15 Month Old with Low Muscle Tone (Hypotonic)

Updated on March 08, 2011
M.S. asks from Los Gatos, CA
23 answers

My son is 15 months old (7 weeks premature) and his doctor first noticed he was hypotonic (low muscle tone) around 3 months old. He wasn't floppy but felt like he was going to slip out of your hands when he was picked up under the armspits. He is now 15 months old and not walking (he'll stand and cruise furniture). At his 15 mo check-up the doctor said he is still hypotonic and that we need to start occupational therapy. There is a 10 day wait before he can be evaluated. I am very worried about this. Any moms out there that have been through this? Besides not walking and "feel a little like he'll slip out of my hands" when picked up under the shoulders, I don't see any problems. But since the doctor recommended therapy, I'm scared about his future.

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So What Happened?

Just wanted to thank everyone for their inputs. I'm just now waiting for the ot to get back to me for an appointment to get him started asap.
Thanks again everyone & god bless

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M.C.

answers from San Francisco on

Hello M.,
My daughter did not walk until she was seventeen month old! Now at twenty months she is walking just fine! Some children are just later than others! The fact that she is standing and cruising means he is on the right track! As long as he is progressing it should be fine!
I know it is hard to have a child that is on the later track like my daughter; it was driving me crazy how long it took her to walk but now I can't stop her! Now my worry is that she isn't talking! Basically, the worrying never ends does it?
M.

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S.S.

answers from San Francisco on

By all means get him to occupational therapy, and the sooner the better. They will help with his issues. My son went to OT several times and was helped tremendously. I just with I had had the finances to give him more OT when he was young. When you go to the sessions ask what you can do at home, specifically, to help him too. Good luck!

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M.R.

answers from New York on

Hi M.,

my daughter had low muscle tone. Based on what you describe, I would say that she was a milder case, but she did begin all relatively late. She was able to sit unassisted only when already 9 month old, and she began walking at 15-16 month (which in her case was probably due also to a problem of calcium absorption). We discovered the problem because she was born with torticollis (wry neck) and needed therapy. It was the therapist who told us about the low muscle tone, warning that her gross motor skills would have a slower development. I remember feeling the difference between holding her and holding our neighbor's baby who was born a month later and felt so much stronger and solid. The therapist wanted to keep working with her even after her neck was fixed. But she never presented it as a serious problem, just a difference. I would not worry too much. Our daughter is a fabulous 22 month old, extremely bright (she began speaking early and now has an amazing vocabulary) very vivacious and energetic, who goes up and down a slide completely unassisted.
Do the therapy, it helps a lot, and it is fun for them. We did it at the Child Development Center of the San Francisco California Pacific Medical Center (the CDC is now located on Van Ness), with a fantastic therapist. Feel free to contact me if you need more information.

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G.D.

answers from Modesto on

That sounds like mitochondrial issues, Do not vaccinate or it can be worse...and seek Sequential homeopath to pull out all ofensive toxins in him, to get him healthier!!!
Love, G.. :0)
P.S. If you need more info just email me: [email protected]____.com
My son is sooo much better now and keeps improving!!!
And I agree you need to get services for therapy ASAP!!!

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T.G.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi M.,
Just a little food for thought. My daughter's p.t. once told me that it is not uncommon that really good gymnasts are often somewhat hypotonic...makes sense considering the laxity in the muscles yields great flexibility. So please think about that if you start to worry.

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C.D.

answers from San Francisco on

I would just like to say: don't be afraid of therapy. If anything, it should be a good thing for your son. Go ahead & have him evaluated--find a good therapist (PT and/or OT)via a recommended children's therapy center (I know of one in Santa Rosa). My daughter was born with extreme hypotonia 16 yrs. ago, and we learned that the earlier you get them to therapy the better. We wish you the best

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K.G.

answers from San Francisco on

Hey M.. Our daughter is 14 months and also mildly hypotonic -- doesn't walk yet, does cruise furniture, has a hard time with sitting up etc. Our pediatrician suggested a pediatric neurologist and we went to see her, and basically she said that it wasn't severe enough to worry about ; that kids grow out of it and that if we didn't live in such a high-anxiety parenting zone we probably wouldn't even be OFFERED physical therapy, much less feel that we need to take advantage of it. Her advice was pretty much to just put stuff out of the way so the baby has to reach for it, to try and work with her to pull herself up, etc. -- but otherwise to wait it out.

That said, obviously if your son is severely hypotonic you should take action. And you might want to do the PT just to have someone else work with your son for a bit, so you can see what kinds of exercises to do at home with him. But if he's cruising and standing, I'd say you might want to relax a bit and accept that he's a bit of a late bloomer, motor-skills-wise.

By the way, I'm happy to send you a copy of the PT exercises we got from our pediatrician -- just send me a private message with your address.

