Raising a balanced, healthy, resilient child with an upper body limb difference
Information for parents, relatives, therapists, and friends to help your child with a hand or arm difference thrive into adulthood
Hello! My name is Laura Faye Clubok, and I have created this website to provide information, suggestions, and support for parents, relatives, and friends of children with hand and arm differences. Born with a thumb and four "nubbins" on my left hand, I earned my undergraduate degree at Harvard University and my master's degree in occupational therapy at the Boston School of Occupational Therapy at Tufts University. My choice of career as an occupational therapist stemmed from my experiences navigating life with my difference, and I am grateful and proud to be a registered and licensed occupational therapist (OTR/L).
In my private practice, On The Other Hand Therapy, I have worked with both children with physical, cognitive, and behavioral challenges and typically-developing children for the past twenty three years.
I hope that you find this site helpful, informative, and inspirational.
Creating a nurturing home
Validating feelings, promoting a "can do" attitude, working with your child's temperament and personality, talking to friends and relatives about your child's difference, encouraging conversations about being different, watching out for Ableism, advocating for your child at school
Building a strong, balanced body
Movement, exercise, strengthening, OT/PT services, prosthetics, other adaptations, avoiding overuse syndrome
Living a full life
Pursuing interests (sports, music, clubs, etc.), participating in religious groups, friendships
People, organizations, books, gadgets, resources
Do you have a unique situation that requires personal guidance? I'm here to help you find practical solutions for the challenges your little one might be facing so that everyone in your family thrives!
Please contact me for consultation, classes, private sessions, and speaking engagements
Pregnancy and Birth
Please know that you are NOT alone – in fact, you are in great company! You may be feeling a range of emotions, have a ton of questions, and need support. When you are ready, let’s delve into the issues you may be facing and explore next steps.
So much happens from birth to thrugh preschool! In this section, we will address your child’s adjustment to having a hand/arm difference, your child’s functional capacities, and some important additional considerations
Guest Column: From Daycare to Elementary School, by Laura Tofinchio, Shelton, CT
Guest column: Middle School and High School & Learning Life Skills, by Laura Tofinchio, Shelton, CT
Loads of children with hand/arm differences participate in athletics and sports. Playing a sport can improve self-confidence and self-image, provide a fantastic outlet for energy, strengthen the body, and be a great avenue for meeting peers. Depending on the nature of the hand/arm difference and the kind of sport the child has chosen, they may experience some special challenges when engaging in individual or team sports.
Occupational Therapy (OT) is a fabulous resource that can contribute in many ways to your child’s growth and development. Learn all about OT, what it can offer your child, and how to find a practioner who is knowledgeable about hand/arm/limb differences.
The Overachiever Trap
We delve into messaging that can be detrimental to the development of a child with a hand/arm/limb difference from the child’s perspective. People who did not grow up with a limb difference may not realize how this messaging can affect a child and what the alternatives are.
We delve into the factors that affect keyboarding for children with hand/arm differences, including strain to the “dominant” hand as well as incorporating the “affected” hand or arm. While ergonomics is important for everyone who types, it is even more important for children with hand/arm differences
Questions for the Physician/Specialist
Here are some questions that you may want to ask any specialist whom you consult about your child’s hand/arm development
Balanced and Nuanced Medical Advice
Medical providers can offer much more than rosy or doom-and-gloom predictions when they consult with families of babies with congenital hand/arm differences.
Before there were so many groups for people with limb differences, meeting someone else with a hand difference was a rare experience. This essay contains many of my thoughts and musings on meeting someone with a similar body
Hiding Hand/Arm Differences and Other Issues of Self Acceptance
Reflections on being asked about my difference and suggestions for practicing “scripts” with your child
What Happened to Your Hand?
In this reflection, I explore the question that I feared most in my life and how to ask it of someone else with a limb difference
A Debt Repaid
My childhood experiences receiving occupational therapy instilled a passion for my profession; as an adult, I marveled at the beauty of OT the first time I worked with a child with a similar hand difference
Graduate School Personal Statement
In my personal statement for my graduate school application, I explained how having OT as a child and later as a teen inspired my desire to pursue becoming an occupational therapist
Touching The Untouched
I wrote this poem to my (now) husband after we began dating. I dedicate this poem to all of the spouses and loved ones of people with physical differences who saw past the superficial to their partner’s inner being
A compendium of quotes found on this site
Letter to my Younger Self from my Current Self
I don’t know why my younger self was born with a little left hand, but I certainly have learned quite a few things about living this life that I wish I could have shared with a younger self
Letter to my Parents, Teachers, and Coaches from my Younger Self
Had I been able to articulate what support I needed as a child, here is what I would have requested of the adults in my life
We are so thrilled that you found us! Please let us know how we can help you on your journey parenting a child with a hand/arm difference
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