Get On That Belly!

tummy-time

One of the things that we are sure every parent of a new-born baby hears from several sources repeatedly is encourage tummy time, encourage tummy time, encourage tummy time! That is great, but not everyone really understands the reasons tummy time is so important. Without a doubt, tummy time is crucial and essential to a baby’s motor and postural development, as well as development of sensory processing skills.

Benefits of Tummy Time:

  • Provides a break from the baby’s typical supine positioning which occurs while sleeping and laying in carriers.
  • Prevents development of acquired Torticollis (abnormal or asymmetrical neck positioning due to tightness in unilateral neck muscles)
  • Increases head and neck control against gravity
  • Increases back strength
  • Increases arm and shoulder strength and stability
  • Facilitates understanding of movement (vestibular processing) as the baby experiences and learns movement of the head and body against gravity.

For motor development, establishing postural control of the head, neck, and back establishes the foundation for development of later motor milestones. This includes rolling over, crawling, pulling to stand, and walking. Motor delays can often occur if a baby does not receive sufficient amount of tummy time throughout his/her daily routine. As far as sensory processing is concerned, tummy time provides opportunities to develop vestibular processing, which is essential for the development of protective responses, body awareness, postural stability, balance, and self-soothing skills needed throughout life.

Recommendations for Tummy Time:

  • Initiate when your baby is awake/alert
  • Never leave your baby unattended during tummy time
  • Implement tummy time 2 to 3 times per day throughout your daily routine.
  • Encourage tummy time position for several minutes, increase duration of time as your baby begins to tolerate and enjoy it
  • Utilize talking, animated facial expressions, singing, and playing with toys to encourage longer tummy time sessions
  • Trial different semi-inclined positions to introduce tummy positioning. This includes:
    • Positioning your baby’s tummy on your chest, belly, lap, or on your thighs with your knees bent. Start with your body in an upright seated position and slowly lower to laying on your back on a flat surface.
    • Placing a towel roll or small playmat cushion under your baby’s chest

Difficulties with initiation of tummy time may contributed by digestive issues, colic, limited, strength, and/or poor postural control. DO NOT AVOID TUMMY TIME! If your baby consistently cries and avoids tummy time, we recommend scheduling an evaluation session with My Kids Therapy for consultation with one of our highly trained occupational therapists. Contact us at (410) 451-5700 or visit our website www.mykidstherapymd.com

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When is the right time to identify a child’s disability?

child-disability

 

Do you know someone who isn’t sure whether or not to pursue a medical diagnosis for their son or daughter with a possible developmental delay?

Many developmental and learning disabilities are usually not diagnosed until a child enters elementary school. According to the Centers for Disease Control, even most children with autism are not diagnosed until after age 4. These facts are particularly puzzling, since it is well-established that early intervention leads to better outcomes for children with developmental delays and special needs.

So when is the right time to identify a child’s disability?

You’ve waited long enough. You’ve already waited for a year, made some modifications at home, and haven’t seen a significant improvement in the areas of concern.

You’re not quite sure what your child’s special needs are. There are many different symptoms that don’t add up.  In this situation, it is usually a good idea to see a developmental pediatrician, who can connect the dots between physical symptoms and behavioral patterns.  Different disabilities require different treatments – for example, an anxiety disorder will not be treated the same as a learning disability, even though there is some overlap in the symptoms.

You are unsure if there are underlying problems. Some parents take a child to a developmental pediatrician for behavioral issues and learn that the child has a nutritional deficiency or mild muscle weakness on one side of the body.  Sometimes children are unable to verbalize pain, which leads to unusual behaviors or an inability to participate in family activities.

Your child’s special needs are affecting family relationships and friendships. Care-giving is a stressful occupation. An undiagnosed or untreated disability or delay may also make it more difficult for a child to form friendships and participate in age-appropriate social activities.Finding out more about your child’s developmental delay will help your family to better support your child in social situations.

You are unsure or fearful that your child may have some delays or special needs. You are the key to unlocking your child’s potential, despite how scary this process may be.  You needed more information to help your child. Seeking help for your child is the first step along this journey.

If you have any concerns with your baby’s development, visit at My Kids Therapy for recommendations. To learn more about your baby’s development, please contact us at 301-552-2370 or info@MyKidsTherapyMD.com

It’s important to contact us right away!! Kids Therapy Connection  My Kids Therapy has solutions that can help.