Our Physical and Occupational Therapy staff uses water and aquatic therapy in a variety of creative ways, to work towards functional therapeutic goals at home, as well as through our community partnership with the YMCA.
Water can generally be introduced very early, before 6 months of age, to encourage independence in skills. These skills include: erect sitting, transitioning to and from the floor, all fours and protective reaching. The resistive and buoyancy properties of water aid in body awareness, as well as neutralize low core stability and hypotonia using our baby pool program. Children who have retracted and tactile defensive postures and delayed protective reactions, especially benefit from the hydro-static pressure of the water and often learn to crawl in this medium.
These skills can also be developed using a float mat in a typical aquatics setting, creating a moving seat on top of the water that relaxes and promotes participation in a non-stressful environment. The CDC has extensive research supporting the use of water in promoting health and mental health!
From a very early age (6 months), children can be independent, mobile participants in a pool system at home or in a typical pool, by employing cost-effective products made by Waterway Babies. These products allow us to develop independent skills in the child with low tone or poor head control, before he or she is even sitting up on land. By introducing the neck float and water at this age, we typically avoid the fear of water associated with 12-15 month old children. This tool also develops a sense of body and spatial awareness through independence in the water, as well as core and tone development. Because the system is practical and easy to use at home, children do not lose water skills during winter months and for many, this is their only means of independence early!
Using our Transition to Wellness program in partnership with the YMCA, we are able to create diagnosis- specific goals, that ultimately prepare children with disabilities for water independence and a lot of fun. This is a particular effective medium for the child with hemiplegia or hypotonia, as the resistive properties of water activate the core muscle groups and work muscle groups that are typically in an abnormal neurological pattern. By using a decreasing flotation process, we are able to prepare children for inclusion in swim lessons through the YMCA and a lifetime of enjoyment of water activities, with the possibility of inclusion in water sports with their peers!
It is that time again when we are creating a team to participate in the NW YMCA Pumpkin Run! Sprout Pediatrics once again is a sponsor for this great race that involves the whole family and includes a 5K run/walk ($20) and a kids fun run ($10 and less than a mile long). Last year our team had 100 participants from ages 2 to 70 including adults and children with disabilities doing the kids fun run with a chaperone. Our goal was to create a buzz through our #Sproutfit campaign for more inclusion, adaptive sports and programming. Did we ever! We had a great turn out and some heartwarming stories that followed.
Throughout this past year, we have met with the NW YMCA branch to develop plans and are very close to making some big announcements that will focus on serving families with special needs in our community with intentional programming! We have initiated a pilot program this fall that allows four children with special needs to participate in a regular soccer league with the aid of a volunteer called a Buddy!
Your participation in the race will help us move towards our goal to birth this program that will be funded by donors and events such as the Pumpkin Run.
Our goal for this year’s race is a team with 200 members made up by children and adults able and challenged. Sprout Pediatrics is committing additional funds that will be earmarked for this programming! Will you help us?
THE DEADLINE TO SIGN UP IS OCTOBER 10TH We are creating Team Sprout stickers for race day to designate our team this year. Hope to see you all there!!
Instructions to sign up with Team Sprout for the 2014 Pumpkin Run: -Go to: http://www.strictlyrunning.com/gpscrlgnReg-9f.asp -Click on YMCA Northwest Pumpkin Run, first, last name and date of birth -Click on Group Registration and add to an existing group/team -Click on Team Sprout and enter Captain name/email “firstname.lastname@example.org” -Fill out your personal information and choose 5k run, 5k walk or kid fun run (if you are doing this with your young child as a helper you only need to register the child), T-shirt size -Go to the next screen and pay to check out.
Lots of parents have concerns about their children’s speech and language development and deciding if you have a late talker or a child with a true speech and language issue is sometimes difficult to sort through. While giving your child time to develop
or even while waiting on a referral to go through the proper channels, you might try these tips! A very important step to children learning to talk is learning to imitate! Help your child learn to talk by helping them learn to:
As your toddler learns to imitate actions with objects they enjoy doing what you are able to do and build confidence. Encourage them to push a car, pat the animal in a textured book or tickle the baby’s tummy. Not only are you subtly teaching animals and body parts, you are teaching young children to learn how to play. Using a baby or stuffed animal to imitate hugging or feeding, is very valuable to the process of eventually getting them to another stage of imitation.
Imitate Body Movements:
Encourage them to imitate body movements. Model clapping your hands after they have done something for the first time. Take their hands and help them clap too! As you are cooking or getting ready, play the knock, knock game. Show them how to knock on the door. Say, “Knock! Knock! Who’s there?” Maybe hide a favorite toy behind the pantry or closet door for them to find. Offer toys that they can pound a ball or peg. Sing songs like “If you’re happy and you know it” so they can clap, stomp and do a cheering hand motion.
All of the imitation is ultimately designed to lead them to communicate with others in a purposeful manner. Imitating a gesture could be something simple like waving, blowing a kiss, nodding yes or no. All of these gestures are forms of communication! They communicate, “hello” or “goodbye,” “I care for you.” or “I do want that!” or “I don’t want that!” Gestures can be even more purposeful if you teach specific baby signs like: more, all done, milk or cracker.
Imitating Noises and Sounds:
Sometimes just helping them begin to use sounds as they push the car or imitate a sneezing or coughing sound helps them begin to find their “voice.” You could play with animals and make various animal sounds or read a book about farm animals and have them imitate simple sounds like moo or baa. Playing and having fun as we go about our day is the best way children learn to talk.