How to Sneak in Physical Therapy on Vacation
If you have access to water:
1. Ocean/Lake swimming: This works the same magic as the pool. You also get the added bonus of balance work while bobbing and dodging waves.
2. Beach wheelchairs: Everyday wheelchairs become impossible to navigate in sand. Check to see if your resort or nearby beach rental stores carry specially designed beach wheelchairs. These are outfitted with larger and wider wheels so your child can roll along with the rest of the family without sinking.
3. Travel Sets: Bowling, horseshoes, and bats and balls: We often bring these along for a game the whole family. It encourages independent movement of each side of the body as they roll, throw, or swing.
4. Rafting/Canoeing: This is another great way to let your child work their core strength and participate with the rest of the family. As long as the water is gentle, your child can either sit in your lap with minimal assistance or you can bring along a travel chair.
5. Park Time: Swings sets and sandboxes and slides get everyone moving. To stimulate the leg muscles and provide a gentle counter weight, pile sand on top of your child’s legs so they can work both their abdominal and back muscles.
6. Hiking: Let your child hitch a ride on the family hike. Certain backpacks can fit a child up to 40 pounds. Just make sure you test it out first to make certain both you and your child are comfortable. We like the one by Ospray Poco AG Plus Child Carrier. The leg extension provides an excellent stretch for your child while you walk.
7. Horseback Riding: Equestrian therapy has been one of the biggest components in improving our son’s gait and balance. Check to see if your area has access to horseback riding. It does not have to be a facility that specializes in horse therapy. You will still see benefits by simply walking next to your child and providing most of the support.
Jamie Sumner is mother to a son with cerebral palsy and Beckwith- Wiedemann Syndrome and is the author of the blog, The Mom Gene. Her son’s story has been featured in The Tennessean and YooCanFind.com.
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