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Primitive Reflexes - Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR)

Posted on April 11, 2016 at 10:45 PM

Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR)

When the baby moves its head to one side, it will extend its arm and leg on that side. If the ATNR reflex is not integrated by six month of age, it can keep children stuck in the homolateral (pertaining to the same side of the body-same side arm/leg move when walking rather than cross lateral; opposite arm/leg) An active ATNR often results in visual difficulties, confusion with direction, handedness and handwriting difficulty. If the ATNR remains active, the child will often have challenges with balance and learning. ATNR locks in one-sided movement, making it difficult to cross the midline for reading, writing, sports, and other activities.

A nonintegrated Asymmetrical tonic Neck Reflex may present in childhood or later in life as:

Balance problems

Homolateral walking

Reading difficulties

Handwriting problems

Confused handedness

Listening difficulties

Poor sense of direction

Midline problems

Focus problems

What can be done to integrate/close/inhibit the ATNR?

With someone trained and working in safe, trusting environment a protocol of activation, re-patterning through physical cross mid-line purposeful movement will inhibit or begin progress on closing the reflex. This may take one or more sessions dependent upon the degree of non-inhibited activation of the reflex. The beauty of reflex integration is the WORK is done through PLAY!

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