I never really thought much about it.
It just happens, right? Sort of a natural progression of things once we start walking. Sure it takes practice, but if you can walk, you must have sense of balance. Right?
For some kids, it's simple. But for Owen, balance is complicated. It requires many components like body awareness, core or trunk strength, flexibility of movement, visual assistance and comfort with movement. It also requires multiple sensors within your body to function well together. Vestibular system (inner ear), proprioception (joints), kinesthetics (muscles) and vision all need to work together to send the right messages to the brain.
Balance is such a challenge that Owen may never graduate from a tricycle. I am all right with this idea, so long as he is comfortable with it. I do hate the thought of him feeling left out or uncomfortable with not being able to keep up with his friends, but until he tells me otherwise, we're just going to keep working hard.
When we first started working on balance I had no idea that there are so many important things you can do to help make everything work a little better. Try swinging, rotational swinging (remember tire swings?), jumping, rolling, sitting on a large ball instead of a chair, scooter boards (we use a skateboard), slides, and variations in speed. Most of these things can easily be accomplished in your own backyard, at a park, or even in your living room!
I used an old skate board to make a balance board. I removed the wheels, drilled a hole and screwed a section of pvc pipe onto the bottom. All three of my kids LOVE to play on this! Owen still needs to feel stable while using it so he often uses the couch to steady himself while he balances and watches TV.
Occupational therapy doesn't have to be expensive- think outside the box!
This post is part of #TherapyThursday, which I hope gives you a glimpse inside our lives. Care to join me in raising awareness of Special Needs? Post a blog, picture or tweet about it using the hashtag #TherapyThursday. Feel free to post a link below in the comment section! Remember that there are many different types of therapy- Occupational, Physical, Feeding, Speech Language and Behavioural to name a few. I hope it will serve as yet another way to spread awareness of special needs!
From the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists
"Occupational therapy is the art and science of enabling engagement in everyday living, through occupation; of enabling people to perform the occupations that foster health and well-being; and of enabling a just and inclusive society so that all people may participate to their potential in the daily occupations of life (Townsend& Polatajko, 2007, p. 372)."