As a pediatric occupational therapist, I would guess that every third IEP I have seen for preschool children includes some version of being able to cut with scissors. Understanding anatomy and neurology certainly help therapists understand why a child struggles. But when teaching a motor skill, it also helps to know what tools make a…… Continue reading Teaching Kids To Cut With Scissors? Don’t Use Cheap Paper
I spent almost 10 years working in adult rehab before I transitioned to pediatrics. I still teach joint protection, but I teach it differently to hypermobile kids and their parents. Kids rarely have JRA, or joint damage in general. What they have in spades are serious degrees of hypermobility. And the methods to use joint…… Continue reading Why Joint Protection Solutions for Hypermobility Aren’t Your Granny’s Joint Protection Strategies
As a pediatric occupational therapist, scissor use is something I assess but also something I teach. And I teach it early. I also teach safety early, and teach it with a focus on early success. What makes it easier to teach children to cut with scissors? Good timing. Typically-developing children have the visual-motor skills to…… Continue reading Teach Kids How to Cut With Scissors…The Easy Way
I am not a huge fan of teaching preschool children to trace strokes. I am very interested in the use of simple drawing to build pencil control and other pre-writing skills. But done right, tracing can be fun and useful for both the child and the adult. Here is one way to use tracing effectively:…… Continue reading Try “Rainbow Tracing” to Build Pre-Writing Skills With Creativity
OK; this is a trick question. Using prepared dough is one of the easiest ways to introduce very young children (or special needs kids of any age that are functioning at the 18-36 month level) to food preparation. With the right mindset, it is the beginning of a wonderful way to share practical skills, build…… Continue reading Should You Use Pre-Mixed Dough to Bake With Your Toddler?
Parents are looking for ways to survive the lockdown without daycare and preschool. Even the easiest child is starting to chafe under the oppression of the COVID quarantine. As an OT, it is my job to help parents support growth and development, but I don’t have to make it feel like work. Enter cooking and…… Continue reading Doing OT Telehealth? Start Cooking (And Baking)!
I get a lot of questions about this issue, based on my experience as a pediatric OTR. Starting at 12 months, some children show a strong hand preference and never look back. Other kids are switching hand use long after 4. Without the existence of disorders that directly affect hand dominance such as orthopedic disorders, cerebral palsy,…… Continue reading Want Your Child to Show Hand Preference (Righty/Lefty?) Where You Place Their Spoon Matters
My readers know that I am a huge fan of Quickshifts in treatment. I have had some amazing successes with Quickshifts for regulation and modulation. Their focus on combining binaural beat technology with instrumentation, rhythm, melody and tone makes these albums effective, and it eliminates the challenges of modulated music for very young or fragile…… Continue reading How Therapeutic Listening Enhances Motor Skills
Now that COVID -19 is pushing EI into telehealth, I see exactly what parents have at home when they hunt around for pre-writing tools. These egg-shaped crayons, and crayons where the child pokes a finger inside a cone-shaped crayon, are popping out of bins and drawers like little spring flowers. I (mostly) hate them. Why?…… Continue reading Egg Crayons And Fingertip Crayons: When Good Marketing SLOWS DOWN Fine Motor Skill Development
Most kids want to learn how to play an instrument in grade school. Most parents encourage some form of musical training for the benefits of musical training: social, coordination, attention and focus, even the suggested connection between math skills and musical ability. Hypermobile kids can struggle with the physical demands of playing an instrument […]
Many young hypermobile kids, with and without low muscle tone, struggle at mealtimes. Even after they have received skilled feeding therapy and can chew and swallow safely, they may continue to slide off their chair, spill food on the table (and on their body!) and refuse to use utensils. It doesn’t have to…… Continue reading Hypermobility Or Low Tone? Three Solutions to Mealtime Problems
This paper has been more useful to older kids (6+) that I see for handwriting help than any other paper on the market, and almost any other tool Problems With Handwriting? You Need The Best Eraser , Great Mechanical Pencils Can Improve Your Child’s Handwriting Skills . Why? Regular lined paper, and almost all worksheets, are usually jam-packed…… Continue reading Does Your Older Child Hate Writing? Try HWT’s Double-Lined Paper
I know; it sounds like I am being sarcastic. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Instead of telling children to “Give it another try” or “I know you can do it”, offering help to a young child can have the paradoxical effect of eliciting more perseverance and attention. It really isn’t all that…… Continue reading Need to Support A Child’s Independence? Offer to Help Them!
Many children resist doing their homework, but most kids say “Its so BORING!” not “My hand hurts too much”. If a child is complaining of pain, and they don’t have a joint disease such as JRA, the first thought is hypermobility. The good news is that there are a few fast fixes that can decrease…… Continue reading When Writing Hurts: The Hypermobile Hand
In adult rehab, occupational therapists are regularly providing patients who have incoordination, muscle weakness or joint instability with both skill-building activities and adaptive equipment such as Dycem. In pediatrics, you see a predominance of skills training. Adaptive equipment shows up primarily for the most globally and pervasively disabled children. I think that should change. Why? Because…… Continue reading The Not-So-Secret Solution for Your Child With Motor And Sensory Issues: Dycem
My clients and colleagues know how much I love the original Water Wow books. They are reusable and mess-free fun for kids at home, at the doctor’s office, the restaurant and the plane ride. These bigger books are going to be even more fun for preschool kids and kindergarteners! Here are some great reasons…… Continue reading Deluxe Water Wow Pads Offer More Challenge And More Fun To Preschoolers and Kindergarteners
This set is one of my favorite choices for toddlers of all ages and interests. Why? It is a safe, fun, clean-able toy that doesn’t require a USB connection or a battery. That isn’t a complete oddity, but it getting more rare every year. This toy is a great choice for kids with ASD, SPD,…… Continue reading Playing With Velcro Food Sets Builds Children’s Hand Skills Fast!
These balls aren’t new, but they don’t get the recognition that they should. The ability to catch a ball is a developmental milestone. For kids with low muscle tone, sensory processing disorder (SPD) or ASD, it can be a difficult goal to achieve. The Gertie ball is often the easiest for them to handle.…… Continue reading Teach Your Child To Catch and Throw a Gertie Ball
I really like this set from LEGO. The DUPLO line is intended for children 18 months to 5 years old, but I think older kids will enjoy it as well when they combine pieces to make more complex designs. The #1 reason I like this set is that the great majority of the…… Continue reading DUPLO’s My First Number Train Set Is An Easy Way to Build Grasp in Toddlers!
These days I am getting pretty…lazy. My go-to items are designed so that children automatically improve their grasp or their posture without my intervention. I am always searching for easy carryover strategies to share with parents too. As with most things in life, easy is almost always better than complicated. My recent fave piece of…… Continue reading Boost Pincer Grasp With Tiny Containers