Curing Clumsiness??? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 20 Old 10-07-2010, 01:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DD(3.5) is seriously one of the clumsiest people I know. She falls probably 10-15 times a day. I know people think we're awful because we're so nonchalant about her falling, but sheesh, it's constant.

Has anyone been or had a child like this? Is there anything we can do to help?

FWIW, she's flat-footed, though I'm not sure that's relevant. She's done both ballet and gymnastics where she's awesome! Seriously, she can scamper down the balance beam no problem or walk down it while kicking her right leg into the air on each kick. She can do the positions for ballet, do complete straddle stretches while bending to kiss her knees. In class, she's great, but otherwise, she's a complete klutz.

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#2 of 20 Old 10-07-2010, 01:22 PM
 
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My daughter started falling down a lot around the same age, and it turns out she has a neurological disorder (there were many long and anxious and over wrought postings about it here, by me, and everyone was very supportive). HOWEVER, I do think that for a LOT of kids around 3.5 their need for speed outweighs caution. I notice a lot of kids falling down because they're just going so fast in so many directions. I see it in the park all the time. I think it's why it took me so long to admit my daughter might have a problem - kid's fall down a LOT!

Personally, I miss the times when my daughter could run with mad abandon and I think they gain better planning and more caution with age. As long as she's not hurting herself, I would consider it just part of being that age. A very slapstick part of that age
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#3 of 20 Old 10-07-2010, 01:27 PM
 
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When my stepkids were that age, they'd trip over the pattern on a rug. I think that it's something that kids just outgrow.

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#4 of 20 Old 10-07-2010, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's been a near-constant for her. She was complaining frequently of knee pain earlier in the summer, and I took her to the doctor. I remembered your posts about your dd, and I thought, "okay, I think it's nothing, but what if it *is* something?" So, I took her, and she had x-rays of her hips & legs. We also had some testing done to rule out leukemia (because our very green, childless PA thought so many bruises must indicate a problem ). Her tests all came back fine, so we dropped the issue.

Her complaints about her knees are less frequent now, and I think it may have been a growth spurt. I think she just doesn't pay attention. This morning, the blanket was off my bed some with the corner on the floor. She hopped off the bed onto it and slid down. Okay, that happens, even to adults, but she does it constantly. She's a daydreamer, too, and so she's walked many times into danger because she was lost in her own world.

I suppose I posted this morning because it's been particularly bad the past few days. Sometimes - and yes, I know this revokes my Mom of the Year candidacy - it just gets...old and tiring to be sympathetic to something that I think she should be able to learn!

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#5 of 20 Old 10-07-2010, 02:03 PM
 
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I would check to rule out vision or sensory issues. OT has helped my son's "clumsiness" tremendously. I have the same issues.

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#6 of 20 Old 10-07-2010, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Her vision is okay. She had an optometry check-up in August. I don't know about sensory issues, though. What else would be a sign?

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#7 of 20 Old 10-07-2010, 02:17 PM
 
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Children are often a little clumsy during growth spurts. You see it in teenagers who suddenly seem gangly and uncoordinated. So it could be as simple as a growth spurt.

My first thought on reading the heading of the thread was about hypotonia - low muscle tone ("floppy babies"), or perhaps hypertonia - unusually high muscle tone. It doesn't really fit with her abilities in dance and gymnastics. You would expect her to have more difficulty with them. If, however, it is a muscle tone issue, then these activities and swimming will help. Another possibility is hyporeflexia (slow reflexes) or hyperreflexia (extreme reflex in response to a stimulation). Either unusual tone or reflexes will interfere with coordination and balance.

If it's any of these things, then it's not really in her control. It's a physical neuromuscular function that's she's trying to deal with. I'd ask for a physical therapy assessment if you are really concerned. If she's doing well with dance, gymnastics and swimming, I might just continue to encourage those activities.
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#8 of 20 Old 10-07-2010, 02:26 PM
 
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I would read the Out of Sync Child book. Or you can talk to your doctor about a referral to OT for an evaluation.

