Archives for posts with tag: belly time

Jan 09 022

Educators often hear from therapists, “When in doubt, crawl, crawl, crawl!” It seems from the onset, crawling is an amazing develop-mental activity that translates into all kinds of academic success.

The importance of a long crawling and creeping period in development is often overlooked by Pediatricians and parents. Many just don’t know the vital importance of this developmental milestone and impact later on in life.

As Occupational Therapists, we see children daily that have poor reading skills, difficulty tracking visually left to right, poor hand dominance or crossing of midline, decreased trunk strength (may look fidgety or ADHD), poor handwriting, immature grasp patterns and difficulty with fine motor skills all due to short or missed belly time!

Infants should spend as much time as possible on their bellies from the time they can turn their head at a few weeks when playing. Babies should not spend their “floor time” in supported sitting, car seats, entertainers, walkers, or johnny jumpers! Floor time should be a priority every day, getting down in the floor on belly learning to control their bodies, gain core strength, learn what their hands can do while their vision is engaged, and making millions of neural connections for later skills. Getting on their bellies sooner will prevent a myriad of developmental and learning delays later in development!

If an infant does not like belly time or is not crawling by 7 months or creeping by 9 months, then there could be issues that need to be evaluated by a pediatric PT and OT. Some children who have food sensitivities to cow’s milk and heavy sinus pressure avoid this position due to the pressure on their ear canals. A child with touch sensory defensiveness will avoid being on belly and hands, a sure sign that pediatric sensory based OT is needed asap! Infants with clinically low muscle tone will need therapy to help get them in this position and help this important stage develop. All red flags need a pediatric OT or PT eval, this is not something to wait and see about.

Please don’t “wait and see”…the time is NOW for therapy evaluation if a child is 9 months and is not crawling and beginning to creep, or avoids belly time all together. Most infants start creeping within a few therapy sessions!

Crawling is when you are on your belly “like an army man or snake”.
Creeping is when you are on your hands and knees like a “cat creeping up on a mouse”

Doing this activity even through older ages helps in all areas of development:
• Calms by activating heavy work receptors in the muscles and joints
• Continues to calm by building muscles that help breathing
• Helps children sit in chairs by building back and stomach muscles
• Coordinates two body sides so hand specialization is more likely to occur
• Improves handwriting by developing shoulder, arm, and wrist stability
• Helps develop fine-motor coordination as it builds the arches of the hand
• Decreases touch sensitivities by deep input and rubbing the floor
• Integrates many of the primitive reflexes, integration of these reflexes is vital to gaining higher motor skills
• Strengthens trunk, shoulder and arm strength which is needed to sit and attend
• Sets up the communication in the brain across the midline of the brain which is needed for reading skills to occur
• Increases muscle tone, muscle strength, and coordination throughout the body

The benefits of a good long crawling and creeping stage are too many to just “wait and see” about. An early walker is not always a sign of good development. Many of the children we see later in 1st-4th grade with reading, writing, and handwriting issues were early walkers. Please don’t hesitate to get an evaluation and necessary treatment for your precious one!
Center of Development Pediatric Therapies Cookeville TN 931-372-2567

this is creeping position, not crawling

this is creeping position, not crawling

Everyone knows that Early Intervention is the key to treating children with developmental delay.
But, did you know that orthopedic and fascial conditions can also affect development as they grow?

Babies with torticollis, weakness, scoliosis, or stiffness in their muscles or fascial system can have difficulty properly developing their vision, vestibular, and balance systems.

They may also have symptoms similar to ADHD, ADD, sensory processing disorder, or autism by the time they are toddlers or preschoolers.

Babies can have fascial restrictions from birth that lead to these problems and continue to get worse as the child grows, causing pelvic obliquity, limb length discrepancy, torticollis, even progressing to scoliosis, adult arthritic conditions, and spine pain over time.

Children with pelvic obliquity and leg length discrepancy as little as 1/8” or even mild torticollis can develop scoliosis, be delayed in development of quadruped creeping, balancing, and ambulation skills.

Children with even minor torticollis or scoliosis can develop delays in vision and sensory processing that cause them to have difficulty with bilateral coordination.

Sheri Brimm, PT is now available to treat children at Center of Development. She has developed a comprehensive evaluation and treatment system which utilizes manual therapy techniques such as myofascial release and soft tissue and joint mobilization techniques, as well as traditional strengthening and sensory integration techniques to treat the whole child in a 3 dimensional manner. She has noted improvements in pelvic obliquity and movement that result in the child improving their developmental skills and balance dramatically.

Sheri is specializing in John Barnes Myofascial Release techniques and the Total Motion Release Program (by Tom Dalonzo-Baker) that work well for children and are easy to follow as a home program for parents. These techniques work!!

Early Intervention is the key to better outcomes!
The earlier we can evaluate and intervene for children 3 and under, the more improved functioning we can see by Kindergarten. Medically necessary therapies are very different than educational therapies through TEIS or school systems. Most children need both to make huge gains in development! Families rely solely on their pediatrician’s referral for medically based therapies.
Here are some “red flags” to know when to refer for medically based pediatric therapies.
Gross Motor
Any known medical diagnosis can be considered a “red flag”: Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, congenital heart condition, frequent ear infections, sensory avoiders, low muscle tone or high tone…
Newborn to 3 months old:
• Unable to turn head both ways fully or postures with sidebend of neck and trunk ( Possible torticollis or fascial restrictions causing pelvic obliquity and tightness of neck muscles)
•Breathing erratically, has excessive belly breathing, caving in at chest, appears restless, has excessive tongue thrusting (could be sign of fascial restrictions or high muscle tone)
•Constipated or having difficulty with reflux (could be sign of fascial restrictions in abdomen, pelvis, or chest area)
•Not moving arms and legs equally on both sides, not bringing hands to midline, not making eye contact, maintains arms/legs fully flexed or fully extended position (signs of muscle tone abnormalities)
Six to Nine Months:
• Not rolling by 6 months of age from supine to prone both R and L sides
• Not pushing up on straight arms, lifting his head and shoulders, by 7 months of age
• Not sitting upright in a child-sized chair by 9 months of age
• Not sitting independently by 7 months of age and falls over easily
• Not crawling (”commando” crawling–moving across the floor on his belly) by 9-10 months of age or inability to move legs or arms equally

Ten to Fourteen months:
• Not creeping (on all fours, what is typically called “crawling”) by 11 months of age or any abnormal creeping patterns like bottom shuffling or scooting.
• Not pulling to stand by 10 months of age
• Not standing alone by 12 months of age
• Not walking by 14 months of age

Age 2 years and above:
• Not jumping, kicking, catching or throwing a ball by 28 months of age
• Not independent on stairs (up and down) by 30 months of age
• “walking” their hands up their bodies to achieve a standing position
• walking on their toes, not the soles of their feet
• frequently falling/tripping, for no apparent reason
• still “toeing in” at two years of age

For referral information and insurance coverage questions, please call 931-372-2020. Centers of Development.