“Clumsy” Kids and Physical Therapy

“Clumsy” Kids and Physical Therapy

Have you ever seen a kid who trips over her own two feet more frequently than seems “normal”? How about a kid who seems to fall more often than than his peers?  Or a child who has a hard time sitting up straight?  This may be a child who has concerns associated with Developmental Coordination Disorder.

Developmental coordination disorder can be described as a motor impairment that affects all areas of child’s life.  Typically, these kids have lower muscle tone than other kids, have a hard time with balance activities, run awkwardly, and may appear uncoordinated with motor tasks.  In general, they appear clumsier than other kids their age.  They may also have a hard time with daily tasks such as handwriting, dressing, or following multiple step commands. As a consequence of these multiple findings, they may choose to avoid physical play for sedentary activities.  Sometimes, learning or behavioral concerns are also seen. 

A pediatric physical therapist can help kids who appear to be clumsy.  A pediatric PT can work with a kid on increasing his/her strength, practicing balance skills, and challenging him/her with coordination activities.  The therapist will also work with the family to come up with tips and tricks to help out with daily activities and exercises to work on at home.  A similar professional is the pediatric occupational therapist (OT), who can also help with activities such as hand writing, dressing, sensory concerns, or difficulties with fine motor issues that may also occur.

If you or anyone you know who has any concerns about a child who appears to be clumsy or falls more often than his or her friends, you should speak to your pediatrician.  For those who live on the Portland metro region, including Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin, West Linn, Lake Oswego and even Gresham, Beyond the Clinic’s pediatric physical and occupational therapists would be happy to answer your questions.  If your child requires therapy, we will come to you as a house call!

Please call (503) 496-0385 to speak with our team.

(Courtesy of Crystal Bridges, DPT)