Early Childhood Intervention
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challenges pertaining to their child's development and
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suggestions. That's what Early Intervention Support is all
Whether a family has a child with a challenging behavior,
a disability or developmental issue, childhood is short - it
should be savored and enjoyed.
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Lack of Tummy Time Shown to Have an Effect on Motor Milestone
Noted occupational therapist, Julia Harper, MS, OTR/L, presented
'Decreased Tummy Time & the Effect on Milestone Development in Infants'. Ms.
Harper speaks nationwide and provides therapy through her own company called
Since the 'Back to Sleep' campaign was put in place in the 1994, Ms.
Harper states that there have been milestone delays associated with
positioning, missed milestones, motor in-coordination and the general
feeling that decreased tummy time experiences may be associated with these
delays. Federal statistics from 2005 show a 60% increase in developmental
delays in the past 10-15 years, 4.6 millions diagnoses of learning
disabilities, 4.4 million diagnoses of ADHD and children diagnosed with an
Austistic Spectrum Disorder increased from 1 in 1000 to 1 in 150 in 2006
(that number is now as high 1 in 100 according to the CDC in 2009). By
citing these diagnoses Ms. Harper is referring to the co-morbid factor (The
term comorbid refers to a disease, disorder or that occurs at the same time
as another disorder but is not related to it.) of missed or delayed
milestones for these children.
Many studies have been completed recently with children ages 0-12 months
to determine if increased tummy time is more beneficial than time spent on a
child's back in helping children reach early motor milestones in an age
appropriate manner. Clinical findings showed that decreased tummy time was
associated with delays in reaching early milestones, time spent on a child's
back does limit development of early motor milestones, tummy time provides
advantages over time spent in supine and children who played/slept on their
stomach had improved tummy time skills and crawling.
Currently there seem to be unclear guidelines for parents that underscore
the importance of tummy time for infants during waking hours. Tummy time
while awake does not conflict with the 'Back to Sleep' campaign. Parents
need to be educated on how to support their child's early motor development
with the use of tummy time positioning strategies.
Parents can ease their babies into tummy time starting as soon as they
come home from the hospital. Tummy time does not have to mean lying in the
crib or on the floor on a blanket for extended periods. Tummy time can be
completed by carrying a child tummy down, by lying on a adult's chest, etc.
The studies that examined positioning for play determined that a minimum of
15 minutes twice a day was all that was necessary to help children achieve
these early motor milestones more effectively and in an age appropriate time
Sources: Therapeeds, Inc; Julia Harper, MS, OTR/L.
Tummy Time in the First 3 Weeks
We have all heard about the importance of tummy time;
increased vestibular input, respiratory benefits, digestive
benefits and strength benefits in neck, trunk and arms which
result in appropriate gross and fine motor development.
These skills then positively affect everything from sensory processing to
crawling and handwriting. What a lot of us don't know is that tummy time
must be initiated and carried out consistently in the first 3 weeks of life
during waking hours. During these first three weeks of life, reflexes are
present which allow them to clear their heads to breathe and also to breathe
against the resistance of the floor.
If initiated during the first 3 weeks, the child is allowed to develop
the skills to enjoy this crucial daily activity. Don't despair if you've
missed this window of tummy time during the first three weeks. Just be sure
to give your child plenty of tummy time during their waking hours starting
by Kate Brennan M.Ed. and Developmental Specialist
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