Not sure whether I am in the right forum, mods please move as appropriate or suggest a crosspost...
I am worried about DS’ gross motor development, but am not sure where to start here.
DS was 5w premature, gained weight very quickly despite having reflux but was very limp and, depending on your favorite chart, at the slow end of normal or slightly delayed in gross motor development during his first year: crawled at 11m adjusted, sat independently at 12m adjusted. More importantly, he had torticollis (head tilted to the right and turned to the left) and would turn over on his left much sooner (5m adjusted) than on his right (I think 7m, but was in rehab myself for spine surgery, so am unsure about that particular milestone) and kept developing asymmetrically, favoring his left side and retracting his right arm when creeping and crawling – no biggie, but definitely noticeable.
Our ped (who I am happy with in all respects but this one) felt there was not really need for concern because the asymmetry was so slight but at my insistence we were referred for several PT sessions. However, the exercises designed to make him lift his head up towards his left side and move his right side more did not seem to make any difference at all. And the PT wasn't really concerned either - did see the asymmetry, but again, like with our ped, made me feel like it wasn't a big deal - I felt they see so many worse cases I come across as this overly concerned overeducated mom.
At 12m, we went to see a torticollis specialist who had a reputation for working miracles with manual therapy, on the theory that torticollis is due to blocked vertebrae which need to be adjusted (very contraversial in the medical establishment, I understand – both the man and the method, I mean). The specialist pronounced him to be low in muscle tone - which he said would persist but could be compensated for - and blocked in his neck, did something on his neck vertebrae (turned away from us to do it so we couldn’t see!) and prophesied improvement in development within 6 weeks, asking us to come back for a second visit within the next few months if we felt the issue hadn’t resolved completely...He did straighten out very noticeably in that time frame and walked at 16m adjusted, which I think is decidedly on the normal side, so we never went back (the treatment itself is covered by insurance but it’s a four-hour-trip...).
However, I felt that even with learning how to walk, he was favoring his left side eg when climbing stairs, but we encouraged symmetrical stair-climbing and the issue resolved. He did appear to develop normally if continuing to be on the limp and slow side, eg with hopping on both feet (he does not have the most athletic and graceful parents, I have to say). For a while I really felt we were sorted. And his head looks fine! Though physically cautious, he does enjoy moving, climbing, running, riding his balance bike, sliding etc and has great stamina, so I am pretty sure it is not a sensory issue. He’s also happened to be assessed by a ped neurologist because he kept complaining about backaches but nothing was found and the complaints went away – they think he was copying me...
But it is his running that is concerning me again. He is often still skip-running and when skipping, will skip left foot forward unless encouraged to try the other side, which he will do awkwardly and stop soon, complaining it hurts his legs. Today he was running around like a maniac in short pants in the sun after sitting still for a two hour theater show, and we had a chance to really observe, and he is ever-so-slightly, but clearly, favoring his left side- pushing just a little more with his left leg and holding his right arm a little more stiffly and backwards.
I live in Europe, so am not asking for places to go, but thoughts, experiences, maybe websites to look at – could this still be torticollis, even though there is nothing noticeably wrong about the way he holds his head? Can hypotonia cause this? I haven’t found anything about hypotonia causing asymmetry – you’d think it’s just low muscle tone an both sides on his body, why would it make a difference? What else might be causing this? There is a well-baby-visit coming up as he turns four and I need to speak to his ped about it, but am unsure what to ask or look for, or which specialist I should ask for a referral to. We should probably just have sucked it up and gone the miracle specialist again, but I will not be able to make the trip myself for a while now, as you can see from my siggy...