Sunday, February 20, 2011

ZERO TO THREE: Steps Toward Crawling

Here is a great article on what happens right before a child typically learns how to crawl and the various styles of crawlers:

ZERO TO THREE: Steps Toward Crawling

The only thing I would add to this article is some other types of atypical crawling:
-segmented: the child crawls but it appears slow, and not fluid as if every movement of the arms or legs have to be thought out. This can be a sign of a variety of problems including neurological
-bunny hop: the child crawls with the hands and then hops forward with both feet simultaneously coming up under him, just like a rabbit does. This can be a sign of neurological, muscular, or orthopedic problems
-bear crawls and can't bend knees- this is when the knees are extended vs. bent, it can be nothing to worry about unless that is all the child can do. It could be due to muscular tightness, orthopedic, or neurological problems

These atypical patterns in addition to the ones listed in the article (e.g. using one side only) may resolve after the child has been crawling for a couple of months. If they do not, this should be discussed with the child's pediatrician to consider a referral for therapy and/or a specialist (neuro or ortho)..

It is important that children crawl, but not mandatory. I have a 16 year old niece who skipped crawling and began walking at 8 months. She climbed furniture by 10 months, and went on to be a high level competitive gymnast. She takes advanced classes at high school. So, although she has no gross motor or learning problems, skipping crawling can be an indicator for that...not always, but can be sometimes. Crawling helps the brain learn to use the two sides of the brain together, develop arches within the hand muscles for fine motor control, and promote depth perception (eyes). Maybe this is why my niece's handwriting isn't exactly the best...not awful, but not great either!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD)

A common suggestion that I make for toddlers with a developmental delay, particularly with language skills, is to go to daycare, preschool, or Mother's Day Out (MDO) for at least 2 days a week. I make this suggestion especially for children who don't have siblings or who are the oldest child. Children need to be around other children their age which helps them learn how to play, talk, and share. Having said that, there is a difference between how kids thrive in good child care and low quality child care. Here is a link to an interesting study that evaluated how children progressed with development in different types of daycare:

Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD)

I realize that not everyone wants to send their child to a facility such as MDO or daycare, or maybe they want to but can't afford it. In that case, I help the parents brainstorm other ways to be around children, such as play groups, library story time/ craft time (FREE!!!), church activities, neighborhood groups, and other public places that may have free admission at least once per week such as an interactive children's museum. My subdivision has a monthly newsletter and within it, dates/times are identified for Mom's groups, play groups, and special events. It may not be the same teacher and peers each time like a daycare or preschool would be, but at least there is socialization among the children.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Autism Speaks, Community, Family Services,

I came across an amazing website "Autism Speaks" recently. I was so impressed with how they had very detailed videos displaying what a typically developing child would look like for a particular play or language skill, and how a child with autism may look like doing the same task. Also on this site was a huge data base of different types of treatment in the various cities in each state. What a great source for a parent of a newly diagnosed child or for a family that will be moving to a new town! Here is the link with the names and numbers to some facilities in Texas:

Autism Speaks, Community, Family Services, Texas: Categories

Even though this link is for Texas, the other states are represented also. Some of the links include: ABA, early intervnetion (birth to three years), preschools, OT/PT/Speech therapy, biomedical interventions, doctors, and community support. I will definately be sharing information from this site with the families that I work with!