Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Zippers and Shoelaces

One morning we were headed out the door on the way to school and I became aware that neither of my children had their coats zipped. I know what you are thinking... "How can you not notice your child isn't zipping his coat on his own?" Well, maybe it's because our winter is colder than normal this year, or maybe it is because my boys WERE zipping their coats last school year and stopped for some reason. I vividly recall their paras at school telling me they were working on zipping. But, this year it just isn't happening. They do a great job once the zipper is in the slot and started, but getting it started, well that is another story.

I consulted my book Fine Motor Skills in Children with Down Syndrome. It says to have them sit and try to get the zipper started, or simply try any position that allows them to reach it. Bending over and looking past their bellies and the bulky coat seems to be the biggest obstacle. The book also notes that their are coats made with alternative fasteners for those that never master zippers. Tomorrow we will try sitting and see how the zipping goes.

Also, for those reading this that don't know "fine motor skills" are small movements usually done with the hands, these skills are worked on by occupational therapists. They are the opposite of "large motor skills" which usually have to do with the legs, running, kicking, biking, etc. These skills are worked on by "physical therapists." Kids with down syndrome should be getting therapy from each of these people weekly from the day they are born. It can help them throughout their life. In addition to the book listed above for fine motor skills, Woodbine house makes a large variety of books that cover life skills specifically for the needs of children with down syndrome.

As for shoes, I am happy they make velcro. My mother made us books as a child that allowed us to practice over and over tying, snapping, buttoning, etc. I have big plans to make one for the boys and we will see how that goes. But, like the zippers, shoe tying has a special needs alternative, which is of course velcro shoes.

We tried sitting to zip the coats sitting down today. Adrian had to much coat between him and his zipper. The chair didn't help. Blake didn't seem to understand that the zipper had to stay at the bottom until the other half was in place. He needs some practice.
Next goals:
1)Get Adrian a shorter coat (the one he has is too long to get a good look at the zipper.)
2)Help Blake practice with zippers.

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