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Children’s Therapy Place Blog

Reading Activities at Home

A baby stacking cups

Children spend a lot of their time at home. You can support your child’s learning while you do daily chores. You can invite your child to help you, or you can provide an activity for your child to do close to you. That way, you can talk and listen to your child while you work.

Baby/Toddler

Pretty Picture. Make sure your baby has interesting things to look at while you are busy around the house. A colorful picture or a vase of flowers in front of her will get her attention. Her favorite thing to look at is you! As much as possible, place her where she can see you and hear you as you work. Talk to her about what you are doing using simple language like “Watching baby, watching baby, washing dishes, watching baby!”

Pots and Pans Music. While you work in the kitchen you can keep your baby close. Give her some light pots and pans of different sizes. Then give her a wooden spoon. She can make music while you use words like loud, soft, bang, and tap. Show her what the words mean by using your body and voice too. For example, when you say “That’s so loud!” cover your ears. When you say “That’s so soft!” speak in a whisper.

Recycle Problem-Solving. Toddlers love to create and solve problems using simple materials. Give your child some clean recycled items like cans of different sizes. Make sure there are no sharp edges. He will spend a long time fitting the cans inside of each other. As he works, introduce words like small, medium, large, inside, and fit.

Preschooler/Kindergartner

Super Shadows. Place a large sheet over a table so that it hangs down around the table. Show your child how to use a flashlight safely. Invite him to go into his cave under the table to make shadows. Use words like dark, light, bright, night, shine, and shadow. Notice words that rhyme like light, night, and bright. Add small toys and encourage him to make shadow shapes in his cave. Notice words that start with the same sound like shine, shape, and shadow.

Making Boats. Your child can use recycled materials to make boats. Collect items like foam meat trays, small pieces of cloth, toothpicks, craft sticks, tape, bottle caps, paper, and crayons. You will also need scissors. Help your child think about how he can use these materials to make a boat. “What will you use for the bottom of the boat?” “Will you make a sail?” Then, help him to make the boat. Later, he can use it in the bathtub. “Do you think it will float?”

Reading Corner. Make a small reading corner for your child. Put pillows and a soft blanket in a corner of the room where you are working. Add some of your child’s favorite books, or some new books, for him to look at. Ask him to choose a book, look at the pictures, and tell you the story in his own words. Give him lots of encouragement for looking at books independently.

Pretend Party. Children love to play pretend. Invite your child to have a pretend birthday party. Provide paper and markers or crayons so she can make the invitations. “Who will you invite?” Write down the names of the friends she wants to invite. She can copy these names onto the invitations. Then decide on the menu. Explain that the menu means what food she will have at the party, just like the menu at a restaurant. “What will you wear to the party?” If possible, let her dress up. Then have a special snack and a party for two!

First-Grader/Reader-Writer

Scrubbing bubbles. Older children love to help with washing dishes. Provide a stool for your child at the sink. Give him the dish soap and read the label together. For example, one phrase may be “Avoid contact with eyes.” Explain what that means. Then, tell him and show him the steps for washing a dish (remove fragile items). For example: 1) Put water in the sink; 2) Add dish soap; 3) Scrub the dish; 4) Rinse the soap off; and 5) Place the dish in the drainer. Later, during a family conversation, encourage him to explain the steps for washing dishes.

Sorting Socks. While you fold laundry, put your child in charge of matching the socks. “Now you can match the socks in pairs.” Invite him to make a plan to do it. “How do you think we should start?” Tell him and show him how to separate different colors and sort them into piles. Next, tell him and show him how to put socks together that look the same. Remind him to compare the size and the design of each sock as he puts them together.

Make a Book. Give your child some paper and markers or crayons. Invite her to write a story about a favorite activity, for example, playing at the park. First, talk with her about what she did. “First you played baseball with your friends. Then we looked at trees and collected leaves.” Then help her put each activity into the story. Use words like begin and end. “How will you begin the story?” When she is finished encourage her to number the pages and decorate the cover. Help her to write her name on the cover using the words author and illustrator

Taken from: http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/reading-language/reading-activities/reading-activities-at-home/

© PBS 2003 – 2016, all rights reserved

Make sure you are taking care of yourself this Season!

Make sure you are taking care of yourself this Season!

Tips on how to deal with all the stress the holiday season (and post-holiday season) can bring.

