Tips to Overcome Shyness | Pediatric Therapy Tv

In today’s Webisode, a pediatric social worker explains ways to help your child overcome shyness.  The following strategies are helpful if a child may have issues communicating with others and who is afraid of public.

In this video you will learn:

  • The natural approach to shyness
  • 3 Tips to overcome shyness
  • How to help a child understand shyness

Video Transcription:

Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide
audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV, where we provide experience and
innovation to maximize your child’s potential. Now your host, here’s Robyn.

Robyn: Hello and welcome to Pediatric Therapy TV. I’m your host, Robyn
Ackerman, and today I am sitting here with pediatric social
worker, Michelle Winterstein. Michelle, can you tell us what are
some three tips to overcome shyness?

Michelle: Yes, Robyn. Many children of all ages suffer from shyness. The
three tips that I would most recommend would be the first thing
is to identify what’s causing the shyness. By knowing the cause,
you can better determine what approach to take in helping your
child better get along with others.

The next thing would be exposure, exposure, exposure, whether
this be taking your child to the grocery store when you go or
family events. The more they’re exposed to, the better.

And the third most important thing I would suggest would be to
be a role model for your child. Show your child that you’re
comfortable interacting with people and that you know when it’s
needed to be assertive. Along with that, if you ever see your
child struggling or in need of some extra attention or a push,
be there to help your child.

Robyn: All right. Thank you so much. Those are some wonderful tips,
and thank you to our viewers. Remember, keep on blossoming.

Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of
mind to your family with the best in educational programming. To
subscribe to our broadcast, read our blogs, or learn more, visit
our website at LearnMore.me. That’s LearnMore.me.

“Love, 15, 30, 40, game”- Why Tennis is a Great Summertime Activity for Children of All Ages

Tennis provides an excellent opportunity for your child to get outside and practice a wide variety of skills, such as sportsmanship, turn-taking, eye contact, and ball skills.  Tennis is a great partner activity, as it can be played with one player on each side of the net (singles) or with two players on each side(doubles).  Similarly, players can be rotated out, which works on waiting and patience, if there are more than 4 children who want to play with one another.

How Tennis Improves Your Child’s Muscles, Motor Skills and Coordination:

  • Muscle tone: Tennis is a sport which requires constant quick muscle responses to move towards the ball. The child must stabilize her trunk and arm muscles to hold the racquet and hit the ball.Children at the tennis court
  • Hand-eye coordination: The player must keep her eyes on the ball (tracking the ball on the court) in order to keep the game going (a rally) and have the best chance of scoring points. Ideally, the player is able to throw and catch a ball consistently to have the greatest success, as playing a game of catch without the racquets is a prerequisite skill to maintaining a rally.
  • High energy: Tennis is physically demanding, as the player must be constantly moving during the tennis match to keep up with the ball and protect her side of the net. This requires the player to have a good amount of endurance, strength, and breathing control.
  • Muscle grading: The player must be able to determine the appropriate amount of force needed to hit the tennis ball when the ball is moving, in order to return the ball to the other side of the net. For instance, when serving the tennis ball to begin the game, the player will need more force to hit the ball a longer distance, as the server is required to stand behind the baseline (farthest back). On the other hand, when the player is rallying the ball, she may want to hit the ball softly, to place the ball in a spot which will be challenging for the opponent to get to.
  • Sensory: Tennis is usually played outdoors. Therefore, many sensory components are involved. For instance, the outdoor smells (e.g. grass, sunscreen, bug spray); the feel of the ball (e.g. fuzzy/rough; can get soggy/dirty/muddy if it falls into a puddle); and the environmental noises (e.g. insects, airplanes, others nearby, traffic). The player is required to take in all of these sensory components, while also staying focused on the task at hand.

Overall, tennis is a great sport for any age:

Tennis can provide both a cardiovascular and a strength workout, as the player must chase after the ball and protect her side of the net, while also stabilizing and manipulating her racquet.  Tennis is a perfect sport for families to play together, and an easy way to work on sportsmanship and social skills with same aged peers.  If you have any concerns about your child’s ball skills, hand-eye coordination, or bilateral skills, or any other skills mentioned above, please reach out to your child’s occupational therapist or physical therapist for further support and collaboration.

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Is My Child Getting Enough Protein?

