I am currently working on integrating the ATNR (Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex) with one of my children. Here is a picture of what an ATNR looks like – and at only 2 months this baby needs it!
Anyway, my son was doing very good at focusing and concentrating on the simple movement pattern that he needed to complete and because the exercise is so short it is carried out three times. On the last time that we were completing the exercise we were talking casually at the same time. Suddenly, as his head moved to one side and the arm he was concentrating on moved, his other arm shot up at the same time. I looked at him, and he looked at me and we completely cracked up together. I said to him, “you didn’t know that your arm did that, did you?” He kept on laughing and said that he had no idea what his arm was doing until it was already there!
This was a keen reminder that when Primitive Reflexes are still in active in our bodies we really have little control over the actions they make us do! It doesn’t matter what age you are or how self-controlled. As soon as our minds are cognitively processing other information the reflex will kick in and decide what our bodies should do. Usually our children cope with this by withdrawing or playing the clown and being super clumsy. Our children really aren’t these things, it is just that their bodies and brains aren’t communicating well together. But the good news is we can help them!
It is so important for children to have all the Primitive Reflexes ‘put to sleep’ so that they can be ready to learn with their whole body and mind.
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