Posts Tagged "music therapy"

How to get your special needs kiddie to LOVE therapy

Posted on Apr 16, 2014 | 3 comments

How to get your special needs kiddie to LOVE therapy

Tummy time? Hates it. Stretches? Not fun. May is severely disabled but she is not lacking in opinions. So how do we get our kiddies who need therapy to do it, when they hate it? It takes a complete re-think of what therapy is. First, what therapy is not: It is not crammed into every free moment of the day. Children need down time too. They need time to just play (you do too!) and to let all the benefits of therapy sink in. It is not everything and anything because, hey, it can’t hurt. Yes, it can hurt if you are wasting your time and money doing something that has no proven benefit. It is not hard work. Good therapy builds on a child’s strengths, it doesn’t force them to do things that are impossible for them. So, what can therapy be? It is inserted throughout the day, in the midst of everyday activities. Therapy should blend into normal life so your child can see first hand its benefits. Try stretches in the bath with lovely bubbles as stimulation. Use snack time to encourage them to bring their hands to their mouths. Make it fun. It should be as fun and as interesting as possible. Do you like doing reps with weights at the gym? It is about the dullest thing in the world. Use things they already love to engage them. May loves music so she hears a lot of it when we want her to do something therapeutic. What does your child love?   Finally, here is a simple example of May “doing therapy” and loving it. It looks like she is playing with her monkey toy. What is she really doing? Lifting her head and holding it midline. Stretching out her arms. Pressing buttons to learn cause and effect. Listening for cues. What tricks do you use to get your kiddie to LOVE...

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5 simple ways to comfort a sensitive child

Posted on Mar 15, 2014 | 1 comment

5 simple ways to comfort a sensitive child

I HATE THIS! …says May in a million ways every day. May has a lot of sensory issues that could limit us if we let them. But, we want to be a part of the world, not locked away in our house every day. When we leave our house, I can’t control the environment – but I have picked up a few tricks that help comfort her. Here is one way to tackle each of the 5 senses: 1. TOUCH – Touch anything wet or cold to your child’s hand before touching it to their face. The face is a very sensitive place and it will be less shocking for them if they feel it first somewhere else. 2. SIGHT – Children with cognitive visual problems often see things better in their periphery. Place the item to their side and then be patient and leave it there until they make sense of it. 3. SOUND – In noisy places, try using headphones to play their favourite songs and block out unfamiliar or sudden noises. 4. SMELL – Wear perfume early on when they are just babies. The sense of smell is often overlooked and perfumes are a strong scent they will associate just with you. 5. TASTE – Nutritionists will hate me for saying this, but a favourite baby food pouch tucked into your bag means that no matter where you are, you have food at a pureed consistency that you know your child likes the flavour of. *BONUS TRICK* PHYSICAL – Want to help your child touch an object, but they clench their hands? Gently hold their wrist and press your fingers on the top of their hand. Their fingers will open like a blossom. Know a trick that could help a child tackle their sensory sensitivity? Please add it to the comments! Disclaimer: As always, please note that I’m not a doctor. These are just tricks I picked up along the way that might help you...

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Kids all access… the Barbican Arts Centre

Posted on Feb 17, 2014 | 2 comments

Kids all access… the Barbican Arts Centre

Oh, Barbican Arts Centre: you audacious modernist complex, you concrete slabs and jutting angles, you that supplies not one, but six different flavours of ice cream (of which I bought four of today, yum). Oh, Barbican Arts Centre: I think I’m a little bit in love with you. Here’s a brief list of the reasons why: Free parking for Blue Badge holders Free carer ticket to events* Lifts, wide corridors, automatic doors – everywhere Easy access to wheelchair seats – and they are good seats Home to the London Symphony Orchestra – lovelovelove   May has been to many exhibits/concerts at the Barbican. It is not a solemn and pretentious arts venue. It is a noisy place where her screams of glee or complaints are masked behind the screams of glee or complaints of hundreds of other children. It is the perfect place for children, disabled or not. Did you know, for example, that the audacious modernism I mentioned earlier is actually a playground for children? I didn’t either until I saw hundreds of the little buggers sliding down the Barbican’s banisters and chasing each other up and down the stairs, and outside weaving in and out of the pillars in the gardens. It is a space that is meant for fun, and fun for everyone. Incidentally, though we have been to other things there, I mentioned the LSO particularly because May has seen them perform four times now. Their family concerts, during the school holidays, are ridiculously inexpensive (£10 adult/£5 child – and don’t forget that free carer ticket). And they include free music, craft and story workshops beforehand. And a free creche for under-7s (that I’ve used four times for my son and is marvellous). Ice cream is extra. But worth it. More information: Disabled access guide to the Barbican  The Barbican has a Changing Places facility * Free carer tickets available once you sign up for an access pass online Kids all access… London is an on-going series on Mama Lewis to encourage special needs families to explore London. If you want May to review your attraction or know of one she should definitely see, please comment below or...

