STAFF PICKS: Tech to Get Kids Moving

A nod to March as Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, and to Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day coming up on March 25. Missy Dafler, PT, DPT, C/NDT, CKTP, is a physical therapist in the Children’s Therapy Program at Easter Seals Greater Houston. Today, she shares her top tech choices for helping kids have fun while mastering physical movement.

  1. With rolling support (coaching small children in self-propelled movement, which begins with rolling over and then across), I use videos that let kids count along. Among my favorites are Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Chicka Chicka 1, 2, 3, and The Counting by Twos Song. (YouTube is a go-to for so many resources.) I stop the video after a chorus or two and say “Time to move!” Then the kid reaches and touches the screen to turn it back on.
  2. On the treadmill, Netflix and Disney+, as well as YouTube, are the best when it comes to finding videos to make the time pass quickly!
  3. For yoga, a lot of my kids love the Cosmic Yoga channel on YouTube.
  4. Part of physical therapy is dissociation, exercises that teach kids to move their hips, torsos, and heads as separate units. I like to do this as a “dance party,” using a video based on the kids’ favorite songs. We work on moving their hips around and side to side, separate from the trunk part of their bodies.
  5. During televisit sessions, my favorite function is the whiteboard (Zoom and Teams both have them). Makes it easier to clarify instructions (“kneel, sit, stand”) or let kids share different things they need.

Note: If your family has favorite videos/pages on YouTube or another internet channel, you can create shortcuts to access them via screen icons. The video below demonstrates how this works.

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