Hypotonia and Nutrition

Hypotonia and Nutrition

Hypotonia and Nutrition

Low muscle tone, or hypotonia, is one of the physical problems often associated with developmental delays; nutrition and low muscle tone are intimately connected. Children can have generalized hypotonia or it may affect just specific areas such as the hands or upper body. Hypotonia is clinically significant because in severe cases the muscles are literally too weak to perform important tasks such as holding a pencil or sitting without slumping in a chair. In milder cases, stamina or precision are affected. For example, children with severe hypotonia of the hands are reluctant or sloppy writers whose interest in writing or drawing declines in direct correlation with the severity of the low tone. When the concerns are milder, youngsters may try to overcompensate for difficulties by holding pencils too hard and causing cramps or creating blisters. Hyptonia Causes There are two possible causes of hypotonia. Occupational therapists contend that the vestibular system imbalances are to blame. The vestibular system is the…

Sensory Integration and Vestibular Processing: Why Is It So Critical?

By Zoe Mailloux, MA., OTR, Director, Pediatric Therapy Network, Torrance, CA Sensory integration and vestibular processing:  Of all the sensory systems that we talk about in sensory integration theory and treatment, the one that may be the most basic, yet the hardest to understand is the vestibular sense. This sensory system develops just a few weeks after conception and plays a very important role in a child’s early development.  It was also probably one of the most important senses for our evolutionary ancestors. However, the vestibular sense is not familiar to many people. Children do not learn about it when they learn about the basic sensory systems and if adults know about this system, they may only be aware that it has something to do with balance. Understanding more about the vestibular system will be helpful to a better understanding of the types of problems children may have as well as the methods we use to address these problems. As we…