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!

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