Parents often tell me they are concerned that their infant, toddler, or child isn’t getting enough protein. Protein is critical for human growth, particularly during times of rapid growth- infancy and puberty. If your child is seemingly not eating enough protein, you may be concerned.

The good news is that kids can meet their daily protein needs more easily than you might think!

Infant Protein Needs:

Infants need more protein per kilogram of body weight than any other stage of life. However, breastmilk and infant formulas provide adequate protein, given that your child is taking enough volume. You will know that they are taking enough volume if they are growing within normal limits on the growth chart at pediatrician visits. Children eating protein foodsPreemies who need “catch-up growth” or infants who have special health care needs have especially high protein needs, and should be managed by a pediatric dietitian as well as their doctor.

When solids are introduced, offer a variety of pureed meats and/or beans at 8-9 months. You can make your own baby food by simmering meat in a crock pot (with enough water to cover it) for 8-12 hours or until very tender. Then once the meat has cooled, blend it in a food processor, adding liquid such as breastmilk, formula, or water as needed to make a smoother consistency. Infants over 8-9 months can also pick up and eat soft beans such as black beans. Make sure they are soft enough to mash easily in their mouth and watch closely for choking. You can mash them a little with a fork before putting them on their tray to make them easier to eat.

Toddler Protein Needs: 

Toddlers between the ages of 1 and 3 years need 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For example, if your child weighs 30 lbs, or about 14 kg, he or she needs about 16 grams of protein every day. Here is how your child can achieve this:

8 ounces, or 1 cup, of 2% milk has 8 grams of protein.
1 egg, prepared any way, has 7 grams of protein.

Your toddler practically met the entire day’s protein requirements in breakfast alone!

Adolescence Protein Needs:

During adolescence, kids need 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. So for example, a child who weighs 100 lbs needs about 45 grams of protein. Adolescents typically have a good appetite, so eating enough protein is usually not a problem. If your teen is skipping meals, restricting food, or losing weight suddenly, you should talk to your pediatrician or registered dietitian to make sure they get the nutrition they need.

Alternatives to meat that provide protein*

Cottage cheese – ¼ cup has 7 grams protein
Yogurt – ½ cup has about 5.5 grams protein
100% whole wheat bread – 1 slice has 5 grams protein
100% whole wheat pasta – ½ cup has about 4 grams protein
Quinoa – ½ cup has about 4 grams protein
Black beans – ¼ cup has 4 grams protein
Peanut butter – 1 tablespoon has 4 grams protein
Sunflower seed butter – 1 tablespoon has about 3 grams protein
Hummus – 1 tablespoon has about 1 gram of protein

*protein amounts may vary by brand

If you or your pediatrician have concerns about your child’s nutrition intake or growth, contact a pediatric registered dietitian for a nutrition assessment and recommendations. The dietitian can get your child back on track and help alleviate any stress you have as a parent regarding your child’s nutrition.

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Inclusion: How to Make it Work

What is Inclusion?

Inclusion has been a common school term for decades.  It is a philosophy and strategy in which students with special needs spend most or all of their time with non-disabled peers, rather than being educated in separate classrooms or schools.

When students are part of a full inclusion program, they receive additional academic assistance or instruction in the general education classroom, whenever possible. Happy child in school More commonly, though, schools provide education to the students in a variety of degrees from separated classrooms to mainstreaming (general education classes for less than half the day and usually for less academically rigorous classes such as PE, art, music, story time, etc), to inclusion, and determine the setting that would most likely help the students achieve their individualized educational goals.  Specialized services such as speech, OT, PT, and social work are provided outside the regular classroom, but can also be inclusive and have peers from the regular education classroom participate with them, when appropriate.

When I worked as a school social worker, I often created “friendship groups” where I would have three or four peers from the classroom join the child with special needs each week.  The regular education students would rotate from a list of all classmates whose parents gave consent.  Kids would beg to participate in these groups which often helped the regular education peers as much as the “targeted” student.  It was a positive experience for all because a trained professional facilitated the group as they navigated social skills, assertiveness training, and conflict resolution with small group instruction, role play, games, social stories, etc.  The peers from the regular education classroom had a fun time with their peer whom they thought could not keep up with them on the playground during recess and would often subsequently ask the child to join them.  I often recommend this type of group for children who have difficulty integrating with their peers.

