Monday, September 5, 2011


Joshua is 15 months old and was diagnosed with Hypertonia (High Muscle Tone) at 12 weeks of age.  During that time, I was never given any formal instruction on stretches to do with him.  I was encouraged to stretch his legs...  even as often as every nappy change, but never given any specific instructions on how to do it.  I simply used common sense, and was also guided by some of the examples in the book "Teaching Motor Skills to Children with Cerebral Palsy and similar Movement disorders".  I bought this book when Joshua was 7 months old, based on the recommendations of other parents.  He had not yet been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at that stage, but it is very helpful at explaining high muscle tone and many different activities to help children with different areas of their development.  Following our visit with Sue, the visiting Physiotherapist we saw last Friday, Today, I was finally given some written instructions on stretches to do.  Basically, she told me that there is no evidence that stretching helps maintain range of movement.  But there is also no evidence that it doesn't, so they will always err on the side of caution and recommend that parents do this stretching as much as possible.  In Joshua's case, his right leg is worse than his left leg, so she told me if I am short on time, to just do the right leg.  She also did not say anything like "this must be done three times a day for so many minutes" etc, because she is realistic and just wants me to do what I can manage.  The real advantage to doing stretches, they said, is that I will be familiar with what his tone usually feels like and will know if it starts to feel worse or better.
Anyway, since it has taken this long for me to be given some formal instructions, I figured that there might be other parents out there in the same situation.  I tried searching for things online, but that was difficult when I didn't really know exactly what I was searching for.  So I have decided to post our instructions online in case they are helpful to someone who searches for this.

These are stretches for the legs, primarily for the calves, hamstrings, and abductor muscles, as these are the areas that Joshua's legs are affected by his high tone.      Physiotherapy Stretches

1 comment:

  1. Hi
    My name is Jenna and I came across your site. Joshua is an amazing, courageous, strong and determined fighter. He is a brave warrior, smilen champ and an inspirational hero. I was born with a life threatening disease and developmental delays, I love it when people sign my guestbook.