No Challenge, No Change

Sharon Galitzer (Physical Therapist) by Sharon Galitzer (Physical Therapist) Additional Needs

Sharon Galitzer (Physical Therapist)

Sharon Galitzer (Physical Therapist)

I'm a pediatric physical therapist and also the sibling of an adult with special needs.

I’d love to go into the fascinating details of neuroplasticity, but I won’t bore you with the details.

I’ll simply say that each part of the brain is in charge of a different function.

It is the well-choreographed interaction between these different areas of the brain speaking to one other that allows us to move, speak, and gives meaning to what we feel, see or hear.

When one area of the brain is damaged or absent, an adjacent area can sprout neurons to assume the function of this damaged area.

However, this can only happen if the child experiences active learning and is also moderately challenged.

The experiences that you create throughout your day can provide endless opportunities to challenge your child and help them move and learn.

This will look different for each child, and only you, the caretaker, can identify the best type and time for these games/activities.

The best way to help a child learn is through play.

Play is meaningful and functional at any age, and at any stage.

For any child, think about where to place a toy that will encourage a reach, what position may increase the challenge, entice your child to participate, and only offer positive reinforcement when it is due.

It’s easier to create and recruit neurons to stimulate movement when useful information is gathered.

Scientists have determined that it takes approximately 400 repetitions to create a new synapse; however this can be done is as little as 10-20 repetitions if done during play.

Remember, neurons that are wired together, fire together.

Each therapy session that your child attends should be fun and functional.

I always explain the concept of neuroplasticity to the families with whom I work.

But, even more importantly, I think it’s imperative to teach every child that not everything is going to be easy, but that we, their support system, will do anything in our power to help them succeed.

It’s never too early to show a child not to back down from a challenge.

Life is a sequence of facing, and conquering, challenges head on.

At times, the challenge will offer a wonderful victory, a sense of achievement, and another obtainable skill for the child to partake in.

And yet, at times, a failed attempt can highlight what modifications need to be made in order to achieve this new skill.

The brain is an unpredictable organ.  Only you, the caretaker, know the best way to inspire your child.

Either way, every minute of every day, remember...



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