Nina Berault PT, DPT and Jessica Yoon PT, DPT
As a nation, we are more sedentary today than ever before. Less than 30% of adolescents meet national physical activity recommendations (CDC). Pre-dating the COVID-19 pandemic, there were several contributors to this change in societal behaviors. Physical education and athletic programs received less funding, and the constant temptation/educational requirements to use electronic devices grew exponentially. These are obstacles to physical activity that typical children face, and may have a more significant impact for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Does your child with ASD resist movement in various forms? Do you have difficulties implementing a routine for exercise? Not to fear! We call you to think about daily activities your child already performs (or helps you perform) as a form of daily exercise! Below are two lists of activities that can be performed daily/weekly with household items.
Sneaky ways to work on strength:
Sneaky ways to work on balance:
By: Nina Berault PT, DPT
Our children spend much of their time performing sedentary activities (i.e, writing, typing, attending to a teacher's lesson, and reading). Typically in the classroom, our children assume a "short sit" position in their chairs- their bottoms supported by a surface and lower legs folded over the side. Too much time spent in this position may result in restricted hip mobility, tight hamstrings, and weakness in the neck and back to name a few things. Home is the perfect environment to switch things up. Below is a list of several positions children can assume when reading, writing, playing video games, and more!
Prone on elbows: Recruits scapular (shoulder blade), cervical (neck), and thoracic (upper back) musculature to hold the head and shoulders off the ground. Sensory input is given to the core as the belly pushes down into the floor.
The child must recruit core and hip musculature to achieve and maintain midline position (counteracts the rotation in the trunk as a result of the hip position).
Half kneel: Narrow base of support in this position allows for recruitment of the core and glutes. Quadriceps are also used to maintain balance! Child learns to align ribcage and pelvis.
By: Nina Berault PT, DPT
We have all played the comparison game. Little Susie walked at 10 months- why is my son still crawling at 14 months? My niece is unable to roll over, but my nephew was sitting independently at her age. To add fuel to the fire, it is enticing to google search or scroll through social media to discover what's "typical" in childhood development. Consider the following prior to sounding the alarm.
SKILLS THAT SHOULD BE OBSERVED...
Birth to 3 months
GENERAL WARNING SIGNS
Nina Berault PT, DPT
In the modern world, our babies tend to move from container to container (carriers to car seats to backpacks, etc) with little independent movement in between. This certainly has implications for development of gross motor skills in the future. Check out the strategies below to ensure that your baby develops a strong core to take on the world!
TUMMY TIME !!! (begins at birth)
Let's get ROLLING!!! (start at 3 months)
General Core Strength and Sitting Balance (> or = 5 months)
By: Nina Gallelli PT, DPT
It is common for children ages 2-4 to be apprehensive when ascending and descending stairs. This may be the case for several reasons including balance deficits, strength deficits, fear of heights, etc. In addition to speaking with a licensed physical or occupational therapist, try the suggestions listed below!