I have to admit, at first I was unsure what correlation “W” sitting and vision had in common. I had always corrected children in my vision therapy clinic, and my own child, any time I saw this behavior. I understood that it placed undue stress on the hips, but does it affect overall development? The visual system, particular with the young, is complex and delicate. Could there be a correlation here between “W” sitting and a poorly developing vision system?
What is “W” sitting?
I’m sure at times you have seen a child sitting on their knees, their ankles behind them in an outward position. This my friends is termed “W” sitting by the pediatric community. By sitting this way, the base of their body gravity is widely spread, not requiring them to use as much balance. It also limits their body rotation and their ability, or the need, to cross the midline. Which in turn hinders the development of fine motor skills. This is where vision comes into play.
The importance of a child being able to cross their midline is crucial in visual development. Remember, vision is not 20/20 alone. It requires efficient skills such as tracking, eye coordination, focusing, and perception. When a child has difficulty crossing the midline they are also having difficulty using both sides of their body. They tend to favor a more dominant side. This is true with the eyes also. We often see a patient having difficulty tracking across the midline. Many times there will be “jerk” or “twitch” when the eyes reach the midline.
So if you see your child sitting “W,” encourage them to sit criss-cross or legs straight ahead. This will encourage core strength, improve balance, and will encourage development of fine motor skills; like vision !