Lumiere Children’s Therapy: Holiday Toys for All Ages

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Finding the perfect gifts for your young ones that are both fun and encourage developmental skills may seem impossible, but Lumiere Children’s Therapy is here to help!

Early Development

Throughout their early years, children develop cognitive, language and motor skills that drive their development for later years. Toys should be challenging but engaging for children at this age. Limit the amount of toys that do all the work for them, such as light-up, musical or spinning toys; instead, focus on toys that require attention and fine & gross motor skills. Here are a few examples:

Cause & effect

Cause and effect toys help children understand the concept that one action can create a reciprocating action. Understanding cause and effect is the baseline for effective communication skills. Children will understand that if they use a facial expression, gesture or vocalization, they will get something in return. Cause and effect toys also encourage the development of fine motor skills by manipulating the toy for something to happen. It also requires strong trunk control to hold oneself up while interacting with the toy.

Fine motor

Fine motor skills are necessary for eating, dressing and writing in later years. The first grasp to develop around six months of age, is the pincher grasp, which requires using the fingertips and thumb to lift smaller objects. As the fine motor skills increase, children will learn how to perfect the pincher grasp, use hands to hold bigger objects, manipulate objects by placing or retrieving from containers and play with smaller toys.  For a full description of fine motor development click here.

Animals

Animal sounds and names can promote language in small children. Often times, babies’ first few words are either an animal name or sound. Animal sounds are usually the first consonants to develop such as /n/ in “nah”, /m/ in “moo”, /w/ in “woof”, /m/ “meow”, and /t/ in “tweet”.

Imaginary Play

Imaginary play encompasses social, cognitive and language skills to emulate another person. Imaginary play skills usually develop between 18-24 months by imitating talking on the phone, driving a car or unlocking a door with a key.  By four years old, imaginary play will incorporate elaborate story plots with a variety of characters, settings, problems and resolutions.

The Arts

Music

Music aids in all areas of child development as well as preparing for school, including  intellectual, social and emotional, and language skills. Music can serve as a calming or self-regulating tool, aide in communication, and positively affect a child’s mood. Interacting with your child while playing music serves as an intimate bonding experience. Dancing along and using hand gestures (such as the “Itsy Bitsy Spider”) can improve fine and gross motor skills as well! Read our Music Magic post for more ways to incorporate music into your daily routine.

Blowing instruments:

Hand instruments:

Art

Art is just as important to development and school readiness as music. Dexterity skills are developed while creating art by learning how to grip a writing utensil, manipulate scissors and glue paper together. For younger children, art can also serve as a platform for language development and identification of colors, shapes and actions.



Board Games

For older children (4+), board games can serve as a way to indirectly teach educational concepts in an engaging manner. Board games can target letter, shap, and color recognition.  It also encourages social and cognitive skills such as attention, sportsmanship, turn-taking and listening.

Letters:


Shapes:


Color:


Following directions/listening games:

The most important aspect of gift giving is interacting and playing with your children, nieces/nephews and grandchildren! Children learn best from adult models and they will cherish your time spent together more than any toy. Take time away from the busy holiday schedules to enjoy time with your family.

Happy Holidays!

From the Lumiere Children’s Team.




Resources:


Children and Music: Benefits of Music in Child Development. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.brighthorizons.com/family-resources/e-family-news/2010-music-and-children-rhythm-meets-child-development

ExpectEditors, W. T. (2014, October 20). Pretend Play. Retrieved from https://www.whattoexpect.com/toddler/pretend-games/

Lynch, G. H. (2012, May 25). The Importance of Art in Child Development. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/music-arts/the-importance-of-art-in-child-development/

Staff, S. Z. (2015, April 28). Teaching baby animal names, sounds, and habits builds important skills. Retrieved from https://www.schoolzone.com/blog/teaching-baby-animal-names-sounds-and-habits-builds-important-skills



Lumiere Children’s Therapy: Swallowing Difficulties in Children

Swallowing is a complicated process that is both voluntary and involuntary. Many people take swallowing for granted since it becomes second nature to most. Observe the complexity of a swallow by paying close attention to the many stages involved when taking a bite of food or sip of water. For some children, eating and swallowing can cause numerous difficulties leading to poor growth, failure to gain weight and inadequate nutrition. The medical term for swallow difficulty is called Dysphagia.

There are three types of Dysphagia: oral, oropharyngeal and esophageal. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on oral and oropharyngeal dysphagia as speech therapists can diagnose and treat these types.

Stages of a Swallow

There are four stages to an efficient swallow: oral preparation, oral stage, pharyngeal, and esophageal. Dysphagia can occur in one or more of the four phases of a swallow, possibly leading to food or liquid entering the airway causing aspiration.

  • Oral Preparation: In this stage, the teeth chew the food as saliva adds moisture in order to create a cohesive ball or bolus.

    • Signs/symptoms of difficulty in this stage:

      • Child has trouble chewing a variety of textured food that should be age-appropriate

      • Liquid or food spills out of the mouth while eating

      • Excessive amounts of drooling during meals or between meals

      • Takes over 30 minutes to finish a meal

      • Over-stuffing their mouth with food or only allowing small amounts of food into mouth

  • Oral Stage: In this stage, the person voluntarily pushes the food to the back of the mouth by the tongue in preparation to swallow food.

    • Signs/symptoms of difficulty in this stage:

      • Child holds food in the mouth for a long time before swallowing

      • Requires multiple swallows on one piece of food

      • Some food remains in mouth after swallowing

  • Pharyngeal Stage: The food passes through the throat into the esophagus. During this stage, the windpipe or airway is protected by a flap called the epiglottis so food does not enter the lungs.

    • Signs/symptoms of difficulty in this stage:

      • Breathing difficulty during meals as noticed by skin color change, changes in heart rate, or increased breathing

      • Coughing and choking during or after meals

      • Spitting up, vomiting or gagging during meals

      • After or during meals, the child talks with a raspy or wet sounding voice

      • Frequent congestion in chest after meals

  • Esophageal stage: Food travels from the esophagus into the stomach during this stage.

    • Signs/symptoms of difficulty:

      • Frequent constipation

      • Complaints of stomach pain

      • Sensation of food coming back up the pipe

      • Excess vomiting after meals


Signs and symptoms of swallowing problems may be difficult to notice if a child does not express complaints.  Other signs to watch for during meals may include the following:

  • Crying during mealtimes because the child does not want to eat

  • Refusal of food and/or certain textures

  • Distracting behaviors such as excess talking, frequently getting up, or negative behaviors

  • Long meal times due to slow eating or refusal of meals

  • Facial grimacing during mealtime for older children and arching of the back for infants

  • For infants, decreased responsiveness such as blank stares during feedings

  • Food or liquid coming out of nose during or after feedings

Aversions

There are two other types of feeding/swallowing disorders related to the oral preparatory stage: oral and sensory aversion.

Oral aversion is usually a self-defense mechanism that kids use to avoid foods that they know they cannot process due to lack of skills. Chewing and swallowing can be a very complicated process requiring adequate jaw strength, tongue elevation and lateralization and rhythmic chewing and coordination. For children that lack strength and/or coordination in one of these areas, swallowing can be complicated and even dangerous. To assess if your child may have oral motor difficulties, take a bite of a food, such as a cookie, and count the amount of chews it takes you before swallowing. Observe your child eating the same type of cookie and count the amount of chews it takes him or her, while observing the jaw movements. Adequate jaw movements should be a circular/diagonal motion, not simply up and down as in a munching pattern.

Sensory aversion is usually a symptom of a  sensory-processing disorder. Sensory aversions may appear as hypo-sensitivity (lack of sensory awareness) or hyper-sensitivity (excessive sensory awareness). If the child is hyposensitive, the child lacks awareness of the food impacting his/her ability to manipulate the food before swallowing. Symptoms may appear as over-stuffing the mouth, leftover food in the mouth and excess drooling. If the child is hypersensitive, symptoms may include vomiting, gagging, spitting up food or refusing behaviors at dinner.

Consequences of a swallowing disorder

Difficulty with swallowing may cause an array of complications if not properly treated. These complications may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Malnutrition: Malnutrition is when the body is not receiving enough nutrients and vitamins through the consumption of food needed to keep tissues and organs working properly. Malnutrition may occur due to undernourishment or overnourishment. Undernutrition is when the child is not receiving essential nutrients due to lack of food consumption. Overnutrition occurs when the child consumes an abundance of food but lacks the necessary vitamins in those foods. Overnutrition may also involve lack of exercise, excessive eating, and/or taking too many vitamin supplements.


    • Signs of malnutrition:

      • Pale and dry skin complexion

      • Easily bruises

      • Thin hair or hair loss

      • Gums that bleed easily

      • Swollen or cracked tongue

      • Sensitivity to light

      • Rashes or changes in skin pigmentation

    • Treatment for malnutrition: Pediatricians will recommend speech therapy as well as working closely with a dietician to increase oral intake of nutritious food.  If malnutrition continues, treatment may involve inserting a thin tube through the nose that carefully enters the stomach or small intestine. If long-term tube feeding is recommended, a tube may be placed directly into the stomach or small intestine through an incision in the abdomen.

  • Dehydration: Dehydration is when children lose an excessive amount of water and salts without replacing the fluids through diet.

    • Signs of dehydration:

      • Limited tears when crying

      • Decreased need to go to the bathroom

      • Irritability

      • Eyes that have a sunken look

      • Dry or sticky mouth

      • Dizziness or lethargic tendencies

    • Treatment for dehydration: Treatment varies based on the severity of dehydration. For mild cases, children will be advised to drink plenty of fluids (preferably water) and rest in a cool room. For more severe cases, children may be required to drink oral rehydration solution (ORS) which is a combination of sugar and salts that rehydrate the body. If a child refuses liquids, alternative feedings such as tube feeding may be required.

  • Aspiration pneumonia: When food, saliva or stomach acid enters your lungs, it is called pulmonary aspiration. Healthy lungs are able to clear foreign bacteria, but if the lungs are unable to clear the food or liquid, pneumonia may occur.

    • Symptoms of aspiration pneumonia:

      • Shortness of breath

      • Bad breath

      • Excessive coughing, and sometimes coughing up blood or phlegm

      • Chest pain or wheezing

      • Excessive sweating

      • Fever

    • Treatment of aspiration pneumonia: Treatment usually involves antibiotics and supportive care for breathing such as oxygen, steroids or breathing machine.

  • Ongoing need for a feeding tube. As mentioned before, a feeding tube may be deemed necessary if your child is unable to consume enough nutrition through the mouth. There are four types of feeding tubes: nasogastric tubes, nasoduodenal tubes, nasojejunal tubes and gastric or gastrostomy tubes. (Our next blog will focus on the types of feeding tubes and provide more information.)

  • Inadequate weight gain: Attending regular pediatrician check-ups can ensure your child is growing at a healthy rate.

