By Marga Grey Marga Grey (M.Sc. OT)
This unique childhood development program has been developed over many years of clinical experiences with children who suffer from developmental delays and learning problems. Marga and Lindy have a combined experience of more than 45 years in working with children and their families, addressing the underlying issues of learning problems. Most of this experience was gained in different private practices, working with other occupational therapists, and in the public sector. Problem areas addressed in therapy sessions varied from mild problems with spelling and reading or other academic work to severe motor coordination problems. It also included children diagnosed on the autistic spectrum and children with severe developmental delays. The ages of children varied from infants as young as 6 months of age to teenagers and the occasional adult.
CoordiKids has been developed to meet the needs of families. We have seen how eager parents are doing what it takes to help their children. We have compiled, prepared and video recorded activities and exercises for parents and children to do at home in a fun way. Our combined experience in paediatric occupational therapy, exercise physiology, hand therapy, sensory integration techniques, and homework exercises for parents is the ideal background to ensure a program that meets the needs of the developing child and the busy parent.
Marga and Lindy have extensive experience in applying sensory integration techniques in children with a wide range of learning challenges, including diagnoses on the autistic spectrum, ADHD, concentration and perceptual problems. The positive outcomes that Linda and Marga have seen during many years of using the specialized techniques were most often related to the child’s improved performance l on the sensory – motor phase of development.
Parents have often been amazed by the positive changes in their children after a number of sessions in therapy. These include positive changes in gross motor skills, fine motor skills, in social interaction and in cognitive learning. The best results were obtained when parents were actively involved in daily programs of specific exercises to encourage optimal development.
The sensory-motor phase of development includes balance, the ability of the two sides of the body to work together in a coordinated way, muscle tone, skipping and jumping routines and the ability to plan movements effectively. These will all have an effect on the child’s gross motor skills and fine motor skills. It can affect social interaction with peers and academic learning.
To compile the program they have combined the activities used in therapy and those provided as “homework” and adapted these to the home environment. CoordiKids encourages optimal development and is not only for children with problems, but should be used to prevent problems in academic learning.
The program follows the natural and typical developmental patterns. This means that you can start from the beginning of the program and your child will benefit from all of the activities. If activities seem to be easy, it will improve skills to even above average performance. This will boost your child’s self-confidence. If your child struggles with an activity or looks clumsy during participation, you can repeat the fortnight’s activities until your child can do it with ease and with excellent coordination. You might even repeat to ensure that your child experiences success and enjoyment. By following the program in this way, you will enhance not only your child’s gross motor skills, and fine motor skills but also social interaction, self-confidence and cognitive learning.
At the end of the program your child should be confident in most movement activities, balance should be well developed, coordination in sport should be sound and the basic spatial and perceptual concepts should be developed well. In other words, your child should be ready for the challenges of the school environment. This includes a sound concept of left and right, spatial orientation, sequencing and motor planning.
A child might find all the activities mildly challenging at the start of each fortnight. However, as the child practices every day for a few minutes, skills improve and by the beginning of the next fortnight, the child will be ready for the next challenge. You will notice the difference in your child when he or she participates in activities of gross motor skills, e.g. sport. As your child progress through the different levels of the program, you will also notice an improvement in activities that rely on fine motor skills, e.g. cutting with scissors.
Another child might find most of the activities challenging and might take 4 – 6 weeks to move from one fortnight’s activities to the next. This is perfectly fine as long as you follow the sequential levels of the program. You’ll receive the activities fortnightly and you’ll have all available for 3 years.