Friday, January 15, 2016

Using Wrist and Ankle Weights to Address Physical Challenges

by Mary Jane Baniak, DPT

The following blog post is an excerpt from a blog by MightyTykes consulting DPT Mary Jane Baniak. To learn more about how MightyTykes might help your Rett girl and before beginning any exercise regiment, please consult your child’s therapist or physician.

Using wrist and ankle weights as an adjunct to therapy to help address a wide range of issues and challenges in young children. Some examples of conditions more common to girls with Rett Syndrome which weights can help include:

Toe Walking/Gait
Many children walk on their toes or are otherwise unsteady on their feet due to tightness in their heel cords, sensory issues or weakness. Ankle weights can provide children some input and help cue kids to keep their feet flat and encourage a normal walking pattern.

General Weakness and Low Muscle Tone (Hypotonia)
Low muscle tone can cause children to be weak and delayed in gross motor skills, such as rolling, sitting independently, and crawling.  Weights can be used to help build strength, and can be easily worn, with supervision, during routine daily activities.

Tremors/Stereotypic Movements
Neurological and sensory problems often cause tremors or stereotypic movements, unwanted actions that can impair function or simply be an awkward distraction. Weights can add sensory input to arms and legs, helping to decrease unwanted movements. This can be especially helpful in eating.

Mighty Tykes are ankle and wrist weights that are the perfect size and weight for babies, toddlers and kids.  They are very low profile, come in several different weights, are lead free, latex free, waterproof and made in the USA!   Plus, they are SUPER CUTE!  Check them out HERE.

Mary Jane Baniak, DPT is a certified Early Intervention Specialist and a Certified Infant Massage Instructor, and Certified Weight Trainer, working primarily in home- and school-based settings. A married mom to three girls, Dr. Baniak is an experienced race director and ultra-runner and endurance athlete.

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