Saturday, October 31, 2009

Standing on top of Horse Video

I just realized that I have been blogging about hippotherapy for a full year!
This video of a child standing on top of a horse gives you a sense of the tremendous effort, strength, body awareness, balance and concentration that goes into standing on top of an animal even when the animal is just standing there. This activity can be gradually graded with challenges offered by having the horse walk straight lines and later on curves. I sometimes ask children to do the velcro bottle activity while standing stationary. It is very familiar and relatively easy to pull the toys off the bottle and insert them inside. They can do it pretty quickly so they know that they will be able to sit in a few minutes and children with attention disorders seem to get very nicely focused when doing a hand activity while standing on top of a horse.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Hippotherapy and Hemiplegia

A parent recommended this video on her blog and indeed it is an excellent video that explains restraint therapy to help a child with hemiplegia to use the affected arm because the other arm is restrained in a cast. Hippotherapy is a great tool for helping children to use the weaker arm. They weight bear on both hands while facing backwards and while facing sideways with the affected hand near the tail. It is easy to offer activities such as popping bubbles, reaching for rings or giving high five on the weaker side and since the child is sitting on a horse it is difficult for her to manipulate her body in order to use the stronger hand. Children also use both hands while putting weight on the mane, grasping reins, grasping large balls or hoops during activities and clapping, touching named body parts (head, shoulders, knees and toes) during songs. I often sing while the horse is moving, then stop to encourage the hand movements and move again as a reward. Many of the kids can't coordinate the hand movements while the horse is moving, but when they can it is awesome!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Quest for Rehab

Check out this new article in Advance for Occupational Therapists
Quest for Rehab


Jane--anne said...

Once again, a very good idea!!!! I look forward to opening your blog every morning. You are a great inspiration.

It's so nice to get feedback and know that people are reading my blogs! I just saw the movie Julie and Julia about a woman who got intensely into blogging about following Julia Child's recipes and she never knew at first if anyone was even reading them!!

Yesterday at work, another frustration couldn't find any large rings to toss over the cones. I am working on making my own rings out of newspaper, plastic bags and rubber bands- all free stuff around the house. So far I rather like them better because they are a bit smaller and a little bit wobbly so that one really needs to use both hands to control them. A photo is soon to follow.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fun Vibrating Ball to Promote Bilateral Grasp

What I like about making my own materials is that I get to use exactly what I want and have it immediately. I wanted a vibrating ball that did not make weird noises and was large enough so that a 2 year old would have to grasp with both hands. I made this by filling a plastic bag with other plastic bags. There is a vibrating pen (point removed) jammed inside and the rubber bands hold it in place so that I can easily find it and move the lever to turn it on and off.
One little girl enjoyed holding this while facing sideways as we walked in circles. The curvy movement while facing outward quickly impacted her posture and she sat more erect. She typically neglects one hand, but grasping this ball gave some nice sensory input while balancing during movement.

Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L author of, The Recycling Occupational Therapist

Saturday, October 24, 2009

amy-bob blog

Check out these pictures at my new client's blog:

Friday, October 23, 2009

Trotting in the Indoor

I was looking around youtube for an interesting video to post and what a surprise!!! I found me!!! (I'm the one talking my head off)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Electronic Toys

I gave an almost 3 year old the plastic animal picture toy shown below. He asked why it didn't make music when he touched it!!I think that is toooo funny. Children are so used to electronic toys, they have come to expect it. It turned my session into a game of he touches my head or my side walker's head we are activated to make animal sound. This worked really well because I got him to do some fantastic reaching and trunk rotation while reaching for our heads. He even did this while in the cossack hang position- on his back over the horse's barrel- a wonderful way to stretch tight muscles.

Here, my little friend is removing small animals from a bottle. I raised the bottle so that it was positioned at a height to encourage upright posture and bilateral hand use. He is sitting on the horse facing backwards.

Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L author of, The Recycling Occupational Therapist

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New Toys Keep the Kids Happy

While walking up the street I came across one of those large toys (in the trash)where you deposit the baby inside with stimulating objects surrounding her and hope that she will stay out of trouble for a few minutes. I removed this attached picture toy, threw it in the dishwasher and used it during hippotherapy to stimulate language. It's nice and sturdy and on the bottom is a mirror. I have been thinking of making a picture book of only B words (boat, baby, bed, book etc.) since so many common words start with B and although I am no speech therapist, it seems that the B sounds (like in Barbara) is pretty easy.

