Causes of NDD

It is unlikely that any single factor can be identified as a cause. Usually, it is a combination of developmental and also environmental factors which lead to the persistence of primitive reflexes in the older child.

Indicators of NDD are not limited to the following:


  • Hyperemesis (severe sickness)
  • Excessive alcohol consumption and/or drug abuse
  • Severe stress
  • Placental insufficiency (small for dates)
  • Threatened miscarriage
  • Severe viral infection during the first 12 weeks, or between 26-30 weeks
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Radiation
  • Smoking
  • Accident or infection
  • Toxoplasmosis


  • Prolonged or precipitive labour
  • Cord around the neck
  • Placenta praevia
  • Breech presentation
  • Caesarean
  • Foetal distress
  • High forceps or ventouse extraction
  • Premature (more than 2 weeks early)
  • Post-mature (more than 2 weeks late)

Newborn Disorders

  • Low birth weigh (under 5 lbs)
  • Requiring resuscitation
  • Incubation
  • Blue baby
  • Distorted skull
  • Heavy bruising
  • Prolonged jaundice
  • Problems with feeding during the first 6 months


  • Illnesses involving a high fever, delirium or convulsions in the first 18 months
  • Difficulty learning to dress
  • Adverse reaction to any of the vaccinations
  • Thumb-sucking up until the age of 5 years or more
  • Late learning to talk and/or walk (later than 18 months)
  • Bed-wetting above the age of 5 years
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • History of recurrent ear, nose and throat infections