ATNR: A Hidden Culprit of Poor Handwriting Posture

For most children, following proper writing posture is no problem. But what about Johnny, a bright child in your class who just can’t follow your directions to sit up straight. Is it that Johnny just wants to look cool slouched in his chair, or is something bigger going on?

We know that good posture is important to ensure stress on your muscles, joints and ligaments is distributed evenly across your body. Proper posture when writing is especially important, so it’s no wonder we spend so much time teaching our children what proper handwriting posture looks like:

  • Feet flat on the floor
  • Thighs parallel to floor and knees at a 90 degree angle
  • Back up straight, inclined towards the desk and pivoted from the hips
  • Forearms resting on desk with elbows level with the desktop at 90 degrees
  • Paper stabilized with non-dominant hand
  • Neck and shoulders relaxed
  • Body faces desk squarely so non-dominant arm can support body weight
  • Paper tilted to the up to the right (if right handed) or up to the (if left handed)

For most children, following this posture is no problem. But what about Johnny, a bright child in your class who just can’t follow your directions to sit up straight? Is it that Johnny just wants to look cool slouched in his chair, or is something bigger going on?

In the video below, Kathy Johnson, MS Ed., explores what happens to handwriting when the Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR) is retained.


This blog was brought to life by PESI speaker Kathy Johnson, MS Ed.

Kathy Johnson, author of The Roadmap From Learning Disabilities To Success, is a nationally recognized expert in multiple therapy methods including: Primitive Reflex Training, Therapeutic Listening, Samonas Listening, PACE, Phono-Graphix, Irlen Syndrome, Brain Gym 101, and An Introduction to Rhythmic Movement.


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