Posts Tagged by Handedness
|December 2, 2011||Posted by Laura under E|
E is a W-sitter. I had heard this phrase before and had seen children who sit like this but I didn’t realize how much of a problem it can be. W-sitting does not relate to Childhood Apraxia of Speech per say but it can certainly be co-occurring. Many, many children with CAS have weak fine motor skills and W-sitting can certainly contribute to diminished skills in this area.
I am not an occupational therapist – just a mom. I will, however, tell you why W-sitting has become such a problem for E and why you should look out for it and correct it in your child too. If anyone has further information, or would like to correct me on something, please feel free to do so in the comments.
Most children W-sit at one time or another. It is a normal stage of development. Children sit this way because it gives them more trunk (core) support. Doctors may tell you that the danger in w-sitting is undue pressure on the knees and hips. In my experience, however, the more important danger in continuing to W-sit is that children do not need to cross the midline while playing in this position. If a child sits in this position, he or she may only do things on the right side of the body with his/her right hand and vice versa with the left. It is important for children to learn to cross the midline easily (do things on the left hand side with their right hand or things on the right hand side with their left). When a child does not learn to cross the midline often, he/she may not develop handedness. Naturally, human beings are supposed to develop one dominant hand and one supportive hand. When a child W-sits and does not cross the midline, neither hand becomes dominant. In a sense, E might be considered ambidextrous except that neither hand is strong (dominant). Instead, she is left with some extremely weak fine motor skills (drawing, writing, cutting, etc.)
E points with both hands. If she’s pointing to something on the right, she points with her right hand, and vice versa with the left. They same goes for eating, drawing, or cutting. She cannot play a game like Patty Cake because she has difficulty moving either arm across the midline. On standardized tests, E falls in the 1st percentile for fine motor control. In a room of one hundred same aged kids, she has the worst fine motor control of the bunch.
I’ve known that this was a problem for E for two years but all the experts kept telling me she’d grow out of it. I wish that I has listened to my gut and pursued it earlier because fine motor skills are very important now that E is in pre-kindergarten. Her deficits in this area are really holding her back. Furthermore, her lack of practice in crossing the midline is also holding back her bilateral coordination skills like pedaling and catching a ball.
In our case, we are having difficulty getting services for E in this area but I came across a fantastic website by a mom who is also an OT. Here is a link to a page she created giving ideas about how to help children learn to cross the midline. We are working on these activities at home with E in order to help her motor skills.
If your child W sits, rather than freaking out, pay attention to see if he/she is crossing the midline. If he/she is, then it is probably not something to worry about too much. However, if he/she is not, try to encourage cross-legged sitting or sitting on the heels and especially try some of these activities at home to help your child’s motor skills.