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Striking activities.


Striking activities can provide a child who has a disability with greater hand/eye coordination, increased arm strength and improved dexterity. Striking an object is also a satisfying outlet for physical energy. The following are goals and exercises that parents can work on with their child in teaching striking skills.

The first goal is for your child to be able to touch a ball with his/her hand. This is achieved by the following seven steps:

(1) Place youngster in his/her most comfortable and functional position for using his/her hands.

(2) Provide physical support to youngster as needed to ensure maximum functioning.

(3) Give youngster the verbal cue: "Touch the ball."

(4) Place ball on tee as close to youngster's hand as possible. If youngster does not have a good range of motion, hold ball close to youngster in palm of hand.

(5) Encourage youngster to reach and touch ball by moving arm or extending fingers. If youngster cannot reach ball, provide assistance by gently grasping the youngster at his/her shoulder and elbow to move arm (and hand) toward the ball.

(6) After youngster touches ball, allow for 15 to 30 seconds rest and then repeat several times.

(7) Use balls of different colors and sizes.

The second goal is for your child to be able to push the ball of the tee using his/her hand. The next seven steps should be followed:

(1) Repeat steps 1 and 2 from previous directions.

(2) Give youngster the verbal cue: "Push the ball off the tee."

(3) Place tee adjacent to youngster within his/her range of motion and within visual sight.

(4) Encourage youngster to reach for and push ball off tee. Give youngster plenty of time to try and move his/her hand independently.

(5) If youngster cannot move his/her hand, provide assistance as in the previous group of steps.

(6) Once youngster knocks ball off tee, allow 15 to 30 second rest and then repeat several times.

(7) Use ball of different colors and sizes.

The last goal is for your child to be able to strike the ball off the tee. By following the final six steps, your child should be able to accomplish this:

(1) Place youngster in his/her most comfortable and functional position for using his/her arm.

(2) Give youngster the verbal cue: "Hit the ball off the tee."

(3) Place tee and ball in a position that is adjacent to participant and which allows for maximum accuracy and force.

(4) Encourage youngster to swing and hit ball as hard as possible. Allow him/her several swings before providing assistance.

(5) If youngster cannot hold stick, tape it to his/her hand or use a VELCRO[R] strap to secure it to youngster's hand.

(6) Once youngster strikes ball, allow 15 to 30 seconds rest and then repeat several times.


* Explore different positions for the participant both in and out of his/her chair in order to find the most comfortable position for reaching and/or striking an object.

* If youngster cannot use hands, explore other ways he/she might be able to strike an object, such as using a head stick or taping a stick to the youngster's arm or leg.

* Experiment with sticks of different sizes and weights and adjust placement and height of the tee to find out which is most suitable.

* Allow youngster to try all activities independently. If youngster does need assistance, provide only enough to allow him/her to perform that particular aspect of the skill (e.g., assist youngster in getting hand close to ball but then allow the youngster an opportunity to independently push ball off tee).

* Be extremely cautious and gentle when manipulating youngster. Do not move any of the youngster's joints or segments past their range of motion (stop when you feel resistance).

* Consult teacher or therapist before attempting to physically manipulate youngster to determine his/her ability to move hands as well as the range of motion.

This column has been adapted from The Special Olympics Motor Activities Training Program, which is designed for people with the most severe disabilities who do not yet possess the physical and/or behavioral skills necessary to participate in official Special Olympics sports.
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Title Annotation:physical fitness for children with disabilities
Publication:The Exceptional Parent
Article Type:column
Date:Oct 1, 1990
Previous Article:Parent to parent national survey.
Next Article:"I dream Deborah's coming home." Growing children, changing families.

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