The Importance of Strength Training in Children with Down Syndrome

Kal Stumpf OTD, OTR/L

January 2, 2019

Health & Wellness

Building core with Kore Stool

Individuals with Down syndrome can have 40-50% less strength than individuals without this syndrome. Many students have behavior related to this low tone and fatigue by flopping on the floor. I have found a simple intervention that can help decrease this cycle and strengthen postural control muscles…Kore stool.

In my school practice, I have noticed that many students with Down syndrome tend to lean on preschool tables or school desks and are not activating their postural muscles. This makes it very hard to stabilize their head and trunk and to develop graded control in their shoulders, elbows, and hand muscles in order to improve hand grasp and ultimately distal function. By having the child sit on a Kore Stool and use a slant board, core muscles are activated and school task performance improves.

Teachers often use the Kore stools for their whole preschool or elementary group to help all students and build inclusion! The Kore Stool’s bright colors, flexible heights, and easy portability make it perfect for preschool, elementary, and high school students. Even students with Down syndrome in transition programs or at work sites that require extended sitting benefit by sitting on a Kore stool. This position strengthens their proximal core muscles and ultimately improves their reach, hand grasp, and coordination for work tasks. Plus, the students gravitate to them because they are fun!

About the Author:

Kal Stumpf OTD, OTR/L

Kal Stumpf received her OTD at Thomas Jefferson University in 2014 with a specialty autism practice certification. She has worked for over 34 years as an occupational therapist in a variety of settings, primarily in schools though also in adult and pediatric rehabilitation in both clinic and hospital settings. Kal has both professional and personal experience in assisting caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s disease and other aging issues. In addition to her OTD, she earned a B.S. in Occupational Therapy in 1984 from Western Michigan University and an M.S. in Educational Psychology-Learning and Development in 1989 from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Kal currently works as both an occupational therapy instructor and as a school based therapist.

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