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Good Handwriting | When Should Your Child Develop Writing Skills? | Pediatric Therapy TV

Pediatric Occupational Therapist Gives Our Viewers Age Guides For When Children Should Have Legible Handwriting

In This Video You Will Learn:

  • What age children should have legible handwriting
  • What age they should have their capital letter by
  • What age they should be writing words and sentences

Video Transcript:

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 am your host, Robyn Ackerman. Today I am standing with pediatric occupational therapist Deborah Michael. Deborah, at what age would you say children should have legible handwriting?

Deborah: Children are developing at different speeds and they have different exposure to fine motor play and to handwriting. Definitely, by kindergarten they need to have their capital letters. By the beginning of first grade, they should have their lower case letters. By the end of first grade they should be writing words, and by second grade we want sentences. Now, having legible handwriting does not mean that the actual spelling will be correct. Children use inventive spelling and you need to give them time to get their correct spelling.

Robyn: Great. Thank you, Deborah, 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.

Reading Contest Results: Top Books For First Time Readers

Reading together is a great activity with many benefits parents and caretakers can do with children from a very young age. Some parents even read to their children before birth!

Before you know it, the time comes for children to get Pile Of Booksinvolved with the reading… But what story will provide the right combination excitement, fun, inspiration, and picture guidance to allow your child to read a book to you, all on their own?

A trip to the library or the children’s section of your local bookstore will provide a variety of options that can sometimes be overwhelming. To help you pick out the best books for your child we held a contest on our blog asking our readers to share with you which books they, or their children had first reading success with.

Below are the best first book titles we compiled from our blog readers to help start your child on their life long reading adventure.

Top Titles For First Time Readers

  1. Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberly – “fun to read and act out”
  2. Go Dog Go by P.D. Eastman – “When they don’t recognize a word, they only need to look at the pictures to help them figure it out!”
  3. We Love You…Just The Way You Are! Mommy Perks got creative and wrote this story for her daughter and it became “her first memorized story”
  4. Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton
  5. The Belly Button Book by Sandra Boynton.
  6. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.
  7. Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Eric Carle and Bill Martin Jr.
  8. From Head To Toe by Eric Carle
  9. My Uncle’s Donkey by Tohby Riddle: “I really really loved it to the extent that I would always hold it!”
  10. Green Eggs And Ham by Dr. Seuss – “as a picky eater, I loved quoting this book for my parents at meal-time and using food coloring to make green eggs with my mom

We hope you can use some of these books to get your child excited about reading. Soon you will experience the proud feeling and excitement that comes when your child can read a book to you next story time!

All By Myself: Child’s First Book Contest

Share Your Child’s First Book For a $75 Amazon.com Gift Card | So Easy To Win This Contest!

Very Happy Boy With Book

Time and time again parents are told that reading to your child as early as birth and teaching your child to read early is important for development and will lead to life long success.  Here at North Shore Pediatric Therapy we couldn’t agree more!  Encouragement from parents, teachers, siblings and peers is an important motivator, and of course, so is a good book!

At North Shore Pediatric Therapy we want to provide you with a list of parent tested titles to get your child excited about reading. We know that parents are the field experts so we want your help!  And of course we will reward you for your opinion!

Contest Details: Share Your Favorite Book And Win!

  1. Become a fan of our Facebook Page by liking us here:
  2. Write the name of the first book your child read independently in the comments section of this blog post. Feel free to add additional comments about why you think your child had success with this book or how you got them interested in reading.
  3. Then thumbs up your favorite suggestions form others
  4. Finally, share this contest on your facebook and encourage your friends to like your suggestion!  Don’t have a child old enough to read yet? Don’t worry, you can tell us about your first book.

On July 14 (10:00pm CST) the author of the most voted comment will win a $75.00 Amazon.com gift card. That’s enough to buy plenty of new books for your children to get excited about (and a few for you as well).

At the end of the contest we’ll also be posting a blog with the top 10 beginning readers titles and some comments and input from you as well.

Click here to read other blogs about reading…

For more information on how to get your child reading, visit our Orton-Gillingham Reading Program by clicking here.

