The school year is in winding down and classes are becoming less structured on lessons and more focused on summer, end-of-the-year parties, and outdoor days. This time can be very exciting and fun, however it may also feel chaotic, unpredictable, and even sad for some children; children who are uncomfortable with change, children who have had a very successful school year and may anticipate a new school year with upsets, and children who may be switching schools for varying reasons.
The following are tips to help prepare your child for the inevitable end-of-the-school-year:
Let your child know that it is OKAY that he/she feels this way, and that you understand. Normalizing and validating their feelings about the uncertain time ahead will hopefully take away any additional unpleasant emotions they are feeling, such as embarrassed or ashamed of themselves for Read more
https://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.png00Jaclyn Harrishttps://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngJaclyn Harris2013-05-22 10:15:512019-12-20 18:42:21How To Avoid Anxiety As School Ends
Some children may walk on their toes nearly 100% for no apparent reason. This is known as idiopathic (the reason for it is unknown) toe walking. Idiopathic toe walking may result in muscle shortening in the calf muscles. In turn, it will continue to promote toe walking. Many cases of toe walking require intervention from a professional; however there are still some things at home that you can do in order to help decrease the frequency of toe walking. One such thing is the type of shoe you purchase for your child.
Below is a list of shoes that can help reduce your child’s desire to walk on his or her toes:
Flat shoes: Avoid putting your child in wedge shoes or shoes with any sort of heel. These types of shoes place the foot in a position where the calf muscles are in a shortened position, which can result in them becoming tighter and facilitate more toe walking.
Squeaky shoes: There are some footwear brands that design shoes with squeakers in the heels. Every time your child walks down on their heels, they will hear the squeak. These shoes can be a lot of fun for kids (although they may not be as much fun for parents!).
Shoes with high backs: There are some gym shoes that are designed to have a higher backing compared to other shoes. If a child is wearing these shoes and is walking on his or her toes, the shoe back will press up against the Achilles tendon, which can be uncomfortable for the child. Since these shoes make it uncomfortable for a child to toe walk, these shoes help facilitate walking on flat feet.
Light up shoes: Shoes that light up often have the lights towards the back of the shoe by the heel. If a child appropriately walks with feet flat on the ground, the lights will light up more than if the child walks up on toes.
While all of these options can be helpful in discouraging toe walking, your child may continue to walk on his or her toes. If your child toe walks the majority of the time and is over 2 years old, it would be beneficial to speak with your pediatrician and physical therapist to determine if further intervention is needed.
https://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.png00Colleen Kearnshttps://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngColleen Kearns2013-05-17 11:06:222014-04-21 18:38:28Types of Shoes that Will Discourage Toe Walking
Taking a flight with kids is hard enough! Flying with a child with Sensory Integration takes special planning! Sensory Processing Disorder/Sensory Integration (SPD) occurs when the nervous system has difficulty regulating, processing, and interpreting information from one or more of the senses. Different children perceive and process sensory information differently. Some children find loud noises scary, while others like to bang objects and search for interesting ways to create noise. Similarly, some children may only tolerate certain fabrics or textures for clothing, while others may enjoy rolling around in grass, sand, or on the carpet. All children and adults have different sensory preferences, and while most adults have learned to adapt to their specific needs, some children need guidance in processing sensory information to reach their full potential.
8 Tips for Flying with a Child with SPD:
Bring noise canceling headphones.
Make sure your child has slept and is well fed prior to the flight so he or she is regulated.
Be prepared with food and water during the flight, especially if the flight is long.
Bring a heavy object to help calm your child. Examples include a book, laptop, or a weighted blanket or vest.
Try to schedule your flight during nap time or at night if your child is able to sleep comfortably on planes. If the flight is during the day, try and have your child run around and use his or her energy before the flight.
Gum chewing or sucking on a lollipop may be helpful to help regulate your child.
Have activities ready for the plane. It can be a good time to practice fine motor skills.
Create a visual schedule for your child. Include everything from driving to the airport, waiting in the terminal, taking off, eating snacks to landing and getting luggage. This way your child will be prepared and feel less anxious about what to expect.
https://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.png00Deborah Michaelhttps://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngDeborah Michael2013-05-14 18:44:522019-09-06 19:56:028 Tips for Flying with a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder
Here at North Shore Pediatric Therapy, we utilize weighted objects for a countless number of activities. They can be used as a self-regulation strategy, providing deep proprioceptive input to your child’s muscles and joints. Various weighted materials, including vests, belts, blankets, wrist-weights and ankle-weights, are utilized in the clinic multiple times throughout the day. For all of you crafty parents, as well as those who (like me) are “creatively challenged,” below are some DIY instructions to follow so that you can create your very own, personalized weighted animal.
