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What is Hippotherapy?

The American Hippotherapy Association defines hippotherapy as the use of equine movement to engage the sensorimotor and neuromotor systems to create functional change in the lives of children with disabilities.¹ Hippotherapy is implemented as a physical, occupational or speech therapy strategy that utilizes equine movement as a treatment strategy to achieve functional outcomes.¹

Research has been done on the efficacy of hippotherapy treatment on patients with musculoskeletal disorders, one case stated that: “Hippotherapy represents an alternative method of physical rehabilitation…the application of this method is based on the transmission of rhythmical and three dimensional movement of the horse to the patient. This movement resembles the movement of the human pelvis during walking and it enables the transmission of stimuli which contribute to the reduction of spasticity and improvement of the postural control and balance of the patient.”²

Hippotherapy is currently being used as a treatment technique that is capable of affecting multiple systems of the human body at once, those who engage in this form of treatment are found to have benefits including improving postural alignment, increased stability, facilitation of more normalized motor planning, enhanced arousal as well as integrating sensory stimulation into each treatment session.³ Research has also been done on the effects of hippotherapy on children with neurological impairments which found that “children showed improvements in sagittal plane pelvic and hip joint positioning and trends for improvement in trunk position, cadence, velocity, and stride length during ambulation which may indicate increased postural control during the stance phase of gait after ten sessions of hippotherapy.”4

References:

  1. American Hippotherapy Association. Present Use of Hippotherapy. American Hippotherapy Association.http://www.americanhippotherapyassociation.org/hippotherapy/present-use-of-hippotherap/Published 2014. Accessed September 2015.
  2. A review of efficacy of hippotherapy for the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. British Journal of Medicine and Medical Research. 2015;8(4):289-297. http://search.proquest.com/docview/1702156877?accountid=158603.
  3. Encheff JL. Kinematic gait analysis of children with neurological impairments pre and post hippotherapy intervention. [Order No. 3346574]. The University of Toledo; 2008.
  4. Francis BAA. Effects of therapeutic horseback riding and hippotherapy for children with cerebral palsy, developmental delay and neurological disorders: Systematic literature review. [Order No. 1444947]. MGH Institute of Health Professions; 2007.

Help to Bully Proof Your Kids!

Bully-Proofing Guidelines, excerpt taken from John F. Taylor, Ph.D

 

Many kids go through a time in life where they find themselves being bullied. What are some good ways to help your child get through the bullying and stop themselves being victimized?

 

Talk with friends-Learn from those who have already been bullying victims about how to cope with and quash bullying.

 

Talk with adults-Talk with teachers, bus drivers and other adults at school about their ideas for responding to potential bullying moments.

 

Don’t ignore-Occasionally, ignoring a potential bully works. But usually it simply goads the bully to increase the bullying effort until the student shows significant distress. The bully’s goal is to cause pain and suffering, and bullies tend to keep on until that pain and suffering becomes evident. Ignoring them usually just prolongs their efforts.

 

Tell them to stop-Stand up for yourself. Keep your voice calm, firm and strong: “Stop that. I don’t like it.” “I’m going to report you if you don’t leave me alone.”

 

Walk toward people-Stay calm and walk away. Head toward wherever there are lots of people. Bullies are less likely to bully if adults or large numbers of students who are strong are nearby.

 

Run for your life-If the bully has any kind of weapon, including a block of wood, brick, chain, club, bat, or knife, run as fast as you can towards a safe place. Try to find a house with an adult present. Stores are great because they are open and there is always an  adult present. Bang on the front door. Scream loudly “Help!!!”

 

Watch where you walk-Most bullies attack on sidewalks. Go to the office and arrange to get a ride whenever you suspect there might be a problem. Wait in the school until your ride comes.

 

Don’t fight back-Bullies pick on you because they know they are stronger and meaner than you are. So you’re not going to win if you fight them. Besides, you can even get in trouble for fighting them.

 

Talk, don’t yell-Yelling at them also does no good. The only way to deal with them with your mouth is to speak firmly and calmly and tell them to stop.

April Curriculum

Go, Go, Go Into April

This month’s curriculum is all about transportation! We see all types of transportation when we leave our houses. Littlefield loves to use these key vehicles when playing during therapy sessions! Come into Littlefield to learn more about all of the ways we are utilizing this month’s theme with your kids! 

Pre-Writing Shapes

What makes pre-writing shapes so important? Pre-writing shapes are the building blocks of learning to write, read and do math. A child who has mastered their pre-writing shapes will find Kindergarten much easier. At what age should your child have the following mastered:

  • Vertical Line-Age 2 years
  • Horizontal Line-2 1/2 years
  • Circle-3 years
  • Cross-4 years
  • Square-5 years
  • X-5 years
  • Triangle-5 1/2 years
  • Diamond-7 years

All of these shapes are the building blocks of your ABC’s. For example horizontal and vertical lines are the building blocks of F and E. The ability to do a circle is necessary before attempting O, P, Q, R, etc. If your child is behind in their ABC’s check to make sure that they know how to do their pre-writing shapes that are age-appropriate.

Positive Parenting and Mentoring

If you want your children to improve, let them overhear the nice things you say about them to others.” –Haim G. Ginott

 

Haim G. Ginott was a clinical psychologist, child therapist, parent educator, and author whose book Between Parent and Child has changed the way a parent and child’s connection can be made. His method recognizes that denying feelings can make a child confused and intensify these feelings. Ginott’s philosophy has influenced author John Gottman and his students Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, who all have continued Ginott’s works of adult and child relationships.

