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THE HEAD RIGHTING REFLEX (HRR) - Balance, Tone And Emotional Security

The Head Righting Reflex (HRR) is part of a system of reflexes responsible for correcting the position of the body in relation to the position of the head.


It is initiated by the vestibular system, which detects that the position of the body has changed, either forward to back, or side to side. The vestibular system then adjusts the position of the head to ensure the child maintains stability and balance. 


In children where the tone of the body is low or affected by immaturity in the other primitive and postural reflexes, the head finds it difficult to react effectively to adjust the tone and balance in the body. Naturally this can feel somewhat scary for the child and in turn impacts on the protective and orientating systems of the body.


Children who experience immaturity in the Head Righting Reflex in early development find it difficult to learn to walk upright and may take longer to achieve this skill.  They often need more support and encouragement as instability in their physical skills often leads to emotional insecurity and increased attachment to a trusted caregiver.  





THE HEAD RIGHTING REFLEX (HRR) - Balance, Tone And Emotional Security

Immature Head Righting Reflex may lead to:

  • Difficulties with static (non moving) and dynamic (moving) balance skills.
  • Low tone - may appear floppy. 
  • Holding static postures is difficult.
  • Difficulty riding a bicycle around corners.
  • Balance difficulties lead to emotional insecurity and over attachment to caregivers.
Hemispheres Paediatric Occupational Therapy, Surrey, Herts & Hants.
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