Friday, January 21, 2011


Charlotte receives physical therapy once a month through Waukesha county's birth to three program. Her therapist comes for an hour and shows me what I need to do to help Charlotte progress towards the next milestone. I also have a book on gross motor development in children with Down syndrome that I can refer to.

Charlotte is doing well; still rolling like a crazy girl (I recently put away all her "playmats" since she never stays on them anyway) and is well on her way to sitting independently. In fact, just this morning she sat for about 10 seconds unassisted. My goal is to find that fine line between too much therapy and not enough. The therapy I do with her, I incorporate into play. Missy has told me more than once, that in her experience, therapy has to be fun for the child in order to be successful. A lot of times I don't even realize that we are doing "therapy" as it has become pretty natural.

I recently enlisted the help of my sister-in-law, Erin (she is a PT and FANTASTIC with children, we are lucky to have her!), to help me figure out some other ways to help Charlotte. There have been some interesting studies done on children with Down syndrome and the use of treadmills to help them learn to walk at an earlier age. The average age a child with Down syndrome walks is 24 months, and these studies have found that treadmill therapy can help them walk on average 6 months sooner. I could summarize what Erin wrote in my own words, but it is easier to cut and paste it:

The treadmill activates what's called the "central pattern generator" which is the instinctive pattern that is built into our spinal cord to make our legs move in an alternating pattern to walk. The quicker children are able to independently explore their environments the better all around for cognitive, language, motor, etc function. That sure is a cute treadmill they were using, but any would do, as long as you can hold her comfortably where you aren't hurting your back to do so. I've done this before in a child with CP who wasn't walking at the age of 4, but now is.

Here is the video so you can see exactly what we are talking about: 

So now, the goal is to figure out how we can incorporate treadmill training into our crazy lives and make if fun for Charlotte. I hope she likes the treadmill more than I do!


  1. That is so neat, I have never heard of that before, let us know how it goes!

  2. What we did with the four year old to make it fun was to have a mini TV that played home videos while she walked, she loved seeing herself as a baby:) Not sure that would work for an infant, but other ideas would be to: get some of those squeaky shoes so everytime she took a step she gets a squeak, have some toys dangling in front of her from the treadmill to encourage her to keep going forward, put on some fun music....just a thought?? Though I'm sure she'll mostly be motivated by you encouraging her and smiling at her:)


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