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L.C.

answers from San Francisco on

I have a 13 year old son that had low muscle tone as a child. I started taking him to occupational therapy when he was about 3 years old. It was twice a week. He even had occupational therapy while in school (I would take him either before school or after school so that he wouldn't miss class or be singled out). He is now a very strong, active teenager and you'd never know that he had very little muscle tone or fine motor skills. Also, I had him evaluated at 3 by the school district and they were the ones who provided the occupational therapy during the school year. Just be persistant when calling (they are required by law to provide services to your child ~ who will be a student in their district very soon). Good luck, your child will grow up to be a strong boy. (Mine is!)

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S.A.

answers from Sacramento on

You should definitely get him evaluated for what he needs as soon as possible. Early intervention is always the best. I don't know where you live, but in every area of California there are regional centers that provide Early Start (federal program for children with any special needs). When we lived in the Bay Area, it was the San Andreas Regional Center; in Sacramento, it is Alta Regional (don't know what Alta stands for). My kids qualified at 22 months for services: PT, OT and early childhood speech and language and education. My son had extremely low muscle tone and language delay. He now is a 7 years old and can run, ride a bike and play sports just like other kids. He still gets OT for fine motor control, but he's doing great. This NEVER would've been true without Early Start! We went to a program at CARR in Palo Alto that was amazing! The best part is that it provides not only top notch professionals, but it's also free, compliments of our tax dollars, so you don't have to use any of your medical benefits! You don't need your doctor to refer; parents are the ones who refer. It may take awhile to get an assessment and start services, but it's well worth it!

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A.L.

answers from Fresno on

My daughter was born at 23 weeks and is now 21 months. Today I took her to physical therapy for the first time becasue she isnt walking yet. She has low muscle tone too. They gave us a ton of excercises to work on and I am so happy now that I know what I could do to help my daughter. Therapy is a good thing and it will help your son and you as well to understand how you could help him.

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D.F.

answers from San Francisco on

Sounds like you're getting great advice here, so I just wanted to chime in and say I've been there - my 7 year old was 10 weeks premie, didn't walk until 17 months. Lots of late development, but he's doing great now. He has ADHD, which we have great results controlling with nutritional approaches. He's a really happy, well adjusted kid, very active, very coordinated. We never had to go the professional OT route, but I spent many hours with him as a babe massaging, excercising, always wore him on my body.

Hang in there, if you get him the help he needs, and you stay observant, he should be just fine!

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L.S.

answers from Redding on

Hi, M.,
You've already received lots of good advice here, but allow me to echo two major points several people made: contact your nearest Early Start program for an assessment and don't despair! At the age of 9 - 10 months, when most babies can get to a sitting position on their own, our adopted daughter was a happy little lump who barely moved. I would put her in a sitting position, surround her with toys, and there she stayed. She was assessed by UCSF after she turned a year old and qualified for Early Start services. For the next two years, she got PT and OT. By 23 months, Michelle speed crawled, and finally walked sometime after she turned 2 1/2. After she turned 3, Early Start ended and county preschool programs took over from there. She continued to receive OT and adaptive PE in addition to speech and language. She is nine years old and runs faster than I do! She graduated from adaptive PE last year and we were told she is now above most of the kids her age! I still remember how worried we were about our little one and how a good friend once said: "Do you ever see kids crawling in the isles in the grocery store? Michelle WILL walk!" My thoughts and prayers are with you and your little boy.
~L.

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K.N.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi M.,
I am a pediatric physical therapist at Kids Perspective P.T. It is encouraging to hear your son is on his feet and cruising. If his trunk (middle of his body) is hypotonic, you will want to work on strengthening these muscles for support as he grows and wants to be more active. Physical or occupational therapy certainly will not hurt him...only help him get stronger and help you understand what is going on with him. Take heart...it sounds like he is doing well. If I can be of more help, you can call the office at ###-###-####, we take many insurances at this time if you would like to come in or I would be happy to just talk with you.
Good luck to you,
K. N.

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I.P.

answers from San Francisco on

hi
my son was diagnosed like this by the lucile packard development center. You should definitely see them. We are currently getting therapy via calif children's services after being referred there by packard hospital. "ccs" must evaluate him and determine if he is eligble for their therapy as it is free to calif residents who qualify. They will wrk with him and give you exercises to work with him on at home.

Don't worry but do get him the needed therapy. All the best!

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E.B.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi M.,
I agree with the others to contact Alta Regional Center for assistance. My daughter is going to be 24 months in two weeks and is only cruising while holding onto furniture or my hands. She was 14 weeks premature along with her twin sister. Physical or occupational therapy will be a huge help and they can tell you certain games to play to help strengthen his muscles.
Good luck!

