Archive for March, 2013

April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day

light it up blue

Created by Autism Speaks, this event is a way of celebrating World Autism Awareness Day, a global initiative to bring attention to the growing numbers of people living with autism.  So what is Light It Up Blue?  All around the world, iconic landmarks such as the Empire State Building, the Great Buddha in Kobe Japan, the Christ the Redeemer Statue in Brazil, and the Sydney Opera House in Australia will be lit with blue lights in honor of those with autism.

You can participate too   The Home Depot carries blue light bulbs, filters and lanterns to light your house.  Encourage your colleagues to wear blue to work on April 2nd and post a picture on Facebook.   For more information and details, go to Autism Speaks – Light It Up Blue

SERC Annual Conference

sercSERC, CT Birth to Three and the CT State Department of Education present: Together We Will: Learn to Play and Play to Learn

Together We Will is an annual conference focusing on children ages birth to 5, especially those with developmental delays. Center for Pediatric Therapy will be hosting an information table at this event.

Date: Thursday, April 11, 2013

Time: 8:00am-3:30pm

Location: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Cromwell, CT.

Cost: $75

Please note, the conference brochure states the registration deadline is March 29, 2013. After this date, registration applications will be accepted as space permits.

This conference includes keynote speaker Maurice Sykes, Director Early Childhood Leadership Institute, University of the District of Columbia , who will present “Learning to Play and Playing to Learn in the Era of Common Core”.

Additional sessions will be run by professionals and experts from around the country. Come visit Center for Pediatric Therapy at our information table in the exhibition area. Hope to see you there!

For registration and details,click here for the SERC Website.

On Our Bookshelf: Making Sense of Your Senses

On Our Bookshelf: Making Sense of Your Senses: A Workbook for Children with Sensory Processing Disorder, by Christopher Auer, MA and Michelle Auer, MS, OTR/L

Audience: Children with sensory processing disorder and their parents

While there are many books on the market for parents to better understand sensory processing disorder (SPD), there are few books designed to help children understand SPD. Although children’s fiction books are an excellent way to help a child see that there are other children who also experience SPD, Making Sense of Your Senses takes this a step further. This making sense of your senses bookworkbook includes 40 different activities for children and their parents to explore what types of sensory input are difficult to tolerate, what types of input are beneficial and what can be done to help them participate in every day activities. Each activity begins with a short vignette about a child who faces this difficulty. The activities are short and provide the child opportunity to identify the different sensory systems and how they impact daily life at school and home. While the workbook is primarily text-based, there are hands-on activity suggestions and areas for the child to use drawings to describe their sensory experiences. This book is best suited for ages 5 and up, with the guidance of a parent or caregiver.

Available from major booksellers.

Cooking Together

cooking together

Cooking with your child is a great way to teach about food and nutrition, math skills and science. Mixing, chopping, pouring and decorating are all opportunities for children to work on arm and hand strength as well as fine motor dexterity. Visual perceptual skills are used when searching for ingredients on a spice rack or in the refrigerator. Emerging readers can look for sight words on recipes or product labels. Cognitive skills such as sequencing a multi-step task, prioritizing tasks and managing materials are inherent in cooking activities. And perhaps most importantly, cooking together provides you the opportunity for quality time as a family.

Is your child reluctant to try new foods? Don’t worry; part of typical child development for children ages 2-6 is to avoid trying new foods. Talk with your pediatrician if you are concerned that your child’s picky eating is impacting their growth. Your OT may be able to help you assess your child’s food preferences and identify trends in texture, color, temperature or flavor, and suggest new foods to introduce. With that said, picky eaters should still be invited into the kitchen. Just being near a food provides visual input, introduces the child to the smell, how a food breaks up:  Does it crunch? Does it mush? and more. Participating in any part of meal preparation is a step towards accepting new foods.

Wondering where to start?

Here are some kitchen activities for different age groups. Keep in mind these are general activities; some children may be ready for “older” skills and others may need to master “younger” skills before moving on.

  • 2 year olds are developing control over arm movements and using two hands together.  Invite them to participate in scrubbing fruit, wiping tables or counters, tearing bread or lettuce, dipping vegetables and pouring pre-measured dry ingredients into a bowl.
  • 3 year olds are developing improved hand control and can start pouring small amounts of liquids, mixing soft batter, kneading dough, shaking pancake mix, learning to spread (it will be messy!), placing raisins or other toppings and sorting ingredients by color.
  • 4 year olds are gaining hand and finger strength.  Your child can help by peeling an orange after it is started, squeezing fruit, mashing soft fruits or vegetables, unwrapping packages, pressing cookie cutters into dough or bread, helping to count and measure, helping to gather ingredients and pressing number buttons to set a timer.
  • 5 year olds are developing more mature finger dexterity and cognitive skills.  Have your child assist with measuring ingredients, grating long carrots or large pieces of cheese (with close supervision), using an egg beater, cutting soft ingredients with a dull knife and decorating with icing or other ingredients.
  • Older children can practice math skills by doubling a recipe, figuring out how many servings a recipe will yield, and cutting a tray of brownies or bars into a given number of portions, etc. They can take ownership of a meal by planning and choosing recipes.

Things to remember:

  • Children always need supervision in the kitchen.
  • Teach your child to wash his hands before cooking or eating and after touching raw eggs or meat.
  • Expect spills and messes.
  • Expect the task to take longer than usual.
  • Repeat directions as needed.
  • Don’t forget to have your child help with clean up.

If your child is on a special diet, snack recipes can be a challenge. Here are some recipes put together by a speech pathologist, including some which are gluten or dairy free

For more articles like this, visit Penn State’s Better Kid Care website.

DIY Messy Play: Squeezable Fingerpaint

Check out this blog for step-by-step instructions on how to make your own finger paint at home from simple ingredients. We love her idea of storing the paint in squeezable containers!

Just remember, if your child has tactile defensiveness, don’t force her hands into the paint. Try a paintbrush, q-tip or cotton ball. Some kids prefer to wear a rubber glove. When your child is ready, try cutting off the tip of the glove on one finger. Slowly work towards cutting the glove further down, or taking the tips off of other parts of the glove. Dive in and join your child in the fun, praising your child for interacting with the paint.