Hypotonia in Children: This is What You Need to Know About Low Muscle Tone

Hypotonia in Children: This is What You Need to Know About Low Muscle Tone

Hypotonia is a decrease in muscle tone that can manifest in a variety of ways. Children who struggle to hold up their head, have language issues, or don’t have good motor control can be diagnosed with hypotonia which may be the culprit of all the issues present. When your child is diagnosed with hypotonia, a therapist can help.

Low Muscle Tone and Children

Low muscle tone causes various problems that therapy can help. If your child is experiencing language delays and needs speech therapy, or doesn’t have developmentally appropriate fine motor skills, hypotonia may be the problem. Hypotonia and autism often go together, leading to a disability that requires a multi-faceted approach in order to treat the symptoms. Mild hypotonia can be addressed right away, as hypotonia treatment can begin as soon as the diagnosis is received. With quality treatment options available to children both in the home and in our clinic, Infinite Therapy Solutions is ready to work with you.

 Hypotonia and autism, Mild hypotonia, Hypotonia treatment, Disability

Low Muscle Tone and Motor Skill Development

Young children often struggle with both gross motor skills and fine motor skills. When the muscles don’t have enough tension and are not rigid, such in the case of hypotonia, gross motor skills can be difficult for your child. You may notice that they struggle to crawl, have problems walking, or can’t jump as children of their age should be able to. The lack of muscle tone may cause your child to become tired when they try to perform tasks, which can also prevent them from keeping up with their peers.

Writing, coloring and trying to eat are ways your child will show their fine motor skills. If they are diagnosed with hypotonia, you may see that they struggle with these things: they have trouble when they write, or can’t seem to grasp food no matter how hard they try.

Speech Issues and Hypotonia

Your child’s ability to speak and breathe can be deeply affected by poor muscle tone. Face and tongue muscles are used in speech, and it can be difficult for your child with hypotonia to express their needs and wants clearly. While your child will have no trouble knowing what is going on, their ability to communicate is compromised by poor muscle tone.

Overcoming Obstacles in School

When muscles are lacking in tone, it becomes much harder to get through the school day. Children with hypotonia can get tired trying to sit up straight and will have a hard time paying attention throughout the day. It is most likely difficult for your child to perform class work if they are lacking fine motor skills. And unfortunately, if your child is struggling too much in school, they aren’t going to continue to want to try to get the work done. There are many options of therapy that can help your child and Infinite Therapy Solutions will work with your child through a multifaceted approach to improve fine motor skills, speech and muscle tone.

 Hypotonia and autism, Mild hypotonia, Hypotonia treatment, Disability

What to Watch Out For With Hypotonia

If your child has a problem with poor muscle tone, you may notice some of the following signs:

  • chronic slouching or difficulty sitting in a chair
  • putting the head down often
  • getting tired easily
  • sitting in a W position with the legs on the ground
  • meeting developmental milestones is delayed
  • school is exhausting
  • poor core strength

When you recognize that your child is showing signs of hypotonia, therapy can help address the issues that are prevalent. Speech therapy can work with your child, while an occupational therapist can work on fine motor skills. A physical therapist can teach you and your child exercises that will help improve core strength. A therapy assessment will determine what services your child will benefit from and how these services can be implemented.

To learn more about receiving in-home therapy services for your child, contact Infinite Therapy Solutions today at 201-455-3144 and see how we can help your child. With the right intervention, your child can learn the skills they need to improve their life.

*Note: This is updated form a previous blog published August 29th, 2018. Read the original post below!*

Is your baby having a tough time holding up his head? Is your child having difficulty speaking? Have you noticed your child slumps or has difficulty handling small objects like pencils and crayons? Hypotonia, or low muscle tone, could be the root cause of all of these symptoms.

Hypotonia refers to decreased muscle tone, and with low muscle tone in kids, the muscles lack the tension and rigidity that’s normally there. Low muscle tone can interfere with many aspects of your child’s life, delaying the development of motor skills, causing speech challenges, or causing difficulties succeeding in school.

Here’s a closer look at how hypotonia affects children, hypotonia treatment options, and signs you need to consider low muscle tone therapy for children.

Hypotonia in Children: How it Affects Gross and Fine Motor Skills

Hypotonia often causes delays in gross motor skills and difficulty mastering fine motor skills. Without the proper tension and rigidity in muscles, children may be slow to develop the gross motor skills that allow them to sit up straight without falling over. Crawling, walking, running, and jumping may all be delayed. Children may also become overly fatigued when they do perform gross motor skills.

Fine motor skills, such as grasping toys or crayons, feeding themselves, pointing to objects, and moving items from one hand to the other may also be delayed in children with low muscle tone.

Low Muscle Tone and Speech Production

Both speech and breathing are affected by low muscle tone. Muscles in the mouth and face are used to create sounds, and while children with hypotonia usually have no difficulty understanding, they often have difficulty using expressive language skills. Therapy that focuses on the muscles used for speech can help children overcome the speech challenges that come with hypotonia.

Hypotonia and Success in School

Muscles are everywhere, and when they don’t work properly, normal activities become far more taxing. Hypotonia in children creates many difficulties that make it harder to succeed in the classroom. Low muscle tone in the core can affect posture, making it difficult for children to sit up attentively in class.

Problems with fine motor skills and dexterity can result in poor handwriting and difficulty accomplishing many tasks in a classroom environment. When some everyday tasks become a constant struggle, many kids simply give up in school resulting in poor grades or poor behavior in the classroom.

Hypotonia in Children: This is What You Need to Know About Low Muscle Tone

Signs of Low Muscle Tone in My Child – When Do I Need Hypotonia Therapy for My Child

Some of the common signs of low muscle tone in a child may include:

  • Slouching while sitting in a chair
  • Difficulty holding up their head while sitting at a desk
  • Propping their head on hands or laying their head down on the desk
  • Problems standing for long periods
  • Sitting in a ‘W’ position – legs splayed out to the side and backward in a ‘W’ shape
  • Increased flexibility, which increases the risk of injury
  • Avoiding chewy foods
  • Preference for sedentary activities
  • Fatigues quickly or gives up easily
  • Late achieving major milestones, particularly those involving gross motor skills
  • Difficulties with fine motor skills like writing or coloring
  • Poor core stability

Low Muscle Tone in Children – Treatment Options

Hypotonia in Children: This is What You Need to Know About Low Muscle Tone

Several different hypotonia treatment options are available, and it’s common for multiple therapies to be used together to address low muscle tone. Therapies include:

  • Physical Therapy– Physical therapy can be used to improve muscle tone and aims to:
    • Strengthen muscles around joints to improve support and stability
    • Improve coordination
    • Improve posture
  • Occupational Therapy– Occupational therapy teaches skills needed for day-to-day activities. For example, therapists may focus on fine finger skills to improve dressing, writing, and feeding.
  • Speech and Language Therapy– Speech therapy addresses problems with swallowing, feeding, and speaking. This therapy focuses on improving control of the mouth and jaw muscles.

The Takeaways:

  • Hypotonia affects both fine and gross motor skills
  • Low muscle tone may cause speech difficulties
  • Hypotonia is often the cause of handwriting, posture, and dexterity problems that make it harder for children to succeed in school
  • If you notice the signs of low muscle tone in your child, have your child evaluated.
  • Physical, speech and occupational therapies may all prove helpful for children with hypotonia

Infinite Therapy Solutions offers physical, occupational, and speech therapies in one convenient location and specializes in low muscle tone therapy for children. Contact us today to talk to one of our experts in hypotonia and to learn more about how we can help your child.