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L.M.

answers from San Francisco on

My daughter had high tone at 3 months after a very difficult birth. We started PT at 6 months and OT at a year. I can't believe your doctor didn't advise PT earlier. The wait and see approach is a recipe for disaster. Get in for your evaluation and make sure that you have confidence in the group you are being referred to. I assume you have an evaluation set up for 10 days. That's great. Some places take months to get you in. You should have your son evaluated for everything you can. I would also find another doctor who LOOKS for issues to address instead of assuming that everything is going to be alright. Everything will be alright, but only if you act as an advocate for your son. Waiting can hurt and checking things out, well a little PT won't hurt anyone! With my daughter, with the PT and OT her tone issues have resolved. It took her a little longer than the average child to develop a dominant hand, but she did. We were also told to look for learning disabilities when she reached first grade. With close inspection, we were able to identify a disability (ADHD) before it created a huge problem. Once again, through being warned and knowing where to look, we have kept her academically and socially on course. Every parents desire.

My best wishes to you! All it takes is time and energy -

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P.M.

answers from San Francisco on

We were foster parents to a little girl who had similar symptoms. Are concerns were ignored by the local family services agency. Eventually she was diagnosed with cerebal palsy. We fought hard to get a neurological evaluation. By all means get your child tested as thoroughly as possible as soon as possible.

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A.A.

answers from San Francisco on

hang in there! one of the first things i learned after having my son was that you have to be a strong advocate for you your child. sometimes that means pushing for the right answers, for the right medical attention. try not to get scared by things people suggest might be wrong but get the help you both need (which includes you and your state of mind, by the way). my son didn't sit up til almost a year and that was with OT help. didn't walk til 20 mos. now he's nearly 9 and what has helped the most has been gymnastics for the past year and a half. anyways, know that there are lots of ways to find and get help. good luck.

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D.F.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi there!
My son was/is also hypotonic, Please do not by freaked out by what I have to say because every child is different. My son was floppy and delayed in all of his motor development. He was born two weeks past term and all was normal with my pregnentcey and delivery. At eight months my son was sent to a neurologist and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy (brain damage) SO, I would ask your pediatrician about a visit to the neurologist just to be safe and also if he is diagnosed, that diagnosis may open some doors with County and State services that will really help your little one. Until then take the OT and ask every question you think of! Just so you know my son is now twelve and a happy sweet boy! Blessings to your and your family!

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S.M.

answers from Lancaster on

My daughter is 14m and has weak muscle tone. She has physical therapy as well as a occupational therapy. Every other week they come out for an hour. She has been in the program for 3m now and has made a world of progress. she scoots on her but cause she's not crawling but get from sit to belly and hi up on her knees before flopping to her belly. I was very worried cause she is a little behind but I know she want to do it. Don't worry he will get it and they helped me so much so get the help and fast. She is like a 1 year old just not walking she is making so much progress from all of this. It will just take a lot of working with. I was very scared for her and sometime still but then I look at all the progress she made and I know one day she will be walking and doing the things I know she is able to do. Just remember that it is very hard for them but with support they will get threw it. God Bless and good luck.

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A.F.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi, My son is now 4 years old. He was diagmosed with low muscle tone at a very young age. He went through physical therapy, occupational therapy, ride to walk therapy, and water therapy. He is now doing great. My son was floppy and still is sometimes. It sounds like your son has a mild form. My son did not walk until 2 1/2 years old. There is going to be a waiting period for any therapy. Don't worry to much once he gets it you will see a huge difference. If you have Kaiser they will cover physical therapy. ( They are great) Alta will cover occupational Therapy but only to age 3 then you get abruptly dumped. Your DR. can send a referral to Alta. I hope this helps.

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K.B.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi M.,

It's possible that your insurance can help you in this situation. My son was a preemie (also 7 weeks early) and was behind in gross motor skills (sitting, creeping, crawling). I got a thorough developmental evaluation at the John Muir High Risk Infant Follow up Clinic and they facilitated a referral through our pediatrician to a John Muir pediatric physical therapist. Her name is Laurel Clymer and she has a co-worker who is an OT (Todd Trowbridge, I believe). Anyway, my son had several sessions with Laurel that were covered by insurance and they helped substantially! Drew just turned 14 months and is now walking. Get that referral from your doctor and start treatment as soon as possible.

K.

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M.S.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi,
Call Alta California Regional Center, and ask for the Early Intervention unit. They can do an assessment and if he qualifies, can provide services and support. I used to work there, and it is great - free of charge. I also worked in Early Intervention in So. Cal for many years - if he is only having the walking issue, therapy will help that. Also be aware of his fine motor skills, or how he grasps objects too. There are wonderful services for him out there, and if at age 3, he still has any needs, the school district is responsible for assessing him and providing services - free of charge. But - he probably will not need it. Call Alta - they can help you.

:)

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