Is Inclusion Right for Your Child?

Before deciding whether inclusion is right for your child, remember that schools are legislated to provide the least restrictive environment (LRE) for the child that will meet the child’s needs and Individualized Education Plan (IEP).  The child’s plan should indeed be individualized and always have the child’s best interest in mind.  A child with severe behavioral problems or severe sensory processing deficits may negatively impact the classroom setting within the regular education classroom and be disruptive, which would negatively impact the learning environment as well as friendships.  A child who is delayed in learning academic skills or who has behavioral or emotional struggles may need individualized instruction or small group instruction in order to make appropriate gains.  Placing that child strictly in a regular education classroom may create added anxiety for the child and may increase negative behaviors because of heightened stimulation in the larger regular education setting.  A child with these struggles may initially benefit from integrating with same-age peers in classes such as physical education, art, music, library, or computers with an aide present to help the child.

Best Practice for Inclusion Success

To obtain the optimal success rates of including the child within the regular education classroom, the school setting should provide:

  • tailored individualized education programs (IEPs)
  • adequate support and services for the student
  • diversity training and professional development for all educators working with the child
  • weekly planning times for all teachers on the child’s team to collaborate and create the optimal learning environment for the child and regular education peers
  • smaller class sizes, depending on the student’s special needs
  • training in cooperative learning, peer mentoring, and curriculum adaptation to address the child’s needs
  • funding to develop appropriate programs to continue to meet these needs
  • most importantly, ongoing communication with the child’s support team (educators, specialists, parents, and administrative officers) will provide the most appropriate programming to meet the child’s individualized academic, social, and behavioral needs.

To help your child with social skills, you will LOVE this blog about ipad and iphone apps for teaching social skills 

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When Friends Are A Bad Influence on Your Children | Pediatric Therapy Tv

In today’s webisode a Licensed Professional Counselor provides tips on what to do if our children are influenced badly outside of the home setting.

 In this video you will learn:

  • When a parent should discuss bad influences with the child
  • How to best approach the bad influence situation
  • What is the best way for the child to handle the situation

Video Transcription:

Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide
audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV, where we provide experience and
innovation to maximize your child’s potential. Now, your host, here’s
Robyn.

Robyn: Hello, and welcome to Pediatric Therapy TV. I’m your host Robyn
Ackerman, and today I’m standing here with Marnie Ehrenberg, a
licensed professional counselor. Marnie, can you give us some
advice on what to do when our children are hanging out with bad
influences?

Marnie: Sure. I think it’s a topic that comes up a lot across the age
groups, and I think it kind of depends on the age, but for older
kids, I think that your first step should not be to say, “You
can’t hang out with that person.” I think that that makes that
person really desirable. I think that talking to your kids about
how to make good decisions is really important, and as well as
reinforcing that you have your own family rules, and if another
person they want to hang out with doesn’t follow those kinds of
rules or jeopardizes that, that they need to learn how to say no
and how to end it.

I think giving them a chance to be able to make those decisions
on their own and see if they break any rules is important. And
then at that point, then you can decide if you’re at the point
where you’re going to forbid them to see somebody. But I think
it’s important to talk about how your family works and how other
families work and keep that integrity in your home.

Robyn: All right. Thank you so much, Marnie. And thank you to our
viewers, and remember, keep on blossoming.

Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of
mind to your family with the best in educational programming. To
subscribe to our broadcast, read our blogs, or learn more, visit
our website at LearnMore.me. That’s LearnMore.me.

What are the Advantages of My Child Receiving Therapy at School?

Whether for speech, occupational, behavioral, or physical therapy, there are countless advantages to choosing a less traditional course of treatment, outside the clinic and within the school system.

Children playing

  • Time is of the essence. In today’s society, the final ringing of the school bell rarely signals the end of the day. For many families, it may instead trigger a hustle and bustle of events blurred together with hopes that all extracurricular appointments may be kept and somehow managed flawlessly. Karate, girl scouts, therapy, chess club, soccer practice, and piano lessons are among the fun and engaging activities that will help your child develop physically, emotionally, and socially as he or she is learning and growing. One way to mitigate unnecessary stress, travel time, and planning is to check one of the activities off your child’s list before they even step out of school. Therapy sessions can conveniently take place during the school day, allowing more time after school for other activities, homework, and family time.
  • You may be able to receive insurance coverage for in-school therapy.
  • Increased opportunity for communication and collaboration. In-school therapy sessions allow the therapist to work with your child in his or her natural environment: the classroom. As a result, the therapist will have the ability to maintain an open dialogue with your child’s classroom teacher regarding your child’s real-life and directly applicable successes and challenges. Your child’s therapy session can therefore be more easily tailored to address specific issues that will in turn promote academic success.