Written by one of our own CTP mental health counselors Nate Pearlman:

Complete this sentence: Tis the season …………? To be merry? To be happy? To be joyful? To be thankful? What about to be sad? Depressed? Suicidal? Stressed? Anxious? Alone? Grieving? For many people this time of year IS merry, happy, joyful and thankful! However, for the rest of the people this time of year can bring sadness, anxiety, grieving, loneliness and yes even thoughts of suicide! I was asked to write a short paragraph outlining some signs to watch for in people that might be feeling sad, anxious, lonely or suicidal. shutterstock_295288130Although there is no blue print or specific set of signs, there are common themes to pay attention to such as subtle or dramatic changes in a person’s mood, their affect, their routine or their attitude. In order to recognize these changes we need to slow down our own lives and really listen, really pay attention to others when we are interacting with them! During the holidays it is very easy to get caught up in the pace of the season! When, in fact, what we need to do is slow down our pace and enjoy the true meaning of the season. People want to know that they matter, that they feel heard or that people see them as significant! SO, remember during this holiday season; SLOW DOWN, be present in your relationships or contacts with others, look them in the eye and make them feel that they matter! Whether you are talking with a close family member or a stranger at the grocery store give them the gift that matters this holiday season: YOUR TIME and ATTENTION!!

NOW, on a related, but often neglected topic, I would like to spend a few minutes talking about SELF CARE!!! When talking about SELF CARE I like to think about self-care in SIX areas: 1) Physical Self Care 2) Psychological Self Care and 3) Emotional Self Care 4) Spiritual Self Care 5) Workplace or Professional Self Care and 6) Balance. For many years I have used a Self Care Assessment Worksheet for my own life as well as the lives of my Co-workers and Clients. This worksheet is from “Transforming the pain: A Workbook on Vicarious Traumatization” by Saakvitne, Pearlman & Staff of TSI/CAAP (Norton 1996).

Please download the worksheet here.

REMEMBER: You can’t take care of others if you aren’t first taking care of yourself!!!

 

How to Pick a Toy

Toys tip sheet-1 Toys tip sheet-2

Children’s Therapy Place T-Shirt Design Contest

You can be as creative as you want! Here are some guidelines:

1) Make sure that your design includes the words “Children’s Therapy Place”
2) We are looking for an original design that embodies Children’s Therapy Place.
3) Deadline is Nov. 21st.
Email designs (or questions) to lcaroselli@childrenstherapyplace.com or stop by any of our offices to drop them off today! If hand drawn designs please draw them on 8 1/2 inch by 11 inch paper.
We can’t wait to see what you come up with!
Thanks!

T-shirt Design Contest

Enjoying Halloween with Sensory Challenges

BETWEEN 5% AND 15% OF CHILDREN in the general population demonstrate difficulties with sensory processing—the interpretation of and response to sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, and perception of movement and position.

If you are the parent, relative, educator, or friend of one of these children, you know that modifying the activities and the environment can help them enjoy an activity and manage their challenges. But how do you adapt the environment and activities so children can live life to its fullest on Halloween? The following tips are from pediatric occupational therapy practitioners who have experience with addressing sensory challenges.

Consider these activity tips:

  • If you would like to help your child know what to expect: Prepare your child for the holiday by discussing some of the associated traditions and activities. Read a book, create a story, or role play. Many Halloween traditions clash with established rules, like taking candy from strangers. To help your child understand what Halloween is—and is not—review your values and establish rules and boundaries.
  •  If you would like to have your child wear a costume: Remember that “pretend” does not necessarily involve elaborate costuming. For example, a simple green shirt may suffice to indicate a turtle. Before shopping, discuss costume guidelines so your child’s expectations are clear. Be sure costumes aren’t too scratchy, tight, slippery, or stiff. Test your child’s comfort when walking, reaching, and sitting. Costumes that are too long or too loose pose tripping and fire hazards. Consider whether your child will be too warm or too cold in character, and whether he or she will also need a coat. If your child has facial sensitivity, avoid make-up and masks. Masks can also occlude vision.
  • If you would like to take your child trick or treating: Trick or treating is not mandatory: Meaningful participation in Halloween festivities could include helping to roast pumpkin seeds or picking apples. Choose activities that best fit your child’s sensory needs.

If you want to try trick or treating, focus on a quiet street with sidewalks. Trick or treating while it’s still light out helps to reduce anxiety and increase safety.

