We all know that when it comes to raising a child, parents have many questions about the child’s behaviour, development and certain habits. How do we know what is appropriate, normal and/or inappropriate? When do we need to be concern, and how do we know when not to worry?
Sensation Station would like to help parents guide them and this month, we share some Tips for Parents from our Paediatric Occupational Therapist.
Why does my child toe walk?
There can be 4 reasons for children who toe walk…
1 – Depends on the age, as it is part a brief of a developmental milestone before walking – while the child is cruising along the furniture you will often see babies toe walk or even just stand on their toes. This helps build muscle strength in the hips and lower limbs for independent walking.
2 – The child can be tactile sensitive especially on the soles of the feet. The child will tiptoe on specific textured surfaces. The less surface area for the foot that touches the floor, the less discomfort the child experiences.
3 – The child could be seeking some pressure feedback into the calve muscles of the leg. This will happen at random time, but more often, and will be while the child is standing and / or walking.
4 – It could be idiopathic toe-walking, which means that the reason is unknown and it might or might not go away.
Why does my child like pressure applied i.e. tight hugs, weighted objects etc.?
This could be a sensory processing issue – Where the child’s proprioceptive system which is located the muscles and joints are not processing incoming information correctly and does not feel his/her body the way we do. This child has difficulty regulating resistance activities such as opening and closing of objects. This is be the same child that will most probably stomp the feet while walking, bumps into furniture, presses hard on a pencil, as well as writing hard on a page, grips items hard, enjoys rough tumble play and might lose friends like this. If the child enjoys the tight hugs and enjoys handling slightly weighted objects then allow it in moderation and under with recommended activities by a therapist with experience in sensory integration / sensory processing.
Why is my child only able to manage soft foods?
Depending on the age of the child, if the child is older than 12-18 months, then it would seem to be an oral defensiveness difficulty where the child is very sensitive with the texture of food. This could lead to problematic eating / or picky eating. The therapist would also question other areas that are linked to tactile processing, as the mouth is an extension of the skin that covers the rest of the body. This child would need to be exposed to structured texture exploring along with deep pressure activities to help regulate the tactile experience with the aim to help the child accept a varied texture of food within his / her diet.
How can I improve my child’s pencil grip?
We would need to look at how the child is physically holding the pencil, observe the wrist, the arm as well as the shoulder and core postural position while writing / colouring. Underlying factors needs to be addressed and this is often decreased shoulder stability. When a child presents with an incorrect pencil grip, then it is a compensatory strategy and while underlying issues are addressed via gross motor and fine motor physical activities, one could also trial specific pencil grips to aid in correcting the hand position while holding the pencil.
For more information about Occupational Therapy services at Sensation Station, please click here: https://sensationstation.ae/occupational-therapy/