I have been working with a family visiting from out of the country over the past month. His parents were very concerned about his motor development. Addressing this little guys postural asymmetries using the TMR approach gave him the opportunity to quickly and spontaneously learn new skills. Within days he was crawling and within weeks he was pulling to stand. His head control developed and sitting balance became strong. As this family heads back home with the knowledge to treat their own child, I shared with them some things to look for in the coming months.
Postural asymmetries are very common with children with developmental delays. The children have found patterns of muscle activation that are easiest for them to use and then repeat these motions over and over.
These asymmetries are not always obvious if you don’t know what to look for. Once you are tuned in you can make changes much more rapidly than if you focused on what is hard for the child to do and relied simply on practice of those skills.
Torticollis: If a child’s head is tilted and/or turned and having difficulty looking the other way, don’t just focus on the neck. Make sure the child’s whole body is in balance, not just the muscles they are beginning to activate.
Rolling: The child should roll both directions.
Sitting: The child reaches to each side to play with toys.
Crawling: A symmetric opposite arm/leg pattern is ideal.
Pulling to Stand: the child should be able to pull to stand leading with either leg.
Walking with equal step length between left and right legs. With walking experience, arms should lower and arms should swing with left arm swinging forward with the right leg and right arm swinging forward with the left leg.
Tightness always wins! So if you are working on building “strength” with your child, be sure to rule out any imbalances and turn an uphill battle into rapid change and spontaneous development of new motor skills.
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