Elizabeth is taking a health and fitness class this semester at college (she is in the college program for those with special needs).  She really likes this class, I think because it is relate-able.  The information is very applicable to everyday life as well as the fact that they get to exercise for some of each class time.

She told me that one of her measurable goals (something that they worked on) is to lift weights 2 times a week for 20 minutes.

She has been doing this with one of her coach/buddies from the program ( the buddy/coach is a college student who helps Elizabeth and others in the program as they proceed throughout their days on campus…think of them as one of the supports in place to help Elizabeth be successful in her college world).

I asked her what she was doing and she told me. I was happy that the instructor was working with her and the others as well because typically these exercises can be challenging to her due to her weak core muscles.  Due to her low muscle tone, the ability for her to create and sustain a contraction is challenging. So sometimes she arches her back to get the weights in the air during a shoulder press ( holding the weights in your hands and placing them on your shoulder, and pushing the weights up in the air)  and this kind of compensating motion can cause injury, which of course we want to avoid.

Having a strong core is the starting point.

Core strength is so very important not only for the weight lifting I shared but for so many  more activities we all do during a day.  The “core” is made up of many different muscles that need to do work for us to move, exercise, lift things, be coordinated and have good balance.  The core holds you upright and strong so that our arms and legs can move and do things.

There are many ways to work on core strength for our special needs children.  With a great deal of time, Occupational therapists and Physical therapists can work with our children to do activities that strengthen the core, with follow up at home being so important.

With Elizabeth’s global dyspraxia and sensory processing disorder (SPD), the core muscle work was and still is challenging.

The sensory tool called the Disc ‘o’ Sit cushion can be a great option to use to build and strengthen your child’s core while they are sitting in a chair at home or at school.  It is an inflatable (can be done by mouth) cushion that is placed on any chair.  Sitting on the cushion works on your child’s balance and core as they sit.  The more air in the disc the more “work” it is to balance.

You can also put the Disc ‘o’ Sit on the floor to work on core strength as they sit and even do exercises on it like a form of a sit up.  There are pictures of exercises that can be done with the tactile cushion.

I know that anytime work can be “done” for our children it is great.  It is especially beneficial to do it when they are sitting down anyway.

Take a peek at our site to see more about the Disc o Sit, and perhaps it can be part of your sensory/motor tools for your child.

Our sensory cushion is red and has seen plenty of use!

I wish you a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti author of

I Believe In You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey

Emily’s Sister

Elizabeth Believes In Herself: The Special Journey Continues