My first e-book, The Practical Guide to Toilet Training Your Child With Low Muscle Tone, was a wonderful experience to write and share. The number of daily hits on one of my most popular blog posts Hypermobility and Proprioception: Why Loose Joints Create Sensory Processing Problems for Children helped me figure out what my next e-book topic should be.
Hypermobility is a symptom that affects almost every aspect of a family’s life. Unlike autism or cerebral palsy, online resources for parents are so limited and generic that it was obvious that what was needed was solid practical information using everyday language. Being empowered starts with knowledge and confidence.
The result? My new e-book: The JointSmart Child: Living and Thriving With Hypermobility. Volume One: The Early Years.
What makes this book unique?
- This manual explains how and why joint instability creates challenges in the simplest tasks of everyday life.
- The sensory and behavioral consequences of hypermobility aren’t ignored; they are fully examined, and strategies to manage them are discussed in detail.
- Busy parents can quickly spot the chapter that answers their questions by reading the short summaries at the beginning and end of each chapter.
- This book emphasizes practical solutions over theories and medical jargon.
- Parents learn how to create greater safety at home and in the community.
- The appendices are forms that parents can use to improve communication with babysitters, family, teachers and doctors.
Who should read this book?
- Parents of hypermobile children ages 0-6, or children functioning in this developmental range.
- Therapists looking for new ideas for treatment or home programs.
- New therapists, or therapists who are entering pediatrics from another area of practice.
- Special educators, and educators that have hypermobile children mainstreamed into their classroom.
Looking for a preview? Here is a sample from Chapter Three: Positioning and Seating:
Some Basic Principles of Positioning:
Therapists learn the basics of positioning in school, and take advanced certification courses to be able to evaluate and prescribe equipment for their clients. Parents can learn the basics too, and I feel strongly that it is essential to impart at least some of this information to every caregiver I meet. A child’s therapists can help parents learn to use the equipment they have and help them select new equipment for their home. The following principle are the easiest and most important principles of positioning for parents to learn:
- The simplest rule I teach is “If it looks bad, it probably IS bad.” Even without knowing the principles of positioning, or knowing what to do to fix things, parents can see that their child looks awkward or unsteady. Once they recognize that their child isn’t in a stable or aligned position, they can try to improve the situation. If they don’t know what to do, they can ask their child’s therapist for their professional advice.
- The visual target is to achieve symmetrical alignment: a position in which a straight line is drawn through the center of a child”s face, down thorough the center of their chest and through the center of their pelvis. Another visual target is to see that the natural curves of the spine (based on age) are supported. Children will move out of alignment of course, but they should start form this symmetrical position. Good movements occurs around this centered position.
- Good positioning allows a child a balance of support and mobility. Adults need to provide enough support, but also want to allow as much independent movement as possible.
- The beginning of positioning is to achieve a stable pelvis. Without a stable pelvis, stability at the feet, shoulders and head will be more difficult to achieve. This can be accomplished by a combination of a waist or seatbelt, a cushion, and placing a child’s feet flat on a stable surface.
- Anticipate the effects of activity and fatigue on positioning. A child’s posture will shift as they move around in a chair, and this will make it harder for them to maintain a stable position.
- Once a child is positioned as well as possible, monitor and adjust their position as needed. Children aren’t crockpots; it isn’t possible to “set it and forget it.” A child that is leaning too far to the side or too far forward, or whose hips have slid forward toward the front of the seat, isn’t necessarily tired. They may simple need repositioning.
- Equipment needs can change over time, even if a child is in a therapeutic seating system. Children row physically and develop new skills that create new positioning needs. If a child is unable to achieve a reasonable level of postural stability, they may need adjustments or new equipment. This isn’t a failure; positioning hypermobile children is a fluid experience.
The JointSmart Child: Living and Thriving With Hypermobility Volume One: The Early Years is now available on Amazon.com.
Already bought the book? Please share your comments and suggestions for the next two books! Volume Two will address the challenges of raising the school-aged child, and Volume Three focuses on the tween, teen, and young adult with hypermobility!