Retained Reflex Syndrome is when – due to some form of stress during pregnancy, birth or early infancy (see Why are reflexes retained?) – we retain one or more foetal or primitive reflexes, which have an adverse impact on our ability to learn and interact with the world around us.
I believe that RRS is at the root of many childhood disorders such as ADHD, dyspraxia and dyslexia, which are merely labels for a group of symptoms, and which have in common neuro-developmental delay, but with no consensus as to what is the cause.
We are born with a whole range of reflexes – a set of instinctive, involuntary reactions to a certain stimulus. These reflexes have evolved over centuries to aid our passage from the womb, to protect us from harm in our vulnerable early months and to provide rudimentary training for later voluntary skills.
Most of us have witnessed the Palmar reflex, the infant grasp, where a light touch to the newborn’s palm will prompt him to grasp your finger. By the time the child is 6 months old, this reflex should ‘inhibit’ or fall away, making way for the pincer grip, where an object is held between the thumb and forefinger.