Treatment for Swallowing Disorders

Treatment depends on the child’s age, health conditions, physical and cognitive abilities, and most importantly, specific feeding and swallowing concerns. Feeding therapy is a a team approach consisting of the child, speech therapist, dietician, occupational therapist, pediatrician and family members. The main goals of therapy are to support adequate nutrition and hydration, minimize complication risk and maximize the child and family’s quality of life.

If you feel your child may have difficulty with any stage of the swallow process, express concerns with your pediatrician immediately. Lumiere Children’s Therapy can provide feeding therapy to help your child reach their highest potential for adequate nutrition and quality of life. Contact us here.



References:

Children's Hospital. “Dysphagia.” Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 24 Aug. 2014, www.chop.edu/conditions-diseases/dysphagia.

“Dehydration.” Edited by Patricia Solo-Josephson, KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation, June 2017, kidshealth.org/en/parents/dehydration.html.

“Pediatric Dysphagia: Causes.” Averican Speech-Language-Hearing Association, ASHA, www.asha.org/PRPSpecificTopic.aspx?folderid=8589934965§ion=Causes.

https://www.asha.org/PRPSpecificTopic.aspx?folderid=8589934965&section=Treatment

Lowsky, MS, CCC-SLP, Debra C. “Food Refusal - Is It Oral Motor or Sensory Related?” ARK Therapeutic, 10 Nov. 2014, www.arktherapeutic.com/blog/food-refusal-is-it-oral-motor-or-sensory-related/

“Malnutrition.” Is There Really Any Benefit to Multivitamins?, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/adult/pediatrics/malnutrition_22,Malnutrition.
“Tube Types.” Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation, www.feedingtubeawareness.org/tube-feeding-basics/tubetypes/.



Lumiere Children’s Therapy: Sports Injuries

Sports teams promote sportsmanship, motivation, social development, and physical exercise. Therefore, it is no surprise that children are participating in organized sporting leagues at an earlier age. Competitive sport careers are beginning around seven years old, and most children are participating in organized sport activities as early as four years old.

With the number of children participating in sports rising, sports injuries are now the second leading causes of emergency visits for children and adolescents. Physical activity is necessary for health and growth through childhood, but intense, repetitive activity may cause tissues to break down eventually causing injuries. Learn more about common type of injuries, prevention and recovery to ensure your child is receiving the best form of treatment after an injury.

Types of injury:

Sport injuries may result in bruises, strains, sprains, tears and broken bones. Strains and sprains are most common in sport accidents. Some common injuries are described below:

  • Muscle strain. Muscle strains are also referred to as pulled muscles. It may occur when the muscle is overstretched and tears. With the proper precautions and treatment, muscle strains typically recover fairly quickly.

  • Torn ACL. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) holds the knee joint together. Torn ACL may occur from landing the wrong way, changing directions quickly, abruptly stopping or blows to the knee. Treatment includes surgery and extensive rehabilitation.

  • Stress Fracture. Stress fractures occur due to overuse of specific muscles. Children who specialize in one specific sport are more prone to stress fractures due to repetitive movements. Stress fractures typically occur in the legs and feet.

  • Sprained ankle. The ligaments that support the ankle joint becomes overstretched. The severity of a sprained ankle depends on pre-existing conditions, age and degree of sprain.

  • Concussion. Concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by a blow to the head. Symptoms may include headaches, confusion, nausea, dizziness, slurred speech, loss of balance and loss of memory. Physical contact sports most often result in an increased risk for concussion, especially football. A neurological exam is necessary after a concussion to determine any further damage.

Risk Factors

Injuries are never predictable, but some children are at a greater risk of injury. The following are risk factors to be aware of when registering for a sports team:

  • Improper footwear or protective gear. Participating in sports can become expensive with participation fees, travel, and sports gear, but proper protective gear and footwear can help protect against future medical bills due to injury.

  • Sports specialization. Children begin to specialize in one sport at an earlier age each year. Playing one sport year round can cause overuse of specific muscles, especially during growth years.  

  • Intense, repetitive training. Exercises should focus on whole body conditioning during growth to improve flexibility and strength in all muscles.

  • Imbalance of strength. In the same respect, children who are strengthening only specific parts of their body can cause an imbalance of strength making them more inclined to injury.

  • Pre-existing condition or anatomical malalignment. Awareness of pre-existing conditions through yearly check-ups is crucial for becoming aware of risk factors.

Prevention of sports injuries

Although there is no foolproof way to prevent injuries caused by sports, you can take some precautions in the following ways:

  • Physical. A pre-season physical ensures that your child is in physical health to participate in a sporting activity. A physical can also bring awareness to any existing conditions that may put a child at risk for injury.

  • Diet. As most coaches can attest, a healthy, well-balanced diet is crucial when participating in competitive sports. A mix of proteins, carbohydrates and vegetables are recommended. Staying well hydrated during and between games is equally important.

  • Exercise program. A pre-season workout should strengthen all muscles regardless of the specific muscles used in that sport. Workouts should be well-rounded to include cardio, strength training and stretching. Injuries can occur due to overuse of muscles, so working other muscles can help to reduce that risk.  

  • Physical therapy. Physical therapy can be both preventive and rehabilitative. Physical therapy before a season can ensure all muscles are properly stretched and strengthened. It is especially important if there have been previous injuries.

  • Gear. Wear properly fitted gear such as helmets, elbow guards, goggles, mouth guards and shin guards.

  • Listen to your body. If you get hurt on the field, don’t continue to play through pain thinking you will “work it out”.  If injured during the sport, take necessary precautions to avoid serious injuries.

Immediate Treatment of Injuries

Health professionals recommend implementing the P.R.I.C.E. method to reduce swelling and pain immediately, within the first 48 hours, after an injury . The P.R.I.C.E. method is an acronym for the following precautions:

  • Protection. Immediately after the incident, protect the affected area with a wrap or bandage.

  • Rest. When the injury occurs, stop the current activity. For the first 48 hours, reduce or eliminate use of the injured area.

  • Ice. Apply ice to affected area for 10-20 minutes several times a day. Be sure to wrap ice pack in a thin towel to avoid skin damage.

  • Compression. Immediately after an injury, wrap by compressing the affected area in elastic bandage or wrap. Do not wrap to the point of numbness or pain. Apply ice once the area is adequately wrapped.

  • Elevation. Lastly, elevate the affected area to about heart level to decrease swelling and promote blood movement.

Recovery from Injuries

Although most people implement the “wait and see” approach when it comes to minor sport injuries, it is not always the best strategy. While rest is a necessary part of the healing process, staying active allows adequate blood flow throughout the body to assist in a healthy recovery. Physical therapists (PTs) can provide an individual treatment plan designed to promote strengthening, stretching and repairing of necessary muscles. PTs can support the child coping with the injury and educate the family when it is appropriate to return to the sport. The PT will create a treatment plan for each of the three phases of recovery:

  • Acute phase: The acute phase is when the injury initially occurs. The P.R.I.C.E. method as described above, should be the primary treatment during this stage.

  • Subacute phase: At this stage, range of motion and strengthening exercises can start to be introduced to aid in recovery.

  • Chronic phase: This is the last stage when the athlete is able to slowly participate in previous workout routines and eventually return to the sport of choice.


In conjunction with an exercise program, PTs may use bracing and taping to aide in recovery. Bracing and taping is a preventative measure to protect a previously injured area when the child returns to the sport. It is important to note that bracing does not reduce the severity of an injury when it occurs.

If your child is interested in participating in a sport activity or recently experienced a sports injury, contact Lumiere Children’s Therapy for an evaluation by one of our skilled physical therapists. Go Team!




Resources:

Britt, Darice. “Physical Therapy Crucial to Sports Injury Recovery.” South Source: A Publication of South University , source.southuniversity.edu/physical-therapy-crucial-to-sports-injury-recovery-59068.aspx.

Grillo, Jerry. “Kids' Sports Injuries.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/children/features/kids-sports-injuries#1.

HachigianGould, Aimee V. “Sports Injuries: Types, Treatments, and Prevention.” OnHealth, www.onhealth.com/content/1/sports_injuries.

“Kid's Sports Injuries: The Numbers Are Impressive.” Nationwide Children's Hospital, www.nationwidechildrens.org/specialties/sports-medicine/sports-medicine-articles/kids-sports-injuries-the-numbers-are-impressive.

“Youth Athletics: Injury Care.” Therapeutic Associates Physical Therapy, www.therapeuticassociates.com/articles/youth-athletics-injury-care/.

Does My Child Have Autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by deficits in three keys areas: social interaction, communication with others, and repetitive or rigid behaviors.  These impairments can present themselves in a variety of ways.  

 Lumiere Children’s Therapy Instagram Page

Lumiere Children’s Therapy Instagram Page

What are signs of autism in my child?  

Social Deficits 

Some social deficits that may be noticed with your little one, include:

·      Lack of smiling or joyful response to a parent by 6 months of age

·      Not responding to their name by looking or orienting their body in the direction their name was called, by 1 year

·      Not waving “bye-bye” by 1 year

·      No pretend or “make believe” play by 18-24 months

·      Preference to play by themselves/no desire to interact with peers by 2 ½ years

 

Communication Deficits

Some communication deficits that may be noticed with your little one, include:

·     Not making or sharing sounds with others by 9 months of age

·      Lack of pointing to items of interest by 14-16 months

·      No regularly used words by 16-18 months

·      Lack of use of 2-word utterances by age 2

 

Repetitive or Rigid Behavior

The occurrence of repetitive or rigid behavior at any time during development can be cause for concern.  Some of these behaviors include:

·     Stereotypy - the persistent repetition of movement of the body or of an object, is a big indicator of autism.  Examples of stereotypy include, but are not limited to, repetitive movement of the hands in front of the face, hand-flapping, following objects or body parts with a repetitive eye gaze, lining up toys (and becoming very upset if the line is broken in any way), and/or pulling at the hair or hair twirling

·     Echolalia - repeating back what was said to them in a non-functional way or repeating lines from movies, commercials or other outlets that have been heard previously in a non-functional context 

·     Extreme duress expressed to a change in routine or schedule; a need for “sameness” in daily routines

·     Difficulties with transitions

 

It is important to note that any of these deficits in isolation does not mean that a little one may have autism.  Typically, a combination of these deficits will be present and when combined, there may be cause for concern.  Also, loss of any skills at any point in development is a red flag and indicator.  Examples of this include, a child who used to wave “bye-bye” but no longer does, used to babble but stopped, used to respond to their name or used to speak a few words but no longer uses them.  

What do I do if I think my child may have autism? 

If your little one is displaying a combination of these behaviors or has lost any skills, please consult your pediatrician. The pediatrician should then refer to a specialist, including a developmental pediatrician, developmental psychologist, or developmental neurologist who is qualified to perform a full diagnostic evaluation.   

My child has been diagnosed with autism (ASD). What are the next steps? 

