Retained Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (STNR)

This reflex is present at birth. In a newborn, you will see it when you move their chin down toward their chest. The knees will bend. If you move their head up toward their back, the legs will straighten.

This reflex should disappear by 6 to 9 months. If this doesn't disappear by 11 months it can cause motor, learning, and behavior disorders.


Test for Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflexes

Have the child get down on their hands and knees, with neck straight and their body slightly forward enough to put weight over their hands. Now ask the child to lower the head bringing the chin toward the chest for a count of 7 seconds, then raise head up toward their back. Do this several times.

What To look for: Back twitching, Back trying to arch up when their head it up, arms bending or body weight shifting back toward their legs when the head goes up.

If any of these occur STNR is likely still present.


  • 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.