Aside from the B discovery, yesterday was a day filled with pediatric sniffles, coughs and my own headache possibly due to allergies.

Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L author of, The Recycling Occupational Therapist

Friday, October 16, 2009

Video with Great Activities

I love this video- some great eye hand coordination activities...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Swimming Noodle Sensory Trail

Check out this sensory trail!!! I would love to noodles hanging for my kids to reach up and touch.
Sensory Trail

Sit-ups to Strengthen Abdominals

Special thanks to Jane-Anne at MiraclesSudan for permission to use photos.

Sit-ups are a wonderful way to strengthen the abdominal and trunk muscles. These photos show what occupation therapy is all about- using activities to motivate the child to reach, visually attend, use hands bilaterally and strengthen all at the same time.

Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L author of, The Recycling Occupational Therapist

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Horsebackriding for Beginners

Here is a helpful site I can appreciate since 3 years ago I thought the stirrups were what you kicked the horse with!!!
Horseback riding for beginners

Miracles at Sudan


Jane--anne said...

Very clever!!! I must try it out. I will let you know how I get on.
Looking forward to learn more good ideas from you.
Your site is very helpfull.
Well done.

I love your Miracles at Sudan site. Good job!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Magnetic Puzzle Pieces

Anyone who does hippotherapy knows that you need ten hands to work with the child and control the materials. I often use Velcro to keep my materials in order. Today I used a puzzle with small pieces of magnetic tape on the back of the pieces. I attached them to a cookie sheet.

An almost 3 year old child enjoyed reaching while standing on top of the horse for a puzzle piece. Then he squatted to place each piece in the board. This child is quite bright and was able to easily find the matching hole without frustration, so it worked well. I like teaching the concept of number one by asking the child to take only one when given several to pick from.

Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L author of, The Recycling Occupational Therapist

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Horse Card Fun

I have been trying to get a 2 year old with cerebral palsy to tolerate being positioned over the horse's barrel prone and he always cries. Today he was so interested in a new toy that he forgot to be afraid. I gave him a picture card to hold that shows a moving horse when the card is opened and closed. He had much better head control in this position than I expected and he was able to hold the card with weight on his forearms while my side walker held onto his legs. We were even able to do this while the horse was walking.
The technique used to make the card is called scanimation and the book Gallop is filled with these moving animals.

Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L author of, The Recycling Occupational Therapist

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Turning Around on the Horse

This brief video nicely shows the many postural adjustments required for a child to turn from facing backwards to sideways. Its always great to see a child scoot herself back up.

Massachusetts Occupational Therapy Conference

The hippotherapy presentation I gave with Monica Wu (from REINBOW Therapy) went very well. The only glitch was that we had so much information, we went overtime. That's something my Toastmaster's friends would not approve of. However, we did our talk from 3:30 to 5:00 -expecting the audience to be sleepy or eager to leave and they weren't, lots of good questions.
I will be sure not to combine coffee and Sudafed (for allergies) during my next presentation- a toxic mix that made me almost manic!! I will be talking at the Education Resources, Inc. Occupational Therapy in the Schools Conference in Framingon on November 20 about Realistic Goals and Treatment Strategies for the Child with Moderate to Severe Impairments in a School Based Setting.
Karma Anais said...

Would you mind sharing your presentation?

barb said...

That is a good question! You may have noticed that I never mention where I work. I am not allowed to use any photos that enable my clients or where I work to be identified. My presentation is full of pictures from work and this was allowed because I was not paid to present at the conference and actually my presentation promoted my employer. My employer thinks there is a conflict when I earn money via my website/blog (an insignificant amount from the Ads) and their nonprofit status. So, unfortunately I am limited in what I am allowed to show on my website and blog. Very generous therapists from other facilities have given permission to use their photos and I have given them credit as due.
FYI, I greatly appreciate any photo contributions and will provide links back to promote these facilities with many thanks!!!