Attention Deficit Disorder ADD

AAsperger's Syndromettention Deficit Disorder or ADD is characterized by symptoms of attention difficulty without hyperactivity. But, attention difficulty is not the only symptom. These kids often cannot finish a task or complete the last step of anything. They walk away and leave the fridge door open or forget to restart the dryer after taking their shirt out. These kids are fantastically creative, but have ‘their head in the clouds’ at homework time, dreaming up solutions to the world’s problems instead of doing their homework.  These kids really are fantastic and will probably be the next inventors or philosophers. We don’t want to change that. But, something has to be done, right? We can’t have mom going crazy, trying to get their homework out of them every night. Click here for more ADD Symptoms.

Imagine helping them keep that creativity and achieve the ability to focus and finish projects when needed. If they could, they would be a hybrid, right? They would be creative and responsible. Well, you can. Attention is a neurological development consisting of many parts of the brain and can be learned.

Baby usually  learns attention around 4 months when he or she starts to focus on daddy’s face, waiting for him to ‘coo’ and talk. Or, when watching mommy dangle a stuffed bunny above the baby seater. As they get a little older, their attention span should grow with them. If it hasn’t, some intervention can make a big difference.


Unlock Brilliance Method

There are several contributing factors to low attention span. Often in ADD kids we see stalled Primitive Reflex Integration in the brain stem area. This means these neonatal reflexes were not suppressed during the first year of life as they should be. The area of the brain called the Basal Ganglia is stimulated by certain motor movements and in turn suppresses the reflexes and stimulates the higher functions of the brain. If the Basil Ganglia is underdeveloped it cannot fully suppress the reflexes. Theses reflexes contribute to learning disabilities and  Attention Deficit Disorder. They are the troublemakers. Learn more about this and how to integrate them on our Unlock Brilliance Method page.

Also, Sensory motor skills are very important. Attention requires the ability to take in different stimuli, such as sound, language, sight, touch etc., then process it, plan and execute action or inaction based on what was just received. This is attention. Weakness in the sensory input, processing and execution will also cause a drop off in attention ability.

We go over both in greater detail and their strengthening exercises in our Unlock Brilliance Method page.

Auditory Processing Is Important

ADD kids struggle picking up everything the teacher says. This is usually caused by low Auditory Processing skills. For example, they may hear the teacher’s assignment, but due to Auditory Processing issues, may not hear the due dates, deadlines and other details. There are plenty of resources online to improve Auditory Processing Skills. We love Brain HQ. They have great Auditory exercises online and in apps.

A great book for stimulating Auditory Processing skills is Brain Integration by Dianne Craft.  It is a self published book, so not well proofed, but brilliantly gives a daily plan with great activities that will help correct Auditory Processing Disorders and other disabilities. Dianne has worked with challenged kids for over 20 years in her office and as a Special Education teacher. She compiled her successful strategies into the book  with easy actionable routine plans.

We saw huge improvement in our kids, when we brought these function up to par. We are excited for you to see the same. Good Luck! Email us and let us know how it goes.

ADD Symptoms

When a child has Attention Deficit Disorder, you may find that you try to speak to him/her and they lose attention quickly and/or look away. It is hard to get them to focus, especially on school work. A child with ADD may also struggle to listen to a set of instructions given to them. They will struggle to filter out information from a conversation to focus on one thing, and may lose objects (toys, homework, etc) easily. Below is a list of common Attention Deficit Disorder symptoms. Click here to read more about ADD.


ADD Symptoms

  • Struggles to sustain attention.
  • Doesn’t listen well.
  • Inability to follow through with tasks. Will leave steps unfinished.
  • Doesn’t give close attention to detail.
  • Difficulty organizing tasks and activities.
  • May struggle with motor planning skills.
  • May appear shy, off in their own world, or day dreaming.
  • Avoids engagement in tasks that require sustained mental effort.
  • Easily distracted.
  • Struggles to filter out information from a conversation to focus on one thing.
  • Loses things easily (toys, books, homework, etc).
  • Forgetful
  • May appear un-motivated.
  • Day dreams
  • May make careless mistakes.


