Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Discover Ways to Make Therapy Fun

There are definitely times when therapy for your
baby or child that has Agenesis of the Corpus
Callosum is hard work and it will probably
require certain movements and repetitions to be
worked on and practiced with your baby or child
based on your child’s physical therapist’s,
occupational therapist’s or speech therapist’s
instructions and advice.

With that being said, therapy does not always have to be all hard work and no fun though.

Look for and be aware of ways that you can incorporate ‘therapy’ into play time without either one of you feeling like it’s therapy. In fact, you’re probably already doing wonderful things with your baby or child that are actually helping them and building their strength without even realizing it.

In my own experience with my child, Matthew, who
has Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum, it IS possible
to accomplish a lot of good if you are able to
combine an activity that your child enjoys and slip
in an element of ‘therapy’ without either of you
knowing because it’s so much fun and you’re both
enjoying the playful activity so much.

Here are a few examples of what I did with my own
child who has ACC:

When Matthew was very little I would take him to the mall. I discovered that he really liked to throw pennies and coins into a big fountain. I would help him to the low rock wall area that surrounded the fountain and then place a few coins on the slate rock surface. Because Matthew was motivated and wanted to get to the coin and then throw the coin in the fountain he would try and try to pick up the coin and this play was actually therapy as it encouraged Matthew to use his pincer grasp and additionally helped him to learn to toss, drop and throw that coin into the fountain. Of course, the quarters were the easiest for him to pick up. It was wonderful to watch him and fun. I was so excited about it that when I ran out of little coins I would gladly give him all my quarters and empty my purse of change just to watch him having fun. He loved it, I loved it and there was an element of therapy taking place without being forced on him.

Another thing I did with Matthew was to take him to an indoor play structure. You know the kind…the ones with all those padded climbing mats, bouncy stations, cushioned slides and tunnels to crawl or scoot through. I always tried to take him when it was not crowded though so he wouldn’t get trampled on by all the other active and often times bigger kids playing and I always stayed right with him. It was a great place to help him with large motor activities. I would position him on his tummy sometimes or on his hands and knees and have him move up a padded hill to get to the top (with my help and guidance) and I put my hand on his bottom so as not to let him slip back down after all that hard work to move up just a little tiny bit. I would put him inside the tunnels and encourage him to continue to move through the tunnel by whatever means he was able to do so. I would take him into the really bouncy trampoline-like house and help him to try to use his legs to move and bounce. All of it was fun and all of it was work too but it didn’t seem like work because it was so much fun.

So keep in mind (when you feel like you’re not doing enough therapy) that you’re probably really doing a lot more therapy-related activities than you realize or give yourself credit for and be on the look-out for finding those motivational, fun-filled ways that you and your baby, child or your grandchild can have fun doing.

There is a time for therapy and a time for experiencing special time with your baby in the most natural and beautiful mommy/baby way. Don’t feel guilty when you are having your special time with your baby. Allow them to be a baby and experience all that comes with being a baby and learning and by all means enjoy that time.

Time with your baby is very precious. Finding that balance between therapy time and time for play and enjoying your relationship with your baby isn’t always easy when you have a child with Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum but it IS possible to do if you trust your inner voice and do what you know is best for your own baby, yourself and your family.

Remember your baby or child may have Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum but they are still a baby and your baby deserves to experience all of the wonderful things that a baby needs in order to thrive, learn and grow into the very special and unique person that God created and designed them to be.

Your input is meaningful, helpful and valued by readers. I’m just one mom offering my own thoughts based on my personal experience with my own child who has ACC. Each one of you has unique and wonderful information of your own to offer so go ahead and click on “comments” and share your own thoughts, ideas, stories and maybe even something that you have found to make therapy more fun for your baby or child and you.

graphic courtesy of http://christart.com/


  1. Sandie thanks for your insight on making therapy fun. I know that when we first brought Joel home from the hospital it was easy to think of him as "delicate" and fragile and he was so "good" never fussy, sleeping through the night at five weeks etc that it was easy to "coddle" him.

    He hated belly time so we didn't push it, but when we did start pushing the belly time and turning his head to the left instead of to his preferred right the flat spot on his head evened out LOL!

    Now Joel spends lots of time on his belly and gets to his toys all over the living room not just those that are placed near him.

    We're also working on getting his hands to the middle, he'll try to hold his bottle and he'll pass toys from hand to hand but according to the therapist he should have lost that "superman" thing where his arms are thrown back by now. He's also still a little difficult to hold in one arm and carry, he doesn't want to hold onto your arm and he pitches himself somewhat forward so we're working on that too.

    What you said about sitting and throwing himself back hit home also, Joel does that all the time and he wont catch himself when he begins to fall to the side so we're trying to teach him to put his hands down to catch himself.

    Sorry for the lengthy comment, it's nice to have someone to share and compare with even though your Mathew is a teen and our Joel is a baby!

