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Strengthening DD's core

(28 Posts)
GherkinsOnToast Sun 03-Apr-16 21:08:25

DD1 (7) has dyspraxia and very poor muscle tone. We have noticed this more so recently as DD2 (5) has suddenly lost her toddler tummy and is developing the long lean child look. DD1 has the long lean arms and legs but no core tone at all. She is also starting to gain weight as she can't ride a bike/climbs on climbing frames/run like others her age. She hates anything physical because it is very tricky and awkward.

She has 1 to 1 swimming lesson for half an hour once a week, we walk most places, she has stopped doing tap recently as all her friends passed their exams (she was no where near co-ordinated enough for an exam routine) and have moved up a group and leaving her with the reception starters. She can't balance a bike to ride and the physical act of pedalling is currently impossible. We throw her out onto the trampoline daily, weather permitting and she is learning to bounce herself. We have been discharged from the Occupational Therapists as she has had the allocated 6 sessions and cuts mean they are so overloaded they can't offer us anything more.

Any ideas on good exercises to build core strength?

parrotonmyshoulder Sun 03-Apr-16 21:10:07

Didn't the OT offer any exercises you could continue with? Shame to get six sessions and nothing you can do yourselves.

GherkinsOnToast Sun 03-Apr-16 21:17:23

They focussed on fine motor and strengthening arms as she couldn't hold a pencil/fork etc. So we were sent away with plenty of that to do and the possibly a bike riding course in the summer.

Neeko Sun 03-Apr-16 21:18:23

What about a wobble board?

Kelsoooo Sun 03-Apr-16 21:19:26

What about a balance bike?

parrotonmyshoulder Sun 03-Apr-16 21:21:21

A gym ball and wobble cushion. Slalom obstacle courses (walking in and out of cones without touching them).

SpanielPlusToddler Sun 03-Apr-16 21:26:04

Horse riding is brilliant for building up core strength. The movement of the horse works in three different directions to work core muscles.

tacal Sun 03-Apr-16 21:40:22

My ds got a block of horseriding lessons with Riding for the Disabled. Is that something you could apply for?

My ds used to go to a really good karate class. The teachers gave ds a lot of extra help to learn the moves. He was never any good at karate but all the exercises and additional help was really beneficial to him. He did it for a year. How long has your dd been doing one to one swimming lessons? I saw a real difference in my ds after a year of doing one to one lessons. But I am not sure if my ds is dyspraxic. The o/t diagnosed him as having a motor difficulty.

Toffeelatteplease Sun 03-Apr-16 21:57:37

Wii fit (or wii fit u)
The heading football exercise, Hoola hooping to start with before moving onto stronger exercises. There are lots of core muscle games that are good.

Superman exercises. Lie on your front arms and legs out to the side and raise your arms legs and head (a little like superman flying supposedly). Hold for as long as is comfortable (May be only a few seconds at first).

A peanut ball is more stable to start with than a gym ball. Sit astride the gym of peanut ball and bounce. Must move with control. Can't remember the others we did.... We did quite a few.

(Working up to) 10 mins tummy time a day. This can be playing with a toy reading a book watching TV whatever. This will be really hard at the start.

We still find the wobble board a bit too difficult

Go back and have some strong words with the OT team. Ask for a referral to physio therapy and a programme you can do independently. Gross motor not fine and independence skills (lazy ot-ing).

On bike riding, Not a balance bike. Look to put stabilisers on a normal bike or get charity funding for an oversized trike. You want to remove the pressure to balance while you try to teach the movement and build up the strength needed to pedal. Remember if the core muscle tone is poor pushing the pedal down will be difficult so very short periods of time to start. Watch carefully for any sign of learning on the handle bars, DS will slump quite dramatically when he tires. I walk along with DS' wheelchair. Solid surface not a grass surface as grass is harder to pedal on. If there is any dyspraxia or motor control issues in there, you may need you get down there and move the feet in right motion in order for your child to get to grips with what they are doing. Also it can be useful to sequence the motion for them "one down, then the other, then the other...."

Look at sitting at home and school. DS has a special chair but on a basic level a sitting wedge can be fantastic. (OT should have looked at this but probably didn't)

I am really hoping OT also recommended adaptive cutlery. Caring cutlery used to be the brand to get but kura cutlery are cheaper and absolutely no different

Girliefriendlikesflowers Sun 03-Apr-16 22:06:50

Was going to suggest horse riding, my dd is similar to yours although can now ride a bike - it took a lot of tears (mine and hers) to get there though! I would persevere with getting her to cycle, they do eventually get it.

Horse riding has been great for dds core muscles but also her confidence generally.

The balance ball was also suggested to us by the OT and thats helped a bit I think.

Toffeelatteplease Sun 03-Apr-16 22:11:50

AlSo does your DD crawl? If she crawls or you play wheelbarrows does her body drop in the middle and her shoulder blades become more pronounced? Or in DS' case when he was younger just drop to the ground. (Not sure if that makes sense to you)

if so it could mean that there is some work needs on the muscle that runs over the scapuloid. This muscle is important in your ability to hold cutlery and write. No amount of fine motor practice will solve things if this muscle also needs work. DS has done a lot if pushing away the walls in his time.... and crawling over peanut balls so he had to support his body weight on his arms

Dungandbother Sun 03-Apr-16 22:41:30

Toffee could you expand on the scapuloid exercises please? This is my DS to a T.

Sorry to interrupt OP.

