Friday, December 12, 2008
Positioning and horse movement are used to decrease muscle tone. The horse should move in a smooth, rhythmic gait. Bearing weight in forward, backward or side sitting positions can decrease muscle tone. This child is bearing weight on her left hand and also grasping the handle with her right to provide additional stability. The knee flexion breaks up the extensor tone. Childen with high tone may first be more comfortable in a modified side sitting position. This involves a position facing forward with one leg flexed and the other leg extended, hanging along the side. Other positions that relax spastic muslces include include the Sack of Potatoes(hanging prone over horse's barrel) and Cossack hang (hanging supine over horse's barrel). Trained therapists need to especially consider breathing, feeding tubes, blood pressure and gravitational insecurity in these positions.
Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L author of, The Recycling Occupational Therapist