6 answers

Exercises for Hypotonic Toddler

Hi, my 14 month old daughter has low muscle tone in her trunk. She still can't roll from tummy to back, crawl, sit unassisted, stand, walk, etc. I'm waiting for an appointment from our local Early Intervention office to evaluate her. Meanwhile, I was wondering if you could give me some exercises that I can do with her at home. I would really appreciate it:) I feel like everyday counts and am feeling helpless that I can't help her. Thank you!!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Hi everyone, thank you so much for all of your responses! Kayla was evaluated by the EI team yesterday and they said she has low muscle tone throughout her body. Thus, she will begin her therapies (PT, ST, OT) in 2-3 weeks time. Wish us luck:)

More Answers

the exercise ball is the way to go. My son is 5 and has Down syndrome . With that comes low muscle tone. He was on the exercise ball at every therapy session.
I am concerned that your peditrician waited so long. I would wuestion that decision. Without knowing any facts, I would start looking for a new peditrician.

If there is going to be a wait of more than a week or two for Early Intervention, I would encourage you to call a children's hospital and get an appointment with a pediatric PT and OT right away. Children's Memorial or Schwab Rehabilitation are both excellent. They may have a shorter wait list, especially if you have your daughter's doctor call to set up the appointment and request she be seen immediately. Email me if you need more info. Good luck!

Addendum: Responding to other posts: Please do not place your child in an Exercauser, especially a child with tone that is either too high or too low. This can cause damage to her joints and will not help her learn to move. For now, tummy time and encourage gentle, active play. If you do put her on a ball, be gentle and don't bounce her too vigorously since she doesn't have the stability of a typically-developing child and you have to be careful to avoid an injury, especially in her neck and upper back. I would encourage you to speak with a PT or OT ASAP. Email me off site if you need advice how to get in quicker. In the meantime, get her out of all equipment and onto the floor to play. Good luck!

I would second the exercise ball idea from the previous post - my son had some trunk issues and would do ball exercises with his physical therapist at Easter Seals (btw - I would highly recommend Easter Seals PT!). Like the previous post, my son did not like it at first and slowly got used to it and eventually liked it.

Sitting on the ball works fantastic. Another idea with the ball - lay your child on top of the ball, on their stomach. Put a toy in front of them, just out of their reach. You hang on to their legs and roll them forward just a little so the toy is just within their grasp. They should be attempting to arch their back (lift the tummy off the ball) a little in order to reach the toy.

Hi. My son was considered hypotonic and at 9 months was not sitting up. We were able to get physical therapy through Early Intervention and one of the things the PT did was have him sit on an exercise ball. She would kind of hold his legs an have him sit there. At first he didn't like it, but after a while he got used to it... She would also have him sit in a Bumbo seat and play... He went from not sitting at 9 months, to walking at 13 months... Pursue that Early Intervention!

Hi there. I am a PT in Early Intervention. I want to start by saying please disregard the advice from the first poster. Exosaucers DO NOT help to build trunk strength, in fact just the opposite. Bouncing on a ball is a good idea. The bouncing gives the muscles input and helps to "wake" them up. Does she tolerate playing on her tummy? Continue to give lots of tummy time. Play w/her in sitting(with your support) and have her reach for toys. I'm curious...why did your pediatrician wait so long to refer her for therapy?

Hi! Do you use the excercise saucer? It is a great way to help baby build core muscles. Both my kids loved being in there.

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