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Are you on the look out for Scoliosis in your Children? | Sure Start Health

Are you on the look out for Scoliosis in your Children? | Sure Start Health

Concerned about scoliosis in your child? Looking for a scoliosis assessment?At Sure Start Chiropractic we can provide scoliosis assessments for children. We can check for the presence of scoliosis, the likely type, indicate the likelihood of progression and provide advice for the best course of action. We can also provide a monitoring service for children with scoliosis or suspected scoliosis. The scoliosis referred to in this article is ‘idiopathic scoliosis’.

Facts about Idiopathic Scoliosis in Children:

  • Girls are more likely to develop scoliosis as a child than boys
  • The most common scoliosis presentation in school-aged children and teenagers involves a right convex thoracic curve
  • The severity of the curve just before puberty is an important progressive risk factor
  • During puberty, scoliosis has the greatest risk of progression because the spine is growing so quickly. Particularly in the first 2 years of puberty (average age 11-13 years in girls). Scoliosis assessment / monitoring during this period is important.
  • The vast majority of child scoliosis cases don’t progress to require a brace or surgery
  • A family history of scoliosis may increase the risk that your child will develop a scoliosis
  • Ballet dancers are at greater risk of developing scoliosis
  • Juvenile scoliosis – develops between the ages of 3 and 10. This form is more common in girls and typically involves a right convex thoracic curve. A juvenile onset scoliosis is considered more likely to progress than a curve coming on later in adolescence
  • Adolescent scoliosis – develops after the age of 10 and is the most common idiopathic form. The majority do not progress to more severe forms that require bracing or surgery

Sign of childhood scoliosis for parents to look out for:

  • Elevated hip on one side
  • Lower shoulder
  • Prominent shoulder blade
  • Increased distance between waist and arm on one side
  • Raised rib cage on one side when your child bends forward when standing
  • The curve in the spine does not go away when they sit down

If you would like your child to receive a scoliosis assessment, or if you have any questions, please contact our office on 8272 2862


Strong, Straight Spines for Children (Part 2) | Sure Start Health

Strong, Straight Spines for Children (Part 2) | Sure Start Health

With your children settling into the new school year and getting geared up for study and sport, here are some more tips to be mindful of their spine! NB: If your child appears to be in pain or discomfort with any of the suggestions below, stop the activity and contact us.


Vary their studying position at home. Some reading, writing, typing can be done whilst lying on their tummy on the floor or on their bed. Standing at a high desk is an option. Even lying on alternate sides of the body, or on their back, is acceptable for some activities providing it is comfortable. Variety is the key.


This is another way to promote upright posture in children. Walking and running commonly comes with better posture than sitting. Throwing a ball into the air above the head and catching it, volleyball, basketball and badminton. Most swimming styles like freestyle, back stroke and breast stroke encourage good posture. Dancing, gymnastics, bodysurfing and boogie boarding may also be helpful for promoting spine strength and upright posture.


When sitting, walking and running, children should practice raising their sternum (breast bone) towards the sky. This simple action, when performed regularly, should encourage improved head, spine and shoulder position.


Take the time to arrange a proper desk setup for your child to use at home. Your child may spend hours each week studying at home and this is one of the few places you have an opportunity to get this ‘just right’ for your child. Start with an appropriate sized chair and table height to match. An elevated shelf or platform near the rear of the desk will enable them to position their monitor up high for viewing with an upright posture. When seated, the chair should be pulled in close to the desk and their work (paper or keyboard/mouse) should be positioned close to their body to avoid overreaching.

I hope you found this article helpful. Please feel free to forward it on to anyone you feel may benefit. If you have any questions about any of these topics please don’t hesitate to send us a message or give us a call on 8272 2862.

Richard Mathers


Communication Milestones Children | Sure Start Health

Communication Milestones Children | Sure Start Health

Ever wondered whether your child is on track with their speech and language development?

This is a great resource that has been put together by Speech Pathology Australia – a communication milestones checklist (you may also have seen a copy of it in the Sure Start Health waiting room and in my office). It provides a thorough list of the communication milestones for children between the ages of 12 months and five years.

I highly recommend having a look at it to help you gauge how your child is tracking and if there is anything you would like to discuss about your child’s speech and language development, either Allie or I would be very happy to talk to you.

You can call us on 8272 2862.

Lisa Mathers, Speech Pathologist


Summer Days with your Little Ones | Sure Start Health

Summer Days with your Little Ones | Sure Start Health

How are you coping with this Adelaide heat with your breastfed babies?

Some mums and dads worry about caring for a tiny baby in the intense heat of Summer. The truth is, like you and I, all that can happen is that baby may need to feed more frequently. Remember that breastmilk supplies the baby with everything they need…, fluid, and love. If your baby asks for more, at any time of the year, just give it freely and without guilt. The more they take, the more you make…..believe it wholeheartedly and have faith in how it works.

