5th Aug 2020 11:54:15 PM

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Children of Fire Stimulation Exercises

Anita Madacs, a Hungarian teacher with specialist training in working with disabled, blind and low vision children, has helped to devise a series of stimulation exercises to help Dorah mentally and physically. The purpose of the exercises was to stimulate Dorah’s brain and to try to cover some of the development that she has missed at key stages in her life due to hospitalisation, injury, or disability. The exercises take between forty-five minutes to an hour to complete. Even just attempting part of the exercises (due to the difficulty of obtaining some of the equipment) has shown benefits in Dorah now trying to speak more than even before.

1. Rotating

Adult holds Dorah off the ground but parallel to the adult. Rotate her ten times to the left and ten times to the right, the adult moving with Dorah.

2. Swinging

Dorah lies in a blanket and two adults swing her from side to side, to the accompaniment of a child’s nursery rhyme or song, played twice.

Hush-a-bye, baby, on the tree top,

When the wind blows, the cradle will rock,

When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,

Down will come baby, cradle and all.

3. Lifting

Still in the blanket, the adults lift Dorah up and down, for the duration of two children’s rhymes/songs

Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross,

To see a fine lady upon a white horse,

With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes

She shall have music wherever she goes.

4. Swinging

This time Dorah, still in the blanket, is swung in a movement aligned to the length of her body, for the duration of two children’s rhymes/songs.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells and cockle shells,

And pretty maids all in a row.

5. Rolling

Dorah lies with her arms above her head and rolls linearly over a blanket – ten rolls in and ten rolls out.

6. Tilting

This exercise requires a board made big enough for Dorah to lie on with most of her body, but propped up on her elbows, i.e. about the size of a coffee table top but with a rocker (as in a rocking chair). Tilting (imagine an axis going through the hips, perpendicular to the spine) back and forth (down at the front of the body/board, then down at the back of body/board), for the duration of children’s rhyme sung twice.

See, saw, Margery Daw,

Johnny shall have a new master;

He shall have but a penny a day,

Because he can’t work any faster.

7. Tilting

Still using the large rocking-board, but with the rocker placed perpendicular to its previous position, Dorah must tilt side to side, the imagined axis along the centre of her spine, for the duration of children’s song sung twice. She can lie nearly with her chin on her wrists, both elbows pointing out in opposite directions, in line with the movement of the exercise.

Bobby Shafto’s gone to sea,

Silver buckles at his knee;

He’ll come back and marry me,

Bonny Bobby Shafto.

Bobby Shafto’s fat and fair,

Combing down his yellow hair;

He’s my love for ever more,

Bonny Bobby Shafto.

8. Somersaults

Dorah should do ten forward somersaults, ending in a sitting position. She should keep her protective hat on during this exercise, which can be carried out on a blanket.

9. Springing

On a large physiotherapy ball (i.e. at least up to Dorah’s chest height), Dorah should lie on top of it and be bounced up and down to the accompaniment of two children’s songs.

The movement is up and down.

Hey diddle diddle,

The cat and the fiddle,

The cow jumped over the moon;

The little dog laughed

To see such sport

And the dish ran away with the spoon.

10. Rolling

On the same large physiotherapy ball, Dorah should be rolled back and forth, the movement in line with her spine, to the accompaniment of two children’s songs.

One, two, three, four, five,

Once I caught a fish alive,

Six, seven, eight, nine, ten,

Then I let it go again.

Why did you let it go?

Because it bit my sore toe so,

Which toe did it bite?

The little one on the right.

11. Tilting

On the same large physiotherapy ball, Dorah should be rolled side to side, to the accompaniment of two children’s songs.

Hot cross buns!

Hot cross buns!

One a penny, two a penny,

Hot cross buns!

If your daughters do not like them,

Give them to your sons;

But if you haven’t any of these pretty little elves

You cannot do better than eat them yourselves.

12. Propping up

On a squishy ball that has a diameter as long as Dorah’s wrist to armpit (i.e. bigger than a soccer ball), Dorah should move from kneeling with the ball in front of her to having her body stretched out straight, the ball under her stomach and supporting her weight. Then she should reach out to touch or push an object with her left “hand”, and then roll back on the ball, going back to the starting position, sitting on her heels. This should be repeated nine times using her left or right “hand”.

Taking (rather than touching or pushing) objects with one arm is very hard for Dorah unless e.g. they are plastic rings that her stumps fit into snugly, the friction taking the place of grip.

13. Lifting

Sitting on the lap of an adult, facing the other person, Dorah should be lifted with the adults knees, up and down, repeatedly to the accompaniment of two children’s songs.

Three blind mice, see how they run!

They all ran after the farmer’s wife,

Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,

Did you ever see such a thing in your life?

As three blind mice.

14. Tilting

Still sitting on the adult’s lap, Dorah should be tilted from side to side, repeatedly, to the accompaniment of two children’s songs.

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man,

Bake me a cake as fast as you can;

Pat it and prick it and mark it with D,

Put it in the oven for Dorah and me.

15. Backwards somersaults

Starting on the adult’s lap, Dorah should be helped into a backwards somersault with an element of the handstand in it as she must prop herself up with her hands as she goes backwards. This should be done ten times.

16. Pushing and pulling a short distance

Dorah must lie on her tummy on an oversize (specially made) skateboard. She can be flat but propped up on her elbows. She can be pulled back and forth for the duration of two children’s songs. (We tried to replicate some movements like this with a blanket on a well polished floor).

Oh where, oh where has my little dog gone?

Oh where oh where can he be?

With his ears cut short and his tail cut long,

Oh where, oh where is he?

17. Pushing and pulling a long distance

As in exercise 16 but over the length of a room, still to the songs.

Oranges and lemons,

Say the bells of St Clement’s,

You owe me five farthings,

Say the bells of St Martin’s,

When will you pay me?

Say the bells of Old Bailey.

When I grow rich,

Say the bells of Shoreditch.

When will that be?

Say the bells of Stepney.

I’m sure I don’t know,

Says the great bell at Bow.

Here comes a candle to light you to bed,

Here comes a chopper to chop of your head.

18. Pushing backwards

Lying on the “skateboard” Dorah can take an object from a basket and transport it backwards, pushing herself, and place it in a previously empty container.

The same process can be repeated in the other direction. This can be done to a song if wished but all children have their own speed so the song should not determine the length of the exercise.

Jack and Jill went up the hill

To fetch a pail of water

Jack fell down and broke his crown

And Jill came tumbling after.

Then up Jack got and home did trot

As fast as he could caper;

And went to be to mend his head

With vinegar and brown paper.

19. Rotating

An adult holds Dorah in their arms and rotates ten times to the left and then ten times to the right.

These exercises should be carried out four times a week for the first fortnight; then six times a week from weeks 3 to 6; then five times a week for weeks 7 to 8. They should be carried out 42 times in the first eight weeks before moving on to a new programme.

This material is Copyright The Dorah Mokoena Charitable Trust and/or Children of Fire , 1998-2020.
Distribution or re-transmission of this material, excluding the Schools' Guide, is expressly forbidden without prior permission of the Trust.
For further information, email firechildren@icon.co.za