Balletgirlmum Sun 03-Apr-16 22:45:21

I'd reccomend ballet & then she's older Pilates/excercises on a wobble board.

krisskross Sun 03-Apr-16 22:54:09

Hi, my DC have hypermobility and had physio for a while., they were given exercises to do to at home to strengthen their core that were basically pilates.... Might be worth looking up pilates exercises for the core.

Ancienchateau Sun 03-Apr-16 23:25:43

I second wheelbarrows and pushing against walls/each other. DS used to do lots of this. And rolling around on a therapy ball.

Toffeelatteplease Mon 04-Apr-16 07:58:19

Scapuloid exercises:

Pushing the wall (as if you are trying to make the room bigger) and wheelbarrows. Wheelbarrows however are too hard if you are starting from scratch and pushing the wall is ok for maintaining but fairly rubbish for building up.

As ancient chateau says a lot of crawling over therapy balls. Only we had a peanut ball because it has more balance starting Fron zero. Much harder on a round ball

Roll over the therapy ball (hands first)
Catch yourself on your hands and push back. (Did I mention with DS we really were starting from absolute scratch?)

Walking forward on hands: Roll over the therapy ball to land on your hands. walk forward on your hands (leaving your body and eventually just your legs) as far as you can whilst maintaining a straight flat back. Walk your hands back so you end up over the therapy ball again.

The final one we worked up to: Lying over the peanut ball and leaning on hands (similar to previous one). Play with a toy in front of you for ten minutes. Essentially this means that you should be learning on one hand at a time and changing hands as you are playing with the toy (good for bilateral integration as well), you should find there is little forwards and backwards hand walking as well). DS did this either with toy cars or trains.

Ballet and pilates (and swimming) are fantastic for building stomach muscles but they are quite hard for starting the process. If you are learning how to activate them or if you literally have none worth mentioning it is very easy to overuse your back muscles not your core. Eg I have swam most of my life but still couldn't do a sit up. When you are doing exercises with your child it is a good idea to watch and feel carefully as to whether the right muscle groups are working. Either you want to be looking for the muscle movement or ideally feeling for it. DS had a lot of trouble activating muscles so pointing to the right muscle to move helped him tremendously.

BrieAndChilli Mon 04-Apr-16 08:04:07

Ds1 has poor core and fine motor skills.
Occupational therapist only dealt with his fine muscle skills, he saw a seperate physiotherapist for his core muscles, he did a course of hydro therapy with them and they also showed us lots of exercises using a child sized gym ball that we could do at home, lots of things like doing sit ups with feet on the ball etc.
It might be worth pushing for s physio assessment

BrieAndChilli Mon 04-Apr-16 08:09:26

He also just say on the ball while watching tv as the constant instability meant he was having to work to stay stable but didn't monad about getting bored as was watching tv

Toffeelatteplease Mon 04-Apr-16 08:12:54

Oh yes horse riding. Depends on your starting level. It is fantastic for building core muscles and the saddle position is tremendous for stretching them out (the stage before getting them to work).

However DS found any work on his core difficult and exhausting and frequently totally slumped afterwards. He was safest near the floor and I certainly wouldn't have trusted him anywhere I couldn't have easily caught him. (It was a couple of years before we went on a bike and we had a few quite dramatic flops over the handlebars then). So a horseries would have been totally out of the question

FauxFox Mon 04-Apr-16 08:15:17

We had a couple of physio sessions for DS to help his core strength. The 'take home' exercises were;
1. Lie on his back with knees up and feet on the ground and push his hips up so balanced on shoulders/feet and hold for a count of ten or enough time for you to push a toy car under the 'bridge'
2. Lie on his back and get him to pick up a beanbag or small toy with his feet and pass it up to his hands.
3. 'Nose to knee' essentially a crunch; lie on back and try to squeeze up so your nose touches your knees.

DS got much better after doing those for 10 mins or so daily though he is still clumsy getting up from the floor, not comfy in a low crouching position etc so I think we might make it a daily thing again to see if it helps (he can swim and ride a bike though - taught himself! smile)

Toffeelatteplease Mon 04-Apr-16 08:17:06

Most of the above exercises came from private physio and occupational therapy. I was lucky enough to have a private OT and physio that assessed jointly and worked quite closely. There is a massive cross over between ot and physio

Potcallingkettle Mon 04-Apr-16 08:17:42

Try climbing. Get a family induction at your local climbing or bouldering wall and then you can all go. It will feel like a fun family activity but work the gross motor skills and core all at once.

Toffeelatteplease Mon 04-Apr-16 08:49:10

1. Lie on his back with knees up and feet on the ground and push his hips up so balanced on shoulders/feet and hold for a count of ten or enough time for you to push a toy car under the 'bridge'

We did this too! The car went very quickly at the start! wink

Climbing would be way beyond DS, even now. Climbing assumes you have a baseline strength in core and arms and no issues with grip...

CodyKing Mon 04-Apr-16 09:22:45

Have you tried yoga? It's none competitive and great for muscle strength

GherkinsOnToast Mon 04-Apr-16 10:22:22

Thank you all for for the suggestions. We have looked into riding this morning and are now looking for somewhere local she can try it out, she had a 20 minute pony ride whilst we were on holiday earlier this year and the next 2 or 3 days she was in agony from muscles that had never been worked before. Will also look for a kiddies yoga class.

DD has been on the trampoline this morning and have noticed she has come in and flopped in a heap on the sofa, does any tire her out a lots more easily. I'll print out some of the exercise suggestions and also get her to the GP for a physio referral.

Toffee - yes she does drop, we can't wheelbarrow because she can't hold herself up.

Pot calling - Climbing is well out of our reach at the moment - DD can't even pull herself onto our bed without help as she can't hold on.

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