Have you been noticing balance and coordination problems in your child?
Do they struggle to walk, have difficult navigating the playground, frequently drop things, or have poor posture?
If so, it could be a balance and coordination issue.
Good balance and coordination skills are essential for a wide range of everyday activities, including:
- Attention and concentration
- Body awareness
- Muscular strength and endurance
- Postural control
- Sensory processing
- Motor planning
Therefore, balance and coordination issues in children can lead to significant functional impairments in everyday life.
Here at Little Feet Therapy, one of the pediatric therapy specialties we have is pediatric physical therapists trained in treatment of poor balance and coordination skills.
If your child is struggling with poor balance or coordination, book an appointment with Little Feet Therapy today.
Or, keep reading to find out more about the benefits of pediatric physical therapy for poor balance and coordination.
What Is Poor Balance In Children?
Balance refers to your ability to keep yourself upright.
Poor balance in children can involve both standing balance problems and sitting balance problems.
If your child is struggling with their standing balance, they may have difficulties learning to walk, jump, or climb stairs.
Children with standing balance problems may be at a higher risk of falling.
If your child is struggling with their sitting balance, they may have difficulties sitting up straight and reaching for objects.
Poor balance can severely affect a child’s ability to become more independent.
Signs Your Child May Have Poor Balance
If your child is struggling with their balance, they may exhibit one or more of the following signs:
- Unsteady walking
- Frequent falls
- Light headedness
- Spinning vision
The signs of poor balance in children can manifest in multiple ways.
If your child is struggling with their balance, you may notice that they:
- Have developmental delays, especially with crawling and walking
- Experience frequent falls, or recover slowly from being off balance
- Experience wooziness or dizziness
- Have trouble using stairs or playing sports that require balance
- Move stiffly
- Show preference for activities that do not require balance, such as watching television
- Have trouble doing tasks that require hand coordination, such as writing, or fastening clothing
- Have trouble with scaling movements, such as throwing a ball gently from a short distance
- Avoid or cautiously play on playground equipment
Of course, it’s worth noting that every child is going to move awkwardly when they’re first learning to crawl or walk. These things on their own aren’t necessarily cause for concern.
However, combined with your child struggling to reach developmental milestones, they can be a sign of poor balance issues.
Causes Of Poor Balance In Children
There are numerous systems in the body that can influence balance and coordination, including:
- The inner ear
- The muscles
- The senses
Thus, conditions or illnesses that concern any of these systems can affect your child’s balance.
Additionally, there are a number of health concerns that may lead to poor balance in children, including:
- Poor muscle strength, such as hypotonia
- Vestibular issues, such asfrequent ear infections
- Perceptual issues, such as due to infant stroke
- Proprioception issues, such as uncoordinated movements
- Nerve issues, such as nerve damage
- Cerebellum issues, such as gait disorders
- Neurological issues, such as multiple sclerosis
- Visual issues, such as double vision
- Developmental issues, such as torticollis
- Sensory issues, such as sensory processing disorder
- Coordination issues, such as development coordination disorder or apraxia
If your child is exhibiting balance and coordination problems, it’s a good idea to book an appointment with Little Feet Therapy today.
How Can A Pediatric Physical Therapist Help?
Physical therapy is an excellent choice of treatment for balance and coordination problems in children.
Pediatric physical therapy can help your child’s balance and coordination in several ways, including:
- Reducing risk and fear of falls by identifying and removing hazards in the home, such as loose rugs or dim lighting
- Improving mobility and strength through play based exercise
- Improving movement through activities that address stiff joints
- Improving flexibility and posture through stretches that target tight muscles and encourage proper posture
- Improving activity levels through exercise programs that address your child’s specific needs
Your child’s physical therapist will begin by conducting a full pediatric evaluation to understand your child’s health history as well as their current limitations and difficulties.
During the evaluation, your child’s physical therapist may also examine your child’s:
- Muscles and joints
- Inner ear
- Eye tracking ability
- Skin sensation
Depending on the findings of the evaluation, your child’s physical therapist may recommend examinations by other health care providers, such as:
- An optometrist, to check for vision problems
- An otolaryngology (ENT), to check for outer and inner ear problems
- A pediatrician, to check to see if any current medical condition or medication is affecting your child’s balance and coordination
There are several physical therapy exercises that can help with poor balance and coordination in children, including:
- Proprioceptive exercises
- Sitting balance exercises
- Progressive walking practice
- Leg muscle strengthening exercises
- Balance exercises
- Gross motor exercises
An important aspect of your child’s treatment includes at home care.
Your child’s physical therapist will show you exercises that you can do with your child at home, including:
- Strength and flexibility exercises
- Posture retraining
- Exercises for eye tracking and inner ear function
- Balance exercises
Physical therapists are movement experts, so no matter the cause of your child’s balance and coordination struggles, a physical therapist makes an excellent addition to your child’s medical team.
At Little Feed Therapy, we have a special interest in providing support for children experiencing poor balance and coordination.
Our expert team can’t wait to meet you.
Book your appointment with Little Feet Therapy today