With a new school year on the horizon, it may be a wonderful opportunity to explore the options your child may have to receive therapy in their school.

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What is the Difference Between Aspergers and Autism? | Pediatric Therapy Tv

In today’s Webisode, a pediatric neuropsychologist explains the difference between Aspergers and Autism.

In this video you will learn:

  • What are common symptoms of Aspergers and Autism
  • The main difference between Aspergers and Autism
  • What group Aspergers and Autism belong to

Video Transcription:

Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide
audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV, where we provide experience and
innovation to maximize your child’s potential. Now your host, here’s Robyn.

Robyn: Hello and welcome to Pediatric Therapy TV. I’m your host, Robyn
Ackerman.

Today I’m standing here with Dr. Greg Stasi, a pediatric
neuropsychologist. Greg, can you explain to our viewers what the
difference is between Aspergers and autism?

Greg: Sure. Aspergers and autism are both considered to be along the autism
spectrum. These are disorders with significant impairment in a
child’s social functioning, rigidity, and issues with
preoccupation or fixation on certain objects.

The main differential in a diagnostic formulation between autism
and Aspergers is that with Aspergers we have a child who has
normal language development, whereas in autism we have a child
who has significant impairments in their language development.

Robyn: Thank you so much for that explanation, and thank you to our
viewers for watching. And remember, keep on blossoming.

Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of
mind to your family with the best in educational programming. To
subscribe to our broadcast, read our blogs, or learn more, visit
our website at LearnMore.me. That’s LearnMore.me.

The More the Merrier- Why Having a Fieldwork Student is Beneficial for Your Child

NSPT strongly believes in taking on new fieldwork students in order to create a great learning environment for both the therapists and the families.  As a parent, you may be asking, “what’s in this process for me”?  Here is a list of 5 examples why having a fieldwork student working beside your child’s therapist serves as such a wonderful growth opportunity for everyone involved. Pediatric therapist smiling

  1. New knowledge:  Oftentimes, new editions of textbooks come out each year, which include new case studies and updated information.  When a student comes in, she is able to share this current knowledge, and apply it to the therapist’s caseload as appropriate.  Similarly, a student usually subscribes to research-based articles through her school, which can be a great resource for families (e.g. OT Practice Magazine; ASHA).
  2. Flexibility:  Having a fieldwork student helps your child work on his flexibility skills as he has to build a relationship with a new person, follow a new set of directions, and possibly follow a new layout for the treatment session.  Flexibility is an important life-long skill, as things won’t always go as your child  hopes or plans, and it is crucial to be able to work through these situations and say “no big deal”.
  3. Extra set of hands and eyes:  When an extra body is present, this allows for an extra set of hands and eyes to watch how the child moves around and interacts with the environment.   Having a student typically helps the child’s therapist try new equipment and/or more complicated treatment activities that she might not otherwise be able to use (e.g. the rainbow swing- one person needs to open up the swing, and one person needs to lift the child onto the swing).
  4. Fresh perspective on treatment ideas:  As a fieldwork supervisor, the therapist tries to challenge the fieldwork student to bring in new creative treatment ideas to the child’s therapy sessions each week.  This helps the child work through novel tasks and demands, and it also puts a new spin on how to help the child work towards his current goals.
  5. Extra practice for social skills:  Having a fieldwork student means that your child will have a new person to meet and greet.  This will help your child continue to work on eye contact, manners (e.g. shaking hands), and turn-taking (e.g. during games or when creating a plan/schedule for the session).

There are many benefits that come from allowing a student to complete her fieldwork rotation at NSPT, both for the clinicians and the clients.  A student can bring a new perspective to the table, and can offer new creative strategies  to help the child best reach his goals.

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If you have any questions or concerns regarding the process of taking on a fieldwork student, please feel free to reach out to your child’s current therapist, or contact anyone on our NSPT team.

