Saturday, April 9, 2011

Balance Training

Last week, I (ahem) forgot my camera at the university, so this is a little past due.  But I wanted to post some pictures of Piper on the balance board that they’re using for the training sessions.

Last week was Piper’s first trip on the platform.

It did not got well, lol.

The meltdown began with getting her in the harness.  And just escalated until we were done.  Nothing would calm her down- not snacks, not Elmo, not Elmo on TV, not bubbles…  Nothing.  Poor kid.  It really was kind of heart breaking.  She subsequently fell asleep in the car a full 3.5 seconds after starting the engine.

Today was session 2 of 5.

It went marginally better.

Here’s what it looks like:

There’s just a little bit of equipment involved…

She has a harness on that’s not unlike a rock climbing harness.  The big strap across her middle holds a sensor that records her movement.  Everything is suspended from the ceiling at a height that allows her to squat fairly deeply, but not sit down. 

I had her in shorts this day because I thought that the sensors were going to be attached to her.  Today I brought a pair of legging pants to keep the belts from rubbing.  I also put her in a light weight hoody and pulled the hood up because I think that those top carabineers rubbed the sides of her neck and bugged her last time.  I’ve spent the week trying to figure out how to make her more willing to cooperate, and I think it’s (kind of) working.


…I said kind of.

Piper is a cautious child.  An overly cautious child.  Things like being out of balance scare the tar out of her.  And adding into that that she’s one of the very youngest (and teeniest!) kids they’ve got, they’re changing the protocol for her a little to help her feel more comfortable.  By the end of the session, we had the lead researcher kneeling behind her making her think that someone was holding her up.  And she was actually doing really well- balancing with minimal support for fairly significant periods of time. 

Next time, the plan is to let her sit on the board first, and then use the researcher for the actual standing practice.  I think this may work (!!!).

There are students working the main parts of this project, so I think it’s kind of important that they learn more than the basics of PT itself.  They all thought I was crazy last week when I insisted that Piper get to go out and play for a few minutes before we left.  We needed to end on a positive note if there was any prayer of her cooperating this week.  I know her well enough to know that.  Lo and behold, this week she was at least willing to walk into the main room (the little room with the board was another story, lol).  Today they knew that she needed to play first this time AND at the end, too.  Score one for me. 

We have three more sessions left, and then two post-test sessions afterward.  It’ll be interesting to see what she thinks of it all by the time we’re done.

It’ll also be interesting to see if my sanity comes into question by the end of this.  I’m pretty sure that Piper’s meltdowns are only partially legit.  The rest is an attempt at making me look like as big a kook as they come.  No one should be subjected to the high-pitched squeals and dancing that can distract Piper.  And my giant baby belly only makes it worse, I’m sure…


  1. WOW that is some kind of contraption. I think I would be crying too. LOL I am sure she will have that boogie board mastered in a couple weeks and be hitting the waves!

  2. She is so incredibly cute, even when she's sad! I think it is so important for students to learn how to approach a child and what works best in terms of getting and keeping them involved in what needs to be done. Roo needs ample playtime and movement time during a therapy session. If she gets to play and jump, she is far more likely to work hard the rest of the time.

  3. Awh... Sweet girl, she does not look like she enjoys this at all. :(
    I hope that as time goes on she becomes more accustom to the people and her surroundings there. What a cutie though!

  4. Poor Piper doesn't look happy at all! I think Claire would love this. She is such a little daredevil. Faster and higher is always better in her book.

  5. I love the pictures of Piper, but you are definitely forgetting one...or maybe a picture wouldn't do it justice and we need a video...I'm speaking of you doing the "high-pitched squeals and dancing" with the big baby belly! Oh I remember those days!

  6. Good for you to think of playtime, I never would have thought of that. Glad it's getting better though she looks pretty sad in that pic!