Practice the sequence of walking to the door, saying “trick or treat,” putting the treat in the bag, and saying “thank you.” If possible, go only to homes of family and friends to keep the comfort level high. Skip homes with flashing lights, loud noises, and scary decorations. Eating candy while trick or treating can be a choking hazard or trigger allergies, so review ground rules before leaving home. Often, children enjoy handing out candy as much as receiving it.

  •  If you would like to have your child participate in a party: At Halloween parties, some children enjoy wet or sticky textures like pumpkin filling and skinless grapes, whereas these make others feel uncomfortable and even nauseous. Instead of carving a pumpkin, decorate a jack o’ lantern with stickers and markers. A child who won’t enjoy bobbing for apples can put the apples in a bucket. Consider planning an event at home with a few friends. Small groups present an opportunity to socialize. A short, successful outing is always preferable to a longer stay that leads to a “meltdown.
  •  If you would like to help your child avoid a meltdown: Limit the duration and number of people and activities. Give your child choices and advance notice of the sequence of events. Help your child learn to advocate by practicing phrases like “when is my turn?” or “please don’t touch me.” Know when to stop or disengage from the festivities by recognizing sensory overload—fatigue, hyper excitability, crying, combativeness, etc.—and immediately go to a quieter, smaller space.

Occupational therapy is a skilled health, rehabilitation, and educational service that helps people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations).

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

Halloween Party

Children’s Therapy Halloween Party is October 29th 4:30 to 6pm
Halloween flyer 2-2

13th Annual TVDSA Buddy Walk – Treasure Valley Down Syndrome Association

13th Annual TVDSA Buddy Walkbuddy walk 2014

Presented By
Treasure Valley Down Syndrome Association
October 10, 2015 at 11am

What: A walk occurring during the month of October, National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, to raise money to support local programs for the Treasure Valley Down Syndrome Association and to promote acceptance and inclusion of all people with Down syndrome.

When: Saturday, October 10th.  The walk will start promptly at 11am.

Where: The walk begins at Capitol Park and ends at the Gene Harris bandshell in Julia Davis Park.  There will be live entertainment, raffle prizes, bounce houses, games, and food trucks with food for purchase.
How: In cooperation with NDSS and through the generosity of individuals who volunteer to organize the event each year and the hundreds of people who participate or contribute to the walk.
Resister at this website:

Learning Through Play

Learning Through Play

The act of playing is an important tool that influences a child’s life. The primary goals of childhood are to grow, learn, and play. It is often through play that children learn to make sense of the world around them. It is a child’s “job” or “occupation” to play to develop physical coordination, emotional maturity, social skills to interact with other children, and self-confidence to try new experiences and explore new environments.Scrabble letter blacks spell “play” and “learn.”

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Occupational therapists have expertise in evaluating children’s neurological, muscular, and emotional development; and determining the effects of infant and childhood illness on growth and development.

What Can an Occupational Therapy Practitioner do?

• Help adapt toys or modify the environment to provide optimal sensory input without overwhelming the child.

• Recommend toys and play activities that provide the “just right” 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.

• Suggest toys that will help the child develop particular skills, while having fun. Recommend ways for family members to be more involved in the child’s play. Suggest toys and play activities for children of all abilities and ages. Collaborate with educators and caregivers to enhance playtime at home, during recess at school, and during community outings.

• Help determine what toys will be safe, developmentally appropriate, and fun for a particular child, based on an evaluation and in consideration of the child’s and family’s needs and goals.

What Can Parents and Families Do?

• 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.

• Remember when choosing a toy to consider whether a child must be supervised while playing with it. Toys should not have small parts that break easily or can be swallowed.

Recommended Toys and Activities for Children and Teens

• Infants: Rattles, mobiles, playmats, mirrors, crib toys, infant swings, teething toys, busy boxes, squeeze toys

• Toddlers and Preschoolers: Blocks, stacking rings, pegboards, shape sorters, push and pull toys, balls, books, sand and water toys, large beads, movement games, toy cars and trucks, train sets, musical toys

• School-Aged Children: Building sets, books, bicycles, roller skates, ice skates, board games, checkers, beginning sports

• Middle Schoolers and Adolescents: Athletics, books, hobbies, crafts, electronics

Need more information?

Occupational therapy practitioners promote play for all children, with or without disabilities. Play challenges could indicate a need for further assessment. If you would like to consult an occupational therapist, ask your physician, other health professionals, and your school district’s director of special education for informatin on how you can access an occupational therapist in your area.

Occupational therapy is a skilled health, rehabilitiation, and educational service that helps people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations).