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#9 of 20 Old 10-07-2010, 02:38 PM
 
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VM i am throwing this out there so take it for what its worth.

i am seeing this as spacial issue. even though she can do all those things in ballet or gymnastics i think that's controlled space - she knows what she has to do, she knows what's coming next.

but there is this 6th sense which i think some kids like your struggle with. it is part of SPD. i think its an age thing. like the hearing public flush thing. children become extremely sensitive to it from ages 3 to 5 and by 5 /6 it is not such a big problem at all.

i have a feeling this might be what is going on with your dd. she might have issues now and it could be gone in a couple of years.

i would watch her for a week and write all the reasons why she falls. what makes her fall. that would give your ped. something to work from.

however i know very little about this. there are a couple of books on SPD that moms here like. one of them of course is the out of sync child.

you would need to see a ped. with SPD training. otherwise they wont be able to catch it.

the thing is only the parent knows what is going on. this is where you trust your gut. esp. in a child your dd's age. there is the age approp. behav and then there is the 'concerns mommy' behav. YOU have to decide where it falls.

if YOU feel something is up - may not be serious - but something is up, then TRUST it. the fact that you are posting this here shows it still bugs you.

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#10 of 20 Old 10-07-2010, 02:54 PM
 
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If you think her issues might be beyond the range of what's typical fort her age, you might want to look into dyspraxia, which is a motor planning disorder and is related to sensory issues. Dyspraxia is also called Developmental Coordination Disorder and is sometimes informally referred at as "clumsy child syndrome".

There some info here: http://www.dyspraxiausa.org/index.php

The Out of Sync Child book also has information about dyspraxia.

My son has dyspraxia as part of his ASD, but children without ASD can have dyspraxia as well. In his case, dyspraxia affects most of his muscle groups: gross motor, fine motor, oral-motor, visual-motor, etc. He has motor skill delays and it takes DS a long time to learn even seemingly simple motor tasks.

OT helps a lot and DS gets accommodations at school, such as typing much of his written work.

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#11 of 20 Old 10-07-2010, 04:36 PM
 
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I almost could have written your post about my 2nd dd. She is also flat footed, and I have long suspected sensory issues. She is almost 6 yrs old now, and things are much better than when she was younger. I didn't get her formally diagnosed, because it's mild and she is outgrowning it, I also don't want her to be labeled.
She started walking at 11 monthes and would fall every few steps, by 18 monthes old she would still fall every 8-10 steps as well as run into walls when walking down hallways. She also, literally, can't sit still a great deal of the time (that too has improved over the years). She will flop herself around on the floor and can't seem to tell where her limbs are. She would fall off of anything she climbed up on. She has a very hard time with sensations like water, cold wind, hot weather. Her fine motor skills came in much later than my other childrens. Anyway, at 18 monthes I began to take her to a chiro and she could finally walk across a room without falling!! Her hip was out of place, we continued regular chiro visits until 4 yrs old and then we went to an orthopedic dr and got her specially made arch supports for her shoes (they wouldn't do anything about it til she was 4 ). After she had been wearing the supports for a few monthes she told me that she was so happy to have them because her knee wasn't hurting anymore. I was shocked because she had never told me it was hurting! She could finally walk through a store without laying down on the floor crying that she couldn't go on.
We have tried to give her lots of opportunities to get lots of physical activity, as that seems to help. She has a trampoline, big swing set, a pull up bar to swing on, and she is an absolute daredevil on her bike!
She started K this year and no one has said anything about her clumsiness and flopping, but she is on her best behavior in school. When she comes home she does it all tenfold, but at least it's not much at school. Through all of it she is an extremely bright girl, she taught herself to read last year and is already doing simple multipication. She has continued to outgrow the clumsiness and sensitivites through the yrs, so I'm hopeful that will continue.
Sorry, I didn't mean to write a book here. I just thought maybe hearing our story could help, as your dd sounds a bit similar to mine.
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#12 of 20 Old 10-07-2010, 06:18 PM
 
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Wow - I'm surprised at all the recommendations to seek further evaluation!

I was a very clumsy child & am a pretty clumsy adult. Besides being a little pigeon toed/knocked-kneed there was not really a reason for it. I got a LOT of reminders to walk (not run), pay attention, be cautious but really it just seemed that things happened to me.

I played basketball in high school & was the only person on the team that had perpetual scraped knees through the season.

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#13 of 20 Old 10-07-2010, 07:08 PM
 
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OP--I couldn't tell if your LO has always been clumsy, or if it's something more recent, say the last several months. DS was very clumsy when he was young, I didn't realize one could call an infant clumsy until him. Our daycare provider was pretty surprised too, he was outside her experience range as well.

