This is Tucker. Tucker is a laid-back, funny, and intelligent 1 ½ year old who is much like other kids his age, in most areas. He loves to play outside, try new things, and chase his puppy around the house. One thing that makes Tucker unlike peers his age is his gross motor development & quality, which has been affected by his muscle strength in his core and hips.
I first noticed a difference in Tucker’s gross motor as early as 6 months old. When most babies we knew would instinctively pull their limbs in during tummy time into an almost crawling position, Tucker always stretched his arms and legs out in his own little Superman pose. Although he initially met his rolling milestones, Tucker rarely demonstrated them later on and by the time he was a year old he was not crawling, scooting, pulling up on furniture, or getting himself to a sitting position on his own. After consistently expressing our concerns to our general pediatrician we were finally referred to MU Children’s Therapy right after Tucker’s first birthday. We immediately saw a change.
Shortly after beginning weekly therapy, Tucker was crawling, pulling up, and even started walking around 15 months. However, there were still some concerns. Even with weekly therapy and working at home, Tucker was still not building the core and hip muscle strength that would be expected at this age. Because of this, he has difficulty climbing on even the lowest furniture, picking his knee up past his hip, transitioning surfaces while walking, squatting to pick things up off of the floor, and he has an abnormal gait. We have been referred to multiple specialists to see if they can determine what’s causing his muscles not to strengthen and the most recent answer they have given us is that he has joint hypermobility which causes centralized muscle weakness.
All of the specialists that we have seen have suggested that we continue regular therapy so that Tucker can build his muscle strength and continue to progress in his gross motor and keep up with his peers. They have also suggested that if he does not get the help now, it will be harder when he is older to undo the damage that was done by not receiving services. However, the cost of therapy makes it extremely difficult and we do not currently qualify for early intervention through the state because Tucker is only behind in one developmental area. With a high deductible insurance, we are currently paying for everything out of pocket, including the ankle orthotics that he needs to help his gait. Our insurance will also only put 20 sessions per year toward our deductible, so even if we were to meet our deductible, insurance would not cover enough sessions for Tucker to go every week. Because of coverage and expense, we have had to significantly cut back the amount of therapy that Tucker does from once a week, to once a month. With a change in legislation, we would be able to get Tucker to therapy as often as he needs so that we can strengthen his muscles and so that this will not be a bigger problem down the road.