The Unexpected Benefits Of Story Time

 It’s Not Just About Reading

Reading is an important and fun activity to experience with your child. There are so many benefits to the time spent reading to your child, listening to them read to you, and talking about the story afterwards. Listed below aMom And Young Daughter Pointing At Picture Bookre some of the things that you can do to make the experience of reading even more beneficial and engaging for you and your child.

To make reading more meaningful and exciting for your child, ask them to tell you their own story or make up a story together. You and your child could also recreate the ending of a familiar story to enjoy a whole new adventure. As you read books together, make sure to be animated and engaged in the story, use your voice Read more

9 Tips For Practicing Speech With Your Child

Constant practice is very important when children are acquiring new speech sounds. Having your child progress in their speech skills requires practice, just as practicing piano or sports skills is necessary for improvement. Many parents do a great job in helping their child to practice speech sounds, but it’s important to switch up the routine so that the child doesn’t become resistant or bored.

Here Are 9 Fun & Easy Tips To Practice With And Encourage Speech In Your Child:

  1. Make practice a routine. To get into the habit of consistent practice, set a certain time each day (e.g. during breakfast, before bedtime) to go over speech.
  2. On the Go? Play I-spy in the car, at a restaurant, or at the park to find different items with the targeted speech sound.
  3. Play family board games. Include speech practice before each turn of the game. If other children are playing, have them practice a different skill before their turn (e.g. read a page of a book or do three math problems).
  4. Think of silly sentences. Try to come up with silly sentences using the speech sound multiple times in the sentence (e.g. Cindy went swimming in ice-skates).
  5. Sing songs. Find fun songs that have the targeted sound, and sing with your child.
  6. Use a sound while discussing the day. Once the child can successfully say his sound in words and sentences, help him practice using it in conversation by setting aside time each day to have him tell you a story while discussing his speech sound. Dropping a bean or a marble into a cup each time you hear his sound helps the child to visually see how many times he is correctly using it. Read more

All You Need To Know About Learning Disabilities

How common are Learning Disabilities?

LD Boy

Learning concerns are one the most common neurological issues that children and adolescents present with. It has been estimated that approximately 20% of the general population in the prevalence rates indicate that 6% of the general population meet the necessary diagnostic criteria for a diagnosis of a specific learning disorder.

How are Learning Disabilities Defined?

There is great debate regarding how to accurate define, classify, and diagnosis learning disorders. Traditionally, it was assumed that a specific learning disorder exists when there is a significant discrepancy between a child’s ability (IQ, cognitive functioning) and achievement (performance on standardized reading, mathematics, and written expression tasks). However, there have been recent changes within the USA regarding how to classify and diagnosis learning disabilities. Currently, categorization of a child’s learning disability is based upon a multi-tiered process involving early identification and intervention. This multi-tiered process based approach is labeled Response to Intervention (RTI).

What are the Pros and Cons of RTI?

Researchers who are in favor of the RTI Model of learning disabilities argue that a combination of interviewing and behavioral observations are sufficient for identification of problems as well as to determine appropriate interventions. The RTI Model is most beneficial for children who have emotional or behavioral disorders that result secondary from a defined environmental factor, such as: inappropriate or inconsistent reinforcement or punishment. Read more

How to Get Your Child Interested In Reading

Sitting in a cozy spot, sipping hot chocolate, and reading a good book sounds like a perfect January activity to me. On the other hand, children who do not like to read might find this idea rather boring. While it can be intimidating for a child to sit down with a book, there are many alternative activities that are fun and enticing while still offering reading practice.

Fun Reading Activities:

• Many kids love playing on their parents’ electronic devices. Educational apps that enforce reading skills exist at a low cost:

A Great App for Beginning Readers: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/abc-pocketphonics-letter-sounds/id299342927?mt=8

A Sight Word App: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/see-read-say/id322313775?mt=8

• Have a family game night with board games that require reading to play (e.g. the cards in Sorry, Outburst Jr., etc.)

• Read simple instructions to cook a fun item or assemble a toy. You may need to create step-by-step instructions at your child’s reading level for them to read. Read more

What is DEVELOPMENTAL DYSLEXIA?

DyslexiaDyslexia is one of the more common conditions to affect school age children. It is estimated that between 5 and 10% of children between the ages of 5 and 20 meet criteria for the disorder. The definition of dyslexia is an inability to read; however, while this is a disorder that is very easy to define, it can be difficult to diagnose and treat. Reading is an intimate and essential skill in our school systems. Children are taught to read in first and second grade; but by grade three they are expected to acquire new information from what they read and children who have difficulties in reading will begin to suffer in all subjects if left untreated.

