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    The Reflexes Part II

    There are many primitive reflexes. The ones that we focus on in Rhythmic Movement Training are:

    Moro Reflex:

    The Moro Reflex, sometimes called the infant startle reflex, is an automatic response to a sudden change in sensory stimuli. A sudden change of any kind (bright light, change in body position, temperature, loud noise, intense touch, etc.) can trigger the Moro Reflex.

    Some possible long-term effects of an Moro that is not integrated is :

    • Easily triggered, reacts in anger or emotional outburst

    • Poor balance and coordination

    • Poor stamina

    • Poor digestion, tendency towards hypoglycemia

    • Weak immune system, asthma, allergies and infections

    • Hypersensitivity to light, movement, sound, touch & smell

    • Vision/reading/writing difficulties

    • Difficulty adapting to change

    • Cycles of hyperactivity and extreme fatigue

    Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex (TLR):

    TLR provides the baby with a means of learning about gravity and mastering neck and head control outside the womb. This reflex is important for giving the baby the opportunity to practice balance; increase muscle tone; and develop the proprioceptive and balance senses. The TLR interacts with other reflexes to help the infant to start developing coordination, posture and correct head alignment.

    It is vital for the TLR to do its job because correct alignment of the head with the rest of the body is necessary for balance, eye tracking, auditory processing, muscle tone and organized movements – all of which are essential to the development of our ability to focus and pay attention.

    Some possible long-term effects of a TLR that is not integrated is :

    • Balance and coordination difficulties

    • Hunched posture

    • Easily fatigued

    • Poor muscle tone

    • Difficulty judging distance, depth, space and speed

    • Visual, speech, auditory difficulties

    • Stiff jerky movement

    • Toe walking

    • Difficulty walking up and down stairs

    Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR):

    The ATNR is important for developing one-sided movements. When the infant turns his head to one side, the arm and leg of that side automatically extend. In utero the ATNR provides the necessary stimulation for developing muscle tone and the vestibular system. It assists with the birth process, providing one of the means for the baby to “corkscrew” down the birth passage. ATNR also provides training in hand-eye coordination. By six months of age, this reflex should evolve into more complex movement patterns. If the ATNR remains active it plays a significant contribution to academic problems at school.

    Some possible long-term effects of an ATNR that is not integrated is:

    • Dyslexia

    • Reading, listening, handwriting and spelling difficulties

    • Difficulty with math

    • Confused handedness


    Robin (Rivky) Akselrud, MS, OTR/L is a licensed occupational therapist. David (Yakov) Ettinger, PT, DPT, GCS is a Doctor of Physical Theray and is a Board Certified Geriatric Specialist. Their state-of-the-art outpatient treatment facilty for adult and pediatric rehabilitation, Forward Physical and Occupational Therapy is located at 3815 13th avenue. Please contact us at (718) 677-6777 to schedule an appointment so we can help YOU move FORWARD!

    Most major insurances accepted.

    Occupational Therapy is NOW available in Flatbush! Come and see our new clinic at 2918 Avenue M(between east 29th street and Nostrand Avenue)