Raising a balanced, healthy, resilient child with an upper body limb difference

Information for therapists, parents, relatives, and friends to help your child with a hand or arm difference thrive

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Hello! My name is Laura Faye Clubok, and I have created this website to provide information, support, and suggestions for parents, relatives, and friends of children with hand differences. I am a registered and licensed occupational therapist (OTR/L) who also has a congenital hand difference. 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.

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 two years. My choice of career as an occupational therapist stemmed from my own experiences growing up with a thumb and four "nubbins" on my left hand. I hope that you find this site helpful, realistic, 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

Getting connected

People, organizations, books, gadgets, resources

Consultation, classes, private sessions, speaking engagements

Life Stages

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.

Early Years

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

School Age

Guest Column: From Daycare to Elementary School, by Laura Tofinchio, Shelton, CT

Teenage Years

Guest column: Middle School and High School & Learning Life Skills, by Laura Tofinchio, Shelton, CT

Topics

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Exercise

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

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.

Typing/Keyboarding

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

Writings

Stranger

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

Quotes

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

Let's connect

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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