The following sections covers each age/phase in the above areas.
For an overview of the Emotional relational themes governing each developmental stage and how it affects character formation please read: The Seven Developmental Stages
Reflexes are characterized by getting the same response to the same stimulus.
1.Motor reflex/startle reflex:
Is provoked by, i.e., sound. The child twitches with the whole body/ “Stretches out.” Decreases around 3 months. (Some leftover through life, i.e. Shock reaction)
2. Blink reflex:
Lasts whole life.
3. Search reflex:
Provoked by stimulating corner of mouth. Head turns to stimulated side.
Disappears around 4-5 months.
4. Sucking reflex:
Provoked by, i.e., sticking finger in child’s mouth between the lips.
Disappears 5-6 months.
5. Swallow reflex:
Disappears about 2 1/2 years.
Hand’s grasp reflex:
Provoked by stimulating the palm. Decreases 2-3 months, then a conscious grasp movement develops. Vision must develop to the point where the child can “catch/grab” an object with his eyes before he can stretch out to grasp with his hand.
6. Foot’s grasp reflex:
Provoked with pressure to pads of the foot. Toes grasp/bend. This reflex must disappear for the child to stand securely — disappears 11-12 months.
7. Babinski reflex:
Provoked by grazing bottom of the foot (little toe side to heel). The big toe bends upwards (the toes may spread). Disappearance important for gait — 17-18 months.
8. Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex = sym. TNR
Disappears about 3-4 months.
As the name implies, the movement is symmetric in the two body halves (left/right) Tonic
Neck reflex = tension in neck muscles provokes the position of the limbs.
Reflex is evoked:
When the neck/head bends backward (extends), the arms extend in all
joints (also the fingers) and the legs flex in all joints.
The opposite can also occur: When the head is bent forward (flexed), the arms flex in all joints (also the fingers) and the legs extend in all joints.
The Symmetric Tonic Neck reflex will prevent the child from crawling.
At 10-11 months, the child can normally stand on all fours with weight evenly distributed between arms and legs, with vertical arms and legs, and can hold this position whether head is flexed or extended. Now the reflex is under control and the child can crawl in cross pattern. (Spastic and other brain damaged children can have a TNR so powerful that it is impossible for them to crawl or walk).
9. Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex = Asym. TNR
Disappears 3-4 months.
Reflex is evoked:
The child turns, e.g. the head to the right, the right arm extends and the left flexes. Turning the head to the left evokes the opposite reflex. Can also be provoked by bending the arm so the head turns to the opposite side. The legs follow the same pattern, but to a lesser degree: if the right arm extends, so will the right leg, and vice versa. Reflex not present in all infants, but if there, it should be under control around 3-4 months.
The older child: If reflex still present, is a sign of abnormality.
If it is strong, it will hamper the child’s further development:
-Rolling from back to stomach. The child turns the head in the direction of movement and the arm stretches out, preventing the roll.
-Feeding himself. The food is held in the bent hand and the elbow bends as he moves the food to his mouth, then the head turns away from the bent arm, and the food.
-examining objects close-up. The hand bends to hold the object, the arm bends to bring it near the eyes, and the head turns away from the bent arm.
Can be checked as follows: In all-fours position: flex the head, if the limbs bend = symmetric. Turn the head: if limbs stretch and bend = Asymmetric.