This is not a post about the developing world, where getting a full meal supersedes writing a full sentence. It is about allowing errors to go ignored because a child “tried their best, and we don’t want them to get discouraged”. Handwriting is not intuitive. Walking appears to be a skill that we are programmed…… Continue reading What Happens When Adults Don’t Teach Handwriting
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
One of the common questions children will ask me when I am working with them on handwriting is “Why is your “6” different from my book’s “6”? , or why is your ” M” different from my book’s “M” ? This is an EXCELLENT question. Here is the answer: because a computer made those numbers…… Continue reading How To Write Numbers And Letters To Avoid Confusing Young Children
I spend a lot of time in telehealth with toddlers and young preschoolers doing pre-writing. It requires few tools, it is easy to demonstrate, and it is fun. But when parents tell their two year-old that they drew a circle after they scribbled in a circular pattern, I stop them. Why? After all, copying a…… Continue reading Why A Circular Scribble ISN’T a Circle
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?
You might think as a pediatric OTR, I would be writing a post about sensory-based treatment for self-regulation. And I have in the past. Not today. But I have been an OTR for decades, and what I know about today’s children is that agitated and dysregulated kids often need help managing aggressive impulses and negative…… Continue reading Want Better Self-Regulation in Young Children? Help Them Manage Aggression
With pediatric occupational therapy going on at home using parents as surrogate therapists, it isn’t helpful to ask a parent to do too much repositioning of children with low tone. First of all, kids don’t like it. Second, kids really don’t like it. I have never met a child that enjoys therapeutic handling, no matter…… Continue reading How To Improve Posture In Children With Low Muscle Tone… Without a Fight!
There are a few equipment and toy recommendations that every home-based pediatric OTR makes to a child’s parents: Play-Doh, puzzles, tunnels, …and a vertical easel. Found in every preschool, children from 18 months on can build their reach and proximal (upper body) control while coloring and scribbling on a vertical surface, rather than a tabletop.…… Continue reading Using A Vertical Easel in Preschool? WHERE Your Child Draws on it Matters!
Whether it is a board game or a soccer game, once children are old enough to wrap their minds around winning, they cannot handle losing. Their grief leads parents to “throw” every game so that their child wins every time, or they make up games where everyone is a winner (I will admit to doing…… Continue reading Calm Your Child When They Cry After Losing a Game (and then teach them how to lose)
I wrote a post on erasing Teach Your Kindergartener How To Erase Like a Big Kid and one on erasers Problems With Handwriting? You Need The Best Eraser , but there are a few situations in which you don’t want a child to run for the eraser. The child who stalls for time. Some kids want to…… Continue reading When Should You Tell A Child NOT to Erase Their Mistake?
It is the rare toddler that eagerly gives up a desired toy or snack to share with another child. Yup; your child isn’t any different from the great majority of kids out there. You may even have witnessed the “grab-and-go” move, where they take a toy from another child and then quickly escape to…… Continue reading The Secret to Teaching Young Children to Share
My new e-book, The JointSmart Child: Living and Thriving With Hypermobility, Volume I, is just about ready to launch. One of the book’s major themes is that safety awareness is something that parents need to actively teach hypermobile young children. Of course, physical and occupational therapists need to educate their parents first. And they shouldn’t…… Continue reading Why Injuries to Hypermobile Joints Hurt Twice
Not a week goes by that a parent or nanny asks me how to get a young child, usually under 3, to share. I get it; it is embarrassing when a toddler rips a toy away from another child, or has a death grip on a toy car while growling at their playdate friend. Sharing…… Continue reading How To Get Your Kid To Share (Hint: The Fast Food Rule Will Be Used)
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
It happens to almost every parent. It could happen when your child is a fuming preschooler, or a haughty tween. Doesn’t matter. It still hurts. A lot. Even the sweetest child can hurl one of these statements out when they don’t get what they want or aren’t allowed to do something. The biggest question…… Continue reading What To Say When Your Child Says “I Hate You!”
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
This is something that is hardly ever spoken of, but it happens in many, if not most families. The good news is that it is normal, it doesn’t predict future behavior, and you can address it without sending everyone to a psychiatrist. The time and energy demands of a special needs child aren’t always in…… Continue reading Are Your Other Children Resentful of Their Special Needs Sibling?
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
Do you have a gifted kid? Do you teach one? You might not be able to tell the difference between a bright child and a gifted child by the number of letters they know, or the facts about dinosaurs they can recall. Here are some distinct signs that your child, student or therapy client is…… Continue reading How To Spot A Gifted Child In Your Preschool Class (Or Your Living Room!)