Saturday, January 31, 2009

Active Grasp

I'm so pleased with Leah's progress lately. I truly believe she is doing great things. She has surpassed my expectations for her large motor skills and is really perfecting her walking.

She has consistently had issues with her awareness and overall use of her left hand. She just didn't really care that much and got away with doing things one-handed. Recently, she has really become much more aware, it's almost at if the light-bulb turned on and she was like, hey look at this another hand! She holds things, such as a ball, with two hands now. She is always touching her left hand with her right and the other night during dinner she was putting spaghetti onto her hand and eating it off of it. It's nice to finally see her incorporating "lefty"! I've waited a long time to see even a hint of awareness!

Now, my concern is an active grasp. Leah tries so hard to put things in her left hand and she still can't figure out the opening and closing part. It's heartbreaking to watch because I know she gets it and she'll look at me when her hand doesn't open. It's almost like she is questioning why she can't do it. We work all the time on trying to get her to open her hand and grasp something, but she still hasn't mastered it. I can honestly say that once I see her do it, I will breathe a big sigh of relief. I know I shouldn't compare but I see so many hemi-kids grabbing things with their effected hand and I can't help but wondering when and if Leah will get to that point?

We do plan to cast Leah again in about 2 months. I'm hoping that will help her with her active grasp.

So, I'm curious if anyone has any great tricks to help us help Leah, we'd love to hear them! Also, any recommendations for amazing two-handed toys that help with grasp, would be great!


kara said...

Oh, she is doing great,this is great progress. She will get the active grasp, it will just take a little trial and error. It is good that you know she realizes that lefty should work too, that is half the battle. It will come. As far as two handed toys... maybe try a jack in the box, Addie still has a hard time doing it by herself but she knows it takes two hands, she just needs help because she is not strong enough yet. Addie loves her basketball hoop too, she has to squat down pick up the ball with two hands, stand up and lift her hands slightly to put the ball in, it is a lot of work for her.
Hope this helps, I'll let you know if I think of any other.

Popcorn House said...

I often go back and watch videos of Sammy and we have had a lot of progress in the past six months. Before that he was so focused on gross motor skill that fine motor skills took a back burner. I bet it will be the same with Leah too. One thing I would ask about is keinsio(sp) taping. WE LOVE THAT STUFF at our house. I tape Sammy often at home, and at each therapy session he gets taped. It has been great for him.

If you have videos go back and look at the progress, it makes me always feel so much better when I feel down.

Amanda said...

Kara--A basketball hoop is a FANTASTIC idea! Leah LOVES balls and I think she would love a bball hoop!

Suzanne--I feel like we've talked about it before...and I've asked my OT a bit about it, but remind me what does the knesio taping do? I was under the impression that it's for tight-ness and Leah's really not tight...only a bit with her supination. When I asked her OT (months back) she said she didn't feel like Leah would benefit from it. I'm wondering if it's something I should ask about again? As far as it helping Leah to grasp things, how does it work? Thanks for the suggestion! I'll definitly be bringing it up to my OT this week!

Popcorn House said...

I think it is for tightness (which Sammy has) but it increases awareness and reminds them how to position their hand. Again, Sammy has always been aware that he has that hand (I think because he didn't have a stroke, his sensation is equal on both sides). Sammy's major problem for grasping things was that his thumb and index finger liked to tuck in, stick together. So for awhile he used his three other fingers to pass over. Now he rarely fist. He still tucks his thumb in once in awhile, but he always uses all four fingers for his grasping. If Leah doesn't fist I don't think the tape would help her. But it REALLY opened Sammy's hand up, increased his awareness and then now made his left hand a great supporter hand for him. He still struggles with fine motor skills, but I rarely have to prompt him to use his left hand as a supporter. I am diligent with stretching and massage BUT I think it is the taping that has helped him the most. He also does have hand splint, but it doesn't really help and he takes it right off. The tape he likes now because he is really into bandaids so he thinks he has an "Owie" and keeps it on. Good luck. Keep us posted. Again, I do think right now she is so focused on gross motor skills.

Amanda said...

Thanks Suzanne, I will speak to our OT this week and see what she says about it. Leah is still fisted but she's not overly tight. She has never had tight-ness to the point that I MUST strech her everyday. I do, but sometimes I feel like it's for my own good! I'd love something to help with the fisting, which in turn would most likely help with her grasp.

I will let you know what we decide to do!

Thanks! :)

Erin said...


Hey I was just going to suggest a basketball hoop, (little tikes has one) Sean LOVES his. We use the yoga ball too. He has to push it, lift it, and sometimes sits on it to put the ball in the hoop.

Another suggestion is a shopping cart, you can put heavy things it so she has to push it using both hands.

Also there is an OREO cookie game, google it. It is where you have to pull both sides of the cookie apart and there is a shape inside.

Also another thing is bye some string and big beads and she can string them on.

kara said...

Another toy I thought of is mega blocks, the ones that are like huge lego's. Addie is always trying to get them apart, she still needs some help but she gets that she needs to use both hands. Another thing is markers, like the color wonder ones that will only mark on special paper. Same principle with them, Addie loves to try to get the lids off by using both hands, she also connects them together end to end. Just some ideas!!

Popcorn House said...

I totally agree with Kara and Erin. Sammy is so into legos right now. We have the duplos, so a little smaller then the mega blocks. And markers are great, Sammy loves to take the lids off and then put them back on. We love the Oreo game too.

Kara great idea with connecting them together!!!

Amanda said...

Thanks guys!!

Erin--I know the Oreo game, but I think Leah is still a bit young for it.

Kara--I was talking to Leah's OT today about Mega Blocks, but again, I think they will be a tad to hard for her. I might pick some up though just to try! It won't hurt!! Also, in OT today she played with the colorwonder marker, holding the marker in her left hand and closing it with her right. It was great.

Suzanne-I talked to the OT about knesio taping Leah and she wasn't sold on the idea. She of course, said she would try whatever I wanted, but she is just so pleased where Leah is at and she pretty much told me to slow down! As far as taping she didn't think it would benefit Leah at this point, like I said before Leah is not tight, but still sometimes fisted. We've decided that instead of trying the tape at this point we are going to go with another bennick splint. This one will be a bit more elaborate so Leah can't get it off. She thinks we will get a better result with the splint right now, but is not opposed to re-visiting the taping idea at some point! Thanks for the ideas!!!

Barbara said...

We had some luck with Kineseo taping too. I really noticed that it helped him open his hand and get a good grip.

Some things that we've tried is putting a sock on his non-hemi hand and getting him to do stuff with his right. We used toys and then progressed to puffs. It worked really well for us. Kind of a modified form of constraint therapy.

We also used velcro fruit and vegetables. Some work better than others and at first we had to do a lot of hand over hand to help but he started doing it on his own quickly.

I'm sure you'll see a big difference with the constraint therapy.