Symptoms can vary from person to person and no two children are the same, so your child may also display different symptoms than the ones listed above. Despite your child’s diagnosis, these interventions can be helpful.

If you think your child has Attention Deficit Disorder you should consult a professional. It can be beneficial to find out if your child is ADD. This helps with conversations with the teacher and daycare’s to understand your child better.

Click here to read more about ADD

Retained Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex

Tonic Labrynthine Reflex ExercisesTonic Labyrinthine Reflex (TLR) is the foundation for head control. Baby needs it to roll, crawl, and later stand and walk. It develops in the whom and continues past the first year of life. It is usually integrated by 3 years. If not, it can cause problems.

When a baby is laying back and the head is tilted back, the baby will stiffen the legs, bend elbows, make fists or curled fingers, and the toes will point. This is normal for an infant. As the baby matures, starts to walk and gains control over the large muscles, the Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex will integrate and disappear.

If the Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex does not integrate, the function that develops after that do not organize correctly. The child will most likely have some of the following:

Retained Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex Symptoms 

  • Poor Balance and special awareness
  • Tense muscles and toe walking
  • Difficulty holding still and concentrating
  • Muscle tone issues
  • Poor posture
  • Difficulty paying attention when head is down (at a desk or reading)
  • Dyspraxia
  • Poor sense of rhythm
  • Gets motion sickness easily
  • Prefers to walk on toes
  • Speech and Auditory difficulty
  • Spatial issues
  • Bumps into things and people more than normal
  • Even if they don’t display any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to do the quick test on them, as there may be other functions that are affected by it that are still unknown.

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Retained Spinal Galant Reflex

Spinal Galant Reflex ExercisesThe Spinal Galant Reflex develops in the whom at about 20 weeks gestation. It helps the baby develop the Vestibular System. In Infancy, the Spinal Galant Reflex, along with the Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR), are necessary to help the unborn infant descend down the birth canal. It also helps the baby urinate after birth. You will see the reflex in an infant if you gently stroke down one side of the lower part of the spine. The baby’s arms and legs will sway toward the direction of the stroke almost like being ticklish. If both sides of the spine are stroked at the same time it induces urination. This is normal. However, the Spinal Galant Reflex should be gone by 3-9 months as higher muscle control develops. This is called ‘integrating’. If not properly integrated, it can cause many subtle issues such as some of the following:

Retained Spinal Galant Reflex Symptoms:

  • Fidgety, Hyper Activity, especially if clothes or chair brush their back.
  • If active down only one side, can cause scoliosis, rotated pelvis and lower back pain.
  • Poor concentration
  • Attention problems
  • Bedwetting long after potty training
  • Short term memory issues
  • Fidgeting and wiggly “ants in the pants”
  • Posture problems
  • Hip rotation on one side/possibly scoliosis
  • Low endurance
  • Chronic digestion problems
  • Even if they don’t display any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to do the quick test on them, as there may be other functions that are affected by it that are still unknown.

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Retained Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (STNR)

Symetrical Tonic Neck Reflex ExercisesThe Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex is present at birth then disappears until about 6 to 9 months. It reappears for a few months to assist in learning to crawl.

You will notice it in a baby if you move their chin down toward their chest. The knees will bend. If you move the head up toward the back, the legs will straighten. Do not confuse this with the Landau Reflex. They are two separate reflexes.

If this does not integrate and disappear by about 11 months, it can cause motor learning and behavior disorders. Simple exercises can solve the problem.


Symptoms of Retained Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex

  • Poor posture Standing
  • Sits with slumpy posture
  • Low muscle tone
  • Ape-like walk
  • Problems with attention especially in stressful situations
  • Vision accommodation and tracking problems
  • Difficulty learning to swim
  • Difficulty reading
  • Usually skips crawling
  • Sits with legs in a W position
  • ADD
  • ADHD
  • Hyper activity or fidgety
  • Poor hand eye coordination
  • Problems looking between near and far sighted objects, like copying from a chalkboard
  • Sloppy eater
  • Rotated Pelvis
  • Even if they don’t display any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to do the quick test on them, as there may be other functions that are affected by it that are still unknown.

