Before you start implementing occupational therapy practices at home, we suggest performing a postural analysis on your child. This kind of analysis helps to identify which muscle groups are over or under developed. By examining your child’s entire body, you will be able to assess the balance between the flexor, extensor and rotator muscle groups from their head to their toes. Please see below for the definitions of these muscle groups.
Flexors work to bend a joint. They create motion and activate other muscle groups. When you flex a muscle, your flexors contract and pull on the bone, creating a bending movement of the joint.
Extensors extend and straighten the joints. They perform the opposite function of flexors, but are still creating motion and generating muscle activity.
Rotators are a group of muscles that produce movement in the shoulders and act to stabilize them.
In order to perform a postural analysis, we suggest changing your child into his or her swimsuit. Have your child stand facing you, and then have them turn their bodies slowly in a 180-degree motion. Take note of any of the following observations:
- Forward head
- Rounded shoulders
- Protruding abdominals
- Flat or sway back
- Uneven hips
- Locked knees
- Inability to stand still
Depending on which muscle groups are tighter, children will have different body parts that are up, down, forward, back or rotated. Since the muscle groups observed in the postural analysis contribute to good fine motor development, it is important to note which areas to work on to build your child’s strength.