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Standing Up

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Over 27 years of pediatric practice, I’ve helped children with significant motor challenges master many skills.  And I’ve discovered a surprising truth during that time – being able to move from sitting to standing could possibly be the most important motor skill over their lifetime.  It doesn’t seem so important when they are small and we are talking about whether or not they will be able to walk.  It doesn’t seem so important when they are young students and we are talking about their learning needs in the classroom.  But when these children grow too big or too tall to lift easily, it suddenly makes a big difference if they can move from sitting to standing, either with or without help from another person.  If they can do this, they can transfer in and out of their wheelchair – they can get in to and out of their bed easier, they can move from their wheelchair to the toilet faster, and they can socialize at friends’ houses more readily because if there is somewhere that their wheelchair can’t go, they have options.  It can also safeguard parents and caregivers from back injury so they can be at their best over the lifetime of the child.  And if the young adult might live somewhere other than the family home, their choices are much broader if they can transfer without needing a mechanical lift.

However, if we wait too long, the opportunity to gain the skill may be lost.  So start thinking about helping your child to practice moving from sitting to standing when they are young.  Use every opportunity to incorporate this skill into your day and talk to your therapist about working towards and keeping this movement as your child grows.  Then when it becomes important, the skill will be there and there will be increased options for your child.

Shelley Mannell  PT

HeartSpace Physical Therapy for Children www.heartspacept.com

@heartspacept on Twitter or HeartSpacePT on Facebook

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