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A Guide to Dealing with Babies and Toddlers With Hypotonia

Special needs infants and toddlers with hypotonia may vary according to the age group. Read on to find out what is hypotonia?

Introduction

Hypotonia is one of the disorders that hinder the growth of an infant. Early detection and treatment are the best possible option to help children lead a normal life. This article gives the parents/ teachers a general awareness about this disorder and the special needs infants and toddlers with hypotonia will need.
What is Hypotonia and the Causes

Generally, hypotonia is low muscle tone. Due to the muscle weakness such infants can’t maintain an upright position. In some cases the symptoms are apparent, as the hypotonic infants do not have proper head control. There are hypotonic children, that seem perfectly strong and may exhibit efficiency in running and jumping, but they may get tired, lacking the stamina to be engaged in hectic activities.

Proper muscle movement needs a healthy brain, nerves, spinal cord and muscles. The damages to any of these may result in hypotonia. Besides, some genetic disorders can cause hypotonia in newborn babies. Though a severe case of hypotonia is not curable, it can be controlled with the help of a pediatrician and neurologist.

How to Deal with Hypotonic Infants and Toddlers.

Usually, infants and toddlers with hypotonia may lag behind in motor skills, speaking and language abilities. Proper monitoring is needed to correctly diagnose the field in which the infants lag behind. The activities for hypotonic infants should be designed to increase the muscle movements and sensory developments. Infants and toddlers with hypotonia should be given support to improve their motor skills by strengthening their muscles. Allow them to play with their peers; they should run, jump and play ball. They may get exhausted and so easily distracted from activities. It is effective to follow a flexible routine, if you see a hypotonic infant tired, lead him to a quieter activity.



Exercises that can develop the gross motor controls are effective to deal with infants and toddlers with hypotonia. Pressure massaging is suitable to stimulate the muscles of the infant. Encourage the infant to crawl to grab an object while he shows the sign of readiness to move. Give sufficient support to maintain the sitting position. While lifting the arm or leg, they can be provided support by placing beanbags underneath so that they can sit properly.

Some Hypotonic infants and toddlers exhibit good intelligence. They should be given the toys that improve motor skills, like building blocks, crayons, picture books, blocks with alphabets and numbers. They should be encouraged to play with their peers.

Since the muscle weakness occur in different parts, some show language inefficiency and they may lag in communication skills. In some infants and toddlers, walking, running and other physical activities will be delayed. Occupational therapy is the best advisable choice to deal with hypotonic infants and toddlers. With the assistance of a speech therapist and physiotherapist, these disabilities can be reduced to a certain extend.

Conclusion

Shortly, hypotonic infants and toddlers learn to adapt with the situations. They will be given enough support to overcome their difficulties. Engage them in activities that require muscle movements. Hypotonic infants and toddlers with no other disability like Down Syndrome, can lead a normal life provided they are given better support and assistance.

Sources

A Brain is Born: Exploring the Birth and Development of the Central Nervous System by John E. Upledger

Hot Topics in Neonatal Neurology by Itai Berger

http://www.brighthub.com/

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