tummy time

Visual-Motor System Need an Upgrade, or Just an Update?

Shoulder and head strength, hand-eye coordination, hand function, and more — so many essential postural and motor skills emanate from tummy time!

What may not be so apparent? The same fundamental laddered skills related to tummy time support our visual-motor function and are needed at every age.

If these skills are so important, how do they get off track and can they be restored? Recognizing when the skills were disrupted or derailed is a key part of the answer.

Why this matters to us, and to you

When medical necessity or family situations inhibit tummy time, key developmental opportuniites are lost.

When injury or illness disrupts the essential tummy time based shoulder and head skills, you don’t function at your best. The unresolved pain or clouded thinking may have you wondering if you’re getting old. (No!)

You don’t have to do hours and hours of tummy time to get so much to change! We close the gap for you.

In case you missed the recent discussion of Need more Focus or Fine Motor? Tummy Time! view the entire article.

Why the ‘When” matters

The point in time which the tummy time related skills got off track tells us if you are need of a mere update or a more extensive upgrade.

  • Were the skills skipped or minimally developed as an infant?
  • Were the skills impaired as a child?
  • Or, were the skills impaired as an adult?

The upgrade scenario is when the disruption to tummy time occurred as an infant. The skills were never learned quite the right way. We go back to ground zero and rebuild the core, head, and limb relationships leading up to tummy time. The younger the child, the faster this process goes. (Adults who skipped this phase as a child can also rebuild the skills. You just need more patience.)

The update scenario is applicable to the adults and older children. The basic neuromuscular patterning was correctly developed as an infant but an injury or illness has thrown things off track. We use the Bridging® technique to gently match up the correct muscle function relating to the tummy time arm and upper body control.

How do I know if I have impaired tummy time skills?

Age three to thirteen: When injuries happen from age three to adolescence there is often a compensation which becomes stressed with physical growth. Common challenges are a recurring mystery pain, a propensity for falling or clumsiness, or exaggerated fatigue for activities not normally perceived to be very tiring. Skills that used to be easy can suddenly become a challenge for no apparent reason.

Age teen to adult: Injuries as an adult to the tummy time framework result in the oddest of pains or movement restrictions that just won’t go away. The pain may be TMJ because an arm injury left the associated head relationships unsupported. Computer work may cause stress because visual skills are thrown off by a shoulder injury.

Why would someone have missed tummy time?

During the first six months, the visual-motor system is developing the foundation of how it works together. Postural control and balance essentials are forming through age three.

If an injury or health issue happens in the first three years, skill gaps happen. A child develops compensations which either lock-out more complex skills down the road, or require such focus and energy that behavior and willingness-to-try suffer.

We find the primary reasons for limited or skipped tummy time are:

  • Medical procedures as an infant (surgery for repairs to birth defects)
  • Illness requiring hospitalization (respiratory, fever, dehydration)
  • Colic and reflux (causing discomfort)
  • Living situations not amenable to being on the floor
  • Having older siblings (in car seats while driving siblings to activities)

Some medical statistics

Some back of the envelope calculations (its an engineering thing and I’m an engineer) show there are about 70,000 infants having surgery per year. (Using birth data and CHUP 2012 surgery data.)

Although this is roughly 2% of the infant population, the developmental gaps are monumental when it is your child.

What relationships are at stake?

tummy time infographicPlenty. The infant medical procedures messed up fragile neurological relationships. Take a look at this diagram from BabyBegin.com. You will notice many areas which also plague teens and adults.

To look more in depth at the specific skills normally developed from birth forward, the Pathways organization has a great reference. Complete with photos, there is a description of what each month’s progression should look like.

How to catch up?

Surprisingly there seems to be no standard Tummy Time make-up programs. Such important skills, yet no current protocol for catching up. As a parent, do you make the kids hang out on the floor and hope they get some benefit? No.

How do we help?

At Kinetic Konnections we go back to the root cause. We identify when the tummy time skills got off track. Then we assess how the skills are being accomplished via compensations. Generally something works even though the skills may not be working quite right.

The positions of success become our starting point as we use the Bridging Technique to restore missing functional relationships. We replicate the tummy time arm, shoulder, core, and head skills to clear-up any skews or gaps from that developmental period. (At any age!)

The amazing part? The child’s muscles seem like they’ve been waiting for the right help to function correctly. The change is immediate and lasts. Daily life reinforces the new movement relationships. Adults feel the tightness melt away.

What is even more amazing? The subsequent laddered skills automatically start changing and moderating. Social skills become more age appropriate with increased ability to read the non-verbal aspects of communication—facial expression, intonation, body language and linguistic inferences. It seems like restoring the missing skill allowed an entire set of gears to shift!

How do I get started?

You can call 847-390-8348 or schedule online for a session.

To find out how we can specifically help you, or your loved one check out our website.

Find related explanations in the FB videos where I share a more detailed description of common challenges and how we use Bridging to help. (You do not have to have a FB account to watch)