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What's Wrong with the W Sit

What’s Wrong with the W Sit

 

The W position when sitting is a position that children may move in and out of when playing; however, when the W position is used frequently, children are limited their ability to strengthen their core and using rotation to cross midline.  Also, children who frequently use the W position when sitting may develop orthopedic problems in the future. 

 

Every child W sits briefly when playing, but it is the frequent use of W sitting that causes concern.  Children that use the W often are kids who have core weakness.  These kids are focused on play and when they are using a W sit they do not have to take away their attention from playing to focus on balancing.  W sitting allows for play in front of the child, but limits the child’s ability to turn and play to each side.  This turning to the side (crossing the midline) is needed to maintain balance while doing gross motor activities such as running or fine motor activities such as coloring. 

 

The following are more specific concerns that are associated by frequent W sitting:

·         W sitting can  predispose children to hip dislocation

·         W sitting can cause muscle tightness throughout the hamstring, hip adductors, calves    and Achilles tendons

·         W sitting can discourage a child from choosing a dominant hand because the child is not reaching and turning to select objects.

·         W sitting will cause conditions such as hypertonia or spasticity to worsen.

 

The best way to prevent W sitting is to catch it before it becomes a habit.  When you see your child getting into a W sit or already in a W sit, help them to move their legs into a different position.  When playing with your child on the floor you can hold their knees and/or feet together when kneeling so the child is unable to move into the W position. 

 

If your child is unable to sit without using a W position on their own, an occupational therapy should be consulted to learn about supportive seating or alternative floor play positions. 


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