Before I list some more therapy ideas for you from what we’re doing with Jenna, I should let you know that we have a new diagnosis added to the list. We ruled out Muscular Dystrophy and Congenital Myopathy, and learned that Jenna has Cerebral Palsy. Her classification is mild and diplegic, meaning it’s mostly affecting her lower extremities. Specifically, her largest problem is with her right hip and the muscles in her right upper leg that are contracting and causing her right leg to rotate inward. This (obviously) creates challenges for her with walking, running, jumping, climbing, balance, and most of the major motor activities that a typical four-year-old loves to do. She has new orthotics in her shoes (that she is convinced help her jump HIGH), and we’re optimistic that continued therapy will help her tremendously. (For more information on Jenna’s rough start in life and why she has cerebral palsy, see the About Jenna link above).
As promised, here are some additional things that we’re working on with Jenna at home and at therapy:
- Playing catch while standing with one foot on a ball (see top picture): Switch so that both feet have time up on the ball
- Sit ups on a large exercise ball (see second picture): Jenna lays completely flat on her back on the ball (head hanging upside down) and pulls herself up into a crunch. Right now, she has to hold onto therapist hands to pull up, but she needs to work toward a traditional crunch with her arms across her chest.
- Pulling herself on a scooter board with a jump rope: therapist holds middle of jump rope – Jenna holds both ends & pulls herself to therapist with rope. Therapist then takes a big step back, and they do it again.
- Sitting and balancing on large exercise ball while therapist gently and slightly rolls it side to side
- “Eggs” – Jenna lays on her back and pulls her knees into her tummy and her head into her chest to make herself into a little “egg” for a count of 10
- Ball Kicks: Jenna lays on her back with knees pulled into tummy & feet sticking out. She pulls her head up to watch ball rolled toward feet and kicks it with the flat bottoms of both feet.
- Cutting sheets of craft foam with scrapbook scissors (the kind with zig-zag or curved fancy blades). This offers more resistance & challenge. The therapist made curved, zig-zag and straight lines for her to follow.
- Marble Pick Up: Jenna lays on her tummy and picks up marbles on one side of her body with child/training chopsticks (they look like large tweezers) & places marbles in a bowl on the other side of her body. Then she switches the chopsticks to the other hand and the containers to opposite sides.
More therapy tips to come!