Viewpoint: Correcting Clinical Facts- Abnormal Primitive Reflexes in Behavioural Optometry and Vision Therapy

Peter Blythe, PhD
Sally Goddard Blythe, MSc

 As early as 1969, the role of retained or residual primitive reflexes was discovered, by one of the authors of this paper (Blythe), to play a significant role in specific learning difficulties, agoraphobia and panic disorder. At the same time, a protocol for neuro-diagnostic assessment based on standard medical tests was devised to detect the presence of aberrant reflexes (neuromotor immaturity) in older children and adults, and developmental movement programmes were devised to inhibit and integrate aberrant reflexes. This system, now known as The INPP Method, has been shown in peer reviewed journals to bring about remission of presenting difficulties both educational and medico-psychological.

Evidence has emerged showing that a number of behavioural optometrists and practitioners of vision therapy are using clinically unknown diagnostic procedures to test for the presence of aberrant reflexes, misinterpreting obser- vations during the assessment of primitive reflexes, and applying clinically unproven reflex inhibition programmes without a clear understanding of the developmental basis for some of the exercises used in relation to primitive re- flexes. These failures appear to be the result of inadequate and misleading training which is being communicated to others through various publications, training courses, seminars, and information given out to patients and families of patients. This viewpoint article highlights some of the issues involved.

Key Words

assessment, primitive reflexes, reflex inhibition, remediation, theory, training