Tomorrow morning at my office, I am staffing a table to spread the word about pediatric stroke and to raise money for Children’s Hemiplegia and Stroke Association as part of my Streak for Mia. Many of my coworkers have already donated and with the company match, my fundraising total is up to $2910. It’s possible with tomorrow’s donations and match that I may make it to $4000 which would be fantastic. This post is one in a series through the month of May, only 3 more days left after today! Please follow the link above to donate, if you haven’t yet. If you have, thank you!
As we returned home after the long weekend away, I am met with the seemingly unending task of managing our schedules and logistics. The school year is winding down, vacations and camps are scheduled. I think it’s a really good thing that I have a planning mind. I actually enjoy and am good at keeping track of many moving parts. Though, I often feel like I’d like the parts to stop moving and so I can get a break.
Mia’s preschool year ends next week. She’ll transition to the next class on June 10. To prepare, I asked the director of her preschool to set up a meeting with her teachers for next year so I can orient them to Mia’s medical history and developmental needs. I’ve done this with Mia’s teachers and caregivers every year. I explain that Mia had a stroke and how it has impacted her. I have a set of notes that I update each year and then review with the teachers so they can use it for reference. It’s time to update that. Here’s this year’s version of “How to Support Mia’s Development.”
How to Support Mia’s Development
Mia is a happy and curious little girl. She seems to be quite motivated to figure out how to do everything herself including gross motor and fine motor tasks. She loves to sit and read books to herself. She also is an avid climber outside. And, she loves doing puzzles.
Let Mia do as much as she can do herself, she will let you know if she needs help.
A rich sensory environment is helpful to Mia. Suggested activities: rice table, bean bin, bubbles in table, blowing and popping bubbles, play dough, slime, beading, cutting with scissors, all kinds of arts and crafts. Mia loves most sensory activities and will spontaneously use both hands.
Weight bearing on open palms is also really important for Mia, and easy to incorporate for all kids. Suggested activities: crawling through tunnels, animal walks (bear, dog, etc.), rolling over balls, wheelbarrows, climbing up and down climbing structures, side sitting with both feet to left while weight bearing on right open palm and playing with left hand.
Encourage Mia to use both hands, routinely. Bimanual (2-handed) activities are great, self-care is excellent. She can handle most of her clothing herself. She can use a soap dispenser to squirt soap into her own right hand, pushing with her left and supinating (turning hand palm up) with her right. She can do buckles, and other kinds of fasteners will be good practice for her. Bubbles (no spill container) and big balls are great two-handed options. Also, do thumb and finger songs with both hands – “Where’s Thumbkin?”, “high five” with both hands or “thumbs up” for good work.
It’s helpful to Mia to have activities that she can do on a vertical surface like a wall or easel (either table-top or standing easel). This helps her reach in a way that she will extend her right wrist and her fingers and her thumb will be more available for a proper grasp. Art, puzzles, felt board, magnets can all be set up on a vertical or inclined surface.
Mia may take more time to do things with righty, or to figure things out with righty. Please help support her by making her feel that she has enough time. Offer gentle encouragement, don’t jump in too quickly to help her. Offer verbal prompts – “Remember to use righty.” “Point with righty.” “High 5 with both hands.”
Therapy: Mia receives occupational therapy at BLOCKS once a week. It’s usually on Fridays at 8 am so Mia arrives at school a little after 9 am those days as our au pair typically drives Zoe to school first then Mia.
Nutrition: Mia can drink water from an open cup. And, I will continue to send a water bottle and smoothie so she can drink frequently throughout the day. Mia is on a gluten-free diet to support better digestion and elimination. I will continue to send her snacks in addition to her lunch. I request that you not give her any of the standard snacks or classroom baked goods that contain grains. Please offer her water or her smoothie to drink but not milk. If snack includes fresh fruit or vegetables, she is welcome to have those. If you have any questions, please check with me before offering Mia something I did not send.