Copyright 2012 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.

– See more at: aota.org

For Living Life To Its Fullest- The Morning Routine

For Living Life To Its Fullest- The Morning Routine

 

ESTABLISHING MORNING ROUTINES FOR CHILDREN TIPS

Establishing Morning Routines post

 

THE MORNING ROUTINE is sometimes the most dreaded part of the day. Parents have to get themselves and the kids up, dressed, fed, prepared for the day, and out the door in a timely fashion. How can you stay on schedule while supporting your children and helping them become more independent?

The following tips are from pediatric occupational therapy practitioners who have experience in establishing healthy and efficient morning routines.

If you want to: 

Help children get up on time.

Consider these activity tips:
•Identify a wake up time for children starting at around 1 year, and be consistent. Allowing children to get up at different times every day makes it difficult for them to know what to expect.
•After about 4 years of age, children who are early risers can be told that it is okay to get out of bed, but they must play quietly in their room until an established time or until you enter their room.

•For families with multiple children, staggering wake up times can help ensure an efficient morning routine by helping one child at a time, beginning with the youngest child first.

•Sleep patterns can be influenced by temperature, lighting, natural rhythms, and diet. An occupational therapy practitioner can help review the family routines and environment and make recommendations as needed.

If you want to:

Promote positive mood and behavior.

Consider these activity tips:

•Even if parents are not morning people, a positive morning attitude can help make children happier during the morning routine. Greetings of “good morning” and “have a wonderful day” help set the tone and prepare a child to socialize well in school.

•Affection is also an important way to start the day, so begin with some cuddle time or a hug. This can be a quick way to start the morning routine with care.

•Consider how your child’s sensory experiences may impact mood or behavior. During breakfast, is the kitchen crowded with people or objects? Are new foods being prepared, accompanied by new smells? Watch your child for signs of enjoyment or distress.

If you want to:

Establish organized and timely morning routines.

Consider these activity tips:

•Plan ahead. Things like choosing clothes, determining breakfast, and putting homework in backpacks should be done the night before.

•Remove unnecessary clutter, and review calendars and weather projections to avoid the unexpected.

•Including children in decisions about clothing and food is important, and doing it the night before can avoid long discussions in the morning. Also, be sure to limit younger children to two choices (e.g., “you may wear the polka dot or striped outfit”) so the decision is quicker and easier.

If you want to:

Prepare children for morning time demands.

Consider these activity tips:

•Talk to your children the night before about what will happen each morning. Ask them to name the steps of the morning routine.

•Reviewing the morning routine helps to reinforce it. In the morning as they complete a task, ask them what is next.

If you want to:

Keep on task.

Consider these activity tips:

•Creating a visual checklist can help a child participate in the morning routine. Spend a weekend afternoon creating a checklist with your child so he or she gets excited about using it. Ask for suggestions on what to include and ask him or her to draw pictures for each step. As the child ages, you may update the checklist to avoid boredom.

•Help avoid distractions by leaving the television off in the morning.

If you want to:

Promote participation and independence.

Consider these activity tips:

•It may be faster and easier to dress children or do their hair, but it is important for them to practice and learn to engage in the morning routine independently.

•Allow children to dress independently on weekends and then progress to weekdays as they become more skilled. Start with a certain aspect of dressing, like putting on socks, then add more complicated clothing, like shirts with buttons. It is okay to let them go to school with a unique outfit or hairdo!

If you want to:

Promote flexibility as well as structure.

Consider these activity tips:

•Despite the importance of structure and routine, there are some days, like weekends and holidays, where the routine can be relaxed.

•Plan pajama days or fun breakfast times on weekends and holidays to let your children know that sometimes the routine can be changed.

•Remember, fun and play are important ways to promote a child’s healthy development.

If you want to:

Make morning routines fun.

Consider these activity tips:

•If routines are fun, children will be more engaged. Think about being creative with dressing and grooming activities. Play upbeat music while children are getting dressed. If they get dressed early, allow them to play with a special toy. Reward them for a job well done.

Download a PDF version of this article here.

Need More Information?
Pediatric occupational therapy practitioners promote participation of all children and their families in everyday activities or occupations, including morning routines. When there is a particular area of concern, the occupational therapy practitioner can create an individualized strategy based on the specific needs of the child and family.
Occupational therapy practitioners work with children in their homes, at school, in private practice, at children’s hospitals, and in other community locations, providing interventions that are individualized, appropriate, and effective. Ask your pediatrician or school administrator for a recommendation, or look online to find an occupational therapist in your area.
You can find additional information through the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) at www.aota.org.
AOTA thanks Joy Doll, OTD, OTR/L, for her assistance with this Tip Sheet.