First of all, breathe. You’ve got this! There is a lot of information to take in when a diagnosis of autism is determined.  Often times, recommendations are given for up to 30 hours per week for intensive ABA therapy which leaves parents thinking, “Where can I fit 30 hours of therapy into my child’s schedule?!”  

What is ABA therapy and how can it fit into my schedule?

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the scientific approach to teaching socially significant behavior by the use of behavior principles and understanding the variables responsible for lasting change. For young learners, quality ABA therapy programs focus on family-centered programming that targets pre-academic, social, communication, and self-help skills.  ABA also focuses on decreasing challenging behavior while increasing positive behaviors.  One goal of ABA is to give your child the tools they will need to feel comfortable in the community and surroundings.  This is done in a variety of ways.  

Research shows that ABA therapy is one of the most effective treatments for teaching those with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Although ABA is a critical therapy for your child, it often is just one component of a multidisciplinary treatment plan.  ABA targets a wide array of skills, however, remains behavioral in nature so other therapies including physical, speech, occupational therapies may also be beneficial to your child.  Using a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach is just one effective method to treatment.

ABA therapy can be conducted across environments. Often, therapy will occur at a center, at your child’s daycare, and/or in the home.  An ABA therapist may be present during family outings to the grocery store, park, or other activity to teach appropriate behaviors in these settings. Scheduling can be flexible and can even occur on the weekends.    

Lumiere Children’s Therapy focuses on naturalistic instruction, or play-based learning for young children and offers a multidisciplinary approach to therapy, with a customized treatment plan created just for your child. If you need help with your child’s ASD diagnosis, contact us today so we can help.


 

References

Cooper, John O., Heron, Timothy E.Heward, William L.. (2007) Applied behavior analysis /Upper 

Saddle River, N.J. : Pearson/Merrill-Prentice Hall,

Green, G.  Mansfield, R. Geckeler, E.  Gardenier, N.   Anderson, J. Holcomb, W. &  Sanchez, J. 

(2007)Stereotypy in young children with autism and typically developing children, Research in Developmental Disabilities. 28 (2007) 266–277. 

Leaf, J.  Leaf, R. McEachin, J.  Taubman, M. Rosales, S. Ross, R. Smith, T. & Weiss, M. J. (2015). 

Applied Behavior Analysis is a Science and, Therefore, Progressive.  Journal of Autism 

Dev Disorders.   (46)720–731.

Ozonof, S. et al. (2010) A Prospective Study of the Emergence of Early Behavioral Signs of 

Autism.  Journal of  American Academy of Child and AdolescentPsychiatry .  49(3): 256–66.

 

Lumiere Children’s Therapy: Scoliosis

The spine is a series of bones (vertebrae) that run in a straight line down from the skull to the lower back. The spine assists in our ability to hold our weight, maintain posture and participate in a variety of activities such as walking, running, jumping, lifting, etc. Scoliosis is the curvature of the spine appearing like a “S” or “C” when viewed from behind. Scoliosis commonly presents during the growth spurt before puberty. Continue reading for more information on scoliosis, including symptoms and treatment.

What is Scoliosis?

When viewed from behind, the spine should appear straight with no curvature. In a person with scoliosis, the spine curves to one side causing the spine to appear in a “S” or “C” shape. It may give the appearance that the person is leaning towards one side. Scoliosis, or curvature of the spine, typically occurs in the upper or middle back but can occasionally occur in the lower back. The Scoliosis Research Society classifies scoliosis as a curvature of 10 degrees or greater. There are three types of scoliosis with idiopathic scoliosis.

What are the three types of Scoliosis?

  • Congenital: Congenital Scoliosis occurs at birth, usually during fetal development. It usually forms during the development of vertebrae in utero. The vertebrae may fail to form normally or not form completely.

  • Neuromuscular: Neuromuscular Scoliosis is associated with many neurological disorders, which may cause difficulty walking.  These conditions include, but are not limited to, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, paralytic conditions and spinal cord tumors.

  • Idiopathic: Idiopathic Scoliosis is the most common, especially in women. It typically occurs during growth spurts and the cause is unknown. Idiopathic scoliosis is broken into three types:

    • infantile (birth-three years), which may resolve and is commonly found in boys

    • juvenile (3-10 years)

    • adolescent (10-18 years) commonly seen in girls

Since Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common, the following information will focus on that type.

What are the causes of Idiopathic Scoliosis?

Idiopathic scoliosis has no known cause, but genetics often plays a role in the development. Approximately 30% of idiopathic cases have a family history of scoliosis. It is important to note that sports injuries, poor posture, or heavy backpacks do not cause idiopathic scoliosis.

What are the symptoms of Idiopathic Scoliosis?

Symptoms may vary depending on degree, progression and site of curvature. There is little pain associated with scoliosis, so if your child is complaining of severe back, neck or knee pain, seek medical attention. Idiopathic scoliosis often goes unnoticed due to lack of pain, and is usually detected at school screenings or regular checkups. Common symptoms may include:

  • Shoulder height differences

  • Head uncentered on body

  • Sides of back appearing different in height when bending forward

  • When standing, the arms hang at different heights beside the body

  • Differences in hip height

  • Differences in shoulder blade height

How is it diagnosed?

  • Physical examination: As mentioned before, scoliosis is usually first diagnosed at a school screening or regular checkup. During a regular checkup, the pediatrician may use the Adam’s Forward Bend Test to evaluate any dissymmetry in the back

    • Adam’s Forward Bend Test is the screening used to first assess idiopathic scoliosis. The child is instructed to bend at the waist at 90 degrees with arms stretched toward the floor and knees straight. The healthcare professional will assess the symmetry of the spine by examining for differences in shoulders, hips, waist, or legs.

  • X-rays: If scoliosis is suspected after the Adam’s Forward Bend test, a pediatrician will request an x-ray for a formal measurement of the degree of curvature. X-rays can help confirm suspected scoliosis using the Cobb angle. The Cobb angle gives the degree of the curve. The curve must be 10 degrees or higher to be considered true scoliosis. This information will aide in the treatment of scoliosis. X-rays also help determine how mature the child’s skeleton is and predict if scoliosis will continue to progress. If the child’s spine is still maturing, regular x-rays are recommended every 3-12 months to check if the curve continues to progress.

What is the treatment?

The goal of treatment is to stop the progression of the curve, as well as prevent deformity. The four main types of treatment include observation, bracing, surgery and physical therapy depending on the individual.

  • Observation. The majority of idiopathic scoliosis cases are mild in nature, only requiring observation every 4-6 months to assess for an increase in curve. Monthly checkups will continue until the skeleton has fully matured.

  • Bracing. If the curve measures more than 25-30 degrees after assessing an x-ray, the physician will suggest bracing to support the spine as the skeletal growth continues.

  • Surgery: Surgery is recommended when the curve measures 45-50 degrees or greater and bracing was not successful. The surgery is a spinal fusion which straightens the curve by fusing the vertebrae together in order to heal into a single solid bone. Spinal fusion stops the growth of the spine to prevent the curve from increasing. Spinal fusion uses a bone material (bone graft) to fuse the bones together. Then, metal rods are used to hold the spine in place until the fusion fully happens. After surgery, most children are able to return to school within four weeks after surgery. Between 6-9 months after surgery, children can return to most sporting activities.

  • Physical therapy. Physical therapists can provide care during any of the phases of scoliosis treatment. Physical therapists will create an individual treatment plan for your children to increase the body’s range of motion, strengthen, retrain the body for optimal movements, and educate you on your child’s diagnosis. Physical therapist are an important member of the treatment team, especially if bracing or surgery is recommended.

If you notice dissymmetry in your child’s back, contact your pediatrician for a formal assessment. For physical therapy inquiries about scoliosis, contact Lumiere Children’s Therapy for an evaluation and treatment plan.




Resources:

“Scoliosis: Frequently Asked Questions - OrthoInfo - AAOS.” Muscle Strains in the Thigh - OrthoInfo - AAOS, orthoinfo.org/en/diseases--conditions/scoliosis-frequently-asked-questions/.

“Scoliosis.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 29 Dec. 2017, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/scoliosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350716.

“Scoliosis.” Mobile Header, 17 Aug. 2016, www.stlouischildrens.org/diseases-conditions/scoliosis.

“Scoliosis Treatment | Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare.” What Is Rhizotomy or SDR Surgery? | Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare, www.gillettechildrens.org/conditions-care/scoliosis-idiopathic-neuromuscular-and-congenital/scoliosis-treatment.

“X-Ray Exam: Scoliosis.” Edited by Yamini Durani, KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation, May 2014, kidshealth.org/en/parents/xray-scoliosis.html.

Child Speech Therapy: Expressive Language Skills

Hearing your child’s voice for the first time is an exciting, monumental part of parenthood. As the first babbles turn into words, and eventually sentences, your child’s expressive language is developing. Receptive language is the ability to understand language, as expressive language is the ability to use words, sentences, gestures, and writing to communicate with others.

What is expressive language and why is it important?

Expressive language allows a person to communicate wants, needs, thoughts and opinions. Expressive language is the ability to request objects, make choices, ask questions, answer, and describe events. Speaking, gesturing (waving, pointing), writing (texting, emailing), facial expressions (crying, smiling), and vocalizations (crying, yelling) are all variations of expressive language. Children with poor expressive language skills may become frustrated when they cannot communicate their wants and needs. Temper tantrums may occur when they feel tired, sick or hungry and cannot express their current needs.

How do expressive language skills develop?

Expressive language is developed within the first few days after birth. Babies learn to communicate when they are hungry, uncomfortable or tired through crying and facial expressions. They learn to laugh when they are enjoying an interaction with a parent or caregiver, and smile when they are happy. These are all forms of communication. In order for expressive language skills to develop, a child also needs to have strong receptive language, attention, play, social pragmatics and motivation.

  • Receptive language skills is the comprehension of language which is an underlying skill to label objects, answer questions appropriately, and use language in the intended way.

  • Adequate attention skills is an underlying skill for all developmental tasks. The ability to sustain attention is important in order to finish one’s thought and effectively communicate to others.

  • Play skills encourage children to explore their surroundings. Play can be an intrinsic motivator for young children to communicate by requesting, interacting, and labeling toys.

  • Pragmatic skills is the way language is used day to day in social situations. Adequate pragmatic skills allows a person to participate in conversation appropriately.

Expressive Language Milestones & Activities:

The following, outlines expressive language milestones from birth to 7 years old in three categories: birth, preschool, and school age. Learn about the typical developmental stages as well as activities to try at home.

Birth- 3 years old

  • 0-1 years old:

    • Produces pleasure sounds (cooing and gooing)

    • Makes noises when talked to

    • Protests or rejects through gestures or vocalizations

    • Cries differently for different intentions

    • Attempts to imitate facial expressions and movements of caregivers

    • Laughs during parent interaction

    • Between 7-12 months, child will start to babble sounds together (mama, dada)

    • Uses a representational gesture (such as waves bye-bye, claps hands, moves body)

  • Activities to Try at Home:

    • Talk to your child. When your child is developing language, they learn through role models. Talk to your child about your day, what you are doing, and what they can see. It may feel strange at first to talk to your baby without them responding, but the more you talk, the more they learn.

