WHY IS CRAWLING SO IMPORTANT
Crawling is a developmental stage that most children pass through, but not all. And for those that don't most go on to develop just as the crawlers do. So why then do occupational therapists get children down into crawling position (quadrupod) so frequently? you will see OT's doing animal walks, obstacle courses, lycra tunnels, all with a crawling component.
There are MANY benefits to crawling, and by doing these activities your OT is able to get all the benefits at once.
1. Palmar arch- Putting weight through the hands strengthens intrinsic hand muscles and palmar arch (think the curve shape when you touch your thumb to pinky). This shape allows better fine motor manipulation such as holding a pencil and moving it from the fingers rather than the whole arm
2. Bilateral coordination- Crawling activities enable the OT to work on both sides of the body either doing the same thing (homolaterally) or doing different things (cross laterally). Think bunny hop vs traditional crawl. Being in a crawling position also means the child has to rely on internal input rather than using their eyes to plan their body movements.
3. Proprioception- A very important sense that provides information to the brain from muscles and joints. For a child who has difficulty with coordination exaggerating the input from muscles and joints helps them to get strong feedback and a great way to do this is CRAWLING. Deep proprioceptive input also has the added benefit of calming (think deep squeeze such as a hug).
All these things are great benefits from crawling BUT don't worry if your child doesn't crawl because most go on to develop all the above without intervention and if they don't, we can get down and crawl at any age!