Play Activities To Help With The Winter Blues!

As OT’s we can’t stress enough how much movement is essential to your child’s development. As your child moves and plays, their nervous systems are continuously re-organizing and developing endless skills including motor planning and coordination, emotional regulation, and attention. However, we understand how challenging it can be to give your kid the opportunities for movement and play during the winter time… it is freezing outside!!! Have no fear though, there are plenty of indoor activities that can be used to effectively calm your child’s nervous systems as well as help release all that built up energy!!! Implement a few of these games into your daily routine to help your children sustain a calm, alert emotional state, facilitate motor planning and coordination skills, and most importantly… have fun!

Obstacle Courses– Duration: 15 to 20 minutes. No need for any fancy equipment, use the furniture in your own house! Obstacle courses are all about using the whole body to complete a sequence of motor patterns. Create a 3 to 5 step obstacle course for your kids to complete.Examples of obstacles include climb over the back of a couch, crawl under a table, jump on a bed, jump on or over objects, crawl down steps, etc.

Rough and Tumble Play– Duration: 10 to 15 minutes. This activity is a therapist favorite because not only does it bring out a lot of laughs and giggles, but it is also extremely effective in facilitating a calm, alert state of arousal when done correctly! The idea is to safely wrestle each other to provide resistant feedback to the whole body needed to facilitate a sense of groundedness. General rules is each person participating needs to say “start” for the wrestling to begin, if one person says “stop” the wrestling stops immediately. Be goofy with grunting or laughter as this will ensure proper breath release. You can wrestle in a variety of positions to keep it novel and fun:Standing with hands only

  • Standing with arms crossed, pushing against each others shoulders and back only
  • Down in 4 point quadruped position facing same directions, pushing against each other’s sides using shoulders and hips
  • Laying down on floor with legs straight and arms crossed, roll into each other in log roll motion

Animal Walk Reg Light/Green Light– Duration: 10 to 15 minutes. Follow the rules of red light/green light with a start and finish line. Players go when directed with “green light” and stops immediately when directed with “red light”. If one moves when red light is called then they have to return to the starting line. First one to cross the finish line wins. To add resistance and heavy work into this game, have participants perform various animal walk and core activation patterns.

  • Puppy crawl- crawling on hands and knees (can be forward or backwards)
  • Bear walk- walking on hands and feet with belly towards floor
  • Crab walk- walking on hands and feet with belly towards ceiling
  • Frog jump- full squat and jump forward
  • Bunny hops- standing and quick 2 foot hops forward
  • Skipping- alternating hop and knee lift forward
  • Galloping- Moving forward with same foot in the lead
  • Army crawls- Laying on belly, using alternating arm and leg movements to move forward

Train/Car Ride– Duration: 5 to 10 minutes. This activity involves heavy pushing and/or pulling. The idea is to facilitate a car or train ride with one person sitting inside a laundry basket, and the other pushing/pulling the basket. With siblings, each person can take a turn being the passenger with the other pushing/pulling. If there are no siblings, then have your kid utilize his/her imagination to take their friends (i.e. stuffed animals, star war characters, barbies, etc) on a ride… add things to the basket for their “vacation” to add weight and resistance to the activity.

Puppy Crawl Tag– Duration: 8 to 10 minutes. Follow the game of tag with one family member/friend being “it” trying to tag someone else. Instead of walking or running, play the game crawling on hands and knees to add more resistance to the activity.

 

 

Holiday Gift Ideas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!! Holiday season!! Yes 2017 just flew by, and now you have the added stress of finding the perfect gift for your kids. Well have no fear, My Kids Therapy is here to help! Forget about the trends and fads, here is a list of our therapists’ favorite toys and games to support a variety of skills including gross motor, fine motor, visual motor, visual perceptual, and executive functioning development! Talk to your therapist about our recommendations for your child 410-451-5700!

MBMary Beth’s Top 5

StaceyStacey’s Top 5 Rebecca.pngRebecca’s Top 5

Pattern Play.pngPattern Play $27

scooter_boards 

Scooter Boards $17-$25

 

Geoboards.png

Geoboards/design copy games $15

Sequence JuniorSequence Junior $15

Farm HopperFarm Hoppers $30

Memory Yoga.pngMemory Yoga $10

Jigsaw Puzzle.pngJigsaw Puzzles $8-$15

Zoom Ball.pngZoomball $8 Sneaky Snacky Squirrel.pngSneaky Snacky Squirrel $15

Pop Beads.pngPop Beads $10-$20

Avalanche Fruit Salad.pngAvalanche Fruit Stand $17 Legos  Duplo or Lego sets $24-28

Ogosport Disks.pngOgosport Disks & balls $32

Tangoes Jr.pngTangoes Jr. $25

TwisterTwister $12

Developmental Delays- Will My Child Grow Out Of It?