    • Read. It is never too early to start reading books to your child. Point out familiar pictures in the books. If you are reading about animals, make the animal sounds associated with each animal.  

    • Imitate. Imitate all sounds, gestures, and facial expressions your child makes. Repeat a noise they make, and wait for a response. Encouraging imitation can help your child participate in social turn-taking and start to imitate your words.


1-2 years old

  • First words develop around 12 -14 months (hi, mama, dad)

  • Takes turns vocalizing with another person

  • Uses at least two different consonant sounds (early signs include p, b, t, d, m)

  • Around 18-24 months, child begins putting 2 words together (“more cookie,” “no book,” “all done”)

  • Uses one-to-two word questions such as  “go bye bye?” or “where mommy?”

  • Uses a variety of nouns (e.g. mom, dog) and verbs (e.g. eat, sleep)


2-3 years old

  • Participates in play with another person for 1 minute while using appropriate eye contact

  • Repeats words spoken by others

  • Has a word for almost everything

  • Speaks in two-three word sentences

  • Asks what or where questions (e.g. “what’s that?”)

  • Ask yes and no questions

  • Will add “no” in front of verbs to refuse activities (e.g. “no go”)

  • Imitates turn-taking in games or social routines

Activities to Try at Home:

  • Games. Simple turn-taking games help children learn how to wait and take turns which is a necessary skill in conversations. Fun toddler games include Let’s Go Fishin’, Seek-a-boo, and Hi Ho Cherry-O.

  • Expand sentences. Imitate your child’s speech and add on extra words to make it grammatically correct. For instance, if you child says “more juice”, you can repeat “I want more juice”.


Preschool

  • 3-4 years old

    • Names objects in photographs

    • Uses words for a variety of reasons (requests, labels, repetition, help, answers yes/no, attention)

    • Around 3 years, child combines 3-4 words in speech

    • Answers simple who, what, and where questions

    • Uses about 4 sentences at a time

    • Child’s speech can be understood by most adults

    • Asks how, why, and when questions

  • Activities to Try at Home

    • Yes/no game. Make a game out of yes/no questions by asking your child funny questions such as “Is your name Bob?”, “Can you eat dirt?”, “Do you like ice cream?” Then have your child make up silly questions to try to trick you!

    • Ask questions. While running errands, ask your child questions about the community. For instance, “where do we buy food?”, “who helps you when you are sick?”, or “what do you do if it’s raining?”


  • 4-5 years old

    • When given a description, child can name the described object. For example, “What is round and bounces?”

    • Answers questions logically. For example, “what do you do if you are tired?”

    • Uses possessives (the girl’s, the boy’s)

    • Tells a short story

    • Keeps a conversation going

    • Talks in different ways depending on the place or listener


  • Activities to Try at Home

    • I-spy. Describe common objects around the house by giving descriptive clues such as what it looks like, what you do with it, where you would find it, etc. Have your child guess what you are talking about! Include objects out of sight to encourage your child to determine objects on their own, and then have them go on a scavenger hunt to find it.

    • Make up stories. Build a blanket fort, grab a flashlight, and create fairy tale stories. Toys may be used as prompts to help make up a story. Incorporate each part of a story including setting, characters, beginning, middle, and end.


School age

  • 5-6 years old

    • Child can tell you what object is and what it’s used for

    • Answers questions about hypothetical events. For example, “What do you do if you get lost?”

    • Uses prepositions (in, on, under, next to, in front of) in sentences

    • Uses the possessives pronouns her and his

    • Names categories of objects such as food, transportation, animals, clothing, and furniture

    • Asks grammatically correct questions

    • Completes analogies. For instance, you sleep in a bed, you sit on a chair

    • Uses qualitative concepts short and long


  • Activities to Try at Home

    • Category games. Name 5, Scattergories, and Hedbanz are fun and engaging games to work on naming categories.

    • Simon says. Play a game of simon says using prepositions. For instance, Simon says put the book on the table. Once your child is familiar with the game, have them be Simon and give directions using prepositions.


  • 6-7 years old

    • Child is able to names letters

    • Answers why questions with a reason

    • Able to rhymes words

    • Repeats longer sentences

    • Able to retell a story

    • Describes similarities between two objects

  • Activities at Home

    • Read rhyming books. Dr. Seuss books are great to teach rhyming. Read a page and have your child identify the words that rhyme.

    • Movies. After watching a movie, have your child summarize the plot. Guide your child by breaking it up into beginning, middle, and end.


If you feel your child is developmentally delayed in his or her expressive language skills, contact Lumiere Children’s Therapy for a speech-language evaluation. Our speech therapists can formally assess your child’s expressive language skills, create age-appropriate goals, and develop a therapeutic program unique to your child’s needs.

Resources:

“Baby Talk: Communicating With Your Baby.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/baby-talk#2.

Expressive Language (Using Words and Language). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://childdevelopment.com.au/areas-of-concern/using-speech/expressive-language-using-words-and-language/

“How to Support Your Child's Communication Skills.” ZERO TO THREE, www.zerotothree.org/resources/302-how-to-support-your-child-s-communication-skills.

Mattingly, R. (2018, September 13). Typical Development. Lecture presented in University of Louisville, Louisville.

Zimmerman, Irla Lee., et al. PLS-5 Preschool Language Scales: Fifth Edition. NCS Pearson, 2011.

Child Therapy: School Therapy

The beginning of the school year may seem overwhelming for parents, with navigating bus schedules, after-school activities, and new classroom expectations. To make the beginning of the year a little less hectic, we answered all your questions about the IEP process as well as  taking a look at speech therapy services in the school.

What is an IEP?

An IEP, Individualized Education Program, is a legal document for each child in public school who qualifies for special educational services. The IEP documentation process is a team approach consisting of caregivers, classroom teacher, special education teacher, and specialized therapists (speech therapist, occupational therapist, vision therapist, psychologist, etc). The IEP outlines the appropriate and necessary special educational services available to your child to help them become most successful in the classroom.

 

What is included in an IEP?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law requiring specific information in the IEP, but does not mandate a specific format. Therefore, each IEP may look different depending on the involved professionals and school district. The main purpose of the IEP is to outline the necessary support and services provided to your child inside and outside classroom instruction. It includes the type, amount, and frequency of services. An IEP will include the following information:

 

  • Current performance level. The IEP will outline your child’s strengths and weaknesses academically, socially and behaviorally. If appropriate, it will include an analysis on language and speech development, sensory needs, fine motor development and gross motor development. Standardized assessments will be explained with scores and severity level. Each member of the IEP team will communicate specific information about their area of expertise such as progression with current goals, strengths and weaknesses, and type of support provided.

 

  • Measurable goals. The second piece of information included in an IEP is the goals. Goals are created based on your child’s current needs. Goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Progress on goals should be observed and documented throughout the year by the attending professional. During annual IEP meetings, goals will be modified, upgraded, and downgraded based on your child’s progress.

 

  • Appropriate services. The final piece of information included in an IEP is the action plan, such as recommended services, start date, location (in classroom or out of classroom), and professionals involved. Services may include extended testing time, reading intervention, speech therapy 1x/week, qualification for a communication device, and so on. The type, frequency, and implementation of services will be specific to your child’s needs.

 

What should you expect in an IEP meeting?

 

IEP meetings occur annually to discuss progress, concerns, and make necessary updates. If necessary, IEP meetings can occur more than once a year to discuss changes or modifications to the current plan. Prior to the annual meeting, team members will re-evaluate skills through standardized and/or non-standardized assessments, observe behaviors and participation in the classroom and analyze data collected on goals.

The new IEP is written with updated goals and services. The annual IEP meeting will be scheduled in advance to ensure each member of the team is present. During the meeting, each team professional will communicate progress and modifications of current goals and services. After each member of the team has discussed their area of specialty, caregivers will be able to discuss current concerns observed at home. In preparation of the meeting, write down noticeable areas of improvement and weaknesses to discuss during the meeting.

The meeting may seem overwhelming with excess amounts of educational jargon, so being prepared with specific questions or concerns will ensure you have all your questions answered. If you feel rushed during the initial or annual meeting, feel free to ask for a copy of the IEP to review at home before signing off on the current plan. Once you are comfortable with the current plan for services, your signature will allow for the IEP to become effective.

 

Speech Therapy in School

 

In order to determine eligibility for speech therapy services through the school, the speech therapist must obey the federal regulations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  Eligibility is determined through a multi-step process including observation, teacher reports, screening, standardized assessments, work samples, and parent reports.

The speech-language pathologist will determine if there is a language or speech disorder. In order for the child to receive services in school, the disability must be adversely affecting educational performance. The following can be used to determine adverse academic impact: teacher’s reports, work samples, grade and therapist’s observations in the classroom. Due to caseload capacities, mild speech and language disorders may not qualify for services in the school. If you are concerned with your child’s speech and language development but your child does not qualify for services in the school, you may obtain services through a private practice.

If your child qualifies for speech therapy services, it is important to establish a good rapport with the speech-language pathologist. Parent involvement is crucial for carryover of skills into the home environment. Below are questions to ask your speech therapist in the beginning of each school year.

 

5 Questions to ask your speech therapist:

 

1. What will be the type of service?

 

There are two types of service methods: push-in or pull-out. Push-in is providing speech services in the classroom. The speech therapist collaborates with the teachers and classroom staff. This method allows the speech therapist to target social interactions within the classroom setting. Therapy in the classroom is most beneficial for children demonstrating difficulty with participation in the classroom. It is a great way to work on social skills, reading comprehension, or other language goals that may be impacting one’s academic success. Benefits include peer models, not missing instructional time, collaboration between classroom staff, and addressing specific academic concerns. Disadvantages include classroom distraction and limited one-on-one instruction.

Pull-out method performs speech therapy in the designated speech room. Services may be conducted in a group or individual setting. Pull-out method is recommended for children with articulation goals or specific language concerns. Advantages of pull-out allows specific instruction and intervention in a small group setting. The lesson can be child-specific and independent from the classroom curriculum of that day. The disadvantages of pull-out is that the child is taken away from peer models and may be pulled out during classroom instruction.

 

2. What will be the group size?

 

Group size varies depending on grade, speech goals and time of day. Most school groups fluctuate between three to five students in a group.

 

3. How will be the groups be divided?

 

Groups can be divided in a variety of ways: grade level, type of speech therapy (articulation, language, social), or ability level. Knowing how the group is divided is important to make sure your child is receiving the adequate amount of personalized instruction.

 

4. What will the weekly schedule be?

 

Each school speech therapist creates their weekly schedule differently. It is important to know how often and the amount of time your child will be receiving services. Will it be once a week for 20-30 minutes or three times a week for 15 minute increments.

