Tonic 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)
- 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.
Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex Tests
This is similar to the Landau Reflex Exercise, except with feet up. 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 hands up, the reflex is most likely still present. Exercises needed!
Another test to check for retained Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex involves tapping the knees with the opposite hand. Have the child stand. Ask them to lift one knee and tap it with the opposite hand. Then lift the other knee and tap it with the opposite hand. If this is difficult for them, the Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex is most likely still present. Exercises needed!