Let’s continue exploring the ATNR!
For school age children a retained ATNR causes the most interference with the learning process. Issues include:
Handwriting - When the child turns their head to look at the page, their arm wants to extend and their fingers want to open. Therefore holding and working the pencil takes great effort, and may present as a heavy pencil grip and increased tension in the body. Now their energy is focused on the physical aspect of writing and not the writing content. These kids typically can express themselves much better verbally but not on written form. You may also see an immature pencil grasp, and writing that slopes in different directions as it crosses the page and the child rotates the paper even up to 90 degrees to compensate.
Reading- a retained ATNR can lead to eye tracking difficulties, causing the eyes to have difficulty moving smoothly from one side of the page to the other. The eyes instead tend to jump, causing the child to lose their place and demonstrate poor accuracy and comprehension.
Mixed Laterality - typically we have a dominant side, in that we use one hand for writing, throwing, eating, etc. and one foot for kicking. We also have a dominant eye and a dominant ear. However a child with mixed laterality may use their left and ride sides interchangeably, even in fine motor tasks. This results in failure to send information to the most efficient area of the brain for that skill, leading to less efficient in the skill overall.
A retained ATNR may also cause impaired posture, impairments in gait (walking), poor attention and focus, and difficulty with scissor skills.
Stay tuned for some tips and tricks for integrating the ATNR!
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