Having a Child with Down Syndrome, Part XXXI: More Sneaky Physical Therapy


Copyright © 2012 Stephen Hawley, all rights reserved.


Day 17 of 31 for 21.


This is Alice hoisting the main sail on a sailboat off Cape Cod.  We were out there with my folks for vacation and Evie decided that a sunset cruise would be a reasonably affordable, fun outing.  The captain asked us if Alice wanted to hoist one of the sails.  I asked her and she said yes.  If you look at the picture above, you probably don’t notice anything out of the ordinary.  If your a frequent reader here, you know that Alice had a stroke when she was born and that it affected her right side.  If you look at her right hand (the lower one), she has her thumb around the rope and her fingers opposing it.  This is the essence of sneaky physical therapy.  You make an activity that Alice wants to do so badly that she works twice as hard to do it.

Now, I can’t say that I can afford to take her out on a boat every day for this, but when I saw the opportunity, I knew it would work.  Yes, opportunism is an important skill to cultivate.

Both Evie and I enjoy camping and we try to have an overnight at least once a year.  It can e a little stressful to get everything set up and make sure that we comfortable with the setup so that we can relax.  So where’s the opportunity?  Where isn’t it?!  Roasting your own hot dog on a stick?  Two hands.  Making s’mores?  Two hands (pro tip: bring baby wipes).  Prepping dinner?

Two hands.  We brought potatoes to make galettes and since we brought extra, we wrapped them in foil and tossed them in the coals after the fire died down.  In the morning we had perfectly baked potatoes for hash browns.  The important part is the hands – look at those hands!  This is from the girl who routinely hides her hand during dinner and for which her right has has been labeled ‘napkin hand’ so she does some work with it.  We also call it ‘hello hand’ because she would shake hands left-handed otherwise.

Still, you see an opportunity – something absolutely irresistible and you predicate it on her right hand and off she goes.

1 thought on “Having a Child with Down Syndrome, Part XXXI: More Sneaky Physical Therapy

  1. Alex Gino

    I just keep looking at her thumbs. So good. I’m grateful for all the sharing we’re getting this month. Thank you.


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