Backward Walking: What Are the Benefits?

Do you want to burn extra calories, work on motor coordination and challenge your balance?  Is your knee hurting as you walk up the hill? Turn around and take a part of your walk backwards.  It’s called retro-walking.

Walking in reverse with balance and control comes in handy many times a day.   Where does this happen?

  • As you take a step back to open the front door.
  • Forgot your keys in the house?  You will probably place one foot back while changing direction.
  • During a two person furniture lift, you’re the lucky one who gets to walk backwards!
  • Moving in a crowded kitchen, you back up to let your daughter squeeze by.
  • At the gallery you see a beautiful painting and take a few steps back to take it in.
  • On the playground you balance with a backward stepping response as your friend races by.  This time, you don’t fall.
  • On the soccer field you run in reverse to prevent the other team from scoring.
    Continue reading “Backward Walking: What Are the Benefits?”
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9 Resources: Support and Information for Parents of Special Needs Children.

“I was lost at the meeting.  Everyone was bringing up ideas so quickly; I was unsure about everything by half way through.  I didn’t agree and I didn’t want to sign.  It was just overwhelming”.   Melina has been to her first IEP and needs advice from a person who has been in her place.    She is also interested in respite care, a parenting class,  and options for more affordable and accessible housing.   What are the resources for parents of special needs children in the North Bay Area?

Continue reading “9 Resources: Support and Information for Parents of Special Needs Children.”

Why I love Using the Gross Motor Function Measure

Freya is a 6-year-old girl with ataxic cerebral palsy.   She moved to California from Iowa last month and has been prescribed six months of physical therapy.   Freya’s parents are concerned; she has been having difficulty going down the front stairs of their new home.  As her physical therapist, do I have a standardized test that will measure her initial gross motor function?   In six months, how will I determine whether Freya has made statistically significant progress?  

My Gross Motor Function Measure User’s Manual is tattered.  I could not work without the GMFM!    Like all things that are well designed, the creators have taken a complex concept and made it logical and simple.   The GMFM is an evaluative measure that assesses change in motor function over time.  I can test Freya in January,  provide PT 1x/week and then retest in July to determine if she has made significant progress.  In addition, I won’t overlook Freya’s inability to reach across midline while I am heavily focused on her stair skills; the test covers all domains from lying and rolling  up to running and jumping, with each skill being incrementally harder than the last. Continue reading “Why I love Using the Gross Motor Function Measure”

Core Stability: Pushing

 

“My son’s core is so floppy, he really can’t push open the doors when we go to the library.  There is no force through his arms.  Now that he is older, this is stopping him from doing quite a few things”.

Pushing is an essential skill.   To go shopping, a cart must be pushed from aisle to aisle.   A dresser drawer can’t stay open; it must be pushed back into position. We push all day long without much thought about our action, whether it is tidying up the kitchen drawers, pushing a vacuum, going through a revolving door, or moving furniture back into its place. Continue reading “Core Stability: Pushing”

Seven Funding Resources

Kaylee is a five-year-old girl with quadriplegic cerebral palsy.  She is not able to walk or move herself around, but she can use her legs to propel an adapted trike.  She loves this and can enjoy a half-mile ride with her mom pushing to help out as needed.   No insurance source will pay for the trike and it costs too much to buy out-of-pocket.  What are the options?

There are many organizations that make needs and wishes like this one come true.  If you are based in Northern California, these are some of the best known ones serving kids with disabilities.  If you know of other resources, please make suggestions.

Continue reading “Seven Funding Resources”

Core Stability: Pulling

“My daughter has low tone.  What can I do to get her core muscles working? When she is trying to pull open a heavy door, she can’t get any stability and she just gives up and asks us to do it for her”

Are you wanting to work on core stability with a young child? Strengthening is possible, but the way you go about it is quite different from adults.   Instead of counting repetitions, I find it is best to strengthen within the context of play.

I am imagining that we are stranded on a tropical island!  We have just caught the biggest fish in the sea and we are pulling it to shore! I have a long rope with just the right amount of weight tied to the other end.  That doesn’t have you?  OK, I am in the water and you are pulling me back to shore!  The story is yours to create: castles, sleeping dragons, stubborn donkeys.  Allow yourself to have fun with the stories.    Once children come up with a story and get hooked into the imaginative play, they don’t realize they are working themselves into a sweat! Continue reading “Core Stability: Pulling”

Recreation Opportunities for Children With Special Needs in Sonoma County

Have you ever wanted to try out a whole selection of adapted trikes?  Try a new swimming experience? Enroll in a summer camp?

A few years ago I started compiling a list.  Every time a parent or child came in beaming from a new community experience, I wrote it down.    In the ICF, Participation is defined as anything that involves friends, family, future, fitness, fun, or function.  The activities below promote structured play, meeting new friends and exploring new interests.  So here is the list with links included… let me know if you have any other additions.  I hope you find something here that provides an enriching experience!

Continue reading “Recreation Opportunities for Children With Special Needs in Sonoma County”