Children with physical limitations have specific needs depending on their particular disability. Playmates are usually eager to assist the children with disabilities. While you need to applaud and encourage helping behaviours, a child with physical disabilities also needs encouragement to do as much as possible on his own. This may mean that tasks and chores could take a little more time, but self confidence and independence are fostered by encouragement and patience.
Characteristics (small motor):
- poorly developed hand or finger coordination
- difficulty in picking up small objects
- difficulty in drawing or writing
Characteristics (large motor):
- stumbles and trips frequently
- difficulty walking or running, jumping or climbing
- poor balance
- difficulty in bouncing, catching, or throwing balls
- may be unable to release objects voluntarily
What you can do:
- Provide heavy, stable furniture and equipment that are not easily knocked over.
- Avoid area rugs. Arrange furniture and equipment to allow for a wide aisle.
- Provide a safe place for walkers, crutches, or canes so that other children do not trip over them.
- Provide objects that can be used for grasping, holding, transferring, and releasing. Objects should be age appropriate. For example, a bean bag made from dinosaur fabric is much more appropriate for a 5-year-old than a rattle or baby toy.
- Work with parents to find comfortable ways for a child to sit. A corner with two walls for support, a chair with a seat belt, or a wheel chair with a large tray across the arms is three possibilities that might work well.
- Make objects more steady. For instance, secure paper, mixing bowls or wood blocks to the table or floor with tape so that they remain secure as the child paints, draws, stirs, or hammers.
- Provide materials of different textures such as play dough, fabric swatches, ribbon, corrugated cardboard, and sandpaper to encourage the sense of touch.
- Plan activities to encourage exercise and movement of all body parts. Work with parents and specialists to give special exercises for the child depending on her needs.