Christina always has a smile on her face and is always so pleasant with people. She is definitely a pleaser. Not with her parents however. Since early childhood she was a very slim girl and had a floppy posture. She never had good muscle strength and tended to get tired very easily. According to her parents she was always delayed in her motor skills and started walking only at the age of nineteen months. Now at school, being smart as she is, she finds creative excuses to get out of gymnastics class. Her parents also know they cannot take long excursions with her, as her level of endurance is poor and she would collapse in fatigue and with tears.
Christina has a postural disorder which is a sensory-based motor disorder. Kids like Christina often have low muscle tone (usually within normal limits), joint hyperlaxity, poor proximal joint stability in the trunk, neck, shoulders and elbows and poor posture while standing and sitting. The easiest way to identify kids with this disorder is that they tend to support themselves on furniture and walls whenever they can, as it is hard for them to maintain an upright posture and their balance is often challenged. As babies they may have been portrayed as awkward and clumsy or adapted a "W sitting" which provided them with a wide base of support.
Kids with a postural disorder highly benefit from an occupational therapy intervention ideally at a young age. Such therapy will focus on strengthening the muscles, increasing joint stability and enhancing postural control. This will also have a positive effect on self-confidence.
At home parents can use specific daily exercises to further promote postural control.
Here are some Top Tips for MedSchoolForParents.com parents from Ronit Kabazo :
1. The child lies down in a prone (on his stomach) position and pushes with his hands a ball rolled to him, while his head and arms are off the floor. Three or four sets of 5-10, according to the child's ability.
2. The child lies down in a supine (on his back) position, supported on his forearms (elbows beneath his shoulders) and uses both legs to push an exercise ball being thrown to him. Three or four sets of 5-10, according to the child's ability.
3. The child stands in a quadruped (four point kneeling) position on a mat: Palms beneath shoulders, knees beneath hips, tummy tucked in, elbows slightly bent and head aligns with the trunk. The parent provides resistance to the child's joints (wrists, elbows, shoulders), while the child keeps holding this posture.
4. In the same quadruped position the child lifts his arm up forward, without changing his trunk or head posture. The parent provides resistance to the arm from below, while the child tries to maintain the arm position. This can also be done with lifting arm and opposite leg.