Dyslexia and The Brain

There has been a wealth of information published on this disorder since first conceptualized nearly a hundred years ago. What researchers have essentially concluded is that we don’t have a formal reading center in our brain. Rather, we utilize language and speech areas to make sense of written words. Thus, any disorder that affects language systems can impact reading. In fact, in adult stroke patients, there is an unusual condition called alexia (can’t read) without agraphia (can’t write), which means that a person could write a sentence but be unable to read what they had just written. Through the advent of neuroimaging, we have been able to trace the pathways that lead from the visual perception of written text to the decoding of that text for meaning and have a pretty good understanding of how children with dyslexia read (or don’t read) differently than normal children. We have not been as successful in figuring out the cause of this disorder.

The current thinking is that our visual system is built to recognize objects from a variety of different angles because we are creatures that move in the world. For instance, if I turn a chair on its side, it won’t take you longer to figure out it is still a chair. However, letters and words need to be identified in the same orientation and in the same order if they are to have meaning. The visual system, therefore, “cheats” by funneling letters and words over to the language centers for processing instead of in typical object recognition centers. If this process occurs correctly, most children will be able to read as early as five years of age. If they don’t funnel this information correctly to the left side, they will continue to treat letters and words just like objects in the environment. For instance, a child might see the word “choir” but say the word “chair” since they are visually so similar in appearance. However, their meaning is quite different and clearly comprehension is going to be affected if many of those errors occur.

Signs of Dyslexia in Children

Some of the common signs of dyslexia in younger children can be the omission of connecting words (i.e., in, an, the, to, etc.), taking the first letter or two of the word and guessing, or converting words that they have never seen into words that they already know, even when the meaning is quite different. I hear often that parents become worried because their child reverses letters and, while this does occur in children with dyslexia, it is also a fairly common phenomenon with children who are learning to read, particularly with letters that look similar (i.e., b and d). Thus, it often does take a trained professional to differentiate children who are poor readers or who are developing slowly or in a patch-like fashion from children who actually have dyslexia.

Dyslexia in School

One of the challenges with this condition is that many of the schools have gone to an RTI Model (Response To Intervention) for reading. This means that they wait to see how a child responds to a normal classroom and if they fail, they move them to additional services, and if that fails, they move them to further intense services. Failing that, an evaluation is ordered. In real life, this means that many children are not evaluated properly for several years and by that time there are major gaps in their learning and acquisition. We do know of several methods for remediating dyslexia, although they often involve multiple hours a week of tutoring on a one-on-one basis and some school systems are simply ill-equipped to provide those types of services for children.

Most children that we see here at the clinic with dyslexia are bright and capable children who become increasingly frustrated with school because they are unable to bring their intellect to bear on many of the activities they are asked to perform in the school system. Even subjects in which they find much enjoyment are limited in terms of their ability to access the material because so much of it is done through written form. They often look poor on standardized reading and math testing; but because they are bright they can usually “muddle along” just enough to escape attention until they have fallen several years behind by middle school.

Treatment for Dyslexia

Fortunately, several treatment methods have been developed over the years that lead to a “normalization” of the reading system within the brain on imaging studies and to a dramatic increase in reading scores on educational tests. Only a trained professional can determine if your child has a developmental delay, dyslexia, or some other condition that is impacting their reading; but these are often critical evaluations to get done early since the remediation process can take 12 to 24 months.

I have evaluated hundreds of children for this condition and seen rather dramatic improvements when these children are placed in evidence-based programs for even a short amount of time. I urge all families who have children who struggle with reading to at least get a consultation with a trained professional to determine an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment planning.

Secret Summer Tricks to Help Your Child Enjoy Reading

Kids reading in a fieldSummer can be a crazy time for families.   Kids are excited to be away from school work and educational activities, yet 30 minutes of reading a day is still recommended.  Reading can be reinforced through fun everyday summer activities.  Below are great tips to get you started!

Family reading activities (different activities for different ages):

  • Act out story after reading a book
  • Write grocery lists with your children before going grocery shopping
  • Play restaurant at lunch- create menus for the “customers” Read more