Author’s note: These strategies will be most successful for children with a cognitive age of at least 36 months, and receptive language skills of at least 30 months. Children with severe quadriplegic CP most likely will always need physical assistance for toileting, even if they can direct their caregiver’s actions. That will be another blog… Continue reading Potty Training Your Child With CP
“I don’t need to” “I won’t” “You can’t make me” or the tried-and-true response: ignoring you. When a child doesn’t respond to your instruction to use the toilet, and it is clearly evident that they need to (crossing legs, holding their penis, wiggling madly, etc.) you know that there are only a few explanations: The… Continue reading When Your Child Refuses To “Go Potty”
This is not a post about the developing world, where getting a full meal supersedes writing a full sentence. It is about allowing errors to go ignored because a child “tried their best, and we don’t want them to get discouraged”. Handwriting is not intuitive. Walking appears to be a skill that we are programmed… Continue reading When Adults Don’t Teach Handwriting
Many parents believe that their special needs child isn’t ready to train, and might not be for years. They have doctors and teachers who agree. That is a shame, because they can begin the process right away. Today. Regardless of whether a child has the neurological maturation or the receptive language to do “boot camp”… Continue reading How To Start Toilet Training..Today
Interoception. The eighth?? sense? The key to calming? If there was a way to produce therapist catnip, it has to be “interoception”! We are all buzzing about this. But understanding how the ability to sense internal homeostasis makes kids happier is harder to convey in practical, non-medical terms. Even harder? Telling non-therapists how to… Continue reading How To Trigger Interoceptive Calming In Your Child
Lined paper. Pencil grips. Easels. Tutoring. All of these solutions can help a child who has illegible handwriting. There are more handwriting devices and strategies than pencils in my desk drawer. But three contributors to poorly legible writing are often easily forgotten: Room temperature. Children that are chilly or too toasty will be fidgety.… Continue reading 3 Hidden Causes of Handwriting Errors
Puberty. Yup, it happens. Earlier than most adults expect, too. The earliest stages of puberty begin around age 9 for girls and 10 or 11 for boys. Hormone activity is changing, and with it can come some changes in hypermobility. For boys, increased testosterone can increase muscle bulk around joints, making them a bit more… Continue reading Puberty and the Hypermobile Child
School is starting again. For kids with hypotonia (low muscle tone), circle time isn’t always their best activity. All that sitting. In one spot. All that waiting for their turn with the special hat or toy. All that paying attention…while sitting and waiting. Occupational therapists are often asked to come in and stop the fidgeting,… Continue reading Fixing Circle Time For Preschoolers With Low Muscle Tone
Here in the northeast, we are simmering all day, every day. The little ones on my caseload with low muscle tone are getting floppier and crabbier with each week at camp or daycare. We know why. The effects of heat on muscles is a big part of the problem. Bring them indoors in the A/C,… Continue reading Low Tone In The Summertime Heat? 4 Reasons To Hydrate
M.E. couldn’t pay attention to her homework. The landscapers had arrived, and the muffled sounds of their equipment had her looking around and running to the window every few minutes. Her brother sat on the floor with his LEGOs, oblivious to it all. He was four years younger, but his behavior was easier to… Continue reading Is Your Child Jumpy, Distracted, Or Controlling? Sound Sensitivity Could Be The Problem
The pandemic has created gaps in consumer staples and rising prices for everyday items. One of those staples is…diapers! Well, when things get harder, it is time to think out of the (diaper) box. If your child is over 18 months of age and has typical motor and cognitive development, there is a fair chance… Continue reading Diaper Sticker Shock? Train ‘Em Now!
I spend a fair amount of time teaching hypermobile people of all ages how their sitting position affects their ability to write, keyboard, or do just about anything. And of course, we want hypermobile people to have a stronger core while sitting. But their chair can help them. It is not a crutch. Yup. Use… Continue reading Why Using a Chair Correctly is SO Difficult for Hypermobile Kids and Adults
Toddlers are notorious for requesting a toy and then fussing about it. They aren’t being manipulative. They are being toddlers. Sometimes they can’t decide what to do with the toy (build a tower, build a house, etc.) and sometimes they find receiving a toy isn’t instant joy, but they expected it anyway (toddlers are rather… Continue reading Toddler Whining, Not Playing? Try Showing Them a Good Time
As a pediatric occupational therapist, I would guess that every third IEP I have seen for preschool children includes some version of being able to cut with scissors. Understanding anatomy and neurology certainly help therapists understand why a child struggles. But when teaching a motor skill, it also helps to know what tools make a… Continue reading Teaching Kids To Cut With Scissors? Don’t Use Cheap Paper
One of the common questions children will ask me when I am working with them on handwriting is “Why is your “6” different from my book’s “6”? , or why is your ” M” different from my book’s “M” ? This is an EXCELLENT question. Here is the answer: because a computer made those numbers… Continue reading How To Write Numbers And Letters To Avoid Confusing Young Children
My post on the classic Cube Chair The Cube Chair: Your Special Needs Toddler’s New Favorite Seat! has been popular, but it isn’t always a great choice for the smaller toddler that was a preemie (they tend to stay smaller in size). So…enter the next choice for toddlers that need some back support and need… Continue reading Like The Cube Chair? Here Is a Table and Chairs Set For Younger Toddlers!
I spend a lot of time in telehealth with toddlers and young preschoolers doing pre-writing. It requires few tools, it is easy to demonstrate, and it is fun. But when parents tell their two year-old that they drew a circle after they scribbled in a circular pattern, I stop them. Why? After all, copying a… Continue reading Why A Circular Scribble ISN’T a Circle
Wirecutter, owned by the New York Times, just did a piece on great gifts. The PURO BT2200 models were featured because they are child-sized NOISE-LIMITING headphones with a BUILT-IN MIC, which is great for virtual school participation. I am recommending them because they will not destroy your child’s hearing. They max out at 85 decibels.… Continue reading Doing Quickshifts? Modulated Music? Therapeutic Listening? Get These Affordable, Comfortable, Kid-Size Bluetooth Headphones From PURO!
Although I work in pediatrics now, I spent the first 10 years of my career in adult ortho-neuro rehab. This means that I worked with many young adults facing issues from RA, MS, Lupus, spinal cord injuries, and more. They were just getting started with jobs, raising children, and making an adult life, but they… Continue reading Book Review By An OTR: Life, Disrupted; Getting Real About Chronic Illness in Your Twenties and Thirties
If you are a teen with JRA, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, MD, paraplegia, or any of the many conditions that create daily challenges in your life, you need to read this book. If you are the parent of a teen or tween with these medical conditions, you REALLY need to read this book. Dr. Miriam Kaufman wrote… Continue reading Book Review From an OTR: Easy For You To Say Q and A’s for Teens Living with Chronic Illness or Disability