Rebecca floor time with patientIt is such a beautiful and amazing experience observing your child grow and develop from infancy. The first time they smile, reach out for you, turn his/her head, each moment is a huge accomplishment! It is important to know that your child’s development is not a race. Each of these experiences has a huge impact on your child’s development of their nervous system and understanding of themselves, others, and their environment. Trying to rush your child through development interferes with their opportunity to fully connect their nervous system and body with his/her environment. The challenge is knowing when something is not quite right with your child’s development.

Most of the time your intuition is correct! You sense something is not quite right… BUT when you ask your pediatrician you can get the response of, “Don’t worry, they will grow out of it” or “They will catch up”.

Here are a list of “red flags” to look out for in relation to your child’s development:

  • Motor Patterns
    • Reaching each motor milestone later than recommended
    • Quickly transitioning from crawling to standing to walking
    • Skipping crawling
    • Displaying increased crying and avoidance during tummy time
    • Awkward or asymmetrical body movements (i.e. his/her leg stretched out during crawling)
    • Difficulty with running, jumping, climbing, catching and/or throwing
    • Difficulty isolating fingers to grasp and release objects
    • Limited fine motor skills to manage dressing fasteners, color, write, and/or cut
  • Social/Play Interactions
    • Appearing very blunted in his/her affect
    • Not reacting to your facial expressions and/or verbal interactions
    • Exhibiting delayed vocalizations and/or talking
    • Avoiding play/interactions with peers
    • Difficulties sharing or taking turn with others
  • Sensory Experiences
    • Avoiding movements- becomes distressed when head is tilt backwards, avoids playground equipment, etc.
    • Appearing clumsy or uncoordinated
    • Avoiding textures/tactile input- includes food, type of clothing or fabrics, messy play, etc.
    • Becoming distressed by loud, unexpected noises and/or everyday sounds (toilet flushing, vacuum cleaner, hair dryer, etc.)
    • Always appearing to be on the go, difficulty remaining seated, always seeking movement
    • Appearing very distracted when there are numerous things to look at
    • Bumping into walls or others without noticing

If you identify 1 or more of these delays in your child’s development, then occupational therapy can help! My Kids Therapy is an outpatient pediatric occupational therapy practice that offers a whole-person approach to therapy focused on promoting the growth and development of your child within his/her family.

Please contact us with any questions regarding developmental delays or to schedule an initial evaluation: 410-451-5700 or info@MyKidsTherapyMD.com

Get On That Belly!

tummy-time

One of the things that we are sure every parent of a new-born baby hears from several sources repeatedly is encourage tummy time, encourage tummy time, encourage tummy time! That is great, but not everyone really understands the reasons tummy time is so important. Without a doubt, tummy time is crucial and essential to a baby’s motor and postural development, as well as development of sensory processing skills.

Benefits of Tummy Time:

  • Provides a break from the baby’s typical supine positioning which occurs while sleeping and laying in carriers.
  • Prevents development of acquired Torticollis (abnormal or asymmetrical neck positioning due to tightness in unilateral neck muscles)
  • Increases head and neck control against gravity
  • Increases back strength
  • Increases arm and shoulder strength and stability
  • Facilitates understanding of movement (vestibular processing) as the baby experiences and learns movement of the head and body against gravity.

For motor development, establishing postural control of the head, neck, and back establishes the foundation for development of later motor milestones. This includes rolling over, crawling, pulling to stand, and walking. Motor delays can often occur if a baby does not receive sufficient amount of tummy time throughout his/her daily routine. As far as sensory processing is concerned, tummy time provides opportunities to develop vestibular processing, which is essential for the development of protective responses, body awareness, postural stability, balance, and self-soothing skills needed throughout life.

