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!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Individualizing Approaches to Daily Routines for Children with Sensory Processing Disorder

I love that there are so many books and websites that provide information on how to help children with sensory processing disorder (SPD, also known as sensory integration disorder-SID). It is a starting place for the parents, teachers, and therapists on how to better help each child. But the problem with generic advice, is that it only gets you so far. Some issues need to be resolved by individualizing the strategies for that particular child. I'm blessed to work with children in their homes for my two jobs (Early Intervention, Private Practice). This allows me to show up during the day at the time of the difficult routine. For example, if the child is having problems with dressing or feeding then I show up early in the morning. If the child is having problems at daycare at lunch or playtime then I show up mid-day. My schedule doesn't always work out perfect, but at least I am better able to help the parents and caregivers problem-solve the routine more thoroughly than when I worked at an out-patient therapy clinic. Recently, I helped a mother to adapt her toddler's dressing routine. Paying attention to the fabric of the clothing, background noise/distractions, and giving him some choice of shirts, socks, and pants helped reduce his tantrums.The suggestions were simple, but made a big difference! Mealtime is a particular routine that needs to be observed by the therapist. The height of the chair, fabric of the cushions, type of utensils and cups, and the sensory input of the environment can make a big difference in the quality of eating and the quantity of food eaten. If the child is disorganized due to things going on nearby (TV too loud, smells over-whelming, etc.), then he may throw a tantrum before the meal has even begun! I do work on oral-motor skills with my clients, yet it is amazing how working on the sensory qualities of the meal routine can impact the child too. If you have a child who goes to a clinic for therapy, I encourage you to look into having the therapist come for at least one home therapy visit or for you to video record the difficult routine. I enjoy analyzing video especially since I can go back to watch it repeatedly. I would love to hear of some of your ideas that have helped you to figure out solutions to difficult daily routines with your child with SPD.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

ZERO TO THREE Podcast Series on Early Childhood Development

These days it seems like there isn't enough time to do all of the reading on a variety of topics that I want to do. So, I often listen to podcasts while en route to-from work or while on an airplane. If you are wanting to know more about early childhood development, try this link from "Zero to Three" that has podcasts and resources:

ZERO TO THREE: Little Kids, Big Questions: A ZERO TO THREE Podcast Series on Early Childhood Development

I thought the "Turning On or Tuning Out: The Influence of Media on Young Children’s Development" Featuring Ellen Wartella, Ph.D. had good information in it.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

disAbility Sports Training and Athletic Competition

It's always nice to stay active in sports, but for parents of children with disabilities it's not as easy as signing up just anywhere! The following link provides a long list of various links for adapted sports:

disAbility Sports Training and Athletic Competition

Play ball!