Charlie's Mobility Journey

As children grow and develop, they typically move through a series of developmental motor milestones, such as lifting the head, rolling over, sitting unsupported, crawling, pulling to stand, and eventually walking. When we first met Charlie, he was using an interesting mobility technique we call “bottom scooting” to get from point A to point B.  This technique can be seen in the first half of the clip.

Charlie has a diagnosis of Down Syndrome and had a blood infection at birth that caused damage to his brain. Because of these diagnoses, Charlie presents with low muscle tone, hypermobility of his joints, aberrant movement patterns and overall delays in development including motor skill acquisition.

Initially, this method of mobility seemed great – Charlie was able to decide where he wanted to go and get there on his own. Independence with mobility is a huge thing to celebrate! However, bottom scooting does not typically enhance motor development, and Charlie was unable to progress to the next motor milestones such as crawling, standing, or walking.

There are several reasons why this method of mobility does not enhance motor development. Bottom scooting often leads to asymmetric strengthening of one arm and one leg, leading to weakness in the other arm and leg. It does not allow for trunk rotation, which is an important precursor to being able to support yourself upright. It also allows the child to avoid transitioning to the all-4s position, which helps strengthen the core and outer hip musculature.

That’s where Kids In Motion Therapy Clinic comes in. Charlie was evaluated by a physical therapist, who quickly observed that he was relying on bottom scooting for mobility.  Through careful interventions by the physical therapist and physical therapist assistant, and LOTS of hard work by Charlie and his family, he was able to progress his mobility to use more functional movement strategies. Charlie is seen crawling, standing, and taking steps in the second half of the clip, working very hard on his balance, trunk control, and posture.

We have so much fun working with Charlie, and can’t wait to see more of his mobility journey!


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