Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Research Project

A few weeks ago, I got a packet in the mail from a local university.  It said that they were looking for kids with Ds between 18 months and 5 years to participate in a research study that’s looking at the effects of balance training on gross motor skills.  And because I love things like research, I’m all for this kind of thing.

I sent back the packet to get more information, just because it sounded like it could be fun to give it a try.  Heck, why not, right?

I talked to the primary researcher on the phone, and we got Piper all scheduled to start.  Last Saturday was our first day- what a kick!

They’ve done the study with several variables, and it’s been effective with each phase.  They worked with kids with CP, but the study with kids with Ds had more drastic improvements.  When they did the Ds study, they did once-a-day sessions for 5 days.  I saw the data- the differences were dramatic, to say the least.  But, as time went on after the balance sessions were completed, the results seemed to trickle off.

So this time, they want to try once-a-week sessions, and see if the results remained for a longer period of time.  So we’ll go every Saturday morning for seven weeks.  I also found out that they’re working with eight kids to start, and they have a pretty good wait list, so I’m glad that we got the paperwork turned in when we did.

The first three sessions are to get a benchmark of where she is before the training.  Let me tell you- I couldn’t help but laugh as the college kids were trying to get Piper to cooperate.  We were chatting with the lead for a while (she’s super nice), and I just kept Piper in the corner of my eye the whole time.  Apparently, PT-to-be’s need help in understanding appropriate motivational tools to use on a 22-month-old.  I couldn’t stop laughing.  Especially when they were trying to convince her to do things like jump (yeah, right), walk with her feet on a line (uh huh- because most toddlers will do that, right?), and pick up an item from the floor (when she’d rather sit down and BLOW the bubbles, thankyouverymuch).  I’m sure that I don’t have the only toddler who wouldn’t understand the phrase “Now, walk heal-to-toe on the line!”, lol.  Especially when I know it’s not in her realm of doable skills.  I eventually got down and asked them what they were trying to get her to do so that I could “model” ways to get her to, um, comply. 

So, anyway, I’m really excited to get her on the platform in a couple weeks.  They were going to let Luke try out the platform on Saturday (at which point, by the way, two of the students were trying to get her height- I’d love to know how THAT went…), but the software was bugging up so he didn’t get to.  They’ll put her in a harness for safety, and we’ll try to get her on it for about half an hour. 

There was another little girl there this week (along with her two brothers, and one on the way!), so I didn’t take any pictures because I didn’t want her mom to think I was taking them of her.  Next week she has her own slot, though, so maybe I’ll have better luck (if I get a minute off of wrangler duty).  But this is a picture of the balance board thingy that she’ll be on.  Should be fun!

…we’ll see if Piper agrees…



  1. Very interesting, looking forward to hearing more.

  2. I'm glad you mentioned this again. I can't wait to hear more about the study, and hope I can get Claire into some in the future!