Saturday, May 5, 2012

The crawling track

Juliana has low muscle tone. Practically every kid with Kabuki syndrome has it (same goes for many other genetic disorders such as Down syndrome, etc). It took her quite awhile to gain complete head control. She was surprisingly not very delayed when it came to rolling over. She was somewhat delayed with sitting up (10 months - believe it or not, this is considered "not very delayed" for kids with similar medical issues). At 14 months old, she still cannot crawl.

And this drives me crazy. I want her to crawl and I believe that she does have the ability to crawl, if only I can help her realize that she can do it. I no longer believe in letting her do things on her own schedule. She needs tons of stimulation and lots of help, but she still has the ability to learn and she needs to be constantly learning.

Up until very recently we have been pursuing only conventional options for physical therapy. While our PT is very knowledgeable, results have been painfully slow. And then late one night I learned about Glenn Doman. And I learned about the crawling track.

I immediately emailed my dad and asked if he would build it for me. A few days later we were at Lowes picking out supplies. And a few days after that the track was complete! I've been trying to use it regularly ever since, and the track is getting even more use now that it is part of our neurodevelopment program.

Glenn Doman says that he has worked with brain-injured children who weren't moving at all before they started using the crawling track. Fast forward months later and these children had become mobile. Initially the track is kept very elevated so that the child doesn't have to make much of an effort to move forward. Slowly the elevation is decreased until the track is flat on the floor. I mean really - this is not rocket science. But we have never attempted anything like this in all of our hours of PT at Children's Hospital.

Per our neurodevelopment program, Juliana is supposed to use her track four times a day for up to five minutes, or however long it takes to get to the bottom of the track. We've seen some big improvements since we started. Initially she would try to roll over as soon as she was placed on the track (this girl hates tummy time). It's rare that she does that anymore. Initially she would just cry as if she was being tortured. Now she will occasionally complain. Initially she wouldn't move down the track, no matter how high it was elevated. Now she does! It's not always graceful, and she is still taking a lot of breaks in-between movements. She needs a lot of motivation and I have tried to enlist Calvin's help with this. (You may have also noticed that he decorated the track for her with a collection of Cars stickers).

Crawling is a really important milestone that is good for both the body and the brain. (Nice summary of this here.) From my rudimentary understanding of Doman's work, it seems that once crawling is mastered a lot of other things begin to kick in. 

I wish that I had begun this much, much sooner. If I had begun ten months ago then I firmly believe that Juliana would be crawling by now. But I'm really not mourning the past, instead I am excited to have found some real solutions that are challenging Juliana and helping her progress.


  1. oh WOW! what a great find...and good for you! I am so amazed at the amount of digging and researching and finding you do. So excited for you and Juliana that the crawling track will literally get her moving. Must be hard to listen to her cry whenever you challenge her like that. And hooray for helpful big siblings! I am convinced our eldest will grow up to be some of the most amazing, gentle and compassionate people out there. Praying for some fast track crawling!

  2. Good work Liz, this looks like a great approach to the crawl issue. Hang in there, I will pray for progress on the tract.

    Paul Morton