Wait! Do I hear birds chirping?
SPRING is here! Not that we’ve had a bad winter, but along with daylight savings and the Easter Bunny, the time has come to get outside and breathe the spring air!
So what do you do with all of this warm air and daylight? Get thee to a playground!
A quality playground can give you and your community therapist a variety of opportunities to address your child’s developmental milestones. Let’s look at your 3 most common playground amenities…
Swings are awesome for vestibular input. The vestibular system is our grounding sensory system, and is registered by the structures of the inner ears and the eyes. The vestibular system is responsible for our sense of gravity, knowing how fast and in what direction we are moving, and it sends information to our muscles about posture, balance and motor coordination. Vestibular input stimulates language as well. Try out a variety of different swings: Tire swings give rotational input, which is a lot of fun, but can over-stimulate some children. Platform swings give children a greater sense of support and can allow them to stand and swing. Also try having your child lie on his/her belly on the swing and push off with their feet. This is great for kids who are a little afraid of vestibular input, because they can control it.
These structures offer your child a whole body experience. Climbing up a ladder involves vision, posture, balance, motor coordination and bi-lateral coordination. Bilateral coordination is effectively integrating opposites sides of the body at the same time. This involves both sides of the brain working together, and is heavily used in academic activities such as reading and writing.
By climbing and pulling up on monkey bars, your child will develop increased muscle strength. Also, as a heavy muscle work activity, monkey bars give your child intense proprioceptive input (to muscles and joints), which will help your child feel more organized and alert for structured activities. For an added vestibular input, encourage your child to hang upside down on monkey bars if they are old enough. It’s a whole new way to view the world!
Want to know more about how to use your community playground to boost your child’s sensory-motor development? Call The Village to speak to a skilled Occupational or Physical Therapist!
As we close out 2011 and move into a bright and shiny 2012, many of us are thinking about what we have accomplished this year and hopefully are feeling like we had a rather productive year. Many of us are also taking stock of which 2011 resolutions fell off the radar and we’re pledging a new commitment.
Lose weight. Eat healthy. Learn a new language. Get organized. Spend more time with the children…
We’re all abuzz setting new personal goals for ourselves and our families. Some parents are even helping their children to make their own New Years Resolutions: Be nice to shy kids at school. Drink more milk and water. Wash my hands before eating…
But what about the child with special needs?
Take a moment to reflect on the major challenges of this year? What awesome things did your special child accomplish this year- with your help and the help of school/therapy professionals? Before you think about all that your child continues to struggle with, sit back and gaze at your little miracle and give the both of you a pat on the back for how far you’ve come this year!
What really important IFSP outcome did your toddler meet this year? What new IEP benchmark did your 4th grader totally crush this marking term?
Our children with special needs are awesome!
Of course as their parents and caregivers, their progress requires our guidance and watchful eye. So while you are figuring out how to get out of debt this year or which language you’re going to learn this year, set aside some time to ponder on these kinds of questions?
- Is this the year that my daughter will learn to ride her “big girl bike”?
- What will it take for this year’s birthday party go off without a major sensory meltdown?
- Is February the month that we will tackle broccoli on the plate?
- How can I help my child write more legibly for MCAS?
- Is April the month that my son will learn to tie his shoes independently?
At The Village-Child & Family Development, Inc. we can help you sort these goals out and set some measurable and attainable priorities for your special child. Make your 2012 Priority List and give us a call for your free consultation. We would love to help you make 2012 a year to remember!
Happy New Year!