Occupational therapy is a skilled health, rehabilitation, and educational service that helps people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations).
Copyright © 2013 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.

Special Education Trends

special education boy

Special Education Trends

With the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), many aspects of rights were looked into.  The primary focus of this article will look at inclusion and the placement of students with disabilities, the discipline and manifestation review process, and the right to an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).  With rights for disabilities comes laws and regulations that ensure that each student is receiving a free and appropriate education as laid out by IDEA.

Inclusion involves deciding whether or not a student should be included in the general education classroom or whether or not he/she should be in a different setting, to include a resource room, a one-on-one area, or in a different school.  Unfortunately, many schools don’t want to have to deal with students who have violent or aggressive behaviors or disabilities that could cause a distraction to the rest of the classroom.  Fortunately, those students are covered under national and state standards.

“It has been estimated that 54% of students with disabilities are receiving their instruction in the regular classroom 80% or more of the day” (Grant, 2015, para. 1).

The first case that addressed inclusion was Pennsylvania Association of Retarded Children (PARC) v. Pennsylvania in 1972, which started the movement with several other cases leading to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (Blankenship, Boon, & Fore, 2007).

One of the hardest parts of inclusion is ensuring that the student with a disability is able to participate and socialize in an inclusive environment while allowing other students the opportunity to learn as well.  With inclusion comes the decision of discipline and what can be done according to the law and for what is best for the student. 

Discipline can be a very tricky part of educating a student with a disability, because it needs to be looked into further before a decision can be made.  According to the webpage created by Thomas S. Nelson, a special education attorney,    in the past, “schools were twice as likely to suspend a special needs student because of behavioral problems” (“Discipline,” n.d., para. 2).     Congress finally recognized this as a problem and created the Manifestation Determination Hearing, which ensures that each student is looked at personally and determinations are made based off of the unique traits of that student.

Many factors go into determining whether or not a student should be suspended or expelled, to include a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA), a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP), a determination by the parent and school that there should be an alternate placement, or if drugs, weapons, or serious injury occur (“Discipline,” n.d.).

special education pictureLast, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is an important current, and hopefully permanent trend, which allows for a team to meet, to include teachers, speech therapists, parents, interventionists, and other relevant members to meet and discuss the individual needs of students.  There are several steps in the IEP process to include evaluation, curriculum, placement, and behavioral goals (Hyatt-Foley, 2011).

The IEP was initiated in 1975 and allows for modifications to curriculum, schedule, and various other factors to ensure that the student is allowed the most appropriate education possible (“IEP,” 2015).    The IEP allows team members to decide on what will benefit the child’s education and learning environment and is a legally binding document that must be followed and reported on.

Effects of the trends

How do the above listed trends affect the students, educators, and the families?  Inclusion has allowed all students, regardless of disability to be involved in the general education environment and has allowed the students the same opportunities as their peers.  Parents should feel that the child is receiving the most appropriate education possible, and educators have a clear understanding through training and law of what each student should be included in.   Unlike in the past, discipline for students with disabilities has a legal process that ensures that all factors are looked at and that the student isn’t expelled or suspended without first finding out the underlying cause of the behavior.  Last, but not least, the IEP is a guideline for how the student should be taught, based on curriculum, educational and behavioral goals,  and environment.  The IEP team is allowed to discuss the student in great detail and decide what the best course of action will be for that unique student.

References

Blankenship, T., Boon, R. T., & Fore, C. (2007). Inclusion and placement decisions for students with special needs: A historical analysis of relevant statutory and case law. Electronic Journal for Inclusive Education, 2(1), 1-10. Retrieved from http://corescholar.libraries.wright.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1074&context=ejie

Defending expulsions: The general and special education setting. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.specialedlaw.us/education/discipline.php

Grant, M. (2015). Current trends in special education. Retrieved from http://study.com/academy/lesson/current-trends-in-special-education.html

Hyatt-Foley, D. (2011). IEP basics: What the school forgot to tell you. Retrieved from http://www.tsbvi.edu/seehear/winter02/iep.htm

Special education manual 2015. (2015). Retrieved from https://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/special_edu/manual_page.htm

The history of the IEP. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.specialednews.com/the-history-of-the-iep.htm

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