Kids with Down syndrome are notoriously flexible. They are the envy of all of us tight muscled, inflexible adults.

Wil can literally fold in half - stomach on thighs, head resting on his feet - with ease and comfort. While sitting down he routinely pulls his straightened leg up beside his head. Show off!
This flexibility is not due to all the calisthenics he does. And I certainly did not genetically pass it to him. Simply put, kids with Down syndrome have loose ligaments around their joints. While this makes them super flexible and bendy it is not necessarily such a great thing. When Wil was a baby he had to wear tiny hip hugger type pants in order to hold his hips in, otherwise they would just fall out when lying on his back. Think frog legs. He still does this to a degree. Also, the ligaments around Wil's ankles are so weak that it took him quite a long time to bear weight on his legs without his ankles rolling over. This also prevented him from walking until he was around three. His ankles are still very weak but they are getting stronger. Additionally the weak ligaments leave most kids with Ds without an arch in their foot, which can make walking difficult.

Like many other areas of development the strength will come. It will come differently for each kid but it will come. We have seen huge improvement in Wil just in the last 12 months. His walking is much stronger, his balance is improving, and his ankles are tolerating more weight. He is working hard right now on bearing weight on one foot. It's tough work for him but he pushes through and keeps getting stronger.
And when he has had enough work and his body is tired out, he just folds up, hides his face, and refuses to untangle.


My name is Sarah said...

You are just too cute Wil.

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