Having a Child with Down Syndrome, Part CXXXII: Cooking and Stroke Rehabilitation

For the past 7 years or so, we’ve enrolled Alice in a camp that is dedicated to helping kids who have had strokes and other similar brain injuries by putting their “better” arm into a cast and then providing intensive physical and occupational therapies. The camp lasts 3 weeks and Alice loves it.

The camp is called LARC (Lefty and Righty Camp), but Alice calls it “elbow camp” which is fine. The camp is 100 miles away from us, so E and I make arrangements every year for how we handle going back and forth. I try to reinforce some of the things that she does at home by encouraging two handed activities and giving Alice gentle nudges to work both hands.

Here is Alice stripping some collard greens that we put into soup. Her right hand was perfect at holding onto the stem while she pulled the leafy bits off.

This morning, Alice and I made cheesecake using Alton Brown’s recipe. We started by breaking up gluten free graham crackers before putting them into a food processor. She was using her weaker hand to stabilize the sour cream tub when scooped it out. This particular measuring cup was perfect for some hand-over-hand work. It’s made for viscous ingredients. Alice held the transparent part with her good hand, and I helped her push the yellow part with her weaker hand. Nice. I also helped her hand-over-hand to gently agitate the pan to get bubbles out of the batter. And of course, there is a reward waiting for you at the end.

Our farm share provided us with a pint of sour cherries, and I had some sweet cherries and cherry jam so I made a simple cherry coulis to put over the top.

It’s certainly not easy to do this. Alice has been very willful in the past few months and that makes it even more challenging to work with her constructively. Still, today’s cooking experience was pretty good as far as working with her goes.

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