Primitive Reflexes

Primitive reflexes play an important role in early childhood development, and many reflexes are involved in the development of motor and sensory skills. However, when it comes to vision therapy, The Eye Studio focuses on five specific primitive reflexes that affect the visual system.

Optometrist, Dr. Tedra Kindopp performing an exam on a young girl at The Eye Studio

Moro reflex

The earliest primitive reflex and can have a significant impact on motor, ocular, vestibular, and visual perceptual skills.

  • Exaggerated startle reflex
  • Dislike of change or surprise
  • Eye movement and visual processing problems
  • Motion sickness
  • Poor balance
  • Poor coordination
  • Physical timidity
  • Light sensitivity
  • Inner ear problems
  • Frequent infections
  • Allergies
  • Adverse reaction to drugs
  • Poor stamina
  • Difficulty with black print on white paper
  • Tires easily under fluorescent lighting
  • Poor auditory discrimination
  • Tense muscle tone
  • Often in “Fight or Flight” mode
  • Biochemical and nutritional imbalances
  • Hyperactivity
  • Mood swings and/or emotional instability
  • Low self-esteem
  • Anxiety or withdrawal
  • Phobias

Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (STNR)

STNR can impact fixation, focusing from near to far, and crossing midline.

  • Poor posture
  • Tendency to slump when sitting, particularly at a desk/table
  • Simian (ape-like) walk
  • Difficulty tracking and/or catching a ball
  • Poor balance and depth perception
  • Difficulty swimming
  • Poor eye-hand coordination
  • Messy eater
  • Difficulties with adjusting focus from distance to near
  • Poor swimming skills
  • Learning problems
  • Difficulty recognizing social cues
  • ADD/ADHD characteristics
  • Anchors feet behind chair while sitting
  • “W” position when sitting on the floor
  • Difficulty aligning numbers for math problems

Tonic Labyrinthe Reflex (TLR)

TLR affects ocular motor, muscle tone, balance, and auditory discrimination.

  • Poor posture and/or stooping
  • Weak muscle tone
  • Stiff or jerky movements
  • Toe walking
  • Poor balance
  • Dislike of sports, physical education class, and running
  • Eye movements visual perceptual, and spatial problems
  • Motion sickness
  • Poor coordination
  • Poor sequencing skills
  • Poor sense of time
  • Poor organization skills
  • Fear of heights

Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR)

ATNR can impact midline issues, balance, eye tracking, handwriting, and laterality.

  • Poor balance when moving head side to side
  • Homolateral (same side) instead of cross-pattern movements (marching, skipping, walking)
  • Focusing problems (especially when switching from distance to near)
  • Difficulty keeping place when copying
  • Difficulty crossing the midline
  • Difficulty learning to ride a bicycle
  • Poor pursuits (smooth eye movements)
  • Mixed laterality (uses left foot, right hand or uses left or right hand interchangeably)
  • Difficulty catching a ball
  • Poor handwriting
  • Poor expression of ideas on paper
  • ADD/ADHD characteristics

Spinal Galant Reflex

Spinal Galant Reflex can impact the ability to sit still, concentration, short-term memory, and bedwetting.

  • Bedwetting
  • Fidgety or wiggly (especially when sitting)
  • Sensory issues with waistbands/tags in clothing or food texture
  • Poor concentration
  • Poor short-term memory
  • ADHD characteristics
  • Hip rotates to one side while walking

Ready to identify which reflexes need to be targeted?

Through a comprehensive assessment, the team at The Eye Studio can identify which reflexes need to be targeted for each individual. From there, they develop a personalized vision therapy program to help individuals improve their visual skills and overall quality of life.