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What is Tonic Neck Reflex?

When we are babies, right after we areborn, we are supposed to react to different stimuli with differentreflex actions. Thus, every baby, if she/he is healthy, should havethese reflexes present, performing them involuntarily. Of course,doctors, as soon as a baby is born, check for the presence of thesereflexes since their absence is not the best scenario, leading tosuspicions that something may be wrong with the infant's brain andnervous system. Tonic neck reflex is one of these crucial reflexeswhich develop with the development of a healthy baby.

Namely, a baby, during the first 6 or 7months of his/her life should react in a specific way when its neck isturned on one side. Once this is done, the baby should have the armon this side stretched while the other hand should bend at the elbow,leaving the rest of the limbs flexed. If this reflex remains presentfor longer than noted above, this could be interpreted as a problemin the infant's development.

More about Tonic Neck Reflex

There are two types of this reflex. Oneis called asymmetric tonic neck reflex where, upon moving the infants' head on one side, this side should extend in the limbs, while theopposite should bend. Still, if this reflex remains present for morethan 6 months or a bit more, the effects can be expressed throughcertain deformities. The child then could have hand-eye coordinationproblems, as well as writing and speaking difficulties. Right handedchildren may have difficulties writing on the left part of the pageand vice-versa. Also, there might be many other writing andcoordination issues and the child may not be capable of using both ofhis/her limbs equally.

The second type of this condition iscalled symmetric tonic neck reflex and this reflex is observed eightmonths after the birth of the child. The child with symmetric tonicneck reflex may have troubles crawling on his/her hands and knees.Later in life, this child is bound to have problems with coordinatinghands and legs in actions such as swimming. Also, a child's postureis affected by this reflex as well as his/her coordination andconcentration.

These are only the basics regarding thetwo types of these reflexes. However, if you happen to notice any ofthese present in your child, you are advised to seek medicalassistance as soon as possible.

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