Thursday, October 22, 2009

W-sitting revisited

This post is the sequel to a previous post on 10/8/09. If you're new here, make sure you've read that one first.

Today the physical therapist said that Hannah has made great improvement in strengthening her core muscles. By using the prescribed exercises, the physical therapist expects a lot of improvement very soon, and doesn't expect that she'll need to continue physical therapy for very long. Our girl's on the right track. Yay! We can tell she's made great strides as well. Hannah prefers to walk all of the time and is picking up her feet, falling less often, and has better balance control. This week she walked down our sloped driveway without falling for the first time. Yay! We've still got lots of skills to work on, but we're on track.

The physical therapist shared with us a journal article on W-sitting published in Advance, a physical therapy news magazine. I found the full text of the article online here. If you have an interest in W-sitting, this is the best and most complete article I have read on the subject.

1) Sitting on a large ball to encourage trunk control. Unfortunately, Hannah hates this and cries when we sit her on top of the large exercise ball. She does better when sitting on top of a kick ball.
2) Sitting Straddling Leg to encourage trunk control. You tilt the child sideways by rolling your leg and tilting the child's pelvis. The child is to curve her trunk upward and maintain the head upright. Hannah's much more comfortable sitting on our leg with this tilt exercise.
3) Half kneeling. Encourage child to play kneeling with one knee down and the other leg with the foot flat on the floor. Position for 30-60 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
4) Stepping up and down on a curb. Start with a raised surface that is only 1-2 inches high, then moving on to something higher as the child grows. Stepping up onto Kevin's Wii fit is just the right height for Hannah right now.
5) Place obstacles around the child approximately two feet apart (soft cushions, telephone book, soft toys, etc) and encourage the child to walk around, over and step on the objects. No problem! We've got plenty of kid-friendly clutter to throw around on the floor, Ms. Physical Therapist!
6) Learning to walk backwards or to kick. Hannah can't do these activities yet. The physical therapist encouraged us to try to get Hannah kick some of her beloved balls and to introduce a pull toy. Pull toys encourage children to walk backwards because they want to watch it move as they pull the toy. Hummm... I have a feeling I'll be checking out pull toys at Target before the end of the week.

Our daughter came to us a modified W-sitter (one foot behind her and one leg straight out) with poor muscle control, and we didn't know this was a bad thing. So... now you know. No W-sitting allowed. Ever.


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