Questions we hear on a regular basis!

Why is tummy time so important?

Tummy time provides a sensation of security and comfort to babies. They can feel the surface and they get feedback into their sensory system. It is also a position that provides muscle activity in the pectoral muscles and the abdominals, strengthening these muscles groups that are important for rolling, creeping on hands and knees and sitting up. Providing "tummy time" also prevents the flattening of the back of the head that many babies get from lying on their backs for long periods of time. In a recent study published in Pediatric Physical Therapy it was found that a minimum of 90 minutes per day of tummy time prevented delay in milestone acquisition! Having a number provides a "reality check" about the amount of necessary tummy time every day!

Start early and your baby will learn to love lying on their tummy!!!

Does walking around barefoot help the development of a baby's feet?

Not really... Not wearing shoes and walking barefoot for the development of the foot is pretty much an urban legend. A very small percentage of the human population has the perfect muscle tone and perfect biomechanics necessary for full-time barefoot development! Most of us need some support and alignment to allow good muscle activity to develop and to protect the integrity of the ligaments in the foot. There are many soft and flexible shoes out there with good support at the heel and the arch that provide the necessary support for the foot as it develops. This is especially important if your baby has low muscle tone or high muscle tone. The correct alignment of the bones in the foot encourages optimal muscle activity and development.

What is Sensory Integrative Dysfunction/Disorder(also referred to as Sensory Processing Disorder)?

Sensory processing is the ability to take in stimuli from the environment and make sense of the world and our bodies. How we interpret and react to these sensations affects our ability to participate in functional tasks and routines. We receive sensory information from a number of systems– vision, hearing, smell, taste, tactile (information from stimulating skin), vestibular (movements that cause a change in head position), and proprioceptive (information from muscles, tendons, and joints). Some children, without a medical condition necessarily affecting their Central Nervous System, have difficulty understanding this information from their bodies and environment and respond in unusual ways. Of particular interest with Sensory Integrative Dysfunction is the child’s response to tactile, vestibular, and proprioceptive information. Problems interpreting this sensory information can manifest itself with difficulty in coordinated movements and/or being over- or under- responsive to the input. For more information, check out http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/.

Why does my child cry a lot? Why does my child have trouble with transitions? Why does my child not want touch certain items? Why is my child fearful playground equipment? Why does my child get sick from riding in the car? Why does my child not seem to notice sensations in his/her environment?

If any of these behaviors sounds like your child, he/she may have trouble modulating sensory information in his/her environment. Sensory modulation is how a child reacts to and applies an emotional meaning to sensory information. Your child may be able to appropriately detect the various sensory inputs surrounding him/her, but does not respond to it in an ideal manner. Your child may present with some or all of the following behaviors:

  • He/she may have an aversion to various tactile mediums
    He/she may be fearful of movements that go backwards in space or require his/her feet off the ground
    He/she may become dizzy or sick following vestibular activities like playing on a swing or riding in a car
    He/she may have delayed response or not seem to notice input at all
    Your occupational therapist can help your child to have a more appropriate and adaptive response to sensory input in order to participate in daily activities more successfully.