Yesterday, I wrote about the Bean’s sensory diet on the boat. Today I will talk about activities we do to support her physical therapy needs, while we are on the boat.
First, I need to emphasize that these activities do not replace her PT sessions. Working with her therapists helps Beanie’s specific needs to be identified and met. Rob and I attend the sessions, then base our activities off of what we see there.
Beanie struggles with muscle strength (especially her core), balance, jumping, coordination, and “motor planning” (especially walking heel-to-toe and swinging her arms when she runs). The walking is easy. We have to walk everywhere at the marina, and I make sure she is not always riding in her wagon.
In addition to the walking, we try to spend 20 minutes a day on more targeted exercises. This includes running to the playground. We turn it into a speech activity as well–one of us will say “Ready, set, go!” We will run a bit, with me helping Beanie to swing her arms, then one of us will say “Stop!”
While we’re walking, we will also walk backwards, tiptoe, or jump. It really depends on whether Beanie is in the mood to follow directions.
Sometimes we bring a ball to the park, so that Beanie can practice throwing, catching, and kicking!
The Bean really struggles with the fancy, large tricycle we got her, but she rides a small one at therapy. We plan on bringing a small Big Wheel to the marina, so that she can have some pedaling and steering practice.
And, finally, a fun core strengthening activity for the Bean–as well as a good shoulder strengthening activity for me–is to let Beanie ride on my shoulders! I lean back just enough so that she can not lean on my head. I hold her legs, so that she has to hold herself up. We do this until she is a little fatigued.