4 Steps To Create Your Very Own Weighted Animal:
Step 1: Find an old knee-high sock. You can choose a sock that is your child’s favorite color or has their favorite cartoon characters on it.
Step 2: Fill the sock with a grainy material, such as rice or sand. Put enough rice in your sock so it is four-fifths of the way full. Tie the open end of the sock closed. There should be enough rice in the sock so when it is draped across your child’s shoulders, it droops down onto their chest. This activity has the added benefit of incorporating direction-following and tactile play into your daily routine.
Step 3: Finally, decorate the sock with “googley eyes” and markers. The sky is the limit as far as whether your sock animal has polka-dots, stripes, zig-zags or checkers.
Step 4: Kick back and relax with your very own personalized weighted animal.
These strategies can be utilized when your child is feeling frustrated or having a difficult time organizing their thoughts. Your child’s weighted animal can also be used for strengthening. When at home, have your child carry the animal around the house or encourage them to sustain various Yoga poses while holding their animal friend. The added resistance while sustaining these poses will only help build muscle strength and improve motor planning. Whether your weighted animal is used as a self-regulation strategy or a strengthening tool, it is up to you and your child’s interests. In either case, creating the animal is a wonderful craft to save for a rainy day and a great way to get the whole family involved. Make one, make two or make a whole zoo of weighted animals. Your child’s new friend is sure to be a hit and cherished companion for years to come.
https://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.png00Lindsey Moyerhttps://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngLindsey Moyer2013-05-14 14:15:562014-04-21 18:51:09How To Make a Weighted Animal
Fragile X Syndrome is one of the most common forms of inherited intellectual disability in children. This condition arises by a mutation in a single gene on the X chromosome. Both males and females can have Fragile X; however, as males have only one X chromosome, they are usually affected more severely and show poorer functioning.
Physical Features Associated with Children who have Fragile X:
Long faces and prominent ears
Flexible joints and low muscle tone
Large body size
Cognitive Features Associated with Children who have Fragile X:
Median IQ in moderate impaired range for males
Median IQ in low average range for females
Articulation and speech difficulties
Pragmatic (Social) language difficulties
Understanding idioms and non-literal languag
Inferring meaning from contex
Echolalia (repeating what others state)
Poor motor movements
Difficulties with visual spatial functioning
Poor mathematics and abstract reasoning
Difficulties with executive functioning
Difficulties with socialization
Research has demonstrated that children with Fragile X Syndrome often benefit from a multi-faceted treatment approach which might include:
Sign language if there are significant deficits with language functioning
Minimization of visual and auditory distractions in the classroom
Academic intervention focused on an individual level versus a group level
Stimulant medication for difficulties with attention
Speech/language therapy for language development
Occupational Therapy for motor and visual spatial development.
For many children, therapy or accommodations are not sufficient to support their needs. It is often that these children will need pharmacological intervention to help improve their attentional regulation, impulse control, emotional regulation and/or behavioral self control. Parents should be honest with their pediatrician about medication as well as ask several questions about ensuring the best care.
Questions Parents Should Ask When Determining If Medication Is The Right Choice For Your Child:
What are the side effects of the medication? All medications have side effects and it is important to be aware of what to possibly look out for.
How long should the child be on medication? It is important to ascertain if the medication is likely a temporarily solution or long-term.
What therapies would be beneficial for the child to participate in while taking medication? It is often that medication alone is not sufficient. Children will often benefit from specific therapies and interventions to help teach emotional and behavioral regulation.
Who should I tell? My advice about medication is to always inform the academic staff as to when a child starts medication. Many times, the teacher would be able to have a greater watch over the child and monitor whether or not there are experiencing any negative side effects.
Medication is often warranted in a child’s treatment regime. It is always important for parents to ask good questions and work with a treatment team in order to ensure the best success of their child’s social and emotional development.
https://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.png00Dr. Greg Stasihttps://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngDr. Greg Stasi2013-05-02 11:14:482014-04-21 19:16:13Questions About Medication For Children
If you have a brother, nephew, uncle or some other member in your family with certain special needs, you will want to be cautious and mindful that many neurodevelopmental conditions have a high genetic component. Recent studies have indicated that genetics account for 70 to 80 percent of the risk of having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. A 2004 study indicated that there is considerable evidence that demonstrates that genetics play a major role in the risk of having an anxiety disorder. It is important to realize that the risk factors are high; however, they are not necessarily 100%. This simply means that just because a parent or relative has a neurodevelopmental disorder, it does not mean that the child will exhibit the condition. What it does indicate is that the child is at a higher risk for the condition.
As a parent, it is important to realize that your child may be at risk for a condition if a relative has that same condition. Do not be alarmed; instead, be aware. Always pay attention to any concerns, seek out advice from your pediatrician, psychologist and/or developmental therapist.
