As I mentioned before in one of my entries about Daily Routine, conductors always start every activity from a corrected (orthofunctional -PDF) position. Usually they start all the programs from a sitting position (also before the lying program the starting position for the children is to sit on a stool behind the plinths). I would like to explain what the correct (orthofunctional) sitting position means.
Conductors start any kind of activities with greeting the children (make attention) and also sometimes we ask them to greet each other (preparing them for socialization). Then they correct the sitting position and start the breathing tasks (different kind of exercises to learn the proper breathing, practice expressions, develop the speech muscles…) After the breathing tasks they usually sing a song and start the programs.
Special tools are needed for the orthofunctional sitting position. First of all a proper chair to sit on. It is very important to put the children’s feet on the floor (if there isn’t a proper chair, conductors use appropriate sized foot rests under the children’s feet).
If the children’s knees are strongly together, conductors put a ball between the knees to keep them apart and parallel. If these turn outward they could use different kind of side supports on both sides of the stool to keep the knees together.
Sometimes the children have difficulties to stretch their elbows out so they get arm splints to keep the elbows straight and vertical or horizontal bars on the table in front of them to hold on it. All those things help children reach and keep the orthofunctional sitting position in which they feel safe.
The features of the orthofunctional sitting position are first of all that the children’s feet are flat, their knees are apart or together (it depends on the children’s diagnosis. For example the knees of the children with Quadriplegia or Diplegia usually are turning inward because of the spastic muscle tone so for them it is really important to take the knees apart all the time to prevent the contractures in their knees and hips). They need to keep their back straight as well meaning they keep their trunk and shoulders in the middle. Attention should be paid to the head to keep it above and in the middle (children with Cerebral Palsy usually have problems with lifting the head up or keep it in the middle so conductors in all tasks series give them head and neck exercises). Last but not least the children need to keep their both hands straight there on the table or on their knees if they sit on a stool (elbows and fingers are straight).