Neuro-Physiological Psychology (INPP) defines NDD "as the continued presence of a cluster of primitive reflexes above the age of one year and the absence or underdevelopment of postural reflexes above the age of three and a half years. The presence or absence of primitive and postural reflexes at key stages in development provides reliable indicators of central nervous system maturity. Abnormal reflexes have also been documented as playing a part in specific learning difficulties (Fiorentino 1970, Bobath & Bobath 1975, Ayres 1972/3, Bender 1976, Blythe, McGlown 1979, Goddard 1994/96, Wilkinson 1994, Goddard Blythe 1998) and immature behavior."
At birth, a child leaves the safe space of his mother’s womb where he has been fed automatically, to a world where he has to begin to feed himself and survive outside of his safe space. In order to survive outside the womb, he has been equipped with a set of primitive reflexes. Primitive reflexes are designed to have a limited life span, their presence beyond 6-12 months of the child’s life is evidence of immaturity within the central nervous system which may cause immature patterns or behavior, so that there is a disconnect between the child’s physical age and he’s maturity level. Each of the primitive reflexes has an important part to play.
However, before we can understand the problems that arise from abnormal reflexes, it essential we understand the job of each individual reflex when they are present in the normal development of the child.