 

5. What are the goals of therapy?

 

This is the most important question to ask your speech therapist. The speech therapist will have long term goals for the length of the IEP, as well as short term goals she/he will be targeting during sessions. Ask the therapist what goals to work on at home to facilitate carryover into the home environment.

 

For more information on speech therapy services outside school, contact Lumiere Children’s Therapy at 312.242.1665 or www.lumierechild.com.

Lumiere Blog Signature.png

 

 

 

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Resources:

School Services Frequently Asked Questions. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.asha.org/slp/schools/school-services-Frequently-Asked-questions/#ed2

School-Based Service Delivery in Speech-Language Pathology. (n.d.). Retrieved August 14, 2018, from https://www.asha.org/SLP/schools/School-Based-Service-Delivery-in-Speech-Language-Pathology/

Baumel, J. (n.d.). What is an IEP? Retrieved August 14, 2018, from https://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/what-is-an-iep/

 

 

Parent Resources: Transitioning to Kindergarten

As the 2018-2019 school year approaches, backpacks fill with new school supplies, desks receive new nametags, and excitement fills the air. Although starting a new school year is nerve-racking for most children, beginning elementary school for the first time brings on a new level of excitement...and fear. Starting kindergarten is an adjustment for both parents and kids, so we want to help you begin the school year with ease by learning about prerequisite skills for kindergarten and how to prepare for the first day of school!

Skills Needed For Kindergarten

           Kindergarten is an opportunity for your child to develop social skills, self-care, and academic skills independently. Kindergarten allows children to explore new opportunities without relying on the constant assistance from caregivers. With that being said, the independence that kindergarten permits may be initially challenging for children. The following is a suggested guideline of prerequisite skills and activities to prepare your child for success before entering kindergarten. This list is only a guideline as kindergarten curriculums and expectations vary.

 

1. Identify some letters of the alphabet.

 

  • Start with the letters in your child’s name for motivation. For instance, if your daughter’s name is Kelly, you can point out the letter “K” in books, magazines, and advertisements.

  • Refrigerator letters are versatile toys that can be used in a variety of ways for letter recognition. Play I-spy while cooking and eating, such as ‘I spy the letter “A”’ and have your child point out the letter. Play hide-and-seek by hiding a letter and asking your child to find the letter “B” in the kitchen. Point to the letters as a point of reference while getting food out of the fridge. For instance, “I am getting broccoli; broccoli starts with the letter B”.

  • The following are enjoyable games that incorporate letter recognition; alphabet matching game, alphabet puzzle, and alphabet go-fish.

 

2. Grip a pencil, crayon, or marker with the thumb and forefinger, supporting the tip.

 

  • Improve hand muscles by rolling and forming shapes with Play-Doh.

  • Use a variety of writing instruments and coloring books to entice creativity. Crayons, markers, chalk, paint dot markers, and magnetic drawing board are all great options!

 

 3. Use art materials (scissors, glue, paint) with relative ease.

 

  

4. Write first name.

 

After learning the first two prerequisites, the next skill to practice is writing one’s name.  Make it fun by writing in shaving cream or using bath crayons during bath time!

 

 5. Count to 10.

 

6. Able to self-dress.

 

  • Although dressing your children in the morning saves time and energy, it restricts them from learning opportunities to self-dress. Aim to leave a few extra minutes each morning to let your children practice getting dressed for the day.
  • Read more about activities for tying shoes and zippering.

 

7.  Clean up toys or activities independently.

 

In kindergarten, children are expected to clean up toys, art supplies, school materials, and other activities independently. Give the expectation to clean up toys once finished playing at home to encourage this skill. Once your child loses interest in a toy, sing the clean up song together while putting each item in its respected place.

 

  8. Listen to a story without interrupting.

 

Sustaining adequate attention during stories is challenging for children. When reading a book, set a certain number of book pages or set a timer as a visual reminder for the amount of listening time. Continue to increase listening time until your child is able to listen to a full story or children’s book.

 

   9. Follow 1-2 step directions.

 

  •  Following 1-2 step directions is required for most activities during the school day.  Make following directions fun by playing Simon says with the whole family!

  • Independently use bathroom.

  • For most kindergarten programs, potty training is required. Read our previous posts on potty training tips and potty training with speech problems.

           If your child has not mastered the following skills, do not fret. The skills will continue to develop and form throughout kindergarten. Allow opportunities for your child to become more self-efficient and demonstrate their independence.

 

The First Day of Kindergarten

           Being prepared for the first day of school can help smooth the new transition. Most kindergarten programs provide an open house night leading up to the school year, allowing students to meet the teacher, explore the classroom, and greet fellow classmates. Attending the open house is highly encouraged for families, so your child can become more familiar with their new environment prior to the first day.

           Establishing a structured sleep and meal schedule prior to the first day will help your child adjust accordingly. Set a strict bedtime and morning routine so your child is well rested the first week. Regulate mealtimes at home so that lunch is scheduled at the same time every day.

           Plan a “kindergarten practice day” at home. Take an hour out of the day to walk through possible activities your child may experience. Some examples include wearing a backpack, standing in line, listening to stories, participating in a craft, and singing a song. Your child would probably love to role-play a typical day of school, and feel more comfortable knowing expected activities.

           Finally, build excitement for the first day of school. Starting kindergarten should be exhilarating for children. Involve your child in the purchasing of school supplies, packing lunch, and picking out their first day outfit. On the day of, allow extra time to spend the morning together by eating breakfast and taking some first day photographs.

 

Expectations of the First Day

 

           It is easy to imagine the first day of school to be picture perfect as a parent or caregiver. Although kindergarten is a big milestone in your child’s life, avoid setting high expectations for the first day. Children may also experience negative feelings after the first few days.

 

1.     They may cry. It is not because your child doesn’t want to go to school or is not ready; it just means they are scared of the unknown. With peer models and the support of the teacher, your child will adjust and learn how fun school can be!

 

2.     They will be tired. Adjusting to a full school schedule is hard for children. The first few weeks will be a transition. Expect your child to be tired and sometimes cranky, at home.

 

3.     They may not want to go back. Kindergarten places responsibilities and expectations on children. Following classroom rules and listening to the teacher can seem intimidating to them. As they become more comfortable with the routine of the classroom, they will begin to enjoy attending school on a daily basis.

 

Happy first day of school!📚😄

 

LUMIERE THERAPY TEAM🖐️

 

 

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Resources:

Herzog, Danielle. “What to Expect When Your Child Goes to Kindergarten.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 7 Aug. 2015, www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2015/08/07/what-to-expect-when-your-child-goes-to-kindergarten/?noredirect=on.

“Kindergarten Readiness: What Skills Your Child Should Have.” Scholastic Publishes Literacy Resources and Children's Books for Kids of All Ages, www.scholastic.com/parents/school-success/school-life/grade-by-grade/preparing-kindergarten.html.

 

Physical Therapy: In-Toeing and Out-Toeing

The first year of life is full of new beginnings, between crawling, pulling up to stand, and finally walking! Watching your child take their first steps can be both exciting and nerve-racking. The first steps may look different for each child.  While watching your children explore the world on their feet, you may observe that their toes point inward or outward. Learn more about the causes and treatment of in-toeing or out-toeing below.

 Andrew Seaman

Andrew Seaman

In-Toeing or “Pigeon Toe”

            In-toeing, commonly known as “pigeon toe”, is when the toes face into each other while walking or running. This is commonly seen in infants and young children. In-toeing may be caused through hereditary genes or the baby’s positioning in the womb. If a parent demonstrated in-toeing as an infant or child, it is likely they will pass down the gene to their children. An infant may also develop in-toeing due to small feet movement and positioning in the womb. In-toeing is typically not painful for children and does not lead to arthritis.

There are three types of in-toeing: Tibial Torsion, Metatarsus Addactus, and Femoral Anteversion. 

Tibial Torsion

When the shinbone (tibia bone) is tilting inward causing the feet to point in. It is the most common cause of in-toeing in infants and young children typically under the age of two years old. It is typically due to positioning in the womb, and is noticeable at an early age. Tibial torsion frequently straightens out once the child begins to walk, but may take up to 6-12 months to fully correct. Although tibial torsion does not typically require intervention, surgery may be recommended after the age of eight for more severe shin rotations.  

Metatarsus Adductus

When the front half of the foot, or forefoot, is turned inward. Studies have shown that metatarsus adductus may spontaneously recover without intervention in the majority of cases. Manual stretches of the forefoot can improve metatarsus adductus and may be provided by the child’s pediatrician, nurse, or physical therapist. In the rare case that metatarsus adductus does not correct on its own, feet casts can stretch the soft tissues of the forefoot to straighten out the foot. 

Femoral Anteversion

When the upper end of the thighbone (femor), close to the hip, has an increased twist causing the feet to turn in. It is usually not detected before 4-6 years old. A common symptom of femoral anteversion is sitting in the “w- position”. Treatment may include physical therapy to teach the correct positioning of walking, and occasionally, braces to shift the bone. 

Femoral retroversion

The thighbone (femur) is angled backwards relative to the hip joint, resulting in outward feet positioning. Femoral retroversion is less common than femoral anteversion.

Out-Toeing or Duck Feet

Out-toeing is when the child’s feet point outward as they are walking and running. Out-toeing occurs less frequently than in-toeing and may be due to fetal positioning, abnormal growths, and/or underlying neurological problems. Unlike in-toeing, out-toeing may result in pain over time. There are three causes of out-toeing in children: Flatfeet, Hip Contracture, and Femoral Retroversion. 

Flat feet

A child is considered to have flat feet if they do not have an arch in their foot. If an arch does not form, the foot may appear to turn outward. Out-toeing due to flat feet does not require medical intervention and rarely causes pain. 

Hip contracture

An infant’s hip may be externally rotated due to their positioning in the uterus. The external hip contracture may cause hip tightness as they begin to walk resulting in out-toeing. Hip contracture will spontaneously resolve on its own, so out-toeing does not require treatment if it’s due to hip contracture. 

Treatment for In-Toeing and Out-Toeing

 In the majority of cases for in-toeing and out-toeing, braces, special shoes, and surgery are not required. Most children will spontaneously recover if their condition is not associated with an underlying neurological disorder.

Children may require intervention if the following persists:

·     Not improved by the age of three

·     Complaining of excess pain (especially for in-toeing)

·     One foot more turned than the other

·     Other developmental delays such as fine motor, gross motor, and/or language development. 

·     Gait abnormalities (deviation from normal walking)

            Physical therapy can help provide awareness of correct foot positioning when walking. Physical therapy may be recommended if the issue does not resolve on its own in a reasonable amount of time. If you feel like your child would benefit from a physical evaluation for in-toeing or out-toeing, contact Lumiere Children’s Therapy.

