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Teaching Motor Skills to Children with Cerebral Palsy and Similar Movement Disorders

A Guide for Parents and Professionals
Sieglinde Martin, M.S., P.T.

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isbn# 978-1-890627-72-0
8 1/2" x 11"
238 pages
250 photos
Resource guide

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Copyright controlled materials. Cannot be reprinted without permission of the publisher.

From Chapter 10, Sitting Pretty

As soon as your child can sit and play on the floor, have her do things for herself. It will further improve her balance and make her independent in small ways. The following suggestions are for children like Elli, who are two years or older and still need to improve their sitting balance.

Taking Off Socks--Pulling On Socks
The first job for your child to learn will be to take off her socks.
1. Start out by supporting her at her hips while she leans far forward to reach her feet. Give her time, let her struggle on her own, and try as hard as she can to pull her socks off (photo 10.17a).
2. As it becomes obvious that help is needed, push the socks partially over her heels and a then let her try again. Regardless of how much you have to help initially, you always want her to do the part all by herself (photo 10.17b).
3. Each week increase the part she does until she can take the socks off all on her own. Now it will be her job to do this each night. Work similarly with her to put on socks.
4. Start by putting the sock over her foot and then have her pull it up (photo10.17c).
5. Next, put the sock just over her forefoot and have her do the rest. Increase what she does until she can put on her socks independently.

Taking Off Shoes and Braces
This is a two-part job.
1. First the laces or the Velcro have to be loosened: then the shoes or braces have to be removed (photo 10.18).
2. Work with your child as before. Give her plenty of time to work on her own. If help is needed, give it during the initial part, and always have her do the last part on her own.
3. Encourage your child to lift and draw up her foot when taking off the brace or shoe.
4. Once she can do it, it is your child's job to do it each night. It may take her five or more minutes in the beginning. Don't worry. Let her struggle--it will be time well spent.
Variation. If your child struggles to keep her balance when she sits on the floor, have her sit in a corner. Look for suitable corner places: in the kitchen between the refrigerator and wall, or a pulled out bottom drawer and the next cabinet, in the bathroom between the tub and wall, in the bedroom between the chest of drawers and the wall. It may give her the support she needs to become independent.

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