Special Needs


My daughter was born with Schizencephaly, shes missing about 40 percent of her brain. Although shes doing very well she is still struggling because her hamstrings are so tight and she hardly even recognizes she has a right hand.

OT and PT have helped but I feel like everyone is stuck on how to help her use her right hand or be aware of it. Has anyone dealt with this kind of sensory issue if thats whats going on?? Does anyone have any suggestions or exercises that may help??


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Re: Sensory/Hypertonia

  • I modified the "itsy bitsy spider" song when Nate was a baby in order to use both arms and incorporate crossing his midline.

    Sing the song in front of her holding both hands.

    First, one arm is the spout and the other hand is the spider. The spider climbs up the spout arm. When the rain comes down I brush down the spider hand on the spout arm, and then brush the opposite hand down the other arm. When the sun comes out I cross both arms in front of the body and then make a big swoop up, out and around as if the arms are circling a big sun. Then the opposite hand is the spider and the opposite arm is the spout when the spider goes up the spout again.

    We also did a lot of things like putting a preferred toy on the weaker/less used side and holding the other arm so he had to reach using the hand we wanted him to find. I am sure you are already doing that though.... Our vision therapist also used pom-poms and sparkly stuff on a stick to work on his visual tracking. She would make him look more in the weaker side's direction. (Nate had/has torticollis)

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  • My boys don't have schizencepaly but their genetic mutation mimics it.  DS1 has his entire brain, but has SEVERE hypertonia and right sided tightness.

    His hamstrings were so tight that at 16 months he couldn't long sit.  We did one injection of Botox and that was a miracle.  I urge you to find a good physiatrist.  

    The one thing with DS1, is that for now we don't bother with forcing him to use his right hand.  He self feeds with his left only and is delayed in that.  So once he is a skilled self feeder we will start tieing his left hand back to force him to use his right hand.  This is something you could look into if she's ready for it. 

    To my boys:  I will love you for you Not for what you have done or what you will become I will love you for you I will give you the love The love that you never knew
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  • My daughter has hemiparesis (one sided weakness) and used to never use her right hand - she kept it in a fist and close to her chest.  After 15 months, she still favors the left but she's using the right a lot.  Her PT, OT and physiatrists all do what the previous posters mentioned - put all her toys to her right side, put all toys in her right hand (even when her left hand goes to grab it), songs like itsy bitsy spider and wheels on the bus, encourage clapping and peek-a-boo.  Massage therapy is very good too. We give her about 40 minutes of massage every day (2x, 20 minutes), concentrating on her right side.  Her one OT suggests using a "brush" lightly on her right side to give stimulation.  Water therapy helps too (bathtub and pool) - it's easier for them to move in water so we help her move her right side in water, back and forth. Good luck!!

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