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Strengthening Back Extensors

I work on back extension by having the child lean down to the floor and return to upright standing even if the child is unable to do this independently. I may accomplish this the way it is pictured but often, I use a long bench and have the child sit on the end of the bench. I straddle the bench and sit behind the child. I make the bench the height of the back of the child’s knees. From this position I can have the child stand up and lean down and stand up. The end of the bench blocks the child’s feet. I can easily hold the child’s hips and often block her knees too, if needed, to give the child success leaning down and standing up. If the child is free standing, sometimes the floor is too low a target for the child to successfully reach. So, from in front of her, I will start with a free hand close to the child’s knee level and ask, “Can you touch here?” Then I move a little lower progressively to see how far she can lean down and return to upright from. Instead of using my hand I may use stacked cups or cones and see how small a stack the child can lean down and knock over. If the child is successful, I take one more cone/cup off the stack and have the child try it again. Or if I know the height that is challenging, I may get a correct height bench and put something like puzzle pieces down on the bench for a child to lean down to pick up repeatedly to bring up to put the pieces in. I love the Kaye Products adjustable bench for this kind of activity. I use an adjustable bench at the right height for the child to lean down and pick up. For some clients, it is too difficult to grasp an object such as a puzzle piece to pick up. So that is when I retreat to simply something to knock over or an electric keyboard for the child to lean down to touch to activate. For my children who have trouble with grasp but I still want to work on it, I have found that a bunch of keys are one of the easiest things to pick up. A large grouping of keys are easy to grasp and don’t roll away with unsuccessful swipes. Usually the parent has a set, or I have a set that work perfectly. Often children want to touch down with just one hand and not both. If this is a particular problem, I may put down 2 objects to pick up or 2 towers to knock down.


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