In adult rehab, occupational therapists are regularly providing patients who have incoordination, muscle weakness or joint instability with both skill-building activities and adaptive equipment such as Dycem. In pediatrics, you see a predominance of skills training. Adaptive equipment shows up primarily for the most globally and pervasively disabled children. I think that should change. Why? Because frustration is an impediment to learning, and adaptive equipment can be like training wheels; you can take them off as skills develop. When kids aren’t constantly frustrated, they are excited to try harder and feel supported by adults, not aggravated.
What Dycem Can Do For Your Child
Dycem isn’t a new product, but you hardly ever see it suggested to kids with mild to moderate motor incoordination, low tone, sensory processing disorders, hypermobility, and dyspraxia. We let these kids struggle as their cereal bowl spills and their crayons roll away from them. Dycem matting is a great tool for these kids. It is grippy on both sides, but it is easy to clean. Place a terrific bowl or plate on it OXO for Kids: Great Tableware For Older Kids With Sensory and Motor Issues, and it won’t tip over with gentle pressure, and not even if the surface has a slight incline. It lasts a long time, and can be cut into any shape needed for a booster seat tray or under the base of a toy like a dollhouse or a toy garage. Placing a piece of Dycem under your child while they are sitting on a tripp trap chair or a cube chair A Simple Strategy To Improve Your Child’s Posture In A Stokke Tripp Trapp or Special Tomato Chair, The Cube Chair: Your Special Needs Toddler’s New Favorite Seat! will help them keep their pelvis stable while they eat and play. The bright color contrasts with most objects, supporting kids with visual deficits and poor visual perceptual skills. It catches their eye and their attention. As you can see, Dycem has a lot to offer children and parents.
How To Use Dycem To Build Motor Skills
Will it prevent all spills or falls? No. But it will decrease the constant failures that cause children to give up and request your help, or cause them to refuse to continue trying. Children are creating their self-image earlier than you realize, so helping them see themselves as competent is essential. Will it teach kids not to use their non-dominant hand to stabilize objects? Not if an adult uses it correctly. Introducing Dycem at the appropriate stage in motor development and varying when and where it is used is the key. Children need lots of different types of situations in order to develop bilateral control, and as long as they are given a wide variety of opportunities, offering them adaptive equipment during key activities isn’t going to slow them down. It will show them that we are supporting them on their journey. When kids are new to an activity or a skill and need repeated successes to keep trying, Dycem can help them persevere. When children are moving to the next level of skill and see that they are struggling more, Dycem can support them until they master this new level.
Should you buy the pre-cut mats or the roll of Dycem? It depends on your needs. Be aware that Dycem doesn’t stay tacky forever, so the cheaper strategy is the roll.
The Cheap Hack: Silicone Mats
I will often recommend the use of silicone baking mats instead of dycem. These inexpensive mats often do the job at a lower cost, and can be easily replaced if lost at daycare or school. Dycem is a specialty item that can be purchased online but not in most stores. Silicone mats aren’t as grippy, but they are easily washed and dried. Some families are averse to anything that looks like adaptive equipment, so I may introduce these mats first to build a parent’s confidence in my recommendations.
Looking for more information on helping your child with ADL skills?
I wrote 2 e-books for you!
The Practical Guide to Toilet Training Your Child With Low Muscle Tone and The JointSmart Child: Living and Thriving With Hypermobility Volume One: The Early Years are unique books that both educate and empower you.
They are filled with understandable explanations for the challenges and all the confusion that comes up during ADL training. When you aren’t provided with enough information on the motor, sensory and behavioral consequences of low tone and hypermobiilty, you can’t effectively help your child achieve the basic self-care and safety awareness skills that every child needs. My books have checklists and forms that help you communicate with your babysitters, teachers, even your child’s doctors.
Both books are sold on Amazon.com as read-only downloads, and on Your Therapy Source as printable and click-able downloads. Your Therapy Source also sells both books together as a discounted bundle, saving you money and giving you lots of information all at once!