 

LUMIERE THERAPY TEAM🖐️

 

References: 

Children's Hospital. (2014, August 24). Metatarsus Adductus. Retrieved from https://www.chop.edu/conditions-diseases/metatarsus-adductus

Children's Hospital. (2014, August 24). Femoral Anteversion. Retrieved from https://www.chop.edu/conditions-diseases/femoral-anteversion

Gupta, R. C. (Ed.). (2015, February). In-toeing & Out-toeing in Toddlers. Retrieved from https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/gait.html

Intoeing - OrthoInfo - AAOS. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/intoeing/

Media, H. M. (n.d.). Out-Toeing. Retrieved from https://www.chortho.com/common-conditions/out-toeing

Pigeon Toe (In-toeing). (2016, November 07). Retrieved from https://uichildrens.org/health-library/pigeon-toe-toeing

Child Physical Therapy: Treatment for Toe Walking

As children learn to navigate walking, they may initially learn to walk on their toes while cruising along furniture. Toe walking is developmentally appropriate until the age of three. If your child persistently walks on their toes in the absence of any underlying neuromuscular or orthopedic condition, it is considered idiopathic toe walking. 

 Kristal Kraft

Kristal Kraft

Idiopathic toe walking is defined as habitual toe walking with no known cause. Idiopathic toe walking may lead to tightened calf muscles, decreased range of motion of ankles, and eventually, shortened Achilles tendon. 

 

What is the treatment for toe walking?

            Treatment options vary on the degree and duration of toe walking. It also depends on the flexibility of the Achilles tendon. As with any habit, the longer it persists, the harder it is to break. In extreme instances, surgery to lengthen the Achilles tendon may be most appropriate. For most cases, ankle foot orthosis (AFO) and/or physical therapy are recommended. AFOs are removable braces worn during day and night to help maintain the foot at 90-degree angle. 

Physical therapy creates a program designed for your child’s needs by incorporating a combination of stretches and strengthening. In order to increase the effectiveness of physical therapy, daily home exercises are crucial. Below are a list of at-home stretches and activities you can incorporate into your weekly routine. 

 

At-home Stretches: 

·     Manual calf stretch: This stretch requires help from an adult. Your child will sit on the floor with his/her knees straight. The adult will cuff the child’s heel with their hand as the foot rests on the adult’s forearm. Slowly apply pressure on the child’s foot so their foot points up and towards the child’s body. Hold for 30 seconds on each side. 

·     Wall stretch:  The child is standing for this stretch. They should place their hands on a wall and point both feet at the wall one behind the other. Lean into the wall as the front leg is bent and the back leg is straight. Hold both feet on the ground flat for 30 seconds.  

 

Activities to strengthen muscles: 

·     Sit to stand: While your child sits on a chair or bench, place your hands below their knees with moderate pressure downward to provide tactile cues to keep heels on the floor. With the steady pressure, your child will stand up with heels remaining on the ground. Complete 5 repetitions. 

·     Basketball stretch: Encourage your child to sit on a small ball such as basketball while keeping both heels on the ground. Practice squatting by standing and sitting back down on the ball while keep heels down. 

·     Bear walks: Animal walking is great for stretching and strengthening leg muscles. For a bear walk, place hands and feet on the floor while hips aim towards the air. As one foot moves towards the hands, the other leg stays back while actively pushing the heel to ground. 

·     Penguin walk: Pretend to walk like a penguin by keeping the toes in the air and walking only on the heels! 

·     Crab walk: Start in the bridge position and propel forward by using hands and feet. Keep feet flat on the floor! 

·     Bozo Buckets: Line up three buckets in a row to play bozo buckets. Instead of throwing the beanbags into the buckets, place the beanbag on top of the feet and fling the bean bag by kicking. 

·     Scooter races: Race a friend or sibling on the driveway! Sit on the scooter with feet in front and use the heels to propel forward. 

·     Slide: With parent supervision, have your child climb up the slide. Climbing up a playground slide targets range of motion, strength and weight bearing. 

 

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References:
Beazley, Elizabeth, et al. “Activities for Children Who Walk on Their Toes.” University of Rochester Medical Center, www.urmc.rochester.edu/MediaLibraries/URMCMedia/childrens-hospital/developmental-disabilities/ndbp-site/documents/toe-walking-guide.pdf.
SickKids hospital staff. “Toe Walking, Idiopathic .” AboutKidsHealth, 11 Apr. 2011, www.aboutkidshealth.ca/Article?contentid=946.
“Toe Walking in Children.” DINOSAUR PHYSICAL THERAPY, 5 May 2018, blog.dinopt.com/toe-walking/.
“Toe Walking in Children.” Mid-Maryland Musculoskeletal Institute, 8 Oct. 2015, mmidocs.com/media/blog/2015/10/idiopathic-toe-walking/46.
http://blog.dinopt.com/toe-walking/

Child Speech Therapy: Making Social Stories

Last week on the blog, we discussed the benefits of social stories for children with autism and/or language disorders. Social stories, developed by Carol Gray, provide an easy to follow visual for appropriate behavior and conversation during social situations. They can be used for a variety of purposes including transitions, inappropriate behavior, social interactions, and new experiences. 

 Shawn Rossi

Shawn Rossi

Writing a social story

The most effective social stories relate to the child’s current routine or situation. Writing your own story allows one to directly target a desired skill. There are a few points to consider when writing a social story:

·     Intent of message: What is the main idea or point of the story? The intent may be for self-regulation, self-esteem, social skills, or productive behavior.  Instead of explaining what a child should not do, create positive messages to encourage appropriate behaviors. For instance, instead of saying “do not hit when upset”,reword to a more positive behavior, such as: “we use our words when we are upset”. 

·     Complexity of language: Using simple, direct language, increases comprehension and implementation of the message. Choose age-appropriate vocabulary that the child understands.  

·     Step-by-step: Social stories are effective because they take the guesswork out of a social situation. Be sure to include each mundane step so children can effectively implement the message without having to make their own inferences.   

·     Sentence types: There are four types of sentences that are used in a social story: descriptive, directive, perspective, and control. All four sentences should be included in the story. Below are examples for each type in regard to a social story about personal space:

o  Descriptive sentences: Explain what people do in a certain social situation from a third person perspective. “It is not polite to stand too close to people. It is polite to respect others’ personal space”. 

o  Directive sentences: Positively elicit a specific response or behavior. “When I talk to other people, I need to step back and give them some space”. 

o  Perspective sentences: Explain another person’s feelings or opinions in a social situation. “My friend feels uncomfortable when I stand too close. She is happy if I give her space”. 

o  The control sentence: Is the message intent of the story. The child constructs the sentence to help them recall the targeted skills. “I remember to keep an arms’ length between my friend and I when we talk”. 

 

How to use social stories?

Create an easy to access plan for the social story. Would it be best to keep on the desk, near the door, or in their folder? Next, determine who will be the facilitators of the social story. For non-readers, a caregiver can read the story out loud, record on a device, or program the story into an assistive device and/or ipad. For readers, the teacher or caregiver may be able to simply reference the story by pointing and bringing attention to it during specific situations. As mentioned in last week’s post, social stories are only one component of therapy. For the story to be successful, the child must practice the desired skill in appropriate situations with the help of parents, caregivers, and/or therapists. As the child practices and uses the skills more often, the story is slowly faded out. Eventually the skill will be engraved in long-term memory, and the visual of the social story is no longer necessary. 

 

Examples of Social Stories

To learn how to make your own template, Autism Speaksoutlines the steps using Microsoft PowerPoint here. Below are some free, pre-made stories to try out! 

·      I Will Not Hit

·     Playing with Friends(from headstartinclusion.org)

·     How to Talk to my Friends(from Watson Institute) 

·     Seat Work(from esc20.net) 

Check out more on ABA Education Resources.  

 

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Resources: 

Cosgrave, Gavin. “Social Stories.” Token Economy - Educate Autismwww.educateautism.com/social-stories.html.

“Social Stories for Autism, ADHD and PDD-NOS.” Epidemic Answers, 17 Apr. 2014, epidemicanswers.org/social-stories-for-autism-adhd-pddnos/.

“Social Stories.” PBIS World RSSwww.pbisworld.com/tier-2/social-stories/.

“Social Stories.” Social Stories : ABA Resources, www.abaresources.com/social-stories/.

Vicker, Beverly. “Indiana University Bloomington.” IIDC - The Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at Indiana University

www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/Behavioral-Issues-and-the-Use-of-Social-Stories.

 

Child Speech Therapy: Social Stories

Temper tantrums during transitions? Hitting during recess? Inappropriate topics during conversation? 

Social stories provide an educational visual to address specific social situations. Verbal explanation of social interactions may be difficult for children to fully comprehend, so visuals can provide additional information.

 John Morgan

John Morgan

What are Social Stories?

            Social stories were first introduced and described by Carol Gray as an intervention strategy to teach appropriate social interactions through the elements of a simple story. Social stories outline social concepts and skills in an easy step-by-step manner. They were originally developed for children with autism, but can be beneficial for any child with pragmatic and language disorders.

            Social stories can be a proactive or reactive strategy. Implementing social stories as a proactive measure involves presenting the story before an upcoming social event or situation. If a child is going on a fieldtrip, a social story can outline the new schedule for the day in order to prepare the child for the change in routine. For upcoming play dates, it can give examples on polite ways to share toys. 

            They may also be used for reactive measures, specifically for negative behaviors. For instance, if a child is hitting other kids on the playground, a social story can explain why this behavior is not appropriate while offering new, positive behaviors. They should not be the only source of intervention, especially for negative behaviors. Social stories can provided the child with positive alternatives for negative behaviors in a direct, simple fashion. After the child has been presented with the information, speech-language pathologists, teachers, and/or caregivers can help the child develop the appropriate behavior skills.   

Why do social stories work? 

            Theory of mindis the ability to understand another person’s feelings, perspective, and beliefs. Children with autism often struggle with understanding theory of mind. They can only see their perspective of the story. Consider a child grabbing a toy out of another person’s hand. The child wanted that toy and decided to take it. For a child with autism, that may be the only perspective they understand.   It may be challenging to realize that the classmate was sad when the toy was taken away. 

            Lacking theory of mind creates problems in social situations and can make social society rules seem confusing and difficult. Social stories allow children the opportunity to learn about the other person’s perspective. The stories will outline how the other child feels and why it was hurtful. It takes the guesswork out of social situations and provides strategies or skills to implement in a given situation. 

When should you use social stories?

            Social stories can be implemented in a variety of opportunities. Below are a few examples. 

·     Establish rules and expectations

·     Address negative behaviors

·     Present new social situations (birthday parties, play dates, social groups)

·     Address personal hygiene

·     Address personal space

·     Describe feelings

·     Selecting appropriate social topics

Social stories are intended for specific situations and events in the child’s life. Create or implement social stories that are relevant and meaningful in the child’s everyday activities. 

Next week on the blog, we will discuss how to create a social story. In the meantime, explore these, here.

