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November 2016 Newsletter

 

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Autism Family Harvest Party

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Autism Family Harvest Party

October 25 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

This is a FREE event for autistic adults/children and their immediate family (spouse/children/parents/siblings) caregivers/therapists. However, donations to ASTV are always appreciated! Suggested donation: $3.50 per child for age 6 and younger, and $4.00 per child for ages 7 and up. For youths aged 11 and up participating in the big corn maze, add $2.00.

Linder Farms will open early at 3:00PM for our private event. Not all of the attractions will be open, but it will be more quiet, less crowded, and more low-key for our special families. Please check in at the weigh station canopy.

The Linder Farms “daytime field trip” includes:

* One small or medium pumpkin for each autistic individual

* Use of straw-bale maze

* Education station to learn about the life cycle of a pumpkin
* A wagon ride
* Use of giant corn box
* Visit to look at farm animals
* A trip through a small portion of the corn maze

Each family can choose which activities they would like to participate in (you may participate in as many or as few as you like). Please note that you will need to check in at the Autism Society Treasure Valley’s table located by the weigh station weigh station PRIOR to 5:00 in order to get in free. After 5:00pm you will need to line up with the general public and pay regular admission.

At 5:00 pm Linder Farms will open to the public. At that time all of the premium attractions will be available as well as the full concessions barn. Please feel free to stay past 5:00 to enjoy the premium attractions! Tokens for the premium attractions will be available for purchase when you first enter Linder Farms.

For more information contact Linder Farms

October 2016 Newsletter

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Building Play Skills for Healthy Children & Families

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What is Play and Why Is It Important?

Play can be defined as “any spontaneous or organized activity that provides enjoyment, entertainment, amusement, or diversion” (Parham and Fazio, 2008, p. 448). Play is one of children’s major jobs—how they occupy their free time and learn. It’s an important activity for your child because play helps to facilitate positive growth and development. Physical health, social and emotional well-being, and positive mental health are also promoted through play. When a child plays, he or she experiences new ways to solve problems and learn skills needed to become a healthy adult. Research has shown that children who participate in play frequently grow quickly, experience higher achievement in school, and develop healthy habits for adulthood. A study of 11,000 third graders found those who participated in more than 15 minutes of recess per day behaved better in the classroom and were more likely to learn than their peers who had little to no recess opportunities. (Barros, Silver, & Stein, 2009). Using daily routines and activities during the day, encouraging the happiness and joy that can be experienced through play, and simply allowing children to be playful can enhance their health and well-being.

How can families develop play skills to promote health and well-being?
Early Childhood
Play teaches infants, toddlers, and preschoolers about their bodies and about the effects of their actions on the world around them. Play promotes growth and development through movement and exploration. Family members are a child’s first playmates.

· During their first few months, babies enjoy colorful mobiles, rattles, vocal play such as talking and singing, and games involving moving their arms and legs. Encourage your baby to participate while lying on his or her back, belly, side, or while supported on your lap.
· As babies learn to reach, grasp, and sit on their own, they will enjoy mirror play, balls, and toys that involve squeezing, stacking, and pulling apart. Babies also enjoy interactive games like peek-a-boo, music, and books. Water play with toys that float and plastic letters to stick on tile walls provides bath time fun.
· Since babies enjoy and learn through putting toys in their mouths, make sure they play with toys that are age specific and are made without small parts.
· As children learn to walk and run, they enjoy climbing, chasing, hide-n-seek, and pull toys.
· Toddlers develop hand skills by dropping shape toys into slots and scribbling with crayons. They also enjoy books and toys that make sounds. They begin to imitate by using, for example, a toy telephone or hammer.
· Imitation and pretend play increases during the preschool years, through use of dress-up, puppets, and toy cars and trains. Preschoolers enjoy construction games such as building toys and puzzles, which further develop their coordination skills. Playground time and riding toys encourage large muscle movement. Playing with materials with different textures such as finger paints and sand allow sensory introduction. Games during the preschool years teach turn-taking and getting along with others. These activities also help children develop language skills.
Elementary school
The elementary school years are an important time for learning to play by rules and participating in cooperative activities such as sports teams. Motor skills are being fine tuned, and there is an increased interest in developing hobbies. Play often serves as a way of developing friendships and expressing one’s unique personality. Finding a balance between formal play (e.g., participating on a sports team) and informal play (e.g., participating on the playground) allows for play time to be both active and creative.