  2. Hi Sandie,
    Just finished reading all of your blogs, you have some amazing input. You already know this but will put it for others like Trecia to read... my daughter, Brianna, is now 20 months old and was diagnosed with C-ACC at 5 1/2 months of age. She recently started to master sitting at 19months old, I sent you a picture Sandie. Brianna receives physical and child stimulation therapies 2x a week each at home and will be going to an outside therapy center once a week soon. We are working on crawling because she does the combat crawling that Trecia mentioned Joel does...

    Sometimes I do feel like I don't do enough therapy and sometimes I feel like therapy-play is all I do with her... What i started doing is always using toys for therapy-play when I put her in a crawling position I put a toy infont of her and help her reach to it while moving her legs in the crawling position, when I help her roll I will crawl myself from one side of the room to the other and have her "chase" me and when our puppy joins or her big sister that makes it sooo much fun. We also try to stimulate her leg muscles so we "break" the rules a little and her big sister will jump on the bed while I hold Brianna under her armpits and she tries to imitate her sister by jumping on the bed... while working her legs out YEAH! I love the blogs, talk to you soon Sandie!

    Araceli, mother of Brianna with C-ACC, GERD, G-Tube, Obstructive and Central Apnea, ALTE, 20 months and a 8-10 month developmental level

  3. Trecia,

    Thank you for your input and for sharing about your grandson, Joel, and his accomplishments.

    You don't ever have to be sorry for commenting and expressing what you want to say and for saying as much as you desire to say. It's fine. In fact, it's great! I welcome it and I believe that what you share will, in turn, help other readers who connect and relate to something you share.

    Matthew, my child with ACC, also did NOT like tummy time. It's great that Joel is not only spending time on his belly now but that he can get to toys that are out of his reach. Progress is a wonderful thing. Sometimes it comes VERY slowly but OH the joy when it comes. :)

    Once Matthew learned to sit up independently he did more of the get tired and want to 'lean against me' if I was sitting closely enough behind him rather than throwing himself back like Joel is doing. Matthew also did not have the ability to catch himself by putting his hand out if he was falling to the side like Joel is experiencing. I remember that and it took a lot of repetition to teach him to learn to use his arm/hand to catch himself and did I mention that it took A LOT OF REPETITION? lol Joel will figure it out and it will become easier and much more natural for him to use his arm and catch himself from falling over to the side. ;)


  4. Hi Araceli,

    Thank you for your very nice comment and for taking the time to read the ACC Blog.

    Thank you also for commenting and sharing about your daughter, Brianna, and her therapies, your own feelings and for sharing how you make therapy-play fun. I loved reading what you wrote and how you will "break" the rules and allow jumping on the bed. I can just picture it from your words. Motivation and fun, giggles, dogs joining in, big sisters in the picture and big smiles all the way around.

    Speaking of smiles and pictures...I got the picture you sent of Brianna sitting up ALL BY HERSELF!! :) She is adorable and that picture is priceless. I'm so happy for her and so thrilled to SEE her sitting up on her own and you must be ecstatic!!! :) Thank you for sharing the picture with me.

    Thanks again for sharing all your input.


  5. Hi , My daughter is now 7 months old and was diagnosed at 13 weeks with CACC, She also suffers from infantile spasms, Epilepsy and has little or no sight as we know at the mo although there is nothing pysically wrong with her eyes the brain is just not registering. She also has very low muscle tone and her brain did not develop as it should and is a lot smaller than it should be. She is the stongest little angel and brings so much joy to my family. She has two big sisters and a big brother to keep her interested on everything going on around her, and has the most beautiful smile. Erins dad looks after her every day when im at work and it kills me to leave her but the bond between them is adorable and she is defo a daddys girl lol!!!! My worries and concerns constantly eat at my insides and i take each day as it comes, every little thing erin does is magical and a fantastic achievement for her. We have just got her an adjustable seat called a 'Bee' Which will help her interact more at our level as she gets bigger (which she is breaks my back in the bath lol)Unfortunatley her legs are beginning to stiffen and i was told this is spasticity starting so i am unsure if she will ever walk, my heart breaks for her but she has never cried never winged and is always such a happy soul and she deals with it so , so do we :).

    I enjoy very much being able to talk to other parents about this and have learned an awful lot from everyone i speak to, much more than from the docs lol!!!! i love hearing about the other kids achievements and news it gives me great hope for erin. Whatever happens she will always be our angel and we will do everything for her to have a great life. unfortunately i could not download a pic of her for some reason google would not let me which is a shame because you all would see why she makes me smile everyday. Thanks being here to let us vent and i will certainly be putting some input in from time to time. xx Sabrina mum to Erin 7months Kayleigh 12 shannon 5 nearly 6 in 9 days lol she keeps telling me and liam 4.

  6. Sabrina,

    Thank you so much for your input and for taking the time to tell us about your little girl, Erin.

    Thank you also for sharing your heartfelt feelings and for being so open and willing to express them.

    Despite the struggles you, your family and Erin face, you have a very positive spirit that shines through in your words that is truly beautiful. :)

    I love how Erin is "such a happy soul".

    My own child, Matthew, who struggles with his own issues, is also a very happy boy who doesn't complain, laughs often and simply enjoys each day.

    I look forward to hearing more from you.

    Thank you again for your insightful comments.



I am very interested in reading your comments and
look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.