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  • Writer's pictureEmily Reynolds, MSOTR

5 Tips For Reading With A Retained ATNR

Are you looking for tips for reading with a retained ATNR? Look no further, we've got you covered!

**These tips are reading accommodations to help kids living with a retained ATNR. They are designed to help the child function while they still have retained primitive reflexes.  It is recommended to seek treatment with ReSprout Therapy to inhibit the retained ATNR reflex. 

5 Tips For Reading With A Retained ATNR

Tips for reading with a retained ATNR

  1. Positioning Matters! Some kids place their bodies into really strange positions while reading. Typically, the child will move into a position that is right for them. If they are focused and reading, go with it! It might look uncomfortable to you, but this is what is right for them! 

2. ALWAYS allow the student to use their finger to trace the line of print while reading. Where the finger goes, the eyes will follow! Right now, the head, eyes, and hands are "too connected". This means the ATNR makes it difficult for the motor skill of the eyes to cross the midline. Kids lose track of where they are on the page and may skip words or lines when reading. While the ATNR is still present, you can use what you know about the ATNR to help the child read. Sometimes, teachers tell older readers that they are "big kids" now and should be able to read without using their fingers in the book. If the ATNR is retained, this is simply not true. Just tell them to point to the words with their index finger!

Use a finger to read with a retained ATNR

3. Allow head and body tracking. If you see their head turning to the right as they read the line of print, and then turn back to the left upon the "return sweep" of reading the next line, just go with it! It might look as if it would make you dizzy if you were to read like this, but this is what works for them. Remember: with a retained ATNR, the head, and the eyes are "too connected" so to read a line of print, they will need to turn their entire head. The eyes have a difficult time tracking without also moving the head.

4. Keep in mind how “visually busy” the words on the page are. There is a link to visual crowding and difficulty reading. Too many words in a small space or using a small font can lead to visually competing information. The eyes can have a difficult time making sense of this. Kids can get really overwhelmed and may just shut down and not even try.

5. Be prepared to re-teach basic reading skills. Kids with a retained ATNR often develop bad habits while trying to learn to read. These kids typically develop compensation techniques that once the ATNR is integrated, tend to hold them back. Using a multi-sensory, language-based approach to learning is recommended.

Would you like to learn more about the ATNR and how it impacts learning? Check these out!

Emily Reynolds gives tips for reading with a retained ATNR

About the Author:

Emily Reynolds, MSOTR is the founder of ReSprout Therapy. She is a pediatric Occupational Therapist who specializes in neurodevelopment and reflex integration.

Emily loves working with parents and kids to find the source of the problem and create lasting changes that impact daily lives and the long-term future of the child.

Resprout Therapy 5 tips for reading with a retained ATNR


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