What is Low Muscle Tone?

30 July 2015

Low Muscle Tone (hypotonia) often gets thrown around as a bit of a “buzz word” in therapy these days. Often it can cause anxiety in parents, often it causes confusion, and often it comes with a negative connotation. This blog will debunk the myths associated with Low Muscle Tone and provide practical strategies to address it.

Muscle tone is different to muscle strength which is to do with power. A child with low muscle tone is often to be observed to slouch in their chair, hold their head up constantly with their hand, have trouble sitting for long periods of time, and often ‘w-sit’ instead of crossing their legs.

As a result, the child’s muscle needs to go through a greater range of motion and, as a result, more energy is used. On top of this, it often takes greater stimulation for the muscle to activate, which also increases the response time of the muscle and it directly influences the child’s performance abilities. The use of extra energy contributes to the decrease in the child’s endurance.

Now you know the basics, here are some Myth’s and Fact’s about Low Muscle Tone:

MYTH: I’m a bad parent because my child has Low Muscle Tone

FACT: You’re most definitely not. Humans are born with a certain level of muscle tone.

MYTH: Low Muscle Tone means my child is unfit and unhealthy.

FACT: Low Muscle Tone has nothing to do with a child’s health or fitness level.

MYTH: Low Muscle Tone is the end of the world and a horrible diagnosis.

FACT: Low Muscle Tone is not a formal diagnosis, simply more of a ‘characteristic’, and is definitely not the end of the world! What can be diagnosed is the cause.

Low Muscle Tone cannot be changed, but with therapy, muscles can become stronger (“strength”) and compensate for low tone to help your child through daily tasks.  Children with low muscle tone often have delayed motor skills, muscle weakness, and / or coordination problems.

Written by

Aimee York

Aimee York is the Director and Principal OT of KinderCloud. She is experienced in the assessment and intervention of children and adolescents. In particular, Aimee has a special interest area of working with children and adolescents who experience difficulties with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Global Developmental Delays, attention and behavioural difficulties, social skills, functional skills (including toileting and feeding), School Readiness and pre-school academic skills, gross motor skills, fine motor skills and sensory processing. www.kindercloud.com.au

Please login to comment
  • No comments found

You may also like