There are numerous possible warning signs for the purpose of this blog; however, below is what to be on the lookout for:
• Does the child shy away from peers?
• Does the child have sleep onset issues?
• Does the child engage in behaviors such as picking, biting nails, pacing, etc.?
• Are there fixed routines that the child engages in?
The information above should not be considered to be a diagnostic check sheet, but rather possible concerns that might require further assessment. Parents, if you know that there is a family history of a neurodevelopmental condition and you see any of the above signs or symptoms expressed in your child, it is then time to seek further guidance.
https://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.png00Dr. Greg Stasihttps://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngDr. Greg Stasi2013-04-17 10:38:582014-04-23 18:22:25Family History and Kids with Special Needs
Many parents are often worried and cautious about their child’s transition from kindergarten to first grade. There are unanswered questions and concerns that the child faces. Oftentimes it may prove beneficial for the child to repeat kindergarten and have another year to develop pre-academic and social skills.
Questions that need to be kept in mind when deciding about holding the child back or moving him or her forward include:
How is your child doing with learning basic academic skills? Is he or she learning all letters, letter sounds, numbers, etc? Is this an area that would need further guidance and assistance?
How is the child doing socially and emotionally? Is your child able to transition readily from the house to the school environment? Does your child have friends and engage in appropriate play with others? How does your child deal with changes in routine?
When is your child’s birthday? If it is a late birthday, holding him or her back might not be that major since he or she will not be much older than the rest of the class.
What are the kindergarten teacher’s thoughts? She has the best opportunity to provide insight about your child’s learning styles and social functioning in comparison to same age peers.
What are your thoughts as parent? Always remember that at the end of the day, you are your child’s best advocate.
Holding a child back in kindergarten is not the worst thing to possibly happen. The child has another year to mature and develop. In addition, the child is able to receive additional intervention and services in order to catch up with peers and ensure that first grade will be the utmost success. Remember, pay now or pay later. If things are pointing to next year being tough and him or her not being ready, don’t rush. It’s great to be mature for your grade.
https://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.png00Deborah Michaelhttps://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngDeborah Michael2013-04-03 22:06:342014-04-23 19:38:44When Should You Hold Your Child Back A Grade?
Many children who have an incredibly difficult time using spoken language will often learn to use other systems to augment their communication abilities. These other systems may include “high-tech” or speech-generating devices. They may also use “low-tech”, such as Picture Exchange Communication Systems, or PECS, in which a child gives his/her communicative partner a picture card to convey their wants and needs. Parents may have concerns about these augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems. As a result, they often wonder how they will be used to help their child’s specific set of strengths and abilities.
There are several common misconceptions about these AAC systems:
“If my child uses AAC, he/she won’t learn to speak”:
Research has shown that just the opposite of this statement is true. The use of PECS or other “high-tech” devices can actually help improve a child’s spoken language output. Use of these systems provides increased exposure to communication and can increase vocalizations and improve overall speech abilities. While the strongest research shows that early intervention is best, older children may still show signs of improvement.
“These programs are not specific for my child”: Read more
https://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.png00Jaclyn Schneiderhttps://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngJaclyn Schneider2013-04-02 22:50:422014-04-23 19:40:25Common Misconceptions about Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Easter and Passover are special times during the year in which friends and families get together for a form of celebration. For many families, these are happy times in which the event is eagerly anticipated; however, for families with children who have special needs, this can serve as a time of increased stress and potentially fear. These parents often worry about how their children will behave and react to these situations.
Below are some helpful tips that parents may utilize to make the special occasion as stress-free as possible:
Let the host know in advance what to expect and what behaviors the child may display. If the host has children, provide information in a kid-friendly manner so that they will be prepared.
Prepare your child by creating a social story or script in which the day’s events are planned and sorted out. Utilize visual schedules to help reinforce the child about what the day will look like.
Pick battles. Many children with sensory needs will refuse to wear a suit or dress. Plan ahead basics, such as clothing.
Set a time limit to the visit. If you know your child is unable to handle social situations or environments in which there is a high amount of action for more than an hour, plan on leaving within an hour of arriving. If you, as a parent, want to stay longer, anticipate this and have a babysitter or caregiver prepared to pick up the child.
Family get-togethers and religious celebrations do not necessarily need to be a fearful or anxiety-provoking event. Remember, you know your child best. If you believe that the situation may be problematic, it most likely will. Anticipate this and create strategies to ensure success for more enjoyable events
Happy Easter and Happy Passover!
https://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.png00Deborah Michaelhttps://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngDeborah Michael2013-03-22 00:03:032014-04-23 19:58:55Plan Ahead this Easter and Passover For Your Special Needs Child