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>> Sitting, crawling & walking <<
These tips have all been sent in by other parents, carers and professionals in the learning disability community. We hope they will give you plenty of ideas to try, but please remember Netbuddy is not responsible for the information provided or any of the activities suggested.
Those who have difficulty with motor skills tend to hold their breath to stabilize their trunk, which can be detrimental to balance. To help this, we try to constantly talk or sing with our daughter as we move and play.
Hula hoop help
When my daughter was learning to walk I used a hula hoop around her waist. Facing her holding the hoop, I moved slowly backwards as she followed, inside the hoop holding onto it for support. She saw it as a game and it motivated her to take those important first unsupported steps.
Ella crawls to most places, so we use old shoulder pads or even the inserts of an old bra can as knee pads. Just attach some elastic to hold them in place. You can also get knee pads from toy shops for roller skates.
Toe the line!
John walks on the inside of his foot and as a result frequently gets ingrown toenails. Countless toe operations have been avoided by simply bathing his feet in manuka honey water and then applying nappy zinc paste and powder on the affected (dry) toenail
Hoppers work for us
Those old fashioned blow up hoppers really work for Andy who finds it really hard to focus and sit still. He is still constantly moving, but this time in a up/down motion which makes it much easier to keep him in the same place.
To encourage walking practice, we create mini treasure hunts with treats on each chair to help motivate and turn physio exercises into fun! On sunny days, we head outside and do the same thing with a nature detective theme.
Wobble cushion really works for Dan, we really recommend them for someone who has a fidgeting problem. Just google wobble cushion - you can find them on sports, physio or special needs websites.
Learning to sit
Try using a V cushion. When Peggy was learning to sit we put a v cushion under her tummy with her arms out in front over the top of the cushion. We held her firmly round her hips for stability. This really strengthened her back for sitting. We used to play with her in this position for short periods of time.
We assume this doesn't only have to be for kids - Go Kids Go has a team of skilled trainers who run mobility skills training for wheel chair users and their families across the uk, they make no charges.
Our occupational therapist made such a difference by telling us that when Steve is sitting his feet should be on the floor or on a foot plate. We hadn’t realized how much he needs this for stability.
Folded tea towel
Alfie has floppy muscles, his legs flop out in sitting – we put a folded tea towel between his thighs and the chair which keeps his knees in line with his feet.
Make your own seat
Since therapeutic chairs are so expensive, I made my 2 year old son a little play station with a Bumbo seat and a tray with legs that is used for eating in bed. The tray has a table that can incline towards him to draw or do puzzles, and I use it flat for playing with blocks, etc. All for under 50$ Melanie Denis [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Robbie can’t walk but he does crawl. We were so pleased to find goalie trousers are padded in all the right places to protect his knees and his hips. Try them !
Starting out on your own
Tanya did not want to let go of my hand when she was learning to walk on her own, so I encouraged her to take steps on her own with her holding one end of a wooden spoon while I held the other end. I then let go of the spoon leaving her standing unsupported still holding the spoon and taking steps on her own.
When Jonny grew out of his baby walker we bought a plastic shopping trolley (you could try a play buggy for girls) from Early Learning and weighed it down with a big container of water. We then reduced the amount of water in the container as he needed less support.
Horse riding helps balance
Horse riding - (Hippotherapy) really helped Toby to prepare for walking by building up his balance. He loved it , we took him to a local riding for the disabled centre on Saturdays. www.riding-for-disabled.org.uk/
Mike first walked in the shallow end of a swimming pool where the water supported him. He loved it and so did we.
DIY standing bar
We bought a pine curtain rail from B&Q for about £15 and mounted it at Sonya’s height in the hall so that she could support herself. We added a plastic mirror (bought online for £20) which motivated her to stand.
We found a walking belt to be very useful. Ask your OT (occupational therapist).
Ankle boots with laces give better support. You can sometimes get them through the NHS so do ask your local OT about them.
You can try light ankle weights to give a sense of awareness of legs and movement. Probably best to try it with your physio. It was good for us.
We got Sandy an exercise bouncer (he is too big for one of those children’s trampolines with a bar). He enjoys bouncing on it while holding my hands and it is strengthening his leg muscles at the same time.
Safe baby walkers
Tracy’s baby walker was way too fast so we weighted it down with sand or bottles of water so that it didn’t run away with her.
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