If your child is going to see an Occupational Therapist they may be looking at the following:
- Self-Care: being able to feed themselves with a fork and spoon, being able to drink from a cup and straw, being able to use their tongue, lips and cheeks to move food and chew, and being able to assist with dressing activities.
- Fine motor/visual motor activities: how they use their hands to grasp small objects, how they hold crayons, how they play with toys and their skill level with their hands.
- Sensory: how they respond to sensory experiences outside and within their bodies. Depending on the age of your child, their functional level, their needs and abilities will determine activities to work on at home.
Good activities in general for children:
- Play at the park: playing in the sand using their hands to dig, find toys in the sand to put into a container, digging with a shovel to put sand into a bucket and dump into a larger bucket. Supervision is important to make sure that sand and objects do not go into the mouth. Going on slides and swings with assistance as needed. Movement is important part of learning how our bodies work and helping us develop our balance reactions.
- Practice picking up different sizes and weights of objects and putting them into various sizes of containers, making sure objects do not go into the mouth.
- When taking a bath try painting on the inside of the bathtub with shaving cream, working on making lines that go down, across, and circles. When finished try squeezing a small easy to use squirt bottle with water to erase the paint (squeezing the bottle will help work on small hand muscles).
- Outdoors take large sidewalk chalk and practice drawing, scribbling, making vertical, horizontal lines and circles on the driveway or sidewalk. Erase it by using a squirt bottle to squirt water on it or try taking a sponge in a small bucket of water, squeeze the water into the bucket or on top of the drawing.
- Practice closing lips on various sizes of whistles to work on blowing. Try blowing a bubble off a wand that has been caught for them.
- Practice drinking from a straw using box drinks with a straw that the liquid can be gently squeezed up the straw working on them trying to suck the liquid up the straw themselves. Once they can drink from a straw practice using oral muscles by drinking thicken liquids from a straw (you can make your own smoothies using applesauce with juice, or yogurt with milk, or pudding with milk).
- Practice putting on shoes using your shoes or bigger shoes which may be easier to slip on.
Angelman Family Contributions
Have fun trying activities with your child, remembering that children’s work is play and that is how they learn.
Debbie Cahill, Occupational Therapist, Rady Children’s Hospital, San Diego, CA
Learn and follow through with what the therapist is trying to accomplish. Let the therapist know what goals you and your angel are working on, and ask for her to teach you what to do at home. AND, if you feel you are getting burned out doing all these therapies, TAKE A BREAK from them. You can’t do it all!
AS Family Member
Orthotics (SEE ALSO ANKLE FOOT ORTHOTICS (AFO))
Angelman Family Contributions
The best shoes to use with orthotics are from the company Billy Shoes. The company is super helpful and accommodating.
Chaya, angel Avrumi, age 3.5, Del+
If one needs to protect a pic line or IV site in an adult Angel’s arm area, use small-size knee immobilizers on your angel’s arms. Tie (with an ace wrap) the top of immobilizers together in the back of shoulder area to keep them on the arms. It limits your angel’s access to the IV or pic line site and makes it harder for them to be removed.
Karen, angel age 27, Del+
Our son started out having his tight heal cords snipped and receiving Botox injections to each calf before getting casted for ankle braces and then eventually using simple shoe inserts. This all seemed to help straighten out his feet, legs and his walking.
Andrea, email@example.com, angel Tyler, age 18, Del+ Class 1