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Encouraging independence

Many everyday tasks, such as eating, dressing and going to the toilet are more difficult if you have only limited use of one hand. The children may need more help and take more time in these areas, and may need to have the tasks broken down into stages to help develop the necessary skills. At the same time, teachers and helpers should try to resist the temptation to do too much for the child: the aim should be to encourage independence.

Moving around

Although most children with hemiplegia have good mobility by the time they come to nursery, poor balance means that they fall over more easily, so care should be taken to avoid jostling in busy areas.


It helps if the child wears clothes that are easy to manage, e.g. jogging bottoms rather than dungarees, tops that go over the head rather than buttons or zips, shoes with Velcro rather than laces.

Eating and drinking

Trying to encourage children to be as two-handed as possible begins from the moment they start to feed themselves. It is important to reinforce this. Children need to be reminded to drink holding the beaker with both hands, and if eating with only one hand, to place the other hand flat on the table. A non-slip mat may help to anchor the plate.

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