Farmer’s Markets in the North Shore

It’s farmer’s market season! If you have ever tried farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, you know that you can taste the difference between them and those that are frozen, canned, or even sitting on produce stands in the grocery store. Going to a farmer’s market is a fun family activity that provides kids with a different way to experience fresh food. Often, farmer’s markets will have live music, arts and crafts, and of course, lots of tasty food to sample.

Mother at a Farmers Market location

I am often surprised at how affordable produce is at farmer’s markets. Taking just $20 out of the weekly food budget will buy a sack full of fruits and vegetables. My toddler loves coming to the farmer’s market with me. She can’t believe all the colorful fruits and vegetables within her reach.  I always let her choose one piece of fruit to munch on as we stroll along. I think there is something fascinating to kids about seeing all of that food outside on display under the sun, with so many people and kids and pets everywhere at the same time. It is really a great opportunity to get kids interested in fresh fruits and vegetables. The other perks are supporting local farmers, enjoying the community, and spending time having a healthy family outing.

Kids can learn so much about food and where it really comes from at a farmer’s market. I will never forget speaking to elementary schools with a basket of vegetables and quizzing kids on each one. Believe it or not, the kids often could not correctly identify a tomato, cauliflower, eggplant, and most surprisingly, a whole carrot with its leafy top. I realized that in today’s world, kids identify carrots as the little 2-inch long oblong orange things in a baggie. And they see tomatoes as ketchup or pizza sauce. And some never see cauliflower or eggplant at all.

Kids will grow up eating the kinds of foods they are exposed to and offered regularly. It is your choice as a parent what foods your kids are exposed to while they are in your care. Make trips to the farmer’s market a part of your summer routine. Maybe by fall, your kid will be asking for you to pack those fruits and veggies in their school lunch!

Some Farmer’s Markets in the North Shore Area:

Deerfield Farmer’s Market. Saturdays 7AM-12:30PM at Deerfield Road and Robert York Avenue.
Evanston Farmer’s Market. Saturdays 7:30AM-1PM at University Place and Oak Avenue.
Glenview Farmer’s Market. Saturdays 8AM-12PM at Wagner Farm, 1510 Wagner Road (Opens June 23rd).
Northfield Farmer’s Market. Saturdays 7:30AM-12PM on Happ Road across from New Trier’s freshman campus.
Ravinia Farmer’s Market. Wednesdays 7AM-1PM on Dean Avenue between Roger Williams and St. James Avenue.
Wilmette French Market. Saturdays 8AM-1PM at the Village Center.

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Anxiety Disorders in Children- What Are They and What to Do? | Pediatric Therapy Tv

In today’s Webisode, a pediatric social worker explains ways to determine if your child has an anxiety disorder.  You will walk away confident knowing there is help available for your child in the event your child experiences the disorder symptoms.

In this video you will learn:

  • How to tell if your child suffers from an anxiety disorder
  • What you can do to check the validity of the disorder
  • Best approach to take when determining an anxiety disorder

Video Transcription:

Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide
audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV, where we provide experience and
innovation to maximize your child’s potential. Now your host, here’s Robyn.

Robyn: Hello and welcome to Pediatric Therapy TV. I’m your host, Robyn
Ackerman.

Today I’m sitting here with Michelle Winterstein, a pediatric
social worker. Michelle, can you tell us what are some signs a
child may suffer from an anxiety disorder?

Michelle: Absolutely, Robyn. All children suffer from anxiety from time
to time. However, some signs to look out for that your child may
suffer from an anxiety disorder would be clinginess to parents,
panicking at the thought of meeting new people or going to new
places, stomachaches or headaches before school or frequent
trips to the nurse’s office, trouble sleeping or irritability.

What you really want to consider is whether this anxiety is
typical for your child’s age and is the anxiety pervasive. If
you’re ever in doubt as to the depth of your child’s anxiety
symptoms, don’t leave that decision up to yourself. It’s always
best to contact a medical professional.

Robyn: Thank you so much, Michelle.

Michelle: Thank you, Robyn.

Robyn: And thank you to our viewers. And remember, keep on blossoming.

Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of
mind to your family with the best in educational programming. To
subscribe to our broadcast, read our blogs, or learn more, visit
our website at LearnMore.me. That’s LearnMore.me.