Another worry for new parents can be the actual temperature of the baby. I say, rule of thumb, think about how you feel yourself, then consider that the baby has less fat on his or her body, and just add one more light layer than you would want on yourself. It’s simple and it makes sense. Humans have survived the elements for centuries now.

If you are experiencing doubts and difficulties with any aspect of breastfeeding or baby care, postnatally or antenatally, make an appointment and I guarantee you will come away from a session with me feeling much more confident, self assured and empowered to cope with the job at hand.

Stay cool

Marianne Dugmore


Strong, Straight Spines for Children (Part 1) | Sure Start Health

Strong, Straight Spines for Children (Part 1) | Sure Start Health

As our kids are enjoying the school holidays its important to be mindful of their postural habits at home. Here are a few healthy spine tips to benefit your children during this period. NB: If your child appears to be in pain or discomfort with any of the suggestions below, stop the activity and contact us.


Lying on their front when on the floor or on their bed is an achievable activity for most children. It can be used for a variety of tasks including reading, puzzles, tablet use, TV or game consoles. This propped-up position encourages an upright chest and head posture and creates a contrast to the slouching posture many children get through prolonged sitting.


Encourage children daily to sit up straight at the dinner table, on the sofa and at the computer. If your child’s thighs are too short to sit well back on an adult sized chair with their knees bent (a common scenario) place a cushion behind their low back for support. The same applies to the sofa. Alternatively, have them wriggle right back into the sofa with their knees straight (this however can be difficult for children with short hamstrings).


Tablets and Laptops are often associated with a ‘head down’ or ‘slouched’ posture because the screen of the device is too low and too close when placed on a desk or table top. A separate keyboard and mouse enables the device to be placed up high on a box or platform in front of the user whilst leaving the keyboard and mouse close to the body where they are needed.


Rest the device on a couple of cushions (or similar) on their lap. The elevated position will help them assume a more upright posture and will likely reduce stress on the neck and shoulders. This can also be applied to sitting in the car.

Stay tuned for Part 2….

Sincerely, Richard


More than just a Lactation Consultant | Sure Start Health

More than just a Lactation Consultant | Sure Start Health
The other day a friend asked me for suggestions for a gift she needed to give at a Baby Shower. I suggested a voucher to see a Lactation Consultant.
“What if she breastfeeds just fine and doesn’t need a Lactation Consultant?” asked my friend.
I replied that a session with a Lactation Consultant before the baby is born can be very beneficial to a new Mum. Education is the key to success. Just to know what to expect, to understand the basic concepts of how breastfeeding works, to realise the importance of frequent feeding in the initial weeks in order to establish a reliable supply, to be prepared for a period of your life that you would never imagine the extent of the intensity of it all, the lack of sleep and how to deal with that, to be advised what booked to read….
I feel that whenever we are entering into a new venture most of us these days will do some sort of preparation for this, some sort of research and prior education.
What better gift that the gift of successful breastfeeding for your precious new baby?
I can organise vouchers for just one or even a series of educational sessions for Mums in my breastfeeding clinic here at 16 Unley Road, Unley. Feel free to contact us for more information or to make an appointment.
Marianne Dugmore, Lactation Consultant

Social Skills for Children | Sure Start Health

Social Skills for Children | Sure Start Health

Does your child have difficulty making friends?  Do they know how and when to join a group of people who are already talking?  Are they able to interpret the facial expressions and body language of others so that they can ‘read’ a situation?  Can they maintain a conversation using appropriate questions and comments?

Children of all ages can have difficulties with social skills.  These can begin at a young age and take the form of difficulties taking turns, using eye contact, being aware of personal space, managing winning and losing or interacting with and responding to peers.

In older children social skill difficulties can make it harder for them to make friends, know what is appropriate to say to others, understand others’ perspectives (empathy), talk about a variety of topics, manage unpredictable comments or behaviours from others and understand sarcasm and idioms.  Having difficulties with these can result in a child struggling to make and maintain strong friendships which may make them feel socially isolated.

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other communication difficulties may have challenges with social skills.

Speech Pathologists work to support children with social skills difficulties by teaching them appropriate social skills, encouraging use of these skills, role playing and working through different scenarios together.  These can be general skills and scenarios or tailored to scenarios a child has experienced and needs support with.

If your child is experiencing any of these difficulties, give us a call on 8272 2862 as we may be able to help.

Lisa Mathers, Speech Pathologist


Pillows for Children | Sure Start Health

Pillows for Children | Sure Start Health

It is not always obvious when to start using a pillow for your child in bed or what type of pillow to use.  This article highlights a number of things to consider when selecting the right type of pillow (or no pillow) for your child.

