Muscle strength and muscle memory


Grandpa: "Wonderful news about Coraline. Good she can fly."
Coraline's Uncle: "I can’t believe she can fly! I have to see this!!"
Kevin: "Who needs to walk or crawl when you were born to fly"

I love this little email exchange. At 16 months old typical babies are walking. This will come a little later for Coraline due to her hypotonia (lower muscle tone/floppy muscles) and we know there's no rush.

As her Paediatrician said recently, hypotonia means she has a lot of flexibility in her joints and decreased strength in her muscles, therefore her feet, ankles, knees and pelvis will feel wobbly to her, so she cannot stabilise herself. As Coraline has low muscle tone and strength, which is a characteristic of Down's Syndrome, she will always be working harder when moving.

We work with her Physiotherapist to build muscle strength and muscle memory through repetitive exercises done each day, as muscle strength is improved with repetition and practise. For example to lead up to where we are today we have done: encouraging weight transference (holding toys above her head), helping weight bearing on her upper arms, help moving her from a sitting position to her front and vice versa, by tucking her leg in, to build up muscle memory, encouraging her to reach out whilst sitting and balancing.

We also place toys a little way away so that she is motivated to move for them to encourage her to crawl, as it's all about the motivation, and the repetition; thus building up muscle memory each time she moves for them until it becomes automatic.

It was wonderful in the summer as we could go out on a rug in the garden and for our trip to Australia her Paediatrician said the beach is a great place to develop stability with the water and sand. That suits me nicely! #downsyndrome #dsawareness