Saturday, April 20, 2013

Hip Helpers

It has been a while since I have suggested "hip helpers" for a client, but this past week I am SO glad that I did! My 15-month old client has low muscle tone and is able to propel around only by scooting with one leg up as the other is rotated down to the floor along with one fist propping/pushing off. He has too much sensory sensitivity in his hands to crawl. As a result of this scooting position, he is having difficulties sitting with his legs in front, side-sit, ring sit, criss-cross sit, or standing; he appears to be in pain and have over stretched ligaments. He even sleeps with both hips externally rotated. This is where the help of the product "hip helper" came in. It is similar to lycra biking shorts, except for the seam is sewn between the legs in order for the legs to stay together. See the product at:

Hip Helpers Home

Wearing them helps align the childs hips. As an OT working on fine-motor skills and core strengthening with this client, this has allowed me to keep him aligned and balanced in sitting so that his arms are free to both manipulate a toy instead of one hand propping on the floor. Since we just started using them, I am hoping that each week this toddler will figure out where midline is and improve bilateral integration... and after that the sky is the limit!

Check out the site therapists/parents, because you might think this is for your little one!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Infant massage

As an occupational therapist who works with infants and toddlers, I have seen first hand how great infant massage can be! This article highlights this:

Infant massage: Understand this soothing therapy -

Seven years ago, I went through training to become a certified infant touch & massage instructor (CITMI). I did this so that I could teach parents of my clients how to massage their babies. Sometimes when a child has multiple disabilities and medical problems, there is minimal things that a parent can do to truly bond with their baby. When you teach those parents how to massage their infant and how to read the signs of their baby (respiration, state of arousal, emotion, etc), all of a sudden the parent seems to feel more competent as a parent that they could provide a source of enjoyment for this baby who has so many medical needs. Also, for some children it shows that touch doesn't have to mean pain. Medically fragile infants have been poked with needles and tubes so much that they may become aversive to touch if not exposed to a pleasurable touch as well.

For babies with development delays massage can be beneficial too. The massage can loosen tight muscles as well as stimulate floppy muscles. The massage can aid in "body in space" awareness which can then lead to the child achieving motor milestones such as rolling over to the tummy and back.

Massage can be just as important for typically developing infants, especially if they tend to have constipation or reflux. When I was going through the training, my daughter was 2 years old; she really enjoyed me practicing the various massage strokes on her arms, legs, and tummy. She would even come ly on my lap and say "saj me mama"... a great measure of bonding and success!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Feeding Relationship

Just wanted to share this informative article on how to start a good "mealtime" relationship with your child right from the start- infancy!

ZERO TO THREE: The Feeding Relationship

Since I have been working in an early intervention setting for the past 9 years, I truly agree that the beginning is the time to start promoting bonding and healthy mealtime habits. This article gives suggestions for the child who is not medically fragile. Unfortunately, so many of the medically fragile children that I work with for occupational therapy have LOTS of feeding & bonding issues from the start: living in the NICU vs. going home, tube feeding vs. oral feeding, oral aversions, surgeries, etc. When that is the case, there are many things that can be done by the family, nurses, therapists, etc. to help make sure bonding takes place and that feeding issues are resolved as much as possible in that particular situation. I always let the family know that the baby loves them, not me, and therefore I can show them how to feed, massage, or play with their baby, but it is the family members that need to do those things on a daily basis which just reinforces a stronger attachment on the part of the baby and the adult/family member!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Temper Tantrums

When our children have tantrums, it's usually not fun to endure as the parent! Often the "terrible twos" begin around 18 months of age as the child starts to gain his/her independence. However, some children don't start this resistive behavior until they are three years old. Not every child is the same! When a child with a developmental delay or disability begins to receive intervention (therapy, counseling, ABA), it is not unusual to see the child have tantrums once the cognitive and language skills improve... they are going through a stage that they didn't go through at an age-expected time. So, sometimes children seem worse when really they are improving with cognitive reasoning.

Often, a child with a disability is tantrumming because he/she is: not able to comprehend what is asked of him/her, perceives the activity too difficult, is frustrated when needing help to complete an activity, is tired (fatigues quickly with weak muscles, poor sleep patterns, etc.), or can't fully express what he/she is thinking.

Here is a link that describes tantrums for children who aren't delayed.  So a child who is delayed may not go through the behaviors described at that specific age, but the description of why they are acting that way still stands.

The Terrible Twos - Toddler Temper Tantrums -

I was fairly lucky with my daughter (now 8) having minimal tantrums... at the time I didn't think that though! My son has far surpassed her in the tantrum department! Many of his "fits" wouldn't occur if he was an only child and didn't have to share toys and my time. Hopefully, in the long run he will be better at sharing, waiting, and negotiating.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

No Child Left Behind

US Congress has yet to make updates to the NCLB put in place early in Bush's presidency. Here is a recap of the negatives and positives of it:

Foundations and Current Issues of Early Childhood Education/Chapter 6/6.1 - Wikibooks, open books for an open world

I hope that the replacement will improve services for infants/toddlers in early intervention (EI/ECI) programs as well as enhance the education of school-aged children. Until then some of the states are using a "quick fix" with waivers allowed by the present Obama administration.

I think it is important to write your congressman with any input that you may have on this very important topic...children are the future!

Monday, June 4, 2012

EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides

I love fruit & now that it's summer, I am eating lots more than usual. I've been trying to buy organic fruits especially the ones that tend to have many pesticides. I stumbled upon this website which lists the "worst" fruits & veggies in terms of pesticides and lists out the top "clean" fruits & veggies:

Executive Summary | EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides | Environmental Working Group |

I have a favorite from the "worst" list, and that's strawberries...guess I definitely need to buy the organic berries. I have a second favorite which is on the "clean" list, and that's onion, but I feel okay about buying regular onions since they are not loaded with pesticides.

So many of the children with special needs are even more sensitive to pesticides and other chemicals than the rest of us, so I think it is especially important for their diet to be "clean"!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Resources on Cerebral Palsy

Whether you are a therapist or parent of a child with cerebral palsy (CP), you know that you can never have too many resources! I stumbled upon a site recently, that I thought had good information and resources: About MyChild™ • MyChild™

Another good site on CP for therapists and parents  is:

Easter Seals & United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) are also good places to look for information. The UCP in my area even allows families to borrow adapted toys & equipment, which is great because adapted toys are not exactly cheap!

If you know of any great resources out there, let me know!