Children with sensory processing disorders and/or motor control challenges often lack good postural control and core musculature development. One of the ways we assess core control is through the child’s ability to attain and maintain prone (on stomach) extension [superman position] and supine (on back) flexion postures [curl up in a ball] postures against gravity. Good antigravity control usually emerges during the first year of life, which is why it is so important that babies spend a lot of time on the floor, in both prone and supine, so that they can establish good postural foundations. Infants who spend much of their time in baby carriers, bouncy seats and exersaucers; babies who can’t tolerate being on their stomachs; and babies who skip or spend little time crawling are missing out on valuable motor development.
Establishment of good core stability not only provides a foundation for the execution of smoothly coordinated motor skills (both fine and gross), but also helps provide a sense of being grounded in space and a foundation for coordinated and effortless breath support. This contributes to the child’s ability to better regulate his or her behavior, attention and activity level.
What can you do at home? (ask your child’s therapist for further clarification or guidance in selecting activities):
- Lie on stomach and lift both arms to hit large ball rolled to child or use rolling pin to hit suspended ball.
- Lie on stomach on a scooter board or swing and reach for objects or pull self using rope or elastic cord.
- Wheelbarrow walking.
- Swimming on stomach.
- Donkey kicks. Have child place hands on floor and kick feet in air.
- Lie on back and hit large ball rolled to child with feet (start with knees flexed).
- Rocking sit-ups. Have your child sit up and hug knees to chest. Hold child’s feet/ankles and ask them to rock onto back and then sit back up. Provide assistance as needed, fading when possible.
- Hang from a trapeze bar and lift legs to knock over objects.
- Swinging on a single rope disc swing (wrapping arms and legs around rope).
- Riding on a zip-line.