Recommendations for Tummy Time:

  • Initiate when your baby is awake/alert
  • Never leave your baby unattended during tummy time
  • Implement tummy time 2 to 3 times per day throughout your daily routine.
  • Encourage tummy time position for several minutes, increase duration of time as your baby begins to tolerate and enjoy it
  • Utilize talking, animated facial expressions, singing, and playing with toys to encourage longer tummy time sessions
  • Trial different semi-inclined positions to introduce tummy positioning. This includes:
    • Positioning your baby’s tummy on your chest, belly, lap, or on your thighs with your knees bent. Start with your body in an upright seated position and slowly lower to laying on your back on a flat surface.
    • Placing a towel roll or small playmat cushion under your baby’s chest

Difficulties with initiation of tummy time may contributed by digestive issues, colic, limited, strength, and/or poor postural control. DO NOT AVOID TUMMY TIME! If your baby consistently cries and avoids tummy time, we recommend scheduling an evaluation session with My Kids Therapy for consultation with one of our highly trained occupational therapists. Contact us at (410) 451-5700 or visit our website www.mykidstherapymd.com

Get Set For School

Molly, Vic and Lily

That’s right parents… it is that special time of year that can honestly be a love/hate relationship for everyone, Back to School! Kids are getting out of the house which is great! But at the same time, there is so much more to do. In the midst of the chaos of getting everything re-organized so your child is prepared for their first day, it is crucial to support your child’s arousal and emotional needs as he/she makes this drastic shift from their daily summer routine.

The most important thing is to be consistent! Children respond best when they know what is expected of them. Think of the main events of your daily routine: Wake-up, morning bathroom routine, getting dressed, breakfast, day activities, lunch, dinner, nighttime bathroom routine, bed time, etc. Think about the timing required for each of these events during the school year and set a schedule 1-2 weeks prior to school. Try your best to be consistent with the timing for each of these events. Don’t wait until the first day of school to implement your schedule and routine, start 1-2 weeks prior to giving your child time to adjust. This will also allow time for you to make any necessary changes.

School requires kids to sit for extended periods of time, certainly something they are not used to over the summer. It is crucial to provide movement for your kids to help them organize their arousal and attention throughout their daily routine. It is recommended for kids to move 60 minutes per day, so try to find ways to add to activities that are already planned.

Think about in your morning routine implementing a 10 minute period that provides movement-based play:

  • Play Tag in the front yard prior to the school bus arriving (to add more power you can implement different movements: e.g. bear walk, crab walk, crawling, frog jumps, etc.)
  • Engage in 5 to 10 minutes of yoga positions
  • Participate in 5 to 10 minutes of linear movement: e.g. swinging on a playground swing, rolling over therapy ball, bouncing on a trampoline, etc.
  • Engage in 5 to 10 minutes of rough and tumble play: pushing against each other’s hands, pushing through shoulders and back, pushing through shoulders and hips in on your hands and knees.
  • Play 5 to 10 minutes of Simon Says involving all movement patterns: jumping jacks, running in place, hopping like a frog, dancing, etc.

It is also crucial to provide movement after-school to support your child’s arousal and emotional needs throughout the afternoon and evening. Designate time to either play on the playground, ride bikes, play indoor football and crash into pillows! Anything fun that is going to provide high threshold of movement and resistance for the body, Be creative. 

Thumbs up for school

Lastly, school evokes a mixture of emotions, anything from feeling excited, nervous, scared, or anxious. Be an optimistic and positive force to help your child feel comfortable and ready. Any encouragement goes a long way. From all of us at My Kids Therapy, we wish you and all of your kiddos a happy first day of school!

When is the right time to identify a child’s disability?

child-disability

 

Do you know someone who isn’t sure whether or not to pursue a medical diagnosis for their son or daughter with a possible developmental delay?

Many developmental and learning disabilities are usually not diagnosed until a child enters elementary school. According to the Centers for Disease Control, even most children with autism are not diagnosed until after age 4. These facts are particularly puzzling, since it is well-established that early intervention leads to better outcomes for children with developmental delays and special needs.

So when is the right time to identify a child’s disability?

You’ve waited long enough. You’ve already waited for a year, made some modifications at home, and haven’t seen a significant improvement in the areas of concern.

You’re not quite sure what your child’s special needs are. There are many different symptoms that don’t add up.  In this situation, it is usually a good idea to see a developmental pediatrician, who can connect the dots between physical symptoms and behavioral patterns.  Different disabilities require different treatments – for example, an anxiety disorder will not be treated the same as a learning disability, even though there is some overlap in the symptoms.

You are unsure if there are underlying problems. Some parents take a child to a developmental pediatrician for behavioral issues and learn that the child has a nutritional deficiency or mild muscle weakness on one side of the body.  Sometimes children are unable to verbalize pain, which leads to unusual behaviors or an inability to participate in family activities.