 

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References:

Cosgrave, Gavin. “Social Stories.” Token Economy - Educate Autismwww.educateautism.com/social-stories.html.

“Social Stories.” PBIS World RSSwww.pbisworld.com/tier-2/social-stories/.

Vicker, Beverly. “Indiana University Bloomington.” IIDC - The Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at Indiana University

www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/Behavioral-Issues-and-the-Use-of-Social-Stories.

Child Speech Therapy: Games for Following Directions

            Last week, we discussed developmental milestones for following directionsand tips to try at home. Following directions doesn’t have to be boring; in fact, it can be a lot of fun! Games of all types require the ability to listen and follow verbal or written directions. Read below for exciting games and activities that work on direction following skills. 

Simon Says

 “Simon Says” is a great game that targets listening skills and following directions. For children struggling with following directions, play with another sibling or peer as a model.  As your child progresses, increase the difficulty of the game by adding 2-3 step directions. Take turns being Simon so your child has a chance to trick you, as well!

Obstacle Course

Obstacles courses not only work on following directions but work on gross motor skills as well.  Create an awesome obstacle course using pillows to walk across, tunnelsto climb through,  to jump on, and ball pitto end up in!  

Board games

Classic board games such asCandy LandChutes and Ladders, and Sorryare excellent ways to practice following directions and turn-taking in a fun, structured activity. Although it is tempting to let your child win every game, allow the opportunity to teach good sportsmanship after losing a round. 

Twister

 Twister targets body parts, colors, and left/right concepts all in one game! Given a verbal direction of “Right hand on blue circle”, targets following directions, working memory, and language concepts. Recommended for children 6 and older. 

Coloring books

While your child is coloring, give directions for each page. For instance, “color the hat red” will encourage your child to identify the object and color while following 2-step directions. 

Chores

What better way to make following directions functional? Household chores. Easy household chores encourage responsibility, accountability, and time-management skills at a young age. Make the chores rewarding by finding a chore chart that works for your family. Click herefor some great ideas!

 

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References: 

“How To Get A Child Following Directions.” Speech And Language Kids, 18 Apr. 2017, www.speechandlanguagekids.com/how-to-get-your-child-to-follow-directions/.

Katie. “Five Playful Ways to Work on Listening and Following Directions.” Playing With Words 365, 19 Feb. 2018, www.playingwithwords365.com/five-playful-ways-to-work-on-listening-skills/.

 

Child Speech Therapy: Following Directions

“Wash your hands.” 

“Put your shoes on.”

“No yelling in the house.” 

These may sound like common phrases in your household. Such commands require children to interpret the meaning and follow the verbal directions accurately, which may present as a challenge for some children.  Following directions is a skill required in school, at home, and during everyday activities. Below, we’ve listed some milestones in relation to age when it comes to developing the skills for following directions.

Developmental Milestones:

Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 11.12.37 AM.png

Tips to improve comprehension of directions: 

·     Simplify directions: Adults use complex language when giving directions such as, “Will you please get my shoes when you’re over there?” or “After you take out the trash, will you get the mail?” For children developing language skills, directions can be challenging to comprehend when using words such as beforeafterinsteadnext, andthen. Keep directions short and sweet when your child is young such as “get your shoes” and “open the door”

·     Visuals: Take pictures of common directions to use as a visual prompt. Determine the most frequent directions you give your child throughout the day. Take pictures of your child completing the tasks (such as putting on clothing, getting in the car, washing hands). Print the pictures and either hold them up when you give the directions or hang the pictures in the designated areas

·     First, then: When introducing 2-step directions, use word directions with first-then language. For example, “first put on socks, then shoes” or “first get your backpack, then go to the car”

·     First, then, last: When your child is ready for 3-step directions, use the phrase “first, then, last”. Your child will most likely catch on quickly since they are already familiar with the first two steps

 

Next week on the blog, we will provide fun games and activities to practice following directions! 

 

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References: 

“How To Get A Child Following Directions.” Speech And Language Kids, 18 Apr. 2017, www.speechandlanguagekids.com/how-to-get-your-child-to-follow-directions/.

Katie. “Five Playful Ways to Work on Listening and Following Directions.” Playing With Words 365, 19 Feb. 2018, www.playingwithwords365.com/five-playful-ways-to-work-on-listening-skills/.

Klarowska, Beata. “Speech and Language Development (Milestones).” Virtual Speech Center, Virtual Speech Center, Inc, 25 July 2011, www.virtualspeechcenter.com/blog/37/speech-and-language-development-milestones.

 

 

 

 

Child Speech Therapy: Colors

A newborn only sees black, white and gray during the first week of life. Throughout the next 10-12 weeks, newborns slowly adjust to color vision and the full color spectrum is developed by five months old. Around 18 months, children begin to notice similarities and differences between sizes, shapes and colors. They are able to recognize the variety of colors, and are able to accurately name at least one color by three years old.  Recognizing and naming colors is an exciting development for children since so many children’s toys are brightly colored. 

Children learn colors in three steps: matching and categorizing colors, identifying colors, and finally, naming colors. Below are toys and resources to use during each stage. 

Matching and categorizing colors

·     Puzzles are a great way to work on matching colors. Some favorites include: Melissa & Doug Colorful Fish Wooden Chunky Puzzleand The Learning Journey Lift & Learn Colors & Shapes

·     Categorize by color and shape with MoTrent Wooden Educational Preschool Shape Coloror Melissa & Doug Stack and Sort Board Wooden Educational Toy.

·     Learning Resources Farmer’s Market Color Sorting Sethelps educate children on the colors of fruit and vegetables through sorting into purple, yellow, orange, green, and red baskets. 

Identifying colors

·     Have children identify colors by pointing during a game of “I-spy”.  While grocery shopping, ask your child “point to a red apple”.  Not only are you working on colors, but food recognition as well!

·     Books are a great way to identify colors. Some of our favorites are Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin, Jr,Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra BoyntonThe Mixed-up Chameleon by Eric Carle,and Bright Baby Colors by Roger Priddy

·     If your child enjoys arts and crafts, participate in painting and coloring with your child. Ask your child to hand you different colored art materials such as blue paper, a purple crayon or a red sticker. 

Naming colors

·     Encourage naming colors during coloring activities by having the caregiver hold the crayon box, and requiring your child to request each color. Let your child reach for the requested crayon to ensure they are asking for the desired color. 

·     The Learning Journey Learn with Me Color Fun Fish Bowltargets recognition and identification of colors. The first setting identifies the color of fish inserted, and the second setting will request a specific color. 

·     Continue to ask your child about colors during play. Most toys are very colorful, so you can ask, “What color is this?” throughout the game.

·     Great colorful toys: YIRAN wooden pounding benchThe First Years Stack Up Cups, and Melissa & Dough Shape Sorting Cube.

 

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References:

Hudson, Judith. “When Will My 2-Year-Old Know His Colors?” BabyCenter, 3 Apr. 2018, www.babycenter.com/404_when-will-my-2-year-old-know-his-colors_69360.bc.

“When to Teach Kids Colors?” New Kids Center, www.newkidscenter.com/When-Do-Kids-Learn-Colors.html.

“Your Baby's Eye Development.” Bausch + Lomb, www.bausch.com/vision-and-age/infant-eyes/eye-development.

 

Child Physical Therapy: Jumping!

Jumping feet first into muddy puddles as water splashed onto our rain boots is a fond childhood memory many of us experienced. Even though jumping in puddles creates a dirty, wet mess for many parents, jumping is an important gross motor milestone for children. 

 trec_lit

trec_lit

Toddlers first learn how to jump off low surfaces such as the last step or curb around 24 months. Between 26- 36 months, children will gain the strength and confidence to jump up from a leveled surface, the ground. Jumping requires balance, coordination, strength, and courage. The first step to learning to jump is exploration of balance. 2-year-olds may begin by shifting their weight back and forth to experience the sensation of one foot in the air.

            Each child learns to jump differently as they explore one’s body weight and balance. Some may jump with both feet on first jump, and others mays jump with one foot in front of the other. Most children learn to jump through exploration, but for children that seem reluctant or uninterested, here are some tips to encourage their first jump!   

·     Model

Make jumping look fun and adventurous by squatting really low and jumping off the ground. Model jumping over a toy, jumping to touch the ceiling, or jumping on a trampoline. Your child will begin to show more interest after watching family members model the skill. 

·     Teach squats

The first step to learning to jump is bending your knees low to the ground and standing back up. Squats not only mimic the movement of jumping, but they provide strengthening of the necessary muscles.

·     Frog jumps

The next step to learning to jump is squatting low and hopping off the ground. This version is slightly easier than jumping from standing tall, and provides more visuals. Pretend to be frogs jumping from one lily pad to the next! Make it more fun by dressing in green and shouting “ribbit ribbit”.

·     Hold hands

Holding your child’s hand as they jump off a small step or sidewalk curb can provide a steady support. Jumping off of a higher ground requires less strength and skills but allows the child to explore jumping. 

·     Motivate

Provide targets such as neon tape around and encourage your child to jump from spot to spot. Draw a line with a chalk on the sidewalk for your child to jump over or draw a full hopscotch board!

·     Feedback

As with any new skill, give your child positive accolades along the way. “Wow, look at you bend your knees” or “Look how high you jump” can go a long way!

·     Make room

Clear an open space in the house or spend time outdoors for your child to explore gross motor activities without fear of hurting oneself. 

Read more about physical milestones in our post Gross Motor Development.If you feel your child is behind in gross motor development, contact Lumiere Children’s Therapyfor an evaluation. 

 

 

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References:

Drobnjak, Lauren. “CHILD DEVELOPMENT QUICK TIP: LEARNING HOW TO JUMP.” The Inspired Treehouse, 24 Sept. 2014, theinspiredtreehouse.com/child-development-quick-tip-learning-how-to-jump/.

WhattoExpect. “Running, Climbing, Jumping and Kicking.” Whattoexpect, WhattoExpect, 21 Oct. 2014, www.whattoexpect.com/toddler/run-jump/.

Child Speech Therapy: Grammar Elements: Verbs

As your child develops language, the first few words are usually names and objects (nouns) such as Dada,ball, and dog.  Around 24 months, the child’s vocabulary repertoire starts to include verbs. Verbs are action words such as gowalk,jumpeat, and come.  Understanding and using verbs allow the child to communicate in sentences rather than 1- word phrases. 

 amg1994

amg1994

Language acquisition varies among children, but by 24 months children typically express around 40 verbs. Children with an increased verb acquisition by 24 months typically have more advanced grammatical skills six months later. For children producing less than 10 verbs at 24 months, it is not a concern as long the child is learning several new verbs every month. If you are concerned about your child’s language acquisition, contact Lumiere Children’s Therapyfor a speech evaluation. 

Below are some strategies to help your child learn more verbs:

·     Books. Creating an opportunity for story time in your day, whether morning or night, is fundamental for language development. Here are some great books to introduce verbs: To Root, To Toot, to Parachute: What Is a Verb? By Brain P. ClearlySlide and Slurp, Scratch and Burpy by Brian P Clearlyand Nouns and Verbs have a Field Day by Robin Pulver.

