When I was pregnant with my twins Hugh and Isla 10 years ago, I was working in retirement villages and aged care homes as an Exercise Physiologist, helping older adults prevent their risk of falls and injuries.
As soon as my twins were born I knew that there were developmental differences between Isla and Hugh.
Although only born one minute a part, Isla was instantly able to hold her head independently for a feed and latch appropriately, while Hugh lay floppy in my arms finding every action of sucking, visual tracking, and head control exhausting and challenging.
In the early days every feed was overwhelming for both Hugh and I. He would fall asleep during feeds because he used up all his energy just to suck and keep his head stable.
His weight was dropping rapidly even when being bottle fed. Maternal health nurses made me feel like a terrible mother because my son was 'failing to thrive'.
Back then I didn't have all of the knowledge that I do now, spending days and days researching children motor development and ways that I can help my son.
As Hugh was able to slowly build up his core strength and neck strength, he was able to have more endurance with his drinking. The more he was able to drink, the more energy he had for his motor development.
Over months and months of tummy time, encouraging Hugh to look left, right, up and down towards me while singing countless nursery rhymes, I eventually was able to see Hugh thrive from a newborn that flopped in my arms, to an infant that was able to lay on the floor with me and move his head and arms from side to side.
Still to this day I am helping Hugh with all of his motor skill development from visual tracking to crossing the midline, to coordinating his body so he can keep his head up, take two steps, and make a successful lay up in basketball.
Through my training in aged care I knew all about the balance systems - vestibular, visual, somatosensory, to help older adults. But I had no idea back then, that fast forward 10 years, and I'll be using these balance principles for young children on a daily basis.
My son Hugh isn't the only one struggling with their motor development. In a typical classroom I see at least 5 to 6 children, boys and girls, struggling with their motor skill development.
It's Hugh's determination and persistence that inspired me to start my business Play Move Improve, where I am now using movement and play to motivate other children like Hugh to work through each motor development milestone, one step at a time (pardon the pun).