I talked a little bit about anticipatory and reactionary balance in one of my last posts. In addition to balance and the ability for a kiddo to stay upright, there is also postural control. Postural control looks at how we can maintain our posture while going through the activities of our day. They are all tied together but I thought I would try to explain postural control a bit. Then you can put the two pieces together and hopefully have a better understanding of how it all works together.
For some kids it takes a lot of practice to turn their muscles on to hold an upright posture. However, even if they are able to attain an upright posture can they maintain that posture while walking, or writing, or raising their hand, or eating? The goal of working on a child’s posture (or even ours) is that they are able to keep their muscles activated while doing the above mentioned activities as well as any other activities that they do in their life.
As I’m writing I realize this is harder than I thought to put down logically into words. Let me try another way. As I’m getting older I notice that my back is hurting more often. This usually means that I was doing something and wasn’t able to maintain my core muscles activated as much as I should have so my back was moving more than it should have. Basically I wasn’t able to maintain postural control because the task was more demanding than my muscles could maintain.
So, when working with kiddos some may be able to maintain an upright posture with everything they do while some may only be able to sit for 10 seconds with external help, such as someone stabilizing them at their hips. Some kids fall somewhere in between. The more demanding the task, whether physically or mentally, the harder it is to maintain postural control. For instance, in the example I gave involving my back, the demands of the task were too physical for me to maintain my postural control. An example of being too mentally demanding would be if a kiddo needs to concentrate on their posture, they have to think about what they are doing, if you start talking to them or asking them questions, they aren’t able to concentrate on both activities at once so they lose postural control.
It also becomes easier to lose postural control with increased fatigue. So as I become more tired, or a kiddo becomes more tired, it is harder to concentrate on posture.
I hope this made things a little clearer…