For DS, the issues had to do with coordinating left and right, and arms and legs, and back then, working on cross-crawling helped a lot, and later (he's 4.5yo now) reading about crossing the midline and doing some practice there has helped.

DS has sensory seeking tendencies, I'm addressing those mostly from a health standpoint rather than a behavioral one, and I think DS's clumsiness was one more facet of his brain not being well-wired.
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#14 of 20 Old 10-08-2010, 12:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post
It's been a near-constant for her. She was complaining frequently of knee pain earlier in the summer, and I took her to the doctor. I remembered your posts about your dd, and I thought, "okay, I think it's nothing, but what if it *is* something?" So, I took her, and she had x-rays of her hips & legs. We also had some testing done to rule out leukemia (because our very green, childless PA thought so many bruises must indicate a problem ). Her tests all came back fine, so we dropped the issue.

Her complaints about her knees are less frequent now, and I think it may have been a growth spurt. I think she just doesn't pay attention. This morning, the blanket was off my bed some with the corner on the floor. She hopped off the bed onto it and slid down. Okay, that happens, even to adults, but she does it constantly. She's a daydreamer, too, and so she's walked many times into danger because she was lost in her own world.

I suppose I posted this morning because it's been particularly bad the past few days. Sometimes - and yes, I know this revokes my Mom of the Year candidacy - it just gets...old and tiring to be sympathetic to something that I think she should be able to learn!
Wow, sounds like my son, who will be 8 in December! He was even tested for leukemia and for childhood arthritis. He has very flat feet (now wears arch supports) and went to physical therapy for quite a while. Anyway, he is hypermobile - basically, he's too flexible, which makes him "floppy", uncoordinated, and clumsy -- but very good at doing the lotus pose in yoga! :-)

Check out this site and see if it sounds like your child:
http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disord..._syndrome.aspx
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#15 of 20 Old 10-08-2010, 02:49 PM
 
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It sounds a lot like my DS, who has been receiving OT for that and fine motor issues since about that age. We thought it was pretty normal. A big issue is keeping his eyes in the same direction his body is going--which can be normal. But it was at preschool that they suggested it was outside the range of normal. It took me a long time -- probably over a year to accept that it was a good thing that he qualified for and was receiving these services, rather than something I jjust wished would go away. But now I am glad he is getting this help (free through the public schools--even at age 3). Especially now that he's in kindergarten. I don't think an eval can hurt, it would only help. And yes--DH and I are also total space cadets who are always walking into things--and I kind of wish I'd had access to these services so maybe I wouldn't be like that now.

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#16 of 20 Old 10-08-2010, 03:42 PM
 
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11 y.o. ds has flat feet (as do I) and is fairly uncoordinated. He just seems unaware of himself in the world. He didn't fall down constantly, like you describe, but for a while when he was 4 y.o. it seemed as though we couldn't go out the door for a walk without him falling down and getting scraped up.

He has out grown the falling down.

One thing I noticed is that whenever his feet outgrew his shoes and he got new shoes, he'd stumble more for a couple of days.

Definitely continue with gymnastics and ballet. They can only help your dd's coordination.

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#17 of 20 Old 10-09-2010, 01:41 AM
 
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You know, it could just be she's at a clumsy stage in life too. DS learned to walk at 8 months old, and definitely hit physical milestones within target or early. Somewhere around 2 years old this kid just lost all sense of perception it seemed. It wasn't that anything was actually wrong, but more that he was so busy taking in everything he neglected to see what was in front of him. We laugh now that he had a "travelling goose-egg" across his forehead for about 2 years solid. He would be running his truck on the floor and not see the table he was about to smack in to. He would be going through the kitchen too fast, step on the one piece of paper blown off the table and fall on his face. He'd be looking at you as he walked and trip. For crying out loud we were in the waiting room at the dr's office and he reached down to pick up a toy he dropped and nailed his head on the arm of the chair! You get the idea. I kept a small bottle of vanilla extract in my purse and made sure the pantry was stocked as well! (Vanilla extract when applied on a goose-egg without broken skin within 15 min of injury takes the swelling, sting and most of the discoloration out.) Apparently his dad was the same way at that age.

