"Retained Primitive Reflexes"


DIS Veteran
Jul 1, 2014
DD (4) had her OT evaluation on thursday, and the therapist said she saw some retained primitive reflexes. I have suspected some motor delay since she was about 6 months old but the pediatrician has kind of written me off as a worrier so it has taken this long to get in and start treatment. I have never known anyone with this kind of delay, and I am struggling to really find a good definition of what her future looks like. Right now she is cognitively on track, and always has been. But she still has made no progress in toilet training, seems to have trouble running and jumping, and overall just seems to struggle wuth some fine motor skills.

Anyone have experience with this? My biggest concern is that she won't be able to toilet train. If we can get past the toileting issues then I think she can find ways to adapt and be a fully functioning adult. But I hate to imagine of future of incontinence for her. I know it embarasses her already and is affecting her self esteem.

I am driving myself crazy waiting for the official evaluation report and recommendations from the therapist.


Oct 27, 2011
My DD toilet-trained around 4-5 yrs old, but still had accidents until 9-10. Is your DD interested in toilet training and not managing the control? Make sure you are giving her regular reminders to go, not waiting until she feels a sudden urge. Start with 30 minute intervals and move up towards every 2 hours. We still give my daughter reminders approximately every 2 hours or so. But some 4 yr olds simply aren't ready -- physically and/or mentally. PEDs and even UROs tend to downplay it at that age with a wait-and-see approach; there is a hormone that needs to mature before real control can begin. But I'd think if your DD is really interested in training but struggling with it, that might be time to push for further eval or suggestions for helping the process you already have in place.

Running and jumping are gross motor skills, typically address by physical therapy though OT (occupational therapy) may also note a delay.

Have you been referred to your local early intervention program? As a 4 yr old, that is probably run through the local school district now. You can self-refer -- call the district office and ask about an early intervention evaluation for a preschooler. There may or may not be "significant" delay.

Try not to focus on what she can't do, but focus on what she does well. If you are worried or stressed about her inadequacies, she will take that attitude as well and it could impact her progress. Every child develops at their own pace and not everyone does so on schedule. So make the contacts and get the evals, but otherwise don't fret :) Not potty-trained at 4 doesn't mean a lifetime of incontinence.

moving this to the disABILITIES Community Forum since it doesn't pertain to Disney trip planning

Allison Joy

Oct 25, 2015
I had some difficulties with toilet training (though I can't remember when it finally "clicked" for me), at least with BMs.... they made me gag. I just asked my mom, and she says she doesn't remember any other significant problems with potty training for me. But it sounds like otherwise, your daughter and I are somewhat similar.

I had major physical delays as a child. I did not walk until I was 2 1/2 to 3, and always had trouble running and jumping. Some of the doctors thought I'd also be behind cognitively, but I never was. In fact, I had an IEP in school for physical reasons, but was also in the gifted education class! I think it gave me a really unique perspective. Anyway, that is the super short version, and I'd be more than happy to share the long version if you want it. It's already written out in a couple of formats.


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