The “Holy Grail” for most parents of physically disabled kids is their child being able to walk around independently. This includes walking while in school. Most schools are not fully ADA accessible, making walking an easier choice many times. The oldest schools and the poorest districts frequently have the biggest problems and the least access…… Continue reading Is Independent Walking in the Classroom Overrated?
Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love the costumes, the focus on fun and terror in equal measure, and particularly the candy. It could be hard to get a child to settle down after a night of going door to door, collecting treats. Some parents think that their child’s difficulty falling asleep after eating some…… Continue reading Sugar Might Not be the Only Villain Stealing Your Kid’s Sleep !
There are a lot of antsy kids out there. Some of them have ADHD. Not all of them get occupational therapy. Most of my work with these kids centers on sensory processing treatments that improve attention and emotional regulation. But some of my treatment strategies concern positioning. That is a therapy word for how…… Continue reading Attention and ADHD: Tell them to Fix Their Feet!
Over a few decades of being a homecare OTR, I have seen a lot of different reactions from parents. And received a lot of different requests. The most honest ones are from parents who think their child is constantly defying them. They would like some pointers so they can stop wishing they were on a…… Continue reading When Your Child’s Defiance is Coming From Being Neurologically Disorganized
“Daddy….I gotta go. Right NOWWWW!” No parent wants to hear this coming from the back seat of their car while driving down a freeway or on a rural road. But it happens. And it can happen to older kids with hypermobile Ehlers Danlos syndrome (hEDS), well past early childhood. It can happen to…… Continue reading Why Your Kid With hEDS Doesn’t Seem to Know They Need the Potty… Right Now!
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
Interoception. The eighth?? sense? The key to calming? If there was a way to produce therapist catnip, it has to be by mentioning “interoception”! We are all buzzing about this. But understanding how the ability to sense internal homeostasis (that is what interoception is) makes kids happier is harder to convey in practical, non-medical…… Continue reading The Easiest Way To Trigger Interoceptive Calming In Your Child
Lined paper. Pencil grips. Easels. Tutoring. All of these solutions can help a child who has illegible handwriting. There are more handwriting devices and strategies than pencils in my desk drawer. But three contributors to poorly legible writing are often easily forgotten: Room temperature. Children that are chilly or too toasty will be fidgety.…… Continue reading 3 Hidden Causes of Handwriting Errors
Here in the northeast, we are simmering all day, every day. The little ones on my caseload with low muscle tone are getting floppier and crabbier with each week at camp or daycare. We know why. The effects of heat on muscles is a big part of the problem. Bring them indoors in the A/C,…… Continue reading Low Tone In The Summertime Heat? 4 Reasons To Hydrate
I spend a fair amount of time teaching hypermobile people of all ages how their sitting position affects their ability to write, keyboard, or do just about anything. And of course, we want hypermobile people to have a stronger core while sitting. But their chair can help them. It is not a crutch. Yup. Use…… Continue reading Why Using a Chair Correctly is SO Difficult for Hypermobile Kids and Adults
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
cco I have spent the first part of my career in pediatrics convincing parents, teachers, and other therapists that sensory processing is important for development, and that sensory processing disorders are a real “thing”. I am spending the latter part of my career trying to explain to the same groups that using a sensory-based activity…… Continue reading Is It Sensory Treatment…Or Sensory Stimulation? How To Know The Difference
Remote learning isn’t easy. Helping a special needs student navigate it isn’t easy either. Here are some strategies to improve outcomes and reduce everyone’s stress about it: If your child’s OT has created a sensory diet for them, this is the time to use it. A sensory diet is a series of activities and actions…… Continue reading Remote Learning Strategies for Special Needs Students
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
A lot of my youngest clients have started to whine. That cute toddler has turned into a whiny young preschooler. The pandemic isn’t helping them avoid it, or help their stressed parents handle it. But I can help both parties. I cannot make these kids grow up any faster, but understanding many of the reasons…… Continue reading Got a Whining Child Under 5? Here Is Why They Whine, And What To Do About It
I write a version of this post every summer. Puzzled parents ask me about their child’s sometimes dramatic reactions to playing outside in the heat. Kids are melting like popsicles, tripping and whining. Time to explain the way low tone and heat interact to create less safety, less stability, and less cooperation. Yup, low tone…… Continue reading Helping Children With Low Muscle Tone Manage Summertime Heat
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
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
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)!
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