Tod­dler Q&A Her mus­cles are soft

Your Baby & Toddler - - Contents -

Q: My pae­di­a­tri­cian told me at my 18-month-old daugh­ter’s checkup re­cently that she has low mus­cle tone. What do I do? A: Kerry Wal­lace re­sponds:

Chil­dren who pre­sent with dif­fer­ences in mus­cle tone are flagged by in­formed pae­di­a­tri­cians, as it can be as­so­ci­ated with phys­i­cal and pos­si­bly learn­ing chal­lenges, but also can be an iso­lated phe­nom­e­non, and merely a nor­mal vari­a­tion in an oth­er­wise typ­i­cally de­vel­op­ing child. The main prob­lem is not the low mus­cle tone it­self, but the func­tional is­sues that can be as­so­ci­ated with it.

The main func­tional prob­lem is low en­durance and mus­cle fa­tigue. It takes a whole lot more ef­fort to ac­ti­vate mus­cles, and to main­tain an up­right pos­ture, when you are born with this vari­a­tion from the norm.

A phys­io­ther­a­pist or oc­cu­pa­tional ther­a­pist with post­grad­u­ate train­ing in neu­rode­vel­op­men­tal ther­apy (NDT) can as­sist your child to de­velop the core mus­cles that keep the skele­ton in align­ment. Usu­ally func­tional im­prove­ments will be seen in the first six weeks to three months of treat­ment, and un­less there are other as­so­ci­ated is­sues, af­ter six months your child should be able to func­tion more or less on a par with his or her peers.

Low mus­cle tone is a fact of life. If you are born with it you will have to live with it into adult­hood and old age and deal with the biome­chan­i­cal chal­lenges as­so­ci­ated with it like a stiff neck or sore back. It will take more ef­fort to ac­ti­vate mus­cles and to re­main fit and have good pos­ture.

As­sist­ing your child from early on by cre­at­ing a life­style that in­cor­po­rates an ac­tive daily regime in­clud­ing phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity – climb­ing, jump­ing or ball games – is highly rec­om­mended. Sit­ting on tod­dler-sized chairs, where the feet touch the ground, for meals and for short pe­ri­ods dur­ing ta­ble-top and fine mo­tor or cre­ative ac­tiv­i­ties rather than slouch­ing in front of the TV will help main­tain pos­ture and mus­cle tone for life. YB

Kerry Wal­lace Oc­cu­pa­tional ther­a­pist

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.