Do you assess prone extension and supine flexion Part 3

Prone Extension and Supine Flexion | 0 comments

Written by Cheri Dotterer

July 24, 2020

Now that you understand the postures that I am referring to, let’s find out how they relate to primitive reflexes.  Prone extension and supine flexion help the body move in opposite directions. Although the assessments are completed in the mat, the reflexes associated with these postures occur in all planes.

The pair of primitive reflexes that interfere with these postures are the Landau and Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex (TLR). Not the word tonic appears here. Look at part 1 to review the definition of a tonic reflex. The Landau pulls students into prone extension. Whereas, the TLR is like a bow, it can pull kids into extreme flexion or hyperextension.

Today, let’s discuss the Landau.

The word landau means carriage or wagon. It was first used in Germany to refer to a carriage or wagon for four people with a driver and horses. The landau position is a convex arc much like that carriage or wagon.

Children who have difficulty with muscle tone cannot maintain that position. They have difficulty holding their head up, so they lay on all over their desk. They will have difficulty writing on the board or copying from it. They will hate standing long periods of time. Researchers have found that there is a poor connection from the Reticular Formation (RF) to the Limbic System and Prefrontal Cortex. These poor connections lead to emotional irregularity and poor impulse control.

The best way to help these students is to provide extra support to their back and neck for activities that require copying and looking at the board during rest phases. If you have locations in your room that allow kids to recline when reading, you will find these students finding solace in the bean bag chair.

Meanwhile, engage them in active exercises that promote rhythmic flexion and extension of the entire body. Active activities should include exercises to strengthen their neck and back muscles.  Prone activities over a therapy ball will help.  Whole classroom planks will help the muscle tone of these students.  Encourage them to look toward the front of the class to help count the seconds.

Another concern of children with retained landau reflex is cardiopulmonary. These students have poor endurance.

More information and pictorial illustrations of the Landau can be found at

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