A child who has a hand difference may not be able to perform some activities, such as tying shoelaces and cutting food, in the same way and at the same age that a child without a hand difference typically does.
This online resource has been developed with the help of Aussie Hands members who responded enthusiastically to a survey requesting information regarding their experiences. They told us about their self-care challenges and triumphs of independence. We are pleased to include their handy hints in this resource.
A consistent theme amongst members is that children with a hand difference can usually learn do what they need to do. However, there are some important things to consider:
- Motivation and opportunity to practice are important, because children learn from doing.
- Extra time (in months or years) and assistance may be required before a difficult task can be mastered. Typical developmental milestones do not always apply to children with a hand difference.
- A different method of performing the task may need to be found by problem solving.
- A simple gadget may be appropriate, particularly to assist older children perform more complex tasks.
Independence in daily tasks is an important goal for all children. Sometimes achieving independence will be a struggle but time, persistence and experimentation (using your own creativity and ideas) brings rewards.
In this resource we have included a few selected You Tube clips made by people around the world who have shared their tips and techniques for performing self-care tasks. There are many more to be explored.
We have also included links to the Independent Living Centre, Australia (ILCA) for information on selected devices/gadgets which can be useful for some tasks. The ILCA is a collective organisation with members in each Australian state and the ACT. The Independent Living Centre in your state can assist you by providing free, professional and independent information and advice about products and services.
If your child is having difficulty doing the things he or she wants to do, an Occupational Therapist may be able to help. Occupational Therapists can sometimes be accessed via kindergarten and school, community health centres and hospitals. The Association for Children with a Disability have complied a resource which is helpful for finding services; ‘Through the Maze’. Private occupational therapy services can be found via the Occupational Therapy Australia.