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Retained Moro Reflex or Startle Reflex

Moro Reflex ExerciseThe Moro Reflex develops about the thirteens week of gestation. It develops to help protect the baby from danger sensed through the sensory system and take the first breath of life. When a newborn is startled or receives sensory input like a jarring, sudden light or sound, the arms will flail out, then baby quickly takes a deep breath, then curls up crossing both the arms and legs.

This is an involuntary reflex that is part of normal development and should disappear between 2-4 months of age. Because this reflex is triggered by the sensory systems, it can cause an array of problems if it remains longer.

Pediatricians will check this reflex at the baby’s 6 week appointment to make sure it is present. They seldom check in later appointments to make sure it was integrated and gone. It is not part of the pediatric list of assessments done at later appointments.

Because of the changing environment, procedures, and lack of tummy time, more children are not integrating this reflex.

Retained Moro Reflex Symptoms

  • Easily Distracted
  • Hypersensitive to sensory stimuli like light and sound and touch.
  • Over sensitivity to motion causing car sickness
  • Or under sensitivity to sensory stimuli
  • Overreacts
  • Impulsive and aggressive
  • Emotional immaturity
  • Withdrawn or timid and shy
  • ADD
  • ADHD
  • Autism Spectrum
  • Asperger’s
  • Sensory Disorders
  • Difficulty making friends
  • Depression
  • Health Problems
  • Allergies and Asthma
  • Anger or Emotional Outbursts
  • Poor Balance and Coordination
  • Poor Digestion and Food Sensitivities
  • Even if they don’t display any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to do the quick test on them, as there may be other functions that are affected by it that are still unknown.

The Moro Reflex or “Startle Reflex” is the earliest development of the “fight or flight” instinct. When frightened or threatened, it triggers “reaction” or “retraction” from the threat. Because in infancy, it is triggered by the sensory system, it will cause sensory processing problems if not integrated. Because it triggers the Adrenals to “fight or flight” mode. It causes hyper activity and attention problems. Once the adrenals quickly tire of the over stimulation, the child usually develops chronic allergies, asthma, auto immune and other health problems connected with fatigued adrenals. Furthermore, when the body is in ‘fight or flight’ mode, the brain is in an instinctual state and cannot store or recall information as well. This contributes to learning disabilities.

The reflex can be easily integrated with about 6 weeks of simple exercises. Many of the symptoms will disappear or improve as the brain and body start to function better.

Moro Reflex Test

Have the child sit on a low chair or lay on their back. Ask them to open their arms and legs out like a starfish. Now ask them to bring them in crossing them as they curl up. You may need to demonstrate it for them or let them see the pictures below. Generally they will cross with the opposite arm from leg on top. This is normal, at first, and the way they did it when startled as an infant.

Retained Moro Reflex test

Now ask them to spread arms and legs out again and cross/curl up, again but with the same arm as leg on top. Right Leg and Right arm on top. If they are too young to know right from left, put a sticker on the back of their right hand and on their right foreleg. Ask them to cross up with stickers on top.

Retained Moro Reflex Test

Now do the same with the left side.

Moro Reflex Exercise

If they struggle doing this then the reflex is still present and needs to be integrated with “Starfish Exercises”.

Moro Reflex Exercises


Retained Landau Reflex

Landau Reflex Exercises


The Landau Reflex is one that develops a few months after birth and remains until about 12 months old. It is useful in helping the child develop posture. If the Landau Reflex does not integrate (go away), it can cause posture, motor, and memory issues later on.



Symptoms of Retained Landau Reflex

  • Low Muscle Tone
  • Poor Posture
  • Poor Motor Development
  • Short Term Memory Difficulty.
  • Tension in the back of legs, toe walker.
  • Lack of Stimulation in the pre frontal cortex causing attention, organization and concentration problems.
  • Weak upper body
  • Difficulty swimming the breast stroke.
  • Struggles to do a summersault. Knees buckle when head tucks under.
  • Even if they don’t display any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to do the quick test on them, as there may be other functions that are affected by it that are still unknown.

Read More …