Basics of High Tone and Low Tone

Some more information that the physical therapist told me while shadowing:

Tone is defined as tension of the muscles at rest. Low tone is when the child’s muscles feel soft and doughy, while high tone is when the child’s muscles are more rigid and stiff due to higher tension. On both ends, range of motion is a big concern. Both types make it hard for the child to move against gravity.

A really big problem that physical therapists have to counter-act is what is known as the ‘W-Sitting’ position:

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 2.15.19 PM

W-sitting is an easy position to sit in for a child with abnormal muscle tone since it increases the area of support outward due to the ankles and feet being on either side. It takes significantly less effort than sitting in other positions since it shifts the weight onto the pelvis area and outright feet instead of on the child’s bottom. It is not good for the child’s hip and knee areas since it puts a lot of pressure on them in the wrong direction. It also does not promote weight shifting, good pelvic strengthening, and movement in and out of sitting.

I will continue to shadow therapy sessions to learn more techniques from the physical and occupational therapists that can help me with my design.


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