Friday, May 7, 2010

Water water everywhere!

Elena LOVES water. Our gym has a heated non-chlorinated pool, which is our favorite. We also like going to the neighborhood pool in the summer, but that has a whole host of other issues: moving around with bare feet, spasticity in cold water, not keeping up with peers, inability to jump into the large pool from the side, foot/shin/knee scrapes from the baby pool, to name a few. Still, we love it.

I took E to the heated pool yesterday; I wanted to post some observations here, in the hopes that you might have some helpful comments and to see how much she improves with time.

1. E's righting reflex in water is poor. Meaning, if you hold her by her hips/thighs, and she is in the water belly-down, she can accidentally (or intentionally) turn on her side and she doesn't know how to get her head back up out of the water. Obviously I am there to help her, but other kids will twist their bodies to keep their head upright. Elena does not have a problem with head control, in general. Her core is weak, true. I am hoping with instruction and more water exposure this improves. I do not have her wear a life vest/jacket in the pool, b/c even with it on, there is no guarantee that her head/face will be upright.

2. If Elena is sitting on the side of the pool edge (feet dangling in the water), if I ask her to come to me, she basically "stands up" on her toes--meaning when she comes off the side of the pool, if I am not SUPER CLOSE to catch her, her body falls into the water in a line just shy of the edge. This is begging for a head injury as she enters the water, especially in a pool with a "lipped edge". I am trying to get her to reach out, forward, into the pool, so her belly hits the water instead of just sinking like an iron bat lengthwise. This made more sense to her when I put her on the edge, sitting on her knees and asked her to reach for me. I also pull her arms forward with one hand, while holding her legs to the ground to show her what it should feel like to reach forward. She says she understands but isn't able to do it alone.

3. Elena is not afraid to put her face in the water. She enjoys blowing bubbles.

4. She is not afraid to be on her back in the water, if she feel secure with the person with her. Water in her ears on her back feels weird and she stiffens up, but can relax on command.

5. If I ask her to kick her feet, her motion is as if she was crawling on the floor--bending the knees and moving from the hip. She does not kick "below the knee". We haven't really worked on this much yet.

6. She has the motion of doggie paddle with her arms (and legs, if you count the crawling motion) but her fingers are always open. She'll have a hard time swimming if she doesn't learn to keep her fingers together, like a "fin".

7. She can reach ahead of her well with both hands, together or individually.

In her typical fashion, when startled, excited, cold, or frustrated, her instinct is to become like a stiff board with pointy toes. I do have faith that she will be able to swim one day, in a pool...the added dangers of the ocean waves has me concerned, but I'll worry about that once she's an independent swimmer.

We will be going to the beach in late June...anyone have ideas for moving in sand? I really don't want to ruin her loftstrands. We do have sandals...and there's always holding hands. If anyone has a suggestion as to how to help E move upright, on her own, in sand, PLEASE comment or email me cpmom2009 AT yahoo DOT com

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

HI AMY MOM WAS READING YOUR POST ABOUT THE BEACH.. ONE THING I HAVE TRIED AND IT SEEMS TO WORK OK.. I WEAR WATER SHOES THEY HAVE A RUBBBER TREAD ON THE BOTTOM ALTHOUGH WHEN I DO I HAVE TO DO WITHOUTO MY AFO'S,, YOU COULD TRY THAT AND HAVE HER HOLD A HAND.. THESE ARE GOOD BECAUSE SHE CAN WEAR THEM RIGHT IN THE WATER..

I CANNOT WEAR SANDELS BECAUSE I ALWAYS SCAP UP MY TOES WHEN I DO... I HOPE THIS HELPS!!

MELISSA

GingerB said...

I got nothin' on walking on sand (which I find difficult!) since Hannah is not yet walking totally yet, but as to core muscles, did you guys do hippotherapy? My favorite PT is recommending it for us right now, even before she is fully walking because it will help her trunk understand movement, and tell her brain, and then wire her brain better for walking. In the meantime, we have an exercise to do at home, where the child sits on your lap straddling your legs, and you have her reach for items to the side of her body, say out of a basket or into a bowl. Ultimately he will want us to cross over midline from the strong and the weak sides, but right now we are just getting used to the position and reading or doing something that will hold her interest. His idea is separating the legs exposes the weaknesses in the core muscles but things of interest will cause her to lean and when you firmly hold the opposite thigh down it will work the abdomen. And Hannah hated it right away, so I think my PT was spot on, and so we are making slow progress with it.

On my way home said...

Hi, I am not sure if you have this problem now solved as this post is very old now, but I struggle with weakness in my hands (not due to CP)and am unable to keep my fingers together whilst swimming. I love to swim as it is one of the only physical activities I can do. I use hand paddles (very similar to these: http://www.zoggs.com/training-aids/matrix-hand-paddles-medium.html) and they have made the world of difference - they are FANTASTIC!I have seen them in small children's sizes too.