Retained Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex (TLR)

TLR is the foundation for head control. Your baby needs this to roll, crawl, and later stand and walk. When a baby is laying back and the head is tilted back he/she will stiffen the legs, bend elbows, make fists/curled fingers, and their toes will point. As they grow older they gain more control over larger muscles.

This reflex should be integrated by 3 years.


Test for Tonic Labyrinthine Reflexes

Have the child lie on their stomach with arms down to the side and legs straight. Have the child raise his head, legs, and arms off the floor while keeping arms and legs straight.

If they cannot keep both legs straight and their hands up, or they can't tap their opposing knees, TLR is still present.


  • Poor balance and spacial 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.