We recently wrote about the Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR) and the impacts abnormal retention can have on a child. As you may have guessed by now, there are multiple reflexes involved in the growth and development of a child. Our body will use these reflexes to learn new skills or as a defence/safety mechanism until we learn how to cope without the reflex. This is when our higher cortical function takes over.
The Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (STNR) is another of our early reflexes, and involved in getting up off the ground into the sitting and crawling positions. This is where you will often see babies on hands and knees rocking forwards and backwards. It is believed that this rocking motion is also helping our eyes with depth perception in the form of accommodation. This reflex normally becomes prominent around 8 months of age and should be superseded my higher brain function around 11 months of age.
So, what would you see if the STNR does not integrate appropriately? One of the biggest long-term issues (which we often see in our big sprouts) is posture. Our head position has an enormous amount to do with proprioception, but if you add in the STNR, when our head is forward of our shoulders, you will have rolled shoulder, and a flattened lower back (see our previous blogs about back pain and posture!). For the little sprouts, we often see “W” sitting and difficulty sitting still on the floor. This is due to the forward position of the head stimulating the STNR making it uncomfortable for the child to sit cross-legged on the floor.
Other functions that a retained STNR may impact on include (but not limited to); attention and concentration, hand-eye coordination, and visual accommodation. So if this sound like you or your child, and you are interested in an assessment, click below or call for an appointment with one of our chiropractors for a plan tailored to you.