Your child’s special needs are affecting family relationships and friendships. Care-giving is a stressful occupation. An undiagnosed or untreated disability or delay may also make it more difficult for a child to form friendships and participate in age-appropriate social activities.Finding out more about your child’s developmental delay will help your family to better support your child in social situations.

You are unsure or fearful that your child may have some delays or special needs. You are the key to unlocking your child’s potential, despite how scary this process may be.  You needed more information to help your child. Seeking help for your child is the first step along this journey.

If you have any concerns with your baby’s development, visit at My Kids Therapy for recommendations. To learn more about your baby’s development, please contact us at 301-552-2370 or info@MyKidsTherapyMD.com

It’s important to contact us right away!! Kids Therapy Connection  My Kids Therapy has solutions that can help.

Developmental Delays

kids

Childhood Is Not A Race To See How Quickly A Child Can Read, Write, And Count. Childhood Is A Small Window Of Time To Learn And Develop At The Pace Which Is Right For Each Individual Child.

Developmental Delays – Will My Child Grow Out of It?

A developmental delay occurs whena child doesnot progress at the expected rate in a specific area of development. Within each developmental area, certain generalized milestones provide a guideline for typical growth and development. These milestones include learning to sit, crawl, walk, play, talk, or use hands functionally.  All babies and children develop at their own pace but these developmental milestones help us to identify those children who have fallen behind their peers and need additional help to succeed in everyday life.

Developmentalmilestones fall into 6 main categories:

  • Gross motor skills (e.g. rolling, sitting, crawling, walking, skipping, etc.)
  • Fine motor skills (e.g. stacking blocks, stringing beads, buttoning, coloring, cutting, etc.)
  • Communication skills (e.g. expression, comprehension, reading non-verbal cues, etc.)
  • Cognitive skills (e.g. creating new ideas, connecting ideas, problem solving, etc.)
  • Social skills (e.g. attending to others, reciprocal communication, play skills, etc.)
  • Visual motor skills (e.g. catching, throwing, tracing, writing, etc.)

Treatments for developmental delays need to be tailored to the child’s specific needs taking in to consideration each child’s strengths and weaknesses. The most effective treatment plans focus on building foundational skills that enable to the child to meet these developmental milestones. It is essential that these treatments occur during early childhood, since delays in one area may impact other areas of development as well. Early intervention services that support children with developmental delays often include:

  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Speech and Language Therapy

At My Kids Therapy, our highly-trained occupational therapists provided support for children with a variety of developmental delays. Prior to treatment, therapists complete a detailed evaluation of each child’s skills, including assessment of gross and fine motor skills, reflexes,muscle strength, balance, coordination, postural stability, social and play skills, visual motor skills, and sensory development. Ouroccupational therapists use this information to identify areas of developmental delay and determine the most appropriate way to address your child’s needs.

Following evaluation, your occupational therapist will design a treatment plan to meet yourchild’s specific needs with the goal of promoting success in everyday life. Our therapists use play-based activities to encourage your child to explore his or her environment while providing appropriate supports for safety. We provide parent and caregiver education to encourage carry over of recently mastered skills into the home, community, and school environments. As part of treatment sessions, therapists work to stimulate:

  • The neural centers: groups of nerves that work together to produce movement
  • The vestibular system: the sensory system that controls balance and coordination with movement
  • The proprioceptive centers: bundles of tissue that help us know where our body is in space.
  • The sensory organs: ears, eyes, mouth, skin, and nose
  • Muscles: bundles of tissue that allow for body movement or maintaining position, including using the appropriate level of force

Occupational therapy treatments aim to:

  • developfoundation skills needed to master developmental milestones
  • gain increased independence for activities of daily living
  • improve postural stability,motor control, muscle strength, balance, and coordination
  • increase motor planning, problem solving, and social skills
  • provide parent and caregiver education to develop skills and mindsets to better support each child’s development
  • improve self-confidence and self-esteem

After All, It Is Not What You Do For Your Children, But What You Have Taught Them To Do For Themselves, That Make Them Successful Human Beings.

My Kids Therapy is an outpatient pediatric practice that offers a whole-person approach to therapy focused on promoting the growth and development of children within their families. Therapists use sensory integration, cognitive behavioral, motor learning, and neurodevelopmental frameworks to guide practice. Our therapists regularly attend professional training courses to enhance their skills and provide innovative treatment for our clients. If you would like to speak with our therapists about treatment possibilities for developmental delays, please contact us at 301-552-2370 or info@MyKidsTherapyMD.com

It’s important to contact us right away!! My Kids Therapy has solutions that can help.