Saturday, September 8, 2012

At home therapy

Now that Ben is almost 5 years old (just 11 more days of being 4) and so mobile, we are finding it much easier to do physio at home with him.  Actually, these days we are opting more towards doing therapy at home as well as fun physical activity vs. traditional physiotherapy.

Our main physical goals for Ben in the next year is to improve his independent standing, learn how to use forearm crutches and maybe even starting taking some real independent steps.  One of the main ways that we work on core strength and balance is to have Ben use his quad canes at home regularly.  When using his quad canes, he has to do ALL the work.  Unlike when he uses his walker and momentum does so much.

In order to encourage more quad cane walking, we started setting up "courses" for him to follow while using his quad canes.  We use painters tape (masking tape would work as well) to create arrows that show him where to go.  We also use a sharpie to number the arrows.

Here is a video of him following the arrows around the house.  For this course, the arrows were numbered all the way to 100 and when he got to the end, there were 2 Hershey kisses for a prize.  The course went all through our house, out on our deck, up the stairs and even over and under beds.

Over time, this "course" has evolved.  It went to including little notes along the way like "have a seat and rest for 2 minutes" or "it's time for a little snack, ask mommy for a banana and a glass of milk" or when walking by a mirror "make a funny face in the mirror".  Those notes started to motivate him when just following the arrows started to get boring.

We've also started to include other therapy type activities such as walking on his treadmill.  Check out his treadmill walking below:

Today, we did another course.  This time, both Ben and Daniel had to follow the course and they both had tasks they had to complete in order to earn puzzle pieces.  By the end, they had collected all the puzzle pieces and could put it together. Ben's first task was to "walk around the island using your forearm crutches...each turn around earns 1 puzzle piece for a maximum of 5 puzzle pieces".  Daniel's was similar but instead he had to hop on one foot around the island.  Ben also had to walk on his treadmill, earning 1 puzzle piece for each minute.  They both had to print their names on our easel and draw a happy face (fine motor practice).  They then had to identify Canada, the USA, and Madagascar on a map, earning 1 puzzle piece for each country.  Ben had to walk upstairs holding onto my hands while Daniel had to walk upstairs backwards.  We even incorporated chores by having them earn puzzle pieces for cleaning up their bedroom.

The whole course took me about a half hour to prep and took them over an hour to complete.  We got things done, did a lot of physio and had a lot of fun at the same time.

Now, they are asking for a treasure hunt.  I'll put my thinking cap on tonight and make something up for tomorrow.  I'm thinking that there will be clues that tell them where to go for the next clue and work them throughout the house.  But I will have them complete tasks in order to EARN the clue.  The hard part is to figure out something for the "treasure". question to you do you make phsyio fun at home? 


  1. We play a lot of treasure hunt games in our house too. It makes Pt fun for James and also me. we also do a Monster hunt. Where James and I draw silly monster feet and then cut them out. I then hide them around the house and he has to find the matching pairs.

  2. I had a motivating trick which might not work well for everyone. My son loved to prove me wrong. So, I would say "oh I bet you can't do X" which would make him want to do it, and he would laugh so hard when he did X and I would say "I can't believe I was wrong again!" With a different kid I suppose it could come across as negative, but it was actually really positive for my son.

  3. Really love this idea, I'll have to keep it in mind. They look terrific!


  4. Love these ideas!!! Thanks for sharing! I have never seen those crutches before - and really like them. Who makes them. Also like how small and compact your treadmill is - where did you get it. We have a big adult one in the basement that is bulky...would love something small like that for upstairs :)

  5. What a great idea! I was much better about being creative while on maternity leave - I need to take some of these ideas as good ways to get my D moving. Ad working while having fun and learning.

    Where did you get the treadmill? That looks perfect!

  6. Wow, what a great way to make therapy fun! Your boys are lucky to have such a caring and creative mom. If you are interested in sharing some of your tips and stories with other families affected by cerebral palsy, or if you want to hear some of what they have to say, check out the community at Cerebral Palsy Family Network. Keep up the good work, super mom!

  7. HI CARY



  8. Would love to know what kind of quad canes you have!

  9. Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.
    Ergo Wheelchair

    Keep Posting:)