 

At LittleField, we love the idea of being “emotion coaches” with positivity and encouragement. We validate all feelings of the children we work with to give them a platform to improve. After our sessions, we inform the parents or caretakers of the work we accomplished. Our patients know that we see them as individuals with no limitations.

 

Letting our kids hear positive things about them will help them improve as Ginott said. At every age, people respond better to positivity. We can all relate to a time when we overheard someone saying a nice thing about us. Those warm, happy butterflies is like an instant mood lifter. Our children get those same feelings and boost of confidence. When we have confidence, we can enhance our abilities. LittleField is a place to promote and increase our patient’s improvement.
For more information about Haim G. Ginott and his books, check out his website at http://www.betweenparentandchild.com.

Fine Motor Strengthening Bath Time

So many kids enjoy bath time! Bath time is a great time to encourage fine motor strengthening because many children are happy in the bathtub. Encourage your child to have fun in the bath while growing stronger at the same time.

  • Wringing water out of the wash cloth
  • Squeeze soap bottle/shampoo bottle
  • Writing with bath chalk pre-writing shapes or ABC’s on the wall
  • Squirting toys that fill up with water that they can squeeze
  • Foam letters or tiles that stick to the walls when wet
  • Washing self using hands, washcloth or loofah
  • Scooping toys in a net
  • Bath tub appliques that they can push onto the tub and peel off
  • Water pump
  • Water guns
  • Squirt bottle
  • Using pointer finger to pop bubbles
  • Bath stickers
  • Scooping and pouring with different containers

The ABC’s of Movement

A fun and creative way of combining movement experiences with the alphabet, that allows the child to learn letters and make literary connections while improving their gross motor skills.

         26 cards alphabet cards.

         Front has full color photograph of a child demonstrating each letter movement.

         Back has instructions to trace the letter, a rhyming sentence, and performance instructions.

         As well as modifications for children with special needs and gross motor domain addressed.

Benefits include:

  • Great activity to increase body awareness.
  • Improved bilateral coordination allows the hands and feet to work well together.
  • Promotes crossing midline by reaching across the middle of the body with the hand or leg.
  • Great for kinesthetic learners.
  • Beneficial for children with special needs such as Autism, Down syndrome and mild cerebral palsy.

 

EX: C- Crab Walk- Crab Walks help to engage your child’s abdominal, shoulder, back and hip muscles as they press their feet and palms to the ground to raise their rear end off of the floor and incorporates coordination between arms and legs.

Littlefield Growth in Full Bloom!

This month’s March curriculum is about playtime and Spring. Our life will soon be more beautiful with all the flowers and blossoms arriving with the warm weather. At LittleField, we like to enjoy the world around us and use it in all disciplines.

 

The vocabulary and basic concepts are:

 

park swings slide ladder

sandbox monkey bars tunnel butterfly

bee ladybug caterpillar flower

garden rain umbrella run jump throw catch kick

fly crawl hide play

stop go

 

To add these concepts into daily activities, we suggest: looking at books and magazines to practice pointing and naming skills, match pictures to the object or activity to help reinforce new words, highlight these words in a variety of places (school, park, grandparent’s house, etc.), and songs such as “Baby Bumble Bee” and “Five Speckled Frogs.”

 

Songs and music are a great way to encourage overall development. Nursery rhymes and lullabies can calm a young child and encourage self-regulation. Music can stimulate memory and increase vocabulary, laying a foundation for early literacy. Encourage your child to imitate movements or gestures and sing along with you during music time. Below are the lyrics for a new song this month.

 

“ Baby Bumble Bee”

I’m bringing home my baby bumble bee,

Won’t my mommy be so proud of me.

I’m bringing home my baby bumble bee,

Ouch! It stung me!

 

I’m squishing up my baby bumble bee,

Won’t my mommy be so proud of me.

I’m squishing up my baby bumble bee,

Eww! It’s yucky!

 

I’m wiping off my baby bumble bee,

Won’t my mommy be so proud of me.

I’m wiping off my baby bumble bee,

Now my mommy won’t be mad at me!

 

Some of LittleField’s favorite books for Spring time are:

(0-2 years) Spot Goes to the Park: by Eric Hall

(3-5 years) Oh Say Can You Say what’s the Weather Today by Tish Rabe

(6-8 years) The Dog That Stole Football Plays: by Matt Christopher

Pincher Strength Activities at Littlefield

Encouraging Pincer Strength and Thumb Control

  • Coins in the Piggy Bank
  • Lacing Board
  • Stringing beads onto string
  • Peg board
  • Stamps
  • Picking up pinto beans and putting them into a small container (such as a tennis ball with a slit in it)
  • Fingerprint animals book- “Ed Emberley’s Complete Funprint Drawing Book”

Temecula Fun Feeding Therapy

There are a variety of ways to encourage a baby or child to increase their food repertoire. Some basic areas that every parent should look at are:

  • Texture-wet, dry, smooth, rough, fuzzy, sticky, mushy.
  • Color
  • Temperature-hot, cold, warm, frozen
  • Shape-round, square, triangular, irregular.
  • Flavor-sweet, salty, sour, savory, spicy.
  • Food groups

Even if your child has a very small repertoire of foods many of the above items can be encouraged through play and non-food items.