Josh MacDonald uses a host of methods to help children move better, and he’s finding CrossFit is a great tool for a pediatric occupational therapist.
As a pediatric occupational therapist, I work with children with a wide variety of diagnoses, including autism, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy and developmental delay. While each diagnosis is unique, many share some common characteristics. Many of these children have movement disorders that stem from muscle weakness, sensory processing disorders and severely reduced muscular and cardiovascular endurance. The result is children who struggle to interact with their world independently and safely.
As an avid CrossFitter of almost two years, I quickly saw how a focus on quality functional movement patterns could benefit these kids on my caseload. I started dabbling in the use of some of the movement principles and simple workouts during my sessions. But I knew I needed more training and information if I was going to make the most of CrossFit at our clinic. I decided to go to a Level 1 Certification and the CrossFit Kids Certification to make sure I was using the right cues, movement progressions and workouts.
Attending these two certifications was well worth the time and price. I learned countless techniques and strategies, as well as the ability to adapt CrossFit for use with children. What I had to figure out for myself, however, was how to adapt all of that information to the special-needs population.