You’re nearing the end of your NAPA intensive and are likely wishing it wasn’t coming to an end. You might be wondering, how can I continue all this awesome progress I’ve seen my child doing at home?
Your best tool is your home exercise program!
The last few days of the intensive you’ll spend going over your child’s home program. Try these tips while you’re still at NAPA to help make your home exercises successful:
- Practice doing them yourself! Make sure you get your hands on your child practicing each of the exercises. The way a therapist holds your child may look different than it actually feels to do it. For CME, have the therapist hold your wrist with the amount of pressure they hold your child so you can replicate.
- Take lots of notes, videos, photos. I like to keep a spreadsheet with all the exercises for my son. This includes where to hold and info from his therapists on how to advance the exercises when he gets stronger. This is helpful to keep the program relevant in between intensives. For CME, I take pictures showing the full setup so I know how to rebuild at home. These can be complicated to reproduce without details.
- Ask lots of questions. If there’s something you don’t understand about an exercise – ask! You may be explaining these to a therapist back home, so it’s helpful to have variations of equipment you might use for a similar effect too.
If you haven’t already been doing exercises at home with your child, it may be a tricky transition to make. My son and I love doing our exercises together but this wasn’t always the case. It took a little while to adjust to doing exercises with mom, but we figured it out together, and now it’s something we both enjoy. Don’t give up! You’ll build up to longer sessions.
Some things we’ve done to help establish our home exercise program:
- Consistency: Find time most days to do exercises. Even if it’s just five minutes one day, it will help your child get used to working with mom or dad and establish that this is something you’ll be doing together daily.
- Rewards: Use whatever is motivational for your child to reinforce that doing exercises together is a positive experience. When we first started it was lots of video. Then, over time, we were able to move away from video to food rewards or earning stickers for a sticker chart. We even did quarters for his piggy bank for short while!
- Sharing: Show the therapists you work with at home some of your child’s new exercises so they can incorporate them into their sessions.
I hope this helps you get your home exercise program up and running! Carrying over exercises from his intensives has been one of the best things we’ve done to continue his progress. It’s worth it. Good luck and have fun!
By Leslie Fish
Leslie is a NAPA mom who is as experienced in intensive therapy as one can get; making her the perfect person to highlight home program best practices. We love seeing the progress her son Winston makes from incorporating NAPA exercises at home.