Therapy for Sensory Processing Disorder & Pronounced Muscle Weakness

25 May
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Today we had our first PT/OT session for Jenna, and she did great! She tried to be the boss as often as possible, but I was happy to see that the therapists didn’t give in to her at all. That didn’t stop her from trying to negotiate whenever she could, though (the girl cracks me up!). Anyway, I want to keep a record of what we do for my own reference, and thought that maybe there are others who could benefit as well. Here’s a quick, rough outline:

(For the record: Jenna’s current diagnoses are Sensory Processing Disorder & Developmental Dyspraxia, in addition to Short Bowel Syndrome & Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia, and she has pronounced muscle weakness (low tone) throughout her body & hypermobility in all joints. We’re investigating the possibility of a congenital myopathy as well as Central Apnea)


Sit ups: Jenna laid on her back on the floor between the therapist’s outstretched (sitting) legs. She held a puzzle, and Jenna picked up the pieces and put them in the puzzle each time she sat up.

Tunnel crawling: They had a standard play tunnel with fabric tunnels on each end. They placed pillows and foam objects under the fabric tunnels to create “mountains” and an obstacle course that Jenna had to crawl over. She was pretty nervous about the fabric tunnels and we had to remove one from one end, but she finally did try it and did a great job!

Swing: Jenna sat on the big, square swing on her knees with her bottom up (off her feet/not sitting), and balanced. After a while, the therapist added bean bags that forced Jenna to let go of a rope with one hand to pick up the bags and then toss them in a bucket. She did a great job!

Kneeling on one knee: (with the other leg outstretched behind): She had Jenna balance this way for a count of 10, and then, the therapist held a puzzle and had Jenna reach for pieces from her to place them in the puzzle while balancing. She did this on each leg.


Wheelbarrow walk: The therapist had Jenna go the length of the hallway. She got tired halfway and had to rest, but she did it!

Bike: Jenna rode the therapy bike that has a crank handle for a LONG way! The therapist had it set so Jenna could steer. We’re signing Jenna up for a new, bigger bike like this at home.

Coloring: The therapist used a dry erase board and made “racetracks” that Jenna had to stay inside with her line (zigzag, straight, curvy, etc.) Then, she drew a square and had Jenna copy it. Jenna really struggled with this. We need to work on holding a pen the correct way as well as going slow and focusing on writing. Jenna gets easily frustrated, so this is a tough one. Trick: have the child hold a quarter or smooth stone in their hand with the 3 fingers that shouldn’t be gripping the pen.

Putty with treasures: Silly putty that had beads and treasures pushed in! Brilliant! Jenna laid on her tummy, propped up on her elbows, and pinched and pulled the putty to retrieve the “treasures” and place them in a bowl beside her. This was surprisingly challenging for her to stay on her tummy and keep her legs down and straight out behind her.

I’ll try to keep posting updates with more ideas from therapy as we have sessions! I’m excited and have high hopes for big things.

Also, please let me know about your own good experiences with therapy, any great ideas, or any links to posts or blogs that might be relevant! I’d love to hear it!


4 responses to “Therapy for Sensory Processing Disorder & Pronounced Muscle Weakness

  1. PrincessJenn

    May 25, 2010 at 7:54 am

    Wow…it sounds like you have some awesome therapists. This gave me some great ideas of things to try with V, so thanks!!

    I meant to share with you our session the other day. V’s therapists had some good hand strength exercises: Using a spray bottle for that hand squeezing action. They suggested allowing her to draw with sidewalk chalk on the driveway then spraying it clean. The other one was a tennis ball cut through so you could squeeze the sides (think pac-man). So the goal was for V to squeeze the ‘mouth’ open and put rocks and beads inside (a good two handed activity)

    I’m so excited that J’s going to be getting a bike! YAY!!!!!!
    Such a huge milestone.
    Wish you lived closer so we could take J and V out riding together in their tricked out bikes

  2. Texasholly

    May 25, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Hey girl, my oldest went through OT for Sensory Integration issues for almost a year. It helped a lot. All my boys have “issues” and I have been to seminars and read a ton of books on the subject since things get out of control here when kids are out of sorts. What has worked amazingly for us is the brushing. I line up all the boys and brush several times a day when things are crazy. It took awhile – almost 2 months for me to first see results from that with my oldest because he was so sensitive to touch (yet continually bumping into things and people because he craved the sensation) but it has been a lifesaver.

    There is a new book out by Kranowitz that is simple activities which we are going to be using this summer.

    I would be glad to chat if you need to!

  3. Heather

    May 25, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    I thought maybe, like, the world was coming to the end—you wrote!

    I’m super proud of you for keeping a record. I almost can’t watch anymore because our sessions pretty much suck. 😉

    Keep on Keeping ON! Jenna is going to be a therapy rockstar! We should make bumperstickers that say that—for you and me and Jenn!


  4. mel

    June 4, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    wow. I’m so glad there are great people in the world that do this for a living. Jenna sounds like she’s doing great. I have no experience with this, but I’m still trying to follow along and hope only more good things are to come.


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