Try these ideas to build skills and expression:
· Participate in board games and sports activities with your child; this helps your child to learn to follow rules.
· Have various craft materials available to spark creativity and interest.
· Offer options for extracurricular activities that include both physical and creative exploration (e.g., sports teams or performing arts experiences).
· Provide play options that include both structured and less structured choices (e.g., being on a school team or playing soccer in the yard with neighborhood friends).
· Encourage your school to support recess as a necessary part of every child’s day. This is a good time for physical movement that can promote learning and positive behavior.
· Like recess, active play before homework time can prepare your child for learning.
· Don’t forget to keep play activities fun! If you lose that element, it is no longer play.
Middle School
The early teen years mark a time of exploring social relationships. This is a teens’ form of play. Teens tend to like group activities, such as spending time with friends, listening to music, talking, and going to the mall. This time with friends allows them to improve social, movement, and mental skills; gain an understanding of themselves as individuals; and practice new skills in different environments without continuous parental supervision. These opportunities can promote a sense of wellbeing. Young and older teens also enjoy after-school activities, such as clubs (drama, music, art, athletics) and work (volunteer and paid).

· Encourage your child to join school and community-based clubs and after-school activities.
· Participate in leisure activities with your teen, such as table tennis or biking, to help strengthen family ties and offer opportunities to build communication.
· Ask questions about your child’s preferences in movies or music to indicate your interest and to spark conversation.
· Consider your own habits and routines of leisure and whether they include physical activities and model a balanced lifestyle of work and play. You are a role model for your teen.
High School and Beyond
During the high school years, play promotes cooperation and opportunities for teamwork. Through play, older teens are able to get to know themselves better and pinpoint their interests and their strengths. As school and social pressures increase at the high school level and beyond, leisure activities can reduce stress and offer a sense of belonging and a chance to develop their goals.

· Encourage your teen to balance homework with leisure time to promote a healthy lifestyle that addresses both mental and physical wellness.
· Encourage limited screen time (TV, computers, and iPod/iPhones) and increased physical activity to help prevent or reduce problems that are associated with obesity and depression.
· Find a good fit between the demands of the leisure activity and the skills and interests of your teen. For example, depending on your child’s personality, physical abilities, and interests, he or she may prefer more physically demanding activities like swimming, whereas other children may prefer debate or drama clubs that challenge verbal and other cognitive skills.
· For all age groups, offer healthy, balanced meals as the fuel needed for physical activity.
· To prevent injury for all age groups, be mindful about the use and proper maintenance of appropriate safety equipment, such as helmets for biking. Know the signs of concussions. Encourage stretching before and after vigorous exercise.
· Low-cost, easily accessible leisure pursuits such as chess or basketball offer lifelong participation through community leagues and recreational centers.
Play shouldn’t stop in childhood. It continues to help build coordination and strength as well as creativity and social skills in all ages. Play also helps to develop emotional well-being and increases a child’s ability to explore, problem solve, and create.

What can parents do early on?
· Encourage sensory rich play by using balls, sand and water toys, slides, swings, finger paints, and magnets. During sensory play, children use their senses to incorporate smell, touch, sound, vision, and movement.
· Encourage manipulative play, such as using play dough, LEGOs, and board games. Toys such as puzzles, pegboards, beads, and lacing cards help improve the child’s eye–hand coordination and dexterity
· Promote imaginative or pretend play with things like dolls and stuffed animals, toy furniture, puppets, and telephones. Pretend play encourages creativity and role playing and provides an opportunity to rehearse social skills.
· Choose toys that are appropriate to the child’s age and/or maturity level. They do not have to be expensive or complicated to be beneficial. Common objects, such as pots and pans, empty boxes, spools of thread, shoelaces, and wooden spoons are readily accessible and encourage children to use their imagination.
What can occupational therapists do?
· Help modify the environment or adapt toys to provide optimal sensory input without overwhelming the child.
· Recommend toys and play activities that provide the right amount of challenge for the child, so he or she learns while having fun. The occupational therapy practitioner can also recommend ways to build on the child’s strengths and abilities.
· Offer play opportunities that encourage turn taking and problem solving. Consider family routines and priorities when recommending play strategies. Observe, identify, and develop play strategies that promote a healthy lifestyle and relationships.
References

1. Barros, R. M., Silver, E. J., & Stein, R. E. K. (2009). School recess and group classroom behavior. Pediatrics, 123, 431–436. Retrieved March 22, 2011, from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/123/2/431

2. Parham, L. D., & Fazio, L. (2008). Play in occupational therapy for children (2nd ed.) St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

Copyright © 2011 by the American Occupational Therapy Association. This material may be copied and distributed for personal or educational uses without written consent. For all other uses, contact copyright@aota.org.

