Therapies and Support for Schoolchildren
Whether the child with PWS between the ages of 6 and 12 needs physiotherapeutic support to treat foot malpositions or postural deformities depends, among other things, on the findings of an orthopaedist. Many people with PWS have a mild to severe scoliosis – a lateral curvature of the spine with simultaneous twisting of the vertebrae. In order to maintain body balance, the spine forms an S-shape. The orthopaedist determines the extent of this curvature by calculating the so-called Cobb angle.
For the treatment of scoliosis, medical posture exercises, for example, are very beneficial. Psychomotor skills are also suitable for improving general muscle weakness, motor clumsiness and listlessness. Suitable psychomotoric groups offer support facilities or sports clubs.
If you are looking for sports suitable for PWS, such as judo and swimming, you will find what you are looking for in local sports clubs. These often also offer integrative groups or groups for disabled people only. Special providers for activities such as horse-riding and donkey trekking can be found on the Internet. The joy of exercise should always be the main focus, because children with PWS have less muscle mass than their peers and have to exert themselves almost twice as much to achieve comparable results. Therefore, fast team sports, in which competition often creates pressure to perform, may not be suitable for children with PWS. Even trampolining is not beneficial for every child. In general, it improves tonus activity, but can lead to accidents in children who are too weak or overstrained.
People with PWS often have a high level of communicative competence and are happy to communicate, despite some very pronounced language problems. While the language level of most children with PWS aged 5 – 7 years adapts to their level of intellectual development, some suffer from a speech impairment that can be very severe. If children cannot speak at all, they suffer from glosso-labial dyspraxia. The speech therapist works with them to develop, among other things, noise-accompanying gestures, which must be taught to the child as well as the parents. A standard work on this subject is the book “Lesen lernen mit Hand und Fuß” (“Learning to read with hands and feet”), published by the Persen-Verlag.
Speech therapy can also improve the short-term memory of children with PWS.
The Werscherberg Rehabilitation Clinic near Osnabrück, for example, offers help with almost all communication disorders among children and adolescents. Using a holistic multi–dimensional therapy approach, the clinic treats language development disorders and disabilities as part of intensive inpatient therapy. The combination of language and movement makes this therapy ideal for children and adolescents with PWS.