Hypotonia and gross motor skills What is it?

Hypotonia means low muscle tone. Therefore, hypotonia is really a symptom rather than a specific diagnosis.  It can be caused by a variety of conditions. Its severity can vary significantly, from mild to severe hypotonia depending on the cause. The majority of children with hypotonia do not have an underlying problem. The doctor may give your child a diagnosis of Benign Congenital Hypotonia (BCH). This means harmless poor muscle tone since birth. If you have concerns regarding your child’s muscle tone and or gross motor skills contact your GP, Paediatrician, community nurse, or paediatric physiotherapist.

Symptoms can include :

  • low muscle tone (floppiness) ie.  in babies  poor head control when pulled to sit (head lag)
  • Hypermobility
  • delay in early gross motor skills
  • reluctance to have tummy time
  • bottom shuffling (scooting)- moving on bottom instead of crawling
  • delays in gross motor skills – walking, jumping hopping ball skill
  • fatigue when performing gross motor skills
  • a preference for sedentary activities instead of being active

What we can do…

Our team of physiotherapists is experienced in assessing and treating babies and children with hypotonia. Physiotherapy treatment aims to promote a child’s core strength, independence, and ability to reach physical milestones. Treatment will be specific to a child’s needs, age and abilities and we will use games and activities to help promote normal development. We liaise closely with parents, carers, and teachers to help assist your child to gain strength in their muscles and develop motor skills.

Our physiotherapists will:

  • Assess your child’s motor tone
  • Assess their joints for hypermobility
  • Assess your child’s gross motor skills
  • Develop an individual  treatment programme
  • Provide advice for preschool /school as necessary
  • Provide a home programme and information sheets to assist you with providing experiences for your child at home
  • Suggest inclusion in a Fizzy Gym group as necessary

Benefits of Physiotherapy are :

  • Achievement of physical milestones such as sitting, crawling, and standing
  • Improved independence in activities of daily living
  • Improved posture, muscle strength, balance, and coordination
  • Improved confidence

What you can do…

Provide your baby with opportunities to practice gross motor skills during the day. Periods on their tummy a number of times a day is essential. For the older child giving them opportunities to practice gross motor activities in a supportive encouraging setting will assist them to gain confidence and to interact successfully with their peers.

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