Author Archives: Maricor Pagsanjan

Sitting The Child Comfortably

The occupational therapists and mentors who I work with, have unlimited resources to help our clients to be seated in the seating system which allows them to access their talker comfortably. Straining of the neck can occur when a person is trying to access the talker and their controller and array their head which controls the chair.  The child must sit his or her body in a ninety-degree angle. By have the chair tilt back at this angle, it will prevent them from going into a “tight extension” which means that the body goes up into a straight position due to tight muscles. This can be prevented by putting a subbase bar to hold the hips down and several of other supports systems to keep the body comfortable.

Often times children only require the subbase bar because it is enough to support the child’s body. Having proper support allows the child to not require additional straps to restrain them.  Occasionally, I have put an abductor to help the child to stay seated back in the chair properly. A benefit of doing this is that it helps us get them out of their chair quicker in the event they have a seizure.  With the child accurately supported, I’m hoping we can help their body by postponing the pain that develops because of their condition. A child who is supported appropriately throughout their life will have better muscle and spine structure.

The occupational therapists and mentors I work with, have the resources and knowledge to keep our clients comfortable and stable.  If our clients are stable they are able to easily communicate and to effortlessly drive the power chair. We want all of their equipment to be costume made so they will have adequate support throughout their day.  There are children out in the world who have significant physical disabilities but their bodies are straight and without disfigurements which is what we want for our clients.

  • Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children

Sitting Children Comfortably

The occupational therapists and mentors that I work with, have unlimited resources to help our clients to be seated in the seating system which allows them to access their talker comfortably. Straining of the neck can occur when a person is trying to access the talker and their controller and array their head which controls the chair. The child must sit his or her body in a ninety-degree angle. By have the chair tilted back at this angle, it will prevent them from going into a “tight extension” which means that the body goes up into a straight position due to tight muscles. This can be prevented by putting a subbase bar to hold the hips down and several of other supports systems to keep the body comfortable.

Often times children only require the subbase bar because it is enough to support the child’s body. Having proper support allows the child to not require additional straps to restrain them. Occasionally, I have put an abductor to help the child to stay seated back in the chair properly. A benefit of doing this is that it helps us get them out of their chair quicker in the event they have a seizure. With the child accurately supported, I’m hoping we can help their body by postponing the pain that develops because of their condition. A child who is supported appropriately throughout their life will have better muscle and spine structure.

The occupational therapists and mentors that I work with, have the resources and knowledge to keep our clients comfortable and stable. If our clients are stable they are able to easily communicate and to effortlessly drive the power chair. We want all of their equipment to be costume made so they will have adequate support throughout their day. There are children out in the world who have significant physical disabilities but their bodies are straight and without disfigurements which is what we want for our clients.

  • Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children

Tingling Pain

I have been experiencing tingling pain in my lower back which has given me a feverish feeling for a week now. I have the ability to communicate which allows me to direct my caregivers to make a doctor’s appointment on my behalf. Children with significant physical disabilities need to be able to communicate crucial medical information so their caregivers can accurately help them. Children who grow up communicating will be able to continue voicing their needs when they are adults living in their own homes. As occupational therapists and mentors, we are able to position children in a comfortable way to assist the healing process. We are able to collaborate and determine a solution to make the individual more comfortable.

As occupational therapists and mentors we use various equipment to make the child more comfortable to assist them in recovering faster.  When children are in their very own soft and custom-made tumble foams, they are more likely to get well faster in comparison they then would in an uncomfortable wheelchair.

If you think about it, it makes sense! A body that is receiving what it needs, is going to get well sooner than a body that has not been given the appropriate resources.  This is especially true for our high tone clients. As they usually have tighter muscles, they are already uncomfortable, so their bodies are already under stress, which is why we want them to be as relaxed as possible. With my mentees, I like to either hold them or put them in tumble foams to relax their tight muscles to relieve their pain.   As occupational therapists and mentors, we have the equipment to assist our clients to get back to being healthy faster and I use the same tumble foam as my mentees, I know from personal experience, that they are comfortable and really do help!

 

  • Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children

Fever Due to Pain

Over this past holiday weekend, I felt feverish due to my back pain. As occupational therapists and mentors, we want to try to keep our clients comfortable in the hopes of avoiding this from happening to them. For my toddler clients, I like to keep them in tumble foam chairs, as this is the most comfortable equipment we have for them to use. For my older mentees I make sure their wheelchairs are perfectly fitted to their bodies and that they have tumble foams available to chill out in during the days.

Most children with Cerebral Palsy are small in size, so we are able to use pediatric equipment for most if not all of their lives. Heck I am still using pediatric equipment and I am 37 years old!  We want our clients to stay comfortable throughout the day to keep them healthy. Being in constant pain can potentially cause a feverish state, which can lead to more serious illnesses; which for someone that is smaller than their age demographic, their bodies might not be able to handle an illness. Putting our clients into comfortable positions throughout their day can avoid some health issues but also allows them to be in school more frequently.

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I like to hold my clients to understand their body structure, allowing me to know what supports are needed for their equipment. This way we are able to ensure that they will have adequate support to properly function. We want to help these children stay healthy and be able to thrive in their lives as most of them do not have intellectual disabilities.

Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children

Neck Control

As occupational therapists and mentors if we see a client is going to be a quadriplegic we want to work up their neck muscles as that will be most likely what they are going to use throughout their life. A toddler with good neck control will be able to drive their power chairs with an ASL head system and they are going to be able to play with friends. The ability for a toddler to drive a power chair is going to tell the child that even with their physical disabilities they are going to be able to move independently. If we see that their neck is the strongest body part we want them to build that up as that will be how they are going to do everything in life.

Being a quadriplegic, I thank God that my occupational therapist stopped trying to use my hands when she saw they weren’t going to work and went to my neck which was my strongest part of my body. If we work with our client’s stronger body parts at an early age they are going to be able to build those muscles up to be able to utilize them for the rest of their life. They will be able to demonstrate knowledge with ease as they wouldn’t have to actively think about using the body part but rather it will come naturally to them allowing them to concentrate on school work.  If we are able to determine which body part is going to work the best we are going to be able to fit the communication device and the power chair to their specific needs allowing them to be independent at the toddler age.

As occupational therapists and mentors we are able to help our young clients to become independent when they would normally start walking. My general goal for every mentee is to get them communicating and moving independently on time so they are able to start general education by the age of five. If this can happen the child will be able to do everything on time giving them a positive self-esteem. I had been one of those children and that is why I was able to start my career right when my peers were starting their careers.

 

Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children

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