The IMPORTANCE of Superman and Silly Bug!

During an occupational therapy initial evaluation, as well as throughout ongoing treatment sessions, a child’s ability to maintain two Girl doing a superman exerciseanti-gravity positions is observed. These two positions are named Superman (prone extension) and Silly Bug (supine flexion). Each position observes how the child moves his body (e.g., body awareness and motor planning), his strength and endurance to maintain the position and his ability to follow directions and attend to a challenging and novel task. Below are the directions on how to assume both Superman and Silly Bug.  The approximate norms which should be seen for children of various ages are shown as well.

Superman (Prone Extension):

Lying on belly with arms and legs extended and lifted off of the floor (Note: a child will bend his knees/elbows to compensate. If necessary, provide touch cues to the legs to get him to straighten them out).

Age Length of time (seconds)
4 18
5 31-60
6 63-77
7 90-119
8+ 120-138

Silly Bug (Supine Flexion):
Lying on back with arms crossed over chest, legs bent and head lifted off of the floor. The child then flexes his legs and lifts his head from the floor (like a “crunchie” position).

Age Length of time (seconds)
4 10
5 25
6 46
7 68
8+ 88

Overall, it should be noted that while the norms may seem high, children should be able to hold these positions for as long as an adult can, possibly longer. This expectation can be attributed to the fact that the functioning of the vestibular system declines as one ages. This is why activities such as roller coasters may become less preferred or less entertaining for adults as they no longer crave the intense vestibular input (unless they practice positions of inversion, such as yoga or pilates on a regular basis. With that being said, it is extremely important for parents to practice these anti-gravity positions with their children at home, as well as in the clinic, in order to see the greatest amount of progress in the child’s strength, endurance, body awareness, motor planning and vestibular processing. LOVE WHAT YOU READ?  CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO OUR BLOGS VIA EMAIL!

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