Here are some things that I did with my son that were helpful for him. I understand that every child is different and not everything will work for everyone, but I am hopeful that your child will benefit from some of these things as well.
How To Build Parallel Bars
Materials needed: (for 72″ in overall length)
- 4- 10ft pieces of 3/4 inch 40 PVC conduit ($6.47 each CAD)
- 10-PVC 90degree 3/4″ elbows ($1.10 each CAD)
- 8- PVC Tees 3/4″ ($1.14 each CAD)
- 12-feet of 3/4″ wooden dowel inserted into the upper PVC railing to give more rigidity to the top bars
- 1- can of PVC cement ($6.20 CAD)
- Get a measure of the width of your child with his/her arms outstretched at the natural angle needed to comfortably hold onto the upper railing.
- Also you will need to establish the height of the upper railing based on the height of your child and the distance from the floor his /her hands need to be to rest on the upper railing. In the case of 2 year old Oscar, the width between the bars was 13 1/2 “ and the height of the top railing was 16“ from the floor.
- Using a hack saw, metre saw, or whatever saw you might have, cut the PVC conduit into 8 three (3) foot sections.
- Cut an additional 2 sections of 3/4 “ PVC conduit measuring in this case 13 1/2 “ ( or your child’s width measurement ).
- Cut 6 sections of 3/4 “ PVC conduit measuring in this case 16” ( or your child’s height measurement ).
- Cut an additional 6 more 3/4” PVC pieces from the remaining conduit to provide for wider base support ( in our case the remaining conduit allowed for these pieces to be about 6-8” each ).
- Using the 3/4” wooden dowel, cut 2 6 foot sections. These will be inserted into the upper conduit rails for added rigidity and support.
- We purchased dollar store motivators that could be permanently or adjustably attached to the upper railing.
- Use the pictures attached below to build your custom parallel bars, using the PVC cement to secure the joints. If you want to be able to take the bars apart into two less cumbersome sections, you can simply not glue in the 13 1/2 “ cross pieces in Oscar’s parallel bars.
Physiotherapy Space Set up: I can’t take credit for this. This was recommended by a blind low vision therapist that did an assessment on Oscar. Fortunately to-date Oscar doesn’t have any visual deficits, but because of his diagnosis he is at an increased risk and does follow up annually with an ophthalmologist. Anyways, she recommended that we use a single color surface if possible to do his therapy. Most of the baby blankets and activity mats have so many different colors and it can be quite distracting. Her thinking was that if we could minimize the visual distractions then maybe he would be motivated to reach and eventually move towards a toy. My parents brought us a black blanket with a black tri-fold poster board and we would only use a couple of toys on the mat to minimize distraction and hopefully increase his ability to focus. I really think this helped! The picture below doesn’t include the poster board, but I do think the poster board is helpful, especially if your therapy space is in a room with a lot of decor.
Black Tri-Fold Poster Board ($17.99)
Black Throw Blanket ($14.97)
Baby Einstein Glow and Discover Light Bar ($29.98)This was one of the best toys that I purchased for my son. He uses it everyday for his therapy and as you can see from the pictures below, he used it to encourage tummy time, sitting, kneeling, pulling to stand, standing and now for walking along furniture. This toy does have flashing lights so if your child is has seizures that are set off by light, I wouldn’t recommend it. For us it worked great!