Tag Archives: sports

Throw Like A Pro

By: Cassidy McCoy PT, DPT

Baseball season is back, and summer is almost here, so let’s get out and get playing. Since Chicago is now home to the World Series Champions, here are some pointers to get your kids throwing like the pros.

baseball blog
Initial Position

1. Face the side so your non-throwing arm is facing the target.

2. Using your elbow or fingertips, line yourself up so you are pointing directly at the middle of the target.

 

 

baseball blog 1The Throw

1. The Wind Up: Bring your throwing arm up so your elbow is bent at a 90 degree angle and is in line with your shoulder. The majority of your weight should be in your back foot.

2. Step forward with the leg opposite your throwing arm (toes pointed forwards) as you begin to bring your arm forward gradually shifting your weight into the front foot.

3. The Release: Should occur as your arm comes over your head, slightly higher then the forehead.

 

The Follow-Through (End Position)baseball blog 2

  1. The majority of your weight should be in your front foot, with the heel of your back foot, or the entire foot, lifted off the ground.
  2. Your arm should fully move diagonally across your trunk ending at the hip/leg opposite of the throwing arm, with your trunk rotated so your shoulder are facing forwards (towards the target).

Visit our website for a list of summer community based therapy programs such as Physical Therapy to work on the fundamentals of sports, emphasizing coordination, timing, physical fitness and fun! Click here for more info.

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Why Swimming is a Great Sport for Children and Adults with an Autism Spectrum Disorder

By: Bridget Hobbs, PT, DPT

Photo by Joann Hartley
Photo by Joann Hartley

With April being Autism Awareness Month, I wanted to shed some light on providing physical fitness to children and adults with autism spectrum disorders.  According to the newest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 68 US children have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.  As an aquatic therapy instructor, I have seen tremendous improvements in physical fitness level, behavior and survival skills in children with autism in the aquatic environment.  Here are some reasons why children and adults with autism thrive in the aquatic setting.

  • Swimming is a life-saving skill. Because children with autism have an increased rate of wandering off, drowning in a near-by lake or pool is a concern.  Swimming incorporates techniques such as floating and treading water so a child would be able to get out of a potential life-threatening situation.
  • Water provides an excellent sensory experience. The resistive and buoyant properties of water make it a very calming environment for children with autism.  Undesired behaviors are often reduced in the aquatic setting and children are more grounded by the water.  Even children that have aversions to textures such as grass and sand will likely feel more at peace in the water.

    Photo by Julie Hermes
    Photo by Julie Hermes
  • Swimming is an excellent aerobic activity. Children with autism are at a higher risk for obesity.  According to a report published in the July-August issue of American Pediatrics, at least one in every three children and adolescents with autism is overweight or obese.  Getting children moving is key, and if they are in an environment they can enjoy, such as the pool, the easier it is to motivate them to get their bodies working.
  • Because many children with autism have difficulty with motor planning and coordination, swimming is a great way for children with autism to work on activities such as: reciprocating both sides of the body, timing of breathing, core and extremity strengthening. These skills transfer well to land-based activities such as throwing, catching and running.
  • Swimming is social! Often times, jumping in the water or swimming the length of the pool can help induce talking in children that are limited verbally.  Kids can also learn a lot from watching each other and can encourage them to try a new skill in the water.

If a more structured swim team would be too much for your child, look into aquatic therapy. The physical and occupational therapy teams at Easter Seals provide aquatic therapy for children with special needs twice a week at local pools.  Please call Easter Seals at 630-620-4433 for more information.

References:

Broder-Fingert S. et al. Acad. Pediatr. 14, 408-414 (2014) PubMed

American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.aap.org

 For more information about Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley please visit EasterSealsDFVR.org.