Monthly Archives: November 2017

Driving a Power Chair on the Playground

It is important for a toddler to begin driving a power chair as soon as we know which body part has the most control; because it teaches them to become independent and shows them that they are capable of playing with friends. The ability of driving a power chair allows the child to run around with friends at recess and to walk back to class together. The toddler will be able to go on play dates with peers and run around in the yard with friends like any other young child. We occupational therapists and mentors are able to work on developing this skill at a young age in the hopes they will grow up being independently moving by the age of five.

If the child can understand that they are capable of moving when they need or want to, they are going to understand that they are not very different from their abled bodied peers. A significant physically disabled child will have the ability of going up in front of their class and presenting an oral report like any other student. The child will be able to join group class projects and will be able to determine where to meet by talking to their peers. The ability for a child to be mobile can also enable them to join an adaptive team sport like other children their age.

As occupational therapist and mentors we have the capability of helping our clients to grow up participating in activities as they normally would if they didn’t have disabilities. Children who develop “normally” are going to progress with normal expectations of themselves as no one has said to do otherwise; and I hope to achieve the same for my mentees. I have found that children who grow up with expectations and play sports are more successful in life. Sports are all about working with your team which means they have to communicate and compromise which is a good skill set that they will use later in their lives.

Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children

Controlling a Power Chair

As occupational therapists and mentors, we want our clients to be able to drive themselves at a young age as that is when they would naturally begin to be independently moving. If we are able to put a toddler into a power chair at a young age they are going to understand that despite their significant physical disabilities they are going to be capable of moving independently. The toddlers should begin to play with their peers with the communication devices and the power chairs on the playground and they will begin to understand that they are not any different from their able-bodied peers.

Our part as occupational therapists is going to fit the child into the seating to ensure that they are adequately supported to drive the chair and to be able to access the talker. The occupational therapist and the mentor will work with the child’s fitting and controls until they are at the right position for the child to be able to use the equipment adequately.  We also want the child to have access to their communication device while driving whenever it is possible as this is how the child is going to be able to play with their peers.

Children who are mobile at a young age are going to understand that despite of their disabilities they are going to be able to participate in the same activities as their peers. The child is going to be able to walk to class with friends which helps them to feel like any other student in the hall. They are going to also be able to roll in front of the class to give oral presentations which makes them like any other student. If he or she can grow up communicating and independently going to places at school and at home as they mature, they are going to want more independence. All we professionals need to do is to set up the assistive technologies and watch the client grow into who they are going to be in life.

 

Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children

Customized Equipment

Occupational therapists and mentors, such as myself, know and understand the benefits of customized equipment. The customized equipment ensures that the child will be adequately maintained throughout their day as their weak areas will be provided support. I am a big believer that this should start at the toddler age as this is the stage in which their bones and muscles begin to grow, so we want to catch the muscles before they start to deform.

A child who grows up being adequately supported will have a greater chance of not having to undergo corrective surgery as their body will be supported to assist in developing as it should. These individuals will have more chances to be at school with friends and participate in extracurricular activities, as they won’t have the physical pain to limit their energy. As someone with the same disabilities as my clients, I know how important it is to have adequate support, as I suffer from major back problems but not physical deformities.

Keeping our clients comfortable and functional is going to enable them to continually attend school as they will not be in pain or at home recovering from a surgery. If a child can avoid spending weeks at home recovering from surgeries, then they will be able to be at school focusing on their academics. On our end (professionals), we will be able to continue to work with them on developing their driving wheelchair skills and strengthening their muscles. The child will then be able to work on their communication skills as well, as they will have the muscle strength in their neck to work with a communication device. As you can see, there is a plethora of benefits in starting a child with custom made seating and we should do this with every person who is at risk of developing physical deformities.

  • Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children

Customized Equipment

Those of us occupational therapists and mentors know and understand the benefits of customized equipment. The customized equipment ensures that the child will be adequately supported throughout their day as the supports will be exactly where the individual needs support. I am a big believer of starting at the toddler age as that is when bones and muscles begin to grow so we want to catch the muscles before they start to deform.

A child who grows up being adequately supported will have a greater chance of growing up without needing corrective surgery as the body will be developing how it should be developing. The individual will have more chances of being at school with friends and participate in extracurricular activities as they won’t have the physical pain to limit their activities. As someone with the same disabilities as my clients, I know how important it is to have adequate support as all I suffer from is back problems not deformities.

Keeping our clients comfortable and functional is going to mean that they are going to be able to continually attend school as they won’t be up in pain or at home recovering from a surgery. If a child doesn’t need to spend weeks at home recovering from surgery then they are able to be at school focusing on their academics. On our end we will be able to continue to work on their driving and strengthening their muscles.   The child will then be able to work on their communication skills if they have the neck muscles to work with their communication device. As you can see, there is a plethora of benefits in starting a child with custom made seating and we should do this with every person who is at risk of developing deformities.

Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children

Comfort and Functioning

As occupational therapists and mentors we have to focus on the child’s comfort, as this will allow them to be able to focus on school work and just being a kid. If the child is properly supported in their seating, we may by putting of their developing pain until much later in life. Children are able to use their communication devices better if they are properly fitted in their seating. The right positioning enables the child to easily access their communication device which will hopefully keep physical pain at bay for a while, which will allow them to play and concentrate on their school work. Children who are adequately supported from a young age are rarely known to ever require corrective surgery later in their lives.

Proper positioning helps the muscles and the bone structure to develop how they should be, allowing the child to physically develop as needed. This sometimes allows us to work on weight barring with the child; which allows us to be able to do pivot transfer practices. As the child grows, they are going to be able to use their communication device easily and possibly drive a power chair. We want to start them on the right foot by initiating therapy at the preschool age; so, they can develop the muscle structure that is more desirable for ample function.

Children who are able to support themselves are able to go to the bathroom with one aide; making them feel more like their peers. I place these children into walkers at recess time, so they can play with peers on the playground. I want my mentees to have a “normal” childhood which means playing with their classmates and attending regular classes. If the child has the opportunity to grow up normally then they will naturally start to put expectations on themselves like any other growing child.

  • Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children