10 Resources: Support and Information for Parents of Disabled 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 “10 Resources: Support and Information for Parents of Disabled Children.”

How to Use the Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM-66)

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 you have a standardized test that will measure her initial gross motor function?   In six months, how will you determine whether Freya has made progress?  

GMFM-66 Quick Facts:

  • 5mo-16 years
  • Cerebral palsy or Down Syndrome
  • Test re-test reliability GMAE-scoring method: 0.9932
  • Most sensitive to change in children 5 years and younger
  • Motor growth curves link

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 (in the GMFM-66). Continue reading “How to Use the Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM-66)”

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”

Eight 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 “Eight 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 for Children With Disabilities 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?

Participation is defined as anything that involves friends, family, future, fitness, fun, or function.  There are many local activities that promote play,  new friends, and new interests for children and young adults with disabilities.  However,  these opportunities are not always easy to find.  Most suggestions on this list are based in Sonoma County, California.  Some are further away, but could be a fun destination or a special side trip if you are in the mood for adventure!  Additional suggestions are welcome.

Continue reading “Recreation for Children With Disabilities in Sonoma County”

Nice Weight Through Your Heels, Little One

“Is my baby standing OK?  It seems like he is up on his toes, and toe walking runs in my family”.

The answer to this question, of course, depends on how old the baby is and how long he or she has been on their feet.  I teach in an infant mobility class every week and have the amazing opportunity to watch children pull to stand at the big drum in the middle of the room.  How they love to pound on that drum!   I love their joy and their success.  However, as the class physical therapist, I’m also looking closely at how they are standing.  Are they up on their tip toes and leaning into the drum, or are they standing with their hips a little behind their firmly planted feet?   Continue reading “Nice Weight Through Your Heels, Little One”