Infant Development: Help Your Baby Start Rolling Over Today!

Babies usually develop the ability to roll over when they are around six or seven months old. In some babies though, this skill may be seen as early as four months. Most babies typically start rolling over from their stomachs onto their backs, and then from their backs onto their stomachs. Interestingly, most of this early rolling happens by accident.

Rolling from the back onto the stomach is important because it allows baby to get into the ever important “tummy time” position. Infants tend to have the greatest difficulty when attempting to roll from their backs onto their stomachs. If you are worried that your little one is unable to roll over while playing on the floor, there are activities you can do with her to encourage this skill.

Early rolling begins with good head control and a strong set of neck muscles to support the head. Babies learn to control their heads before being able to control much of the rest of their bodies. Therefore, they use their heads for leverage when first attempting to roll over.

If your baby is able to hold her head up off the ground in “tummy time” she is ready to attempt to roll over. The following are some activities to help her get started:

Tummy Time

  • Place your baby on her tummy with her palms down on a play mat or other soft surface.
  • Place a small toy mirror on the floor in front of her so that she can look at herself while lying on her tummy.
  • In addition to a mirror, use small toys around her to encourage her to lift and turn her head from side to side while looking at the toys.
  • If your baby is unable to tolerate being on her tummy, try lying on the floor in front of her with your face close to hers and comfort her.
  • Start her off with five to ten minutes of tummy time several times per day until she is able to spend about thirty minutes each day on her tummy.

Rolling from side to stomach with assistance

  • Place baby lying on her side on the floor facing you.
  • Attract her attention with her favorite toy and position the toy just out of reach above her head. Encourage her to roll from her side to her stomach as she reaches for the toy.
  • If she is unable to roll from her side by herself, provide a bit of assistance at her hip or bend her knee in front of her body to help her complete the roll.
  • Help baby roll from both sides of her body onto her stomach at least five times from each side.

Rolling from back to stomach with assistance

  • Lie baby on her back with her feet towards your body.
  • Hold a small, brightly colored toy or other interesting object about 12″ in front of her face to get her attention.
  • Once she is interested in the toy, move the toy down to the floor so that she has to rotate her head to keep looking at the toy.
  • Place the toy on the floor just over her shoulder and encourage her to reach across her body and overhead to get the toy.
  • Baby should use her neck and shoulder muscles to reach across her body towards the opposite shoulder to get the toy. For instance, if she is reaching with her left hand, place the toy over her right shoulder.
  • Allow baby to complete the roll to her stomach on her own if she is able to do so. If she is unable to roll by herself, give her a little help by bending her knee and moving it in front of her body, or by providing her with some assistance at her hip.

Help your baby practice rolling from her back to her stomach, reaching with her left hand and then her right hand daily for one to two weeks before moving onto creeping.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Infant Development: Help Your Baby Start Rolling Over Today!

Paying for Wheelchairs for Children With Mobility Issues

Roughly 1 in 3 children with cerebral palsy cannot walk. Having access to the right wheelchair can mean all the difference to, not only their mobility, but also their sense of freedom and independence. All of this can have a very positive impact on all aspects of development.

Wheelchairs are not cheap. A new wheelchair, even the most basic models, can cost several hundred dollars. Power wheelchairs and custom wheelchairs can cost as much as a car. Children grow, so keep in mind that young children will outgrow their wheelchair and will most likely need to have it adapted or replaced once or twice before they reach full height. The costs can be intimidating at best.

Some funding options that may be presented to you include:

Wheelchair companies, not unlike car companies, frequently offer in-house financing or partner with other financial institutions. By perusing wheelchair manufacturing companies’ websites, you can get some idea of how this is done. At some point, you should make an appointment with a representative to talk about funding options. As with automobiles, there is an application process and your credit rating will be considered.

Private Insurance Companies – most insurance companies will cover the costs of a wheelchair, but you must go through a process of documenting exactly what and why your child needs what they need. You will be required to provide documentation from doctors and therapists that claim and verify those needs. It may become a minor battle between what you NEED versus what you WANT. Insurance companies may balk at paying for expensive wheelchairs if they perceive that a less expensive model will suffice, especially if its intended use is for a growing child. You have the right to appeal any denials and return with more extensive documentation regarding your child’s needs. You may want to have a doctor advocate on your behalf.

Medicare – SSDI (Social Security Disability Income), should your child quality, can also help with the purchase of a wheelchair, provided, once again, you provide adequate documentation of necessity. There are rules and regulations that vary from state to state regarding the funding of equipment. Your local Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services should be able to provide you with information pertaining to your state. Again, don’t expect them to want to pay for anything more than the minimum required equipment.

Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) both offer health programs for children of low-income adults. Again, the need for a wheelchair, including the type and cost need to be well-documented and submitted for approval. And while all Medicaid and CHIP programs must meet certain federal guidelines, full regulations can vary from state to state. Some states are willing to pay for 100% of an approved wheelchair, while others don’t pay for wheelchairs at all. Your best bet is to thoroughly research your state’s Medicaid policies, including how soon and under what circumstances will they participate in the payment of a 2nd or 3rd wheelchair.

For families who fail to qualify for state assistance because they earn too much and are otherwise underinsured or uninsured, there are other private assistance programs they can to turn to. Organizations such as Disabled Children’s Relief Fund, Kids Mobility Network Inc., United Healthcare Children’s Foundation and Children’s Relief Fund raise money and accept donations in an effort to see that every child that needs a wheelchair gets one. If your child needs a wheelchair and you are struggling with financial resources, do not be afraid to let your needs be known to your community. Many churches and social organizations such as the Lion’s Club nurture funds and organize fundraisers for just such requests.

Getting your cerebral palsy child’s mobility needs met is never a simple task, even when money is not the issue. When money is the issue, the closed doors and endless red tape can seem insurmountable. But there’s always an answer for those willing to put in the work.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Paying for Wheelchairs for Children With Mobility Issues