·     Pretend Play. Imaginary play is a great chance to label everyday action verbs. Model verb phrases throughout play, for instance, feedingand changinga baby doll, flying an airplane, or cooking in a play kitchen

·     Modified Charades. Play the video Actions 2 Verbs with Lyrics, and act out the actions with your child as it pops up on the screen. Once your child is familiar with a few verbs, practice by asking “show me dance’. If there are more children in the household, have one person act out the verb while the others guess. 

·     Children’s preferences. Identify the toys and activities your child shows interest in and figure out a list of verbs that are associated. For instance, if your child likes to play soccer, auditory bombard your child with verbs associated with the sport: kickpass, and shoot.

·     Flashcards: Verb flashcards are a great tool to demonstrate pictures of unfamiliar verbs. Make your own cards by printing off doubles of each action picture to play memory! 

 

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References:

“8 Fun Activities for Teaching Verbs .” Reach to Teachwww.reachtoteachrecruiting.com/blog/fun-activities-teaching-verbs+http://www.theroadmap.ualberta.ca/understandings/parents/25-36#1.

Gotzke, C. & Sample Gosse, H. (2007). Parent Narrative: Language 25 - 36 Months. In L.M. Phillips (Ed.), Handbook of language and literacy development: A Roadmap from 0 - 60 Months. 

Hadley, P. A., Rispoli, M., & Hsua, N. (2016). Toddlers’ Verb Lexicon Diversity and Grammatical Outcomes. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 47, 44–58.

Tara, and Rhonda Griswol. “Teaching Verbs with Picture Books.” Embark on the Journey, 21 Mar. 2018, embarkonthejourney.com/teaching-verbs-with-picture-books/.

“Verbs Pave the Way for Language Development.” Does Child Care Make a Difference to Children's Development?, www.hanen.org/Helpful-Info/Articles/Verbs-Pave-the-Way-for-Language-Development.aspx.

 

Child Speech Therapy: Grammar Elements: Preposition

Prepositions are words that provide information on how objects are related to the rest of the sentence. “The candy is in the bowl,” explains where the candy is in relation to the bowl. Common prepositions include inonnext toin front ofclose to, and beside. Between the ages of 24-36 months, grammar becomes more precise in a child’s vocabulary. The first prepositions comprehended areinon,andunder. By 40 months, children understand the prepositional phrase next to,and at 4 years old, children understand behindin back of,and in front of

Below are some games and activities to help your children learn prepositions. 

·     Model:

While playing with your children, model grammatically correct sentences. For example, while playing with an animal farm model, “Look, the cow is inthe barn” or “the cow is besidethe horse”. 

·     Simon Says: 

Play a fun game of Simon Says at your local playground. Use phrases such as “Simon says, go underthe slide”, or “Simon says, swing besidethe tree”. Simon says at the playground will keep your kids active while learning prepositions!

·     Egg Hunt: 

Create an Easter egg hunt around the house with your leftover plastic eggs! Every time your child sees an egg, encourage them to use a prepositional phrase, such as “the egg is under the couch” before opening.

·     Scavenger hunt: 

Hide a toy somewhere in the house. Provide clever clues using prepositions to find the hidden object. For older children, make it more challenging by having your children hide the toy and give you clues using prepositional phrases.  

·     Dice game:

Tape prepositions cards onto each side of a dice. Take turns rolling the dice, and demonstrating the preposition with a favorite toy and a chair, doll house, or box. If the dice lands on under, place the toy under the chair. 

·     Books: 

Picture books are great tools to explain and demonstrate prepositions. Some of our favorites include:

o  Under, Over, By the Clover by Brian P. Cleary

o  Around the House the Fox Chased the Mouse by Rick Walton

o  If you were a Preposition by Nancy Loewen

Prepositions are the start of our grammar series! Check next week for activities targeting verbs. 

 

LUMIERE THERAPY TEAM🖐️

 

 

Resources: 

“Best Children's Books for * Teaching Prepositions *.” Children's Books for Teaching Prepositions,www.the-best-childrens-books.org/teachingprepositions.html.

Cooper, Jennifer. “Playing with Prepositions.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 3 Nov. 2015, www.pbs.org/parents/adventures-in-learning/2015/11/playing-prepositions/.

“Parent Narrative.” Handbook of Language and Literacy Development - a Roadmap from 0 to 60 Monthswww.theroadmap.ualberta.ca/understandings/parents/37-60.

“Speech and Language Milestones.” About Kids Health , www.aboutkidshealth.ca/En/HealthAZ/LearningandEducation/LiteracyandNumeracy/Pages/speech-language-milestones.aspx.

 

Child therapy: Autism and Feeding Problems

While many children have picky food preferences, children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have ritualistic or restrictive behaviors negatively affecting their food repertoire. Severe selectivity with food may lead to nutritional deficiencies and malnutrition. Below are answers to frequently asked questions regarding feeding disorders. 

What causes food selectivity?

      Many children with ASD have limited food inventories due to oral motor deficits, sensory problems, and/or other medical complications. Children who prefer puree, soft food, and/or dissolvable foods such as Cheetos may have an underlying oral motor deficit. The child may prefer softer foods because they have not fully developed the oral motor skills to adequately chew and swallow foods. Speech language pathologists are able to evaluate for oral motor deficits, and provide appropriate therapy to increase oral motor abilities for eating and swallowing. 

      Sensory problems may limit a child’s food choices based on color or texture. A child may avoid finger foods because they refuse to touch certain types of foods. Slippery or slimy foods may create a problem for children with sensory intolerance. One characteristic of children with ASD is rigidity. If a child approves of one brand of cereal, they become fixated on that brand and may refuse the generic brand. Occupational and speech therapist can target sensory tolerance of new textures and colors, as well as help expand a child’s brand and food options. 

      In some cases, limited food preferences may be caused from other medical complications including gastrointestinal (GI) issues such as reflux and abdominal pain. Certain foods may be avoided because the child experiences pain or discomfort while consuming these foods. Children with ASD, both verbal and nonverbal, may have difficulty conveying the discomfort to parents and caregivers.  

What is the difference between a feeding disorder and picky eater? 

      Feeding disorders typically involve extreme aversion or selectivity to food tastes and/or textures. Below is a chart to distinguish the difference between picky eaters and feeding disorders based on food groups, selectivity, resistance, effect on daily life, and response to motivation. 

Screen Shot 2018-05-01 at 9.59.33 AM.png

My child has a feeding disorder, what is next?

            Feeding therapy involves a comprehensive team consisting of, but not limited to, a speech therapist, occupational therapist, pediatrician, GI specialists, and nutritionist. Physicians and specialists can determine underlying medical conditions contributing to food intolerance, and provide the necessary medical treatment. Nutritionists ensure the child is receiving sufficient nutrition during each stage of treatment. Lastly, speech and occupational therapists address the oral motor, sensory, and behavior problems affecting the child’s food preference. Speech therapist are trained to provide individual treatment to increase the amount of food tolerable by the child. 

Contact Lumiere Children’s Therapyfor a full feeding evaluation. For strategies to incorporate during mealtime read our article here.

 

LUMIERE THERAPY TEAM🖐️

 

References: 

Nath, Sowmya. “Feeding Problems in Children with Autism.” Interactive Autism Network, 11 Feb. 2014, iancommunity.org/ssc/feeding-problems-children-autism.

“TREATMENT OF FEEDING DISORDERS IN ASD.” Interactive Autism Network, 15 June 2010, iancommunity.org/cs/therapies_treatments/treatment_of_feeding_disorders_in_as.

“When Does Autism-Related Picky Eating Cross the Line into a Feeding Disorder?” Autism Speaks, 25 July 2012, www.autismspeaks.org/blog/2016/10/28/when-does-autism-related-picky-eating-cross-line-feeding-disorder.

Child Speech Therapy: Autism and Social Skills

Socials skills (turn taking, initiating conversation, and staying on topic) are necessary to create meaningful relationships with peers. Children with autism spectrum disorder need to be explicitly taught the social skills that may come naturally to other children. Children with ASD want to have meaningful relationships with other children, but require extra help to build relationships. 

            Impairments in social functioning is a distinct feature of ASD, and may include deficits in the following:

  • Initiating interactions
  • Responding to the initiation of others
  • Taking on another person’s perspective

            Speech-language pathologists assist children with autism develop important social skills to communicate wants and needs, socialize with others, and participate in activities. Incorporating your child’s speech goals at home can reinforce and generalize social skills in everyday activities and interactions. Below are some tips and strategies to help your child improve social skills. 

1.    One skill at a time. 

Don’t try to teach all the social skills in one bundle. Children with ASD benefit from learning social skills in smaller segments and practicing one skill at a time. For instance, introduce greetings (hello, what’s up, how are you) first, and provide opportunities to greet members in the community. 

2.    Model social interactions.

Social interactions occur frequently throughout the day. After modeling appropriate social behaviors, explain the situation after the interaction. As mentioned before, children with ASD benefit from explicit instruction regarding social interaction. Explain the difference between greeting your sister versus greeting an unfamiliar communication partner. You may hug your sister but shake the hand of the unfamiliar person. 

3.    Visuals and social stories.

Visuals in the form of a comic strip can help introduce a new social skill. Children can bring the comic strip to school for a visual reminder when presented with a social interaction. Social stories present social concepts through a brief and engaging story format. Social stories through video may work best. Research has shown that children with ASD respond well to instruction via technology.

4.   Role-play.

Once the child is presented the skill, role-play different scenarios the child may be expected to use the specific skill. The more comfortable the child feels using the new skill, the more often they will implement it during everyday interactions. 

5.   Practice, practice, practice!

During childhood, many interactions revolve around play. For children with autism, learning the rules of card and board games may be challenging. Ask your child’s teacher if there are specific games children like to play during recess. Practice playing the games at home, and eventually use the game to initiate interaction with peers at school.

6.   Celebrate strengths. 

Children with ASD frequently have specific interests in hobbies that may include music, technology, or rote memorization skills. Encourage your child to use these interests and strengths to their advantage when interacting with others.   

7.   Social Group. 

Social groups are an excellent way for children to apply their social skill goals in a functional, but supportive setting.  Lumiere Children’s therapy offers social groups for all ages. Learn more here

 

LUMIERE THERAPY TEAM🖐️

 

Resources:
Bellini, Scott. “Indiana University Bloomington.” IIDC - The Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at Indiana University, www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/Making-and-Keeping-Friends-A-Model-for-Social-Skills-Instruction.
“Helping Your Child with Autism Improve Social Skills.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 16 June 2017, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/socioemotional-success/201706/helping-your-child-autism-improve-social-skills.
“Social Skills and Autism.” Autism Speaks, 25 July 2012, www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/community-connections/social-skills-and-autism.