SIDS guidelines recommend that children do not use pillows until they are old enough to sleep in a bed. This is a good rule to follow.

When a child lies on their side the pillow should be thick enough to support the side of the head and neck in a neutral position. Not to thin or too thick (see image below).

right correct pillows for children

To check this, get down at their level and observe them from in front and from behind (in their own bed). When a child gets older they can bunch the pillow a little under their neck because the neck is slightly thinner than the head and therefore requires a little more pillow to provide adequate support.

When a child lies on their back the best pillow is a relatively thin one. In this position the pillow’s main job is not to raise the head from the mattress but to gently support the back of the neck.

Pillows are of little value when a child sleeps on their tummy. In this position a pillow will tend to force the head into an even greater turn and may aggravate the spine.

If a child sleeps on their front with their head consistently turned to the same side, they may have limited turning freedom to the opposite side.


Most young children sleep in a variety of positions throughout the night (including on their tummy). Because of this they are better off using a thinner pillow rather than a thick one. This way the child will get good support when on their back, fair support when on their side (can be made better by bunching under the neck) and will minimise stress on the neck if they lie on their front.

When they get older and settle into a ‘preferred’ sleeping position you may choose the right pillow (or no pillow) accordingly.

If you have any concerns or questions about your child’s pillow or sleeping position please contact our office, we may be able to help.

Please feel free to forward it on to anyone you feel may benefit.

Sincerely, Richard.

Disclaimer:   The information in this article is not intended as a substitute for professional help or advice.  Neither Sure Start Chiropractic nor any of its practitioners assume any responsibility for harm or injury to anyone who uses the information, or damage to any equipment. If your child appears to be in pain or discomfort stop the activity and consider discussing this with a spine health professional.


Difficulty Feeding – Why? | Sure Start Health

Difficulty Feeding – Why? | Sure Start Health
When a baby is born, one of the first things that parents and health professionals are concerned about is how this new little baby is feeding and growing. For some babies, learning to suck and swallow can be particularly challenging, leaving their mum’s feeling sore, tired and concerned.
There are many reasons that a young baby might have difficulty breastfeeding (or bottle feeding) including:
  • Low muscle tone
  • Reflux
  • Prematurity
  • Sleepiness
  • Allergies and intolerances
  • Jaundice
  • Tongue/Lip ties (ankyloglossia)
  • Oral sensitivity
  • Poor sucking coordination
….and the list goes on
A Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is the first person I usually refer these babies to. They are invaluable in assessing and assisting babies to breastfeed if possible or guide mums about alternative feeding methods.
Often children come to see a speech pathologist when their child is having difficulty transitioning to solids at about 6 months of age. They may have resist accepting solids from a spoon, be unable to move the food around their mouth and chew their food (with their gums) or difficulty swallowing food. Often, we see babies gagging on lumpier textures and sometimes vomiting. This is a really challenging time and often leaves parents feeling (understandably) anxious and frustrated.
It is important to find a speech pathologist who can assess the baby’s difficulties and provide strategies to assist the child’s oral feeding skills. With early intervention, we can help babies’ mouths to develop to the best of their ability, resulting in better long-term feeding and communication outcomes.
If you’d like more information or to book an appointment with a Speech Pathologist or Lactation Consultant, please do not hesitate to call the office on 8272 2862.
By Alison Peterson, Speech Pathologist

New Mothers | Breastfeeding help | Sure Start Health

New Mothers | Breastfeeding help | Sure Start Health
Being a new mum is not easy and can sometimes leave you feeling overwhelmed with sleep deprivation, exhaustion and fear. Fear that you are maybe not “doing it right”, fear that you only have a short time frame to “get it right”, and fear that you have no idea if what is happening is “normal”.
Nancy Mohrbacher, Canadian Lactation Consultant and my breastfeeding information guru, says let’s let go of the fear and let’s surrender to the baby’s needs. These tiny human mammals are born only half way through their gestational period, too underdeveloped to have any thought processes and acting only by instinct. They don’t need to be “trained” to feed at regular intervals or to sleep for a certain length of time. All they know is the set of instincts they are born with, all of which are designed for survival. These include the ability to crawl to the breast, suckle there to get their food, an innate need to be with a carer, and the ability to alert that carer if they are hungry or left alone.
I am right into helping Mums and Dads to understand these early, and often confusing, days. I can help you to help your baby to get to the breast and communicate his/her needs to you. Most of us are no longer surrounded by our relatives, our tribe and our village…but help is at hand.
If you have any breastfeeding concerns, feel free to send through a message or an email.
Marianne Dugmore, Lactation Consultant