Stay strong…..

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.

It looks like our lives will be a little different for a while. It’s helpful to implement a schedule/routine if you can. This decreases the angst for children. It sets mini goals for each day, and it also outlines shared responsibilities from family members throughout the day.

If you can, go out for a portion of the day - either on your lawn, porch, backyard, out your window, your roof, or down your street ( P.S- I know one person who ran a mile with her son in his wheelchair, while they were only permitted to move 300 m from their home, in each direction, by their local government!)

You’re probably working harder than ever to keep everyone busy and happy.

So, to make that ‘together time’ as a family- fun, productive and positive, I’m suggesting MOVEMENT.  Active movement promotes endorphin release, improves blood flow, and maintains muscle strength and flexibility.

To exercise with your little ones:

Floor time is the best exercise for your little one who is not yet walking. While your child is on the floor, get comfortable get on the floor it’s a great time to plank, superman exercises, complete straight leg raises, hip lifts or pushups.

Short arc squats-Stand with feet hips width apart. Hold your child, and slowly bend knees, squat, and return to standing while you sing or count.

Hold your child; start in a seated position on a chair. Slowly rise, and then return to sitting. Hold your tummy muscles tight.  You can use words such as UUUPPPP and DOOOOWWWNN, use inflections in your voice and have fun with it!!

Side stepping- Hold your child and take a step to the side, stop. Then take a step in the opposite direction and start from the beginning. Side to side. Put music on and have fun with it!!

Heel lifts- Sit in a comfortable chair; bend knees, feet flat on the floor. Hold your child facing you, on your lap, closer to your knees, and complete heel lifts- Point toes, push down on the floor and lift heels, return to flat feet.

Lay on your back, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground. Hold your baby on your belly or trunk, march your legs in place.

Bridging- Lay on your back, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Hold your baby on your belly, lower than your belly button.  Squeeze your buttocks and lift your pelvis slowly, and then return your pelvis to the floor.  Include UUUUUPP and DOOOWWWWWN, with inflections in your voice.

If your child is small enough, put them in a carrier and take a walk

Relaxation techniques… deep breathing and visualization (look it up). Lay down in a relaxed position and contracts relax different groups of muscles.

Here's some relaxation techniques to try -

Start at your toes, squeeze tight, hold for 3-5 seconds and then let go.

Move up towards your ankles, point toes downward, hold for 3-5 seconds and relax.

Bend ankles and lift toes towards your head….

Push knees down and tighten your thigh muscles….

Squeeze your buttocks…..

Take deep breaths in and out... fill your belly with air and blow out …..

Squeeze your hands, make a fist and relax…

Try to squeeze shoulder blades together or push elbows down on surface, hold for 3-5 seconds…..

Squeeze shoulders up and let them fall down and relax…..

Over exaggerate mouthing vowels, open and shut eyes, make an angry face and a surprised face, squeeze lips together and then, relax.

Repeat each movement 3x and move up your body.  Include your facial muscles.

Of course, only move in pain free ranges.  Check with your doctor before you exercise if you have any condition.

Movement breaks are important for everyone! It can be therapeutic, bonding, silly, fun, musical, and most importantly - filled with LOVE!!!


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