02 February 2015

Dollar Tree Therapy

I bet you think I'm going to write about shopping.

That only proves
you don't know me very well.  
I'm not a happy shopper.
That is, unless I'm finding some great stuff 
in a thrift store.

Which goes back to Dollar Tree. 
In this store, everything is only one dollar.


physical therapy 
for my daughter who has balance issues and hypotonia (low muscle tone) 
and mild scoliosis (curvature of the spine).

Armed with the paper copies of what exercises she was supposed to do, and owning 
none of the expensive therapy equipment,

I went shopping.
(oops, guess I am writing about shopping after all)
At Dollar Tree.

I was able to find everything we needed that mimicked the exercises prescribed by the therapist.

These are the exercises Lainie does.

For balance: Toss a ball with someone while standing on one foot.

Strengthen core muscles: Balance hips on ball and do push ups keeping legs straight.
(we already had the ball, we could have used a low stool)

Balance, Core, Eye-Hand Coordination:  Reach for and toss small objects into a basket.

Gait, Arm Swing, and Balance: Jump in one place with alternating feet and hands, 15 times in succession.

Balance and Core Strength: Stand on one foot, place ring on foot with opposite hand, and use foot to place ring on post.
(or in this case, bracelets on a baby bottle full of dried beans)

Strength and muscle tone:  Jump over rope with both feet together.
(this one is nearly identical to the therapist's...jumprope and all)

Strength: Jump over tape forward, backwards, side to side, and in X pattern with both feet together.

Balance & Core Strengthening: Squat against wall and work on a puzzle.
(this one looks like a magic trick because the only wall available is this window)

Perhaps you have had to get creative with your home therapy program. 
This is what we came up with using what was available to us. 
I am sure I could have found things around the house that would have worked, for instance, today we couldn't find the jumprope so I held a mop handle out for her to jump over.

But, I wanted something new and fun and just for her.

These are not all of the exercises prescribed for her, but they are currently the most needed.
Lainie can get along pretty well without doing these exercises.  
She should  do them to improve her quality of life. 
She does not require weekly therapy sessions or visits from a home therapist.  She does, however, 
need to be reminded to do them....well, more than reminded.

Kinda like her mom, who "doesn't remember" to do her exercises either.

(okay, confession here... Mom isn't a good "reminder-er"
I bought those things and took the original photos over two years ago and they have had about the same amount of use from the grandkids as they have for the purpose which they were bought.)

Now that my conscience is clear, I will tell you why I took the photos in the first place. 
 It was not to write this blog post. 

These are visual reminders for Lainie. 
 She does not need to do every exercise every day.

I ordered these cards that can be mixed and matched on rings so that Lainie can change up her routine on a weekly or even daily basis.  Hopefully, these cards will keep us on track for a long time to come.

I'd love to hear about any adaptations you have made for your home therapy program.  


  1. I love these suggestions. Great ideas for 'brain breaks'! I think activities like these go a long way in terms of children being able to focus and not become too overwhelmed in learning. At many schools, children are stuck sitting all day long and kids need to move (adults do too!), to maximize our ability to learn without reaching burnout. I love the flexibility homeschooling provides when it comes to this sort of thing. Pinning these ideas!

    1. Thanks, Kristi. Once again, I did not consider alternative reasons for these exercises since my goal is just to get her to do her physical therapy exercises. I agree....a break every once in a while is a good thing. I used to send the kids outside to "run around the house" a few times.

  2. Wow! What a great mom and advocate for your child. I would never have thought of these dollar store items as a means of therapy. This is an impressive resource and sure to be helpful to others with similar needs.

  3. These are good ideas for exercises. I actually was looking at some of them wondering if I could do these myself. I take my hat off to you for being resourceful. Best of all, you are giving her a chance to mix up the exercises. Keeps the monotony at bay.

    1. Thanks, Mary. Some of the exercises given to her by the therapist are also movements in the Tai Chi for Arthritis that I'm learning....I mention the Tai Chi in Do Three Things...thanks again.