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Advances in the stimulation of children with disabilities

Advances in the stimulation of children with disabilities


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Stimulation in children is always positive, but it is more important in children with disabilities since it facilitates the development of their sensory and intellectual capacities.

But how has this external stimulation changed over time? Those of us who have been around for a few decades now remember early stimulation rooms with a pleasant and soft welcome. Where there was only a mat, a roller, a huge ball and a toy to reach.

With few objects, the physiotherapist transported us to a world of dreams, where the swinging on the ball was our particular roller coaster, immersed in a small and great height for us that, without realizing it, facilitated a corporal expression, an advance in the movement induced by the roller and, of course, by our own desire to get to the toy. Primary objective for us as children, although secondary to rehabilitation, but which combined the will and power in the face of the development of new skills such as turning, crawling and, even, being able to do the clamp through the desire to reach the doll.

Back then, there were no stanchions, no electric walkers, no colored lights to relax us with music. Our walkers were four woods who resisted the tireless hustle and bustle of children who, whether it was crawling, kneeling or standing, did not resist the fun of racing, chasing each other and playing everyday games that, without being aware of it, helped us improve by creating new connections neuronal to optimize capacities, some damaged or slowed down by disability injuries. An innocent stimulation reinforced by a therapeutic pedagogy that induced us through playing in the sand to achieve more and more fine manipulation and, at the same time, favored our imagination.

A therapeutic pedagogy that remains today, changing the wooden walker for an electric one or a treadmill. The new advances and thanks to technology, allow stimulation to be worked in a more flexible and comprehensive way, combining the innate attraction methodology with new multi-stimulation methods thanks to virtuality. What used to be an early stimulation room now becomes a multisensory room, where there are many more stimuli that help the child's five senses work at the same time, which further facilitates the rehabilitation of physical and mental abilities, but without neglecting the stimulation pathway, which is individual and joint play.

The great advantage of these advances is the adaptability of stimulation tools, which some time ago was achieved only with homemade fixes. For example, access to a computer could be reduced to two switches or a keyboard cover, which allowed the child with spasticity not to make mistakes and to press several keys at the same time. Which is still in force but reinforced by the aforementioned advances, which facilitate this access to the computer through a look, a gesture, a voice or a breath. New adaptation tools that give access to stimulating learning in a personalized way, without leaving behind the innocent search of the child in the face of attractive stimuli.

Therefore, in my view, new technological advances increase the possibilities of participation for children with disabilities, not leaving aside the main objective of stimulation, which allows an improvement in skills. We just have to prevent the excess of new technologies, but like other children. Educating towards a responsible use of new tools, which in our case, in addition to having a pedagogical and therapeutic use, can favor the later autonomy of a child with physical disability.

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Video: Adaptive toys for kids with disabilities (May 2022).