The ATNR is important for developing homolateral one-sided movements. When the infant turns his head to one side, the arm and leg of that side automatically extend. In utero the ATNR provides the necessary stimulation for developing muscle tone and the vestibular system. It assists with the birth process, providing one of the means for the baby to "corkscrew" down the birth passage. ATNR also provides training in hand-eye coordination. By six months of age, this reflex should evolve into more complex movement patterns. If the ATNR remains active it plays a significant contribution to academic problems at school.
Some possible long term effects of an unintegrated ATNR are:
- Reading, listening, hand writing and spelling difficulties
- Difficulty with maths
- Confused handedness