Our physiotherapists at Extend Physiotherapy can assess children with gross motor development problems that involve an infant moving and exploring their environment. This includes developing motor skills such as reaching for toys, rolling, sitting, crawling and walking. Young children will then add to these skills by improving their balance, learning how to run, jump, climb and participate in many aspects of life.
How can physiotherapy help?
The physiotherapist and parent will develop some goals for the infant or child after an assessment of the child. Motor learning involves teaching different motor skills to infants by positioning and encouraging certain movements that strengthen muscles and develop posture and balance needed. Activities are repeated or practised which can strengthen pathways in the brain.
Education of parents is an important part of intervention, so they can practise at home and incorporate the activities into their daily routines. As children improve, the therapist will increase the difficulty of tasks in simple ways. New goals may also be developed with the parent.
Idiopathic toe walking (ITW) is a term used to describe children who walk on their toes with no known cause. A thorough assessment is important to determine if the toe walking is a sign of a condition of concern. ITW resolves by itself in most children, however, it can result in issues such as leg and foot pain and falls. Treatment by a physiotherapist can help to address and prevent these issues, as well as maintain flexibility in the muscles and reduce toe walking.
Physiotherapy can help torticollis by stretching the tight muscle. Your physiotherapist at Extend will work with the parents to develop a home program of gentle stretching exercises and ideas for play and positioning. In babies over six months, strengthening exercises may also be included to assist the baby to develop their ability to hold their neck upright. This home program is best incorporated into the baby’s daily routine of nappy changes, feeding, sleep and play time. The gentle stretching exercises should not be painful or upsetting for the baby. If you have concerns that your baby is not tolerating the stretching exercises, you should speak to your physiotherapist at Extend. The home program may include:
- stretches to lengthen the tight muscle
- exercises to strengthen your baby’s neck muscles
- ways to carry your baby to encourage them to look to their non-preferred side or to stretch their tight muscles
- positions to play with your baby to help all of the above, as well as their development.