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I ignored the advice of my daughter’s doctor

Posted on Mar 21, 2013 | 8 comments

I ignored the advice of my daughter’s doctor

Today on the BabyCenter Blog, I discussed how sometimes it is inappropriate for me to follow a doctor’s advice. Not all the time, just sometimes. But, I seem to have unwittingly given lots of paranoid mothers the rationale to not vaccinate their children. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. I intended to free myself and other mothers from the burden of choosing for their child the most appropriate solution from a range of medical options, instead I gave mothers the opportunity to explain exactly why their doctors, with all their years of experience, are just a plant to pedal them expensive drugs by pharmaceutical companies. I thought it would be interesting to discuss research by the University of Michigan where they discovered 2/3 of parents do not always follow medical advice. That sounded like something most parents would never admit to but, in fact, do. I know I do it, but then as I explain below – what else can I do when I receive at least ten new pieces of advice each week? I’m not sure what is better in this situation: to write the post or not? I feel like I’m banging my head against a wall sometimes. Here’s the opening of my post I ignored the advice of my daughter’s doctor: My daughter is brain-damaged. May has no less than six doctors with specialisms ranging from neurology to orthopedic surgery. They are all eminent in their fields, the best the country has to offer. They have decades of training under their belts, degrees from world-class universities like Oxford and Cambridge and whole teams of people scurrying around them, jotting down their every word. Everyone except me. Sometimes, I even plain ignore them. When it is something like May’s seizure medication, I follow their advice exactly as prescribed. But, other times, I nod in agreement but don’t follow through. Sometimes, I even argue back. Like when May was underweight as a baby and her doctor insisted that I see a dietician. I refused. The dietician assigned to us advised that we never use a microwave and make sure everything May ate was organic and homemade. Not only would that advice not fatten her up, it simply wasn’t realistic. The doctor argued with me incessantly but she was dipping into our lives for a twenty minute appointment, and had lost sight of the bigger picture. She saw a measurement on her chart that said May was underweight. She jumped to a solution. Our situation is extreme. Most parents don’t go to a hospital at least once a week. They don’t have a team of medical staff each bestowing one or two requests on them in every visit. Besides doctors, we see a whole team of therapists. We could easily be told “to try” a new stretch, way of feeding, type of equipment or a sleep solution every day. And, that’s just impossible. Hitting this level of information overload, I imagine many parents would turn off completely. In other words, not pick and choose as we do – but do nothing. Turns out I’m right, but on a much larger scale. As reported in Science Daily, The University of Michigan took a poll of the parents and found that only one-third (31%) follow their doctors advice all of the time. In other words, 69% of us don’t. You can read the full article, including more information on the U of M study, on the BabyCenter Blog. Is there a situation where you would not follow your doctor’s...

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How happy can a half-brained beauty be? (VIDEO)

Posted on Mar 8, 2013 | 4 comments

How happy can a half-brained beauty be? (VIDEO)

Next month, May will be four years old. (Deep breath, people!) Our half-brained beauty has impressed us all with her progress since she was a baby, but what of her happiness? Frequently, people ask me how May is, and I immediately say, “She is very happy.” Many parents must wonder, at the first diagnosis, how this will be at all possible for their little one. I certainly did. If May has achieved anything in her life, it is a great amount of joy. Yes, she has her moments. But, usually they are linked to some kind of pain or illness. Given the severity of her injuries, if May is happy 90% of the time, I would imagine it is possible for just about any child to be happy if they receive the love and attention they desire. It’s not all about physio! Want some evidence? Here’s May and her brother, Ieuan, having a bit of a boogie this week (Sorry, includes my amazing...

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