What is Hypotonia?

Hypotonia is the term used to describe low muscle tone. Muscle tone is the ability of the muscle to respondHypotonia to stretch. When a child has low muscle tone, his muscles contract slowly and are unable to maintain a static, normal muscle contraction. Because these low tone muscles do not fully contract, they remain somewhat stretchy and loose, resulting in the child appearing “floppy.” This may cause difficulties with fine and gross motor coordination, difficulty with sitting at a desk, and problems participating in daily activities.

What causes Hypotonia?

Every muscle has receptors that detect change in muscle length. These receptors send a message to the brain and the brain tells the muscle to contract in response to the stimulation. A delay in perceiving muscle stretch, decoding the information in the brain, or problems sending the information back to the muscle can result in hypotonia.

How do I help treat my child’s Hypotonia?

Physical therapists and/or occupational therapists help treat hypotonia. Since muscle tone is an involuntary response, changes in muscle responses can be made through sensory integration treatment techniques that increase the “alertness” of the muscle by bombarding it with sensory information. This improves the brain’s ability to perceive changes in muscle length and helps with the process of sending the message to the brain to initiate a contraction. With ongoing treatment and daily practice, those responses can be elicited more often and low tone muscles can become more efficient.

Our approach at North Shore Pediatric Therapy

At North Shore Pediatric Therapy, our multisensory approach provides your child sensory and motor experiences which help improve his muscle tone, responses to sensory input and body awareness. Our therapists engage your child in various activities that incorporate movement, tactile, visual, and auditory sensations to enhance muscle tone. In addition, our therapists are trained to provide environmental adaptations to assist your child to be more successful in activities throughout the day.

Client Reviews (5)

My daughter who is now 1.5 years old and she started physical therapy when she was 6 months old and was discharged at 1 years old. We was reevaluated and needed therapy a few months later, and that’s when we met Marcy. She was very professional and compassionate towards my daughter. In the beginning hannah was very fearful of leaving my hands and had many meltdowns, a few weeks later hannah was eagerly jumping into Marcy hands. It only took a few months for hannah to come walking out to me in the office and it was a dream! Hannah is now meeting with devorah for speech and she’s absolutely great with it. I’ve recommend this place to friends and neighbors because hoe fantastic the staff and services are. Very highly impressed!


Our daughter saw Sarah Friedman in Glenview (now in Lincolnwood) for gross motor delay. Through our time with Sarah, she made tremendous progress. Sarah worked hard to keep our baby happy during sessions and cheered with us when she did her first roll and her first independent sitting session. We are so grateful for Sarah’s expertise and encouraging support. We still email her with questions and she happily responds. We highly recommend Sarah and the PT at NSPT!

Matt Galin

Flexible, professional and always encouraging our daughter to reach to levels at all times. Updated information on performance reviews and adjustments to therapy goals.


My son (now 4) has only been receiving physical therapy at North Shore Pediatric Therapy for about a month, but already we are seeing so much progress. My son took to his therapist immediately and so he views his sessions as a highlight of his week; his time to play with Miss Sarah is always a joy. He had trouble hopping, balancing, etc… and now he is gaining so much more strength and confidence in his own abilities. My son also has Type 1 Diabetes and I always know he is in good hands as Sarah is well versed in diabetes care and always asks about his blood sugar before his sessions. Thank you!

Jennifer N

Andrea is a wonderful Physical Therapist! Her work with our son is always engaging and fun for him. She is always very helpful with things we can do at home to help him improve and the exercises she does with him, he thinks are games, so he is more willing to do them more often. I’m so glad she is working with him, it is easy to see the improvements over a short period of time!