He's now 8 and he did outgrow a LOT of it by the time he was 4. Now, granted in the past month he's managed to whack his noggin 3 times (twice in the past 24 hrs!) but overall that's pretty uncommon. He's neurologically normal as far as everyone can tell, but he's got a bit of his momma in him and is just a little clumsy sometimes. If it seems very unusual for her age or excessive then definitely get her checked out, but be aware that some of it just comes with the age as well.
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#18 of 20 Old 10-09-2010, 01:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i am seeing this as spacial issue. even though she can do all those things in ballet or gymnastics i think that's controlled space - she knows what she has to do, she knows what's coming next.
This has been my gut feeling for a long time. She adores her ballet teacher, and she's just completely into the whole leotard/tutu/awesome shoes thing, so she's completely in the moment. Her focus there is actually really amazing; she's usually listening more than any other kid in class, which is completely unlike her! So I thought for a while that ballet & gymnastics force her to focus on her body, which she isn't doing. It's just that it's not improving that makes me wonder sometimes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaw/two View Post
I didn't get her formally diagnosed, because it's mild and she is outgrowning it, I also don't want her to be labeled.
She started walking at 11 monthes and would fall every few steps, by 18 monthes old she would still fall every 8-10 steps as well as run into walls when walking down hallways. She also, literally, can't sit still a great deal of the time (that too has improved over the years). She will flop herself around on the floor and can't seem to tell where her limbs are. She would fall off of anything she climbed up on.
All of this is DD! It completely is, especially the "flopping" around. She absolutely cannot sit still. I have no idea the number of times she's fallen from her chair at the dinner table, and she doesn't want to go back to a booster seat. It's bizarre. She's sitting there taking a bite, and then she's on the floor crying because she slid out of her chair. She just isn't still ever.

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Originally Posted by lifeguard View Post
I was a very clumsy child & am a pretty clumsy adult. Besides being a little pigeon toed/knocked-kneed there was not really a reason for it. I got a LOT of reminders to walk (not run), pay attention, be cautious but really it just seemed that things happened to me.
DD says that things happen to her, too. It's actually something that's made us more aware of how much she falls. She started blaming DS for things, saying he pushed her or tripped her. At first, we thought it was just a phase, but it got to the point that she argued with DH that DS made her fall. DS wasn't even home! So in talking to her (she's highly verbal, so we can ask and get a reasonably understandable response), she said that she is looking and paying attention, but stuff just gets in her way. Like a door. Or mailbox. Or car. So I'm not saying that to invalidate the experience, but I'm curious about the idea that things happen to you because DD seems to have that same viewpoint.

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Originally Posted by DariusMom View Post
He was even tested for leukemia and for childhood arthritis.
...
He has very flat feet (now wears arch supports) and went to physical therapy for quite a while. Anyway, he is hypermobile - basically, he's too flexible, which makes him "floppy", uncoordinated, and clumsy -- but very good at doing the lotus pose in yoga! :-)
...
Check out this site and see if it sounds like your child:
http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disord..._syndrome.aspx
Oh, yeah, I forgot about the arthritis testing. She had that, too, because she was very specific with our PA about the pain and where it was. I never considered that people *could* be too flexible, but yes, that makes sense. Things like low muscle tone don't. DD actually has amazing muscles and is pretty strong - would love to share that trait with her!

I've seen arch supports mentioned a few times, and maybe it's something to consider. We have a terrible time finding shoes for her.

One of the doctors we've seen mentioned Ehlers-Danlos, but I don't remember the context.

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#19 of 20 Old 10-09-2010, 11:36 AM
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I'd take her to an opthamologist instead of an optometrist.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#20 of 20 Old 10-09-2010, 01:48 PM
 
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So I thought for a while that ballet & gymnastics force her to focus on her body, which she isn't doing. It's just that it's not improving that makes me wonder sometimes.
yeah on the niggling doubt. i would get that checked out now. its like speech therapy. should u do something now or wait. it could be natural may not be. but the point is ... IF it is not. which is where your feelings come in.

however know that it wont get better till 5 or 6.

i personally feel every child goes thru some sort of SPD between about 2/3 till about 4/5. all noise sensitivities. and then it goes away. your daughter's could fall in this realm.

when i was getting my dd seen at 3 I KNEW there was nothing to worry. but i felt OT COULD have helped dd. it WAS what she needed then. instead i had to go thru a LOT by myself providing hte same things she needed.

so seeing an opthalmologist or an SPD specialist would not be a bad idea ....

of course this leads to my own theory. for many of our children ... not all ... its the lack of sensory environment that is making so many cases of SPD appear. if you look at the Out of Sync Activities book, its mostly old fashion play.

so 'doing' something might not hurt your child.

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