Sunday, April 24, 2016

What do skipping, doing, stairs, and cycling have in common?

One of my students just started a very rudimentary pattern of reciprocal skipping! Yah! He is in first grade. He has had some developmental coordination issues and aspects of ASD.  I think the harder we work on something with our students the more "over the top" we celebrate when a milestone is starting to be acheived. So I thought I would share it with some of my fav PTs. :) I am estatic. I plan to write up a little picture and verbal cue sheet to send to his parapro and to his family so they can help reinforce and perfect this new skill. He bends his knees only (instead of hip flextion) and keeps his feet behind, but he is starting to alternate the right, left pattern and doing a little hop often!

Desk Cycling and Brisk Walking Program Benefits 
This year, I have given a few PT students the option of doing 3 to 7 minutes of "power walking" (aerobic work) as part of their posture or sensory times out of the classroom. The OT and I are very fortunate in that we have some amazing paraprofessionals who will help carry out programming and keep good data. This year we have had a few more pedal desks in strategic locations that can be used universally by any student with a staff member. The benefits to some of the students have been really nice. 

In addition to that, one school's corridors are in the shape of a square so that there is an "indoor block." One of my students can choose to "walk indoor blocks" when he feels he needs some movement. We use a timer to help him stay at a brisk pace, and he has just learned to go responsibly walk 3x around the indoor block with just general supervision from someone in the classroom. Before this he has done the typical heavy lifting moving jobs or slow, meandering walks around the hallways.

He is one student that in the fall I had to place my hands over his feet to get a few repetitions of a cycling pattern on the desk cycle. I now no longer need to place my hands on his feet, but I intermitently give him a pointing cue or a visual cue (picture of feet with words to "keep pedaling"). He often chooses to do the pedaling, yet it is so hard for him to stick with that pattern for 3 minutes. His left foot gets hung up at the top and starts to "stutter back and forth" until cued to push. He is also on the ASD spectrum. Continuing a  motor pattern with focus /attention is a little objective here. He states he loves the pedaling and would really like to ride a bicycle someday. He is in grade 3. He is very hypotonic throughout the trunk. The past months he has been working vey heard with APE, with parapros, sometimes in OT, and with me in PT on alternate quadruped patterns, bird dog, planks, side planks, "blow before you go" - inner core, etc. Progress here has been a little slow - he times how many seconds he can hold the isometric positions and records them  -  BUT he keeps at it and will teach other students some exercises, too. He is taking pride in doing his work.

Circle Dances for EC and 4K
Our EC and 4K teachers went to a movement and music collab given by a music therapist. (Unfortunately, I did not attend). But on Friday the EC teacher and a few staff went outside with a small classroom where we tried some of the circle dances. They tried to remember the tunes and words and to fill me in. It was fun. It made me dig out some of my "old favorites" like Hap Palmer and Dr. Jean. For those of you who have not done circle dances in a while with your teams, it could be fun to dig these back up.

Reply back with your favorite circle dances and music if you use these. Do you have unique ways you are including those children using wcs, standers, and gait trainers?  There is something to be said for unplugging the smart boards and CDs and just having kids and staff sing and move along together acapella. 

So, back to the little guy who started skipping. Several weeks back, his walking up/down a very long staircase at school become almost 90% reciprocal with a more even pace. I was so happy for his progress. There were fever stops. I do not think is is coincidence that he was also started on a cycling program for just 2 to 3 minutes at a time the month before. I wanted to share this and encourage other pedi PTs to look at cycling with their students. With him we used the desk cycle that we purchased on Amazon. It is heavier, so it stayed in place a bit better. It's about $160, so very affordable. He would come in the resource/therapy room, help get his feet on the pedals, turn over the 5 minute sand time, and happily pedal away with intermittent cues. He has really enjoyed it, too, and the parapro is stating it is really helping his focus when he goes back into the classroom. At some point, if it continues to help modulate him and he enjoys it, perhaps he may be a candidate to use the pedaling right in the classroom.

All my best for your end of year wrap ups. Feel free to email or comment with your reflections.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Tai Chi for Children of All Ablities

This project has been in my heart and on my mind for four years. I finally got some of my ideas out in print to share with all of you-

I hope you find some joy in this little story book about Tai Chi. Perhaps it will inspire you to pursue learning more about this calming, alerting exercise form.

Warmest regards,

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Tai Chi is a Form of Mindful Movement 

Tai Chi Fundamentals is a form of Tai Chi broken down to make this peaceful, flowing exercise available for more people. Health care practitioners are better able to replicate and teach parts of tai chi moves and forms after taking courses. The courses I recommend are taught by Tricia Yu or the Culottis. in Taos, New Mexico

Patricia Corrigan Culotti & Michael Culotti are teachers located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Consider taking a tai chi fundamentals class for yourself and perhaps to complement traditional PT for some of your clients.

Please view these clips of Tricia Yu. She is located at TaiChiMindBody on youtube. You may just want to practice along with her, as I did for 3 years:

This would be the TCF form:

The basic movement patterns are here to start learning here.

After mastering the movement patterns, and then the TCF form, you may want to progress on to taking a class in the Yang style short form. This is the lineage of Cheng Man Ch'ing (CMC) 


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Standing Desk Contributes to Physical Activity at School

From Abby Brown at Marine Elementary School, Stillwater, MN

Hello, All,

Below is a link to research conducted with Marine Elementary students in 2010 and published by "The Internet Journal of Allied Health Services and Practice" in January, 2013. The intent was to learn if there are significant differences in activity and eating during school days vs. summer vacation, and if this impacts physical health.

Although it was a small sampling, data indicated that children gain weight over summer months due to less structure, less activity, and a change in diet. Students at Marine utilize the standing station option for movement during the school day. What does this suggest? That the school environment CAN impact the health of children in a positive manner. And movement options, as an integral part of the classroom, should be seriously considered.

I am hopeful that this research will provide a 'talking point' for parents, teachers, and school administrators on the importance of taking measures that help combat the negative effects of "home and summer life" with regards to children's wellness.

The document is 'locked' from saving/copy/pasting, but can be viewed and printed. I realize not everyone may need to article in it's entirety, but please forward link to those you feel would benefit from this type of information.

Examination of Changes in Youth Diet and Physical Activity Over the Summer Period (McCue, Marlatt, Sired, Dengel)

Kudos to Marine School!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Students can track their walk or wheelchair ride

There are many different apps to map routes that you walk, rivers you kayak, blocks your student pushes w/c, etc. Might be encouraging to use with friends and neighbors. You can even share on your social networking sites (your friends on facebook) or just track alone.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Standing Desk with Swinging Footrest for Student with Autism

I wanted to share the promising results for increasing on-task behavior time and upright posture in a student with autism in a kindergarten classroom. He tried a standing desk with a swinging footrest. If you are interested in that concept, my case report with basic data collection is available (for a very small fee) at:

Thank you!