2016 Language Groups for Toddlers and Preschool

image001Children’s Therapy Place is now offering dynamic language group therapy to address the multi-faceted needs of our clients.

These language groups are designed to improve communication skills through play-based group therapy for children with speech-language goals.  Led by a licensed speech/language pathologist, children will enjoy participation in weekly, hour long sessions to improve expressive, receptive, and pragmatic (social skills) language goals.

Sessions will include activities such as arts/crafts, interactive games, songs, free play, and more! Adult participation is required and encouraged for coaching on specific strategies and techniques that can be utilized within the home and community environments.

 

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Contact us today for more information. 208.323.8888

Managing Technology in Tweens and Teens

Finding Opportunities for Communication with Tech-Obsessed Kids

Limiting the amount of time that tweens and teens spend using personal tech devices is often a major challenge. A digital diet can help to moderate tech use in favor of more opportunities for conversation and human interaction. These are key to children’s communication health and development. Here are some tips for putting your family on a digital diet:

  1. Create a family technology plan—together. An agreed upon set of rules around family members’ technology use (when, where, how much, for what, with whom, etc.) is a good way to keep everyone on track. By involving your kids in the process, you are more likely to achieve the results you want. Technology is often an integral part of teens’ social experience—so being respectful of this will help. Schedule regular check-ins to see how the plan is working and to determine whether you’re actually substituting tech time with more quality time together.
  2. Sign a pledge. Make your plan official by having family members sign a pledge. It helps hold everyone accountable. This is a model that has been used for years, especially when it comes to issues such as drinking and driving, texting and driving, etc. Here are some examples from Common Sense Media that you can use and modify. Focus on the positive replacements for technology, such as uninterrupted family dinners.
  3. Keep a log. How much time does everyone in your family spend online? Alternatively, how much time does the family spend talking and engaging in activities together? Just as a food diary can be eye opening, keeping a log of a typical tech week may help identify habits to change and goals to set in terms of family bonding and communication.
  4. Sponsor tech-free nights/events. Whether it’s a game night, a neighborhood block party, or another type of gathering, going tech-free on occasion can provide rich opportunities to build family and social relationships.
  5. Designate tech-free zones in the home. The kitchen, bedrooms, the family room . . . there may be one place in your home that you can keep devices out of, as a general rule. This helps with the temptation to constantly check your phone or jump at the sound of every incoming notification. It makes a difference to even have 30 minutes free from tech distractions.
  6. Talk over text, when possible. Texting offers tremendous convenience for parents to get in touch with their kids. But texting is not a replacement for verbal exchange. Tone, facial expressions, and other nonverbal signals are just some of the ways in which texting falls short (emojis don’t do the trick). Try to avoid texting your teen when both of you are at home, as a start.
  7. Take a vacation from your technology. Some parents have turned to tech-free vacations to connect more with their tweens and teens. Unplugging completely may not be realistic for everyone. However, there may be specific activities or times when you can leave the devices behind. Family communication can increase. Everyone will be “in the moment” instead of documenting the moment for Facebook or Instagram.
  8. Listen safely. Many tween and teens spend hours a day with the volume cranked up, using headphones or earbuds. Unfortunately, they are putting their hearing at serious risk. This damage is irreversible. The World Health Organization has labeled unsafe listening an international health threat—1.1 billion young people are at risk of harming their hearing from unsafe listening of personal tech devices or at noisy entertainment venues. This is a message that tweens and teens need to “hear” from their parents.

Remember that tweens and teens will be watching their parents’ habits closely. Practice what you preach when it comes to limiting tech use. Keep yourself on the same digital diet that you set for your children.

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Mental Health Facts Children and Teens

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For questions or concerns please contact our Mental Health Department at 208-323-8888.

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6855 W. Fairview Ave.
Boise, ID 83704

6429 W Interchange Lane
Boise, ID 83709

5640 E. Franklin Rd, Suite 180
Nampa, ID 83687

2273 E. Gala Street, Suite 120 
Meridian Idaho 83642

P.O. Box 27906
Panama City, FL 32411

Phone 208.323.8888
Fax 208.323.8889

MENTAL CRISIS LINE
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info@childrenstherapyplace.com

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Offices in Boise, Nampa, Emmett, Statewide Online and Now serving the Florida Panhandle

 

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