What is the Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex (TLR)?
The Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex helps with stability; it helps us develop muscle tone, balance, posture, and coordination throughout the whole body. This reflex is about where the head and body are in space and the interaction of the senses. It causes the limbs to bend when the neck is flexed, and to straighten when the neck is extended.
Often when the TLR Reflex is not integrated, there is more rigidity in the leg muscles and tensions in the neck.
In school, the TLR reflex helps with coordination, spatial awareness, orientation to sequencing and time, and vision. When not integrated, this reflex can also contribute to attention problems and can affect hearing and auditory processing due to the fact it helps integrate the vestibular and proprioceptive centers of the body.
The symptoms of the Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex (TLR)
Some symptoms of a non-integrated TLR
- If flexion does not integrate, the child may be weak and floppy and will often stand and sit with stooped posture
- Retained extension could result in a child who appears stiff, with rigid and jerky movements
- Balance problems with changes in head position (walking up or down stairs, riding a bike, looking up at the board or to paint the ceiling)
- Overall coordination problems
- Fear of heights
- Difficulty in sequencing order and time
- Weak muscle tone; weak neck muscles; tension and pain in the neck
- Difficulties holding the head up
- Posture might be forward resulting in low energy
- Weak eye muscles, difficulty with vision
- Skipping words or line of print when reading
- Very tight, rigid muscles; tendency to walk on toes
Exercises to help the brain developing the Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex
Exercise One - Egg Roll
Ask child sit on floor with legs tucked up, holding arms around the legs.
Rock backwards rolling onto back and hold here in tucked position for 5 seconds.
Use abdominals to pull back up to sitting, feet on the floor in tucked position. Hold for 5
seconds. Repeat 10-15 times. Twice daily.
Exercise Two - Head Control
Ask child to lay on tummy and partly lift head and body up, keeping elbows on floor, hold for
5 seconds. Repeat 10-15 times. Twice daily.
Once mastered ask child to pull body up onto the hands with elbows straight, holding for 5
seconds. Repeat 10-15 times. Twice daily
Exercise Three - Eye tracking
Ask the child to lie face down, neck extended with arms stretched out in front, thumbs
up and central.
Slowly bring one arm out to side following movement of thumb with eyes and head.
Hold for few seconds. Slowly return to middle and repeat to the other side.
Repeat 10 times each side. Twice daily.