Children with high tone are usually able to support their weight by using their tight muscles to help them stand, like myself. Children with high muscle tone are able to stand long enough for the aide to assist in pulling up pants. However, the down side of children having high tone is that they are more susceptible to developing pain due to the tightness of their muscles. It is a fine balancing act of using a child’s high tone for transfers but also keeping them loose enough to stay comfortable through the day. I am on a cocktail of medicines to keep me comfortable but still have enough tone to transfer. Unfortunately, like my personal experience, some of our mentees although they are children have to do the same. As occupational therapists and mentors, we have to look for that sweet spot, where our clients are comfortable but also still able to do transfers by weight baring.
Children who have enough muscle tone to be able to sustain their weight, makes it a one-person job for an aide to transfer the child. The down side of having high muscle tone is that children develop pain starting from a very young age, as the muscles are so tight. We have to find a balance between maintaining the child’s ability to sustain weight for their transfers but also keeping them comfortable enough to be able to live their lives fully. I don’t like using leg braces, as they are too restricting, so I work with the child to be able to tighten their muscles long enough to do the standing transfer and let go as soon as they are where they want to be. If they are able to do this at a young age, they are going to have the same transfer method for the rest of their lives.
As occupational therapists and mentors, we are enabling the children to be able to just work with one aide to help them, be “normal” at school. Due to my ability to support my weight during transfers, I have always had one aide, which has helped me look just like anyone else. I like to support children by holding their necks and the lower part of their bodies, to allow them to walk without touching the area, which they usually feel the most sore due to tight muscles. Children who are able to do a pivot transfer are also able to be toilet trained which makes the child like their peers. As occupational therapists and mentors we are able to use a child’s muscle tone to achieve their own independence.
- Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children