Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Auditory and Visual Attention in Children with ADHD

The Journal of Attention Disorders published research examining auditory and visual attention in 50 children (ages 6-12) with ADHD compared to 50 typically developing peers.

There are many differences between processing auditory information versus visual information.  For example, information in the auditory channel is temporally sequenced and shorter when compared to visual information, which is richer in spatial organization and longer. Another more obvious difference is that auditory processing transforms sound properties while visual processing transforms light reflecting properties. Auditory stimulation is picked up by both ears normally requiring sorting, prioritizing and selecting what auditory information will be further processed.  The eyes can close if necessary and pick up stimulation only from the field of view whereas ears have to process information from all around the body.

Each participant completed two versions of the Test of Various Attention (TOVA) – one measures auditory information processing and the other measured visual information processing.

The results indicated the following:

  • deficiency of visual attention is more serious than that of auditory attention in children with ADHD.
  • only the deficit of attentional inconsistency is sufficient to explain most cases of ADHD
  • most of the children with ADHD suffered from deficits of sustained attention, response inhibition, and attentional inconsistency on the visual modality.
  • the deficit of attentional inconsistency is the most important indicator in diagnosing and intervening in ADHD when both auditory and visual modalities are considered.
  • for children without ADHD attentional performance was lower in the auditory modality (higher percentage of error, higher reaction time, and higher variability) than in the visual modality.

The researchers concluded that the deficits of auditory attention are different from those of visual attention in children with ADHD.

Reference:  Lin, H. Y., Hsieh, H. C., Lee, P., Hong, F. Y., Chang, W. D., & Liu, K. C. (2014). Auditory and visual attention performance in children with ADHD: The attentional deficiency of ADHD is modality specific. Journal of attention disorders, 1087054714542004.

Read about 10 Sensory Quick Fixes to Improve Attention Span.

Check out Ready, Set, Scan for a visual scanning and discrimination activity.

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Elastic Therapeutic Taping on Motor Function in Children

Elastic Therapeutic Taping on Motor Function in Children

Disability and Rehabilitation published a research review on the effects of elastic therapeutic taping on motor function in children.  Twelve clinical studies published in the last 10 years involving elastic therapeutic taping and children aged 0-12 years with motor impairments were included.  The motor impairments included  studies on cerebral palsy (7), congenital muscular torticollis (2) and brachial plexus palsy (2).

The researchers determined that positive results were associated with taping application with regards to:

The elastic therapeutic taping has been shown to be a promising adjunct resource to the conventional rehabilitation in children with motor impairments although randomized control trials and well-established protocols are needed for elastic therapeutic taping for specific clinical conditions.

Reference:  Cunha, A. B., Lima-Alvarez, C. D. D., Rocha, A. C. P., & Tudella, E. (2017). Effects of elastic therapeutic taping on motor function in children with motor impairments: a systematic review. Disability and Rehabilitation, 1-9.

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Behaviors of Children on Playground Equipment

Behaviors of Children on Playground Equipment

The behaviors of children on playground equipment was examined using 32 hours of videotape collected from 140 children who were typically developing and 41 children with a variety of developmental disabilities including autism, ADHD, sensory and regulatory disorders ages 3 to 15 years.  The research was published in a recent issue of  the Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Intervention.   The videotaping focused on six pieces of playground equipment and was analyzed using a behavioral coding system for sensory features, social interaction, self-regulation, motor skills, and play levels.

The results of the videotape analysis revealed the following:

  • proprioception was enhanced through active use of the playground equipment.
  • increased verbalizations and positive affect were observed across all pieces of equipment.
  • symbolic play, novel use and motor planning were enhanced.
  • regaining regulation and expressions of self-esteem were observed.

This research supports correlations between:

  • proprioception and social interaction
  • positive affect and social interaction
  • motor planning and self-esteem
  • play levels with positive affect and social interaction.

In addition, improvements in regaining regulation, self-esteem, and positive affect were demonstrated through the case study analyses.

The researchers concluded that playground behaviors could be described using behavioral coding that includes sensory aspects, social interaction, self-regulation, motor skills, and play levels.

Reference:  Miller, L. J., Schoen, S. A., Camarata, S. M., McConkey, J., Kanics, I. M., Valdez, A., & Hampton, S. (2017). Play in natural environments: A pilot study quantifying the behavior of children on playground equipment. Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Intervention, 1-19.

Clinical Observations at the Park Tool

If you need to organize what you see when working with a child on the playground to make your sessions together efficient, effective and FUN check out the Clinical Observations at the Park Tool.

Behaviors of Children on Playground Equipment

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Beach Find and Color – Hang Ten Dude

Beach Find and Color

Beach Find and Color Hang Ten Dude is the latest freebie from a new Beach Sensory Motor Packet.  Practice visual discrimination and visual motor skills searching for these fun, cute surfer pictures.


Beach Sensory Motor Packet

This freebie is from the Beach Sensory Motor Packet of 20+ games and activities to encourage fine motor, gross motor and visual perceptual skills.  Find out more.

The post Beach Find and Color – Hang Ten Dude appeared first on Your Therapy Source.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Trunk Control Measurement Scale for Children

Trunk Control Measurement Scale for Children

The Trunk Control Measurement Scale is a clinical tool to measure trunk control in children with cerebral palsy.  Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology recently published research examining the reliability of the Trunk Control Measurement Scale (TCMS) with its subscores, in children with neuromotor disorders.  In addition, the discriminative validity of the TCMS was assessed by comparing the TCMS scores with the Functional Independence Measure for children.

The participants in the reliability study included 90 children, ranging in age from 5 years to almost 19 years old and 50 participated for the discriminative validity study. The results indicated the following:

  • reliability was excellent.
  • change in the TCMS total score of six points (10%) can be considered a true change.
  • TCMS subscores appeared to be clinically relevant because children with less than around 80% of the static balance score, less than 55% of the dynamic reaching score, or less than around 35% of the selective movement control score needed support for daily life activities.

The researchers concluded that the TCMS is a reliable and clinically relevant assessment for children aged 5 years and older with different neurological impairments.

Click here to view the full Trunk Control Measurement Scale.

Reference:  Marsico, P., Mitteregger, E., Balzer, J., & Hedel, H. J. (2017). The Trunk Control Measurement Scale: reliability and discriminative validity in children and young people with neuromotor disorders. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 59(7), 706-712.

If you need core strengthening activities for children check out:

The Core Strengthening Handbook

The Core Strengthening Handbook:  This download includes 50+ activities including:

  • Quick and Easy Core Strengthening Activities for Kids
  • Core Strengthening Exercises With Equipment
  • Core Strengthening Play Ideas


The Core Strengthening Exercise Program: This digital download includes exercises to help make core strengthening fun and entertaining for kids while promoting carryover in the classroom and at home!  FIND OUT MORE.

Trunk Control Measurement Scale for Children

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

How To Be a Successful Pediatric Therapist Coach

Successful Pediatric Therapist Coach

Are you confused by the question, how to be a successful pediatric therapist coach?  Maybe you don’t coach basketball, baseball, tennis, etc so you are baffled.   Think of coaching as another word for educate.   If you are a pediatric therapist, you are involved with families, teachers and school support staff.  Whether you work in the home as an early intervention provider, in a clinic or in the schools, a major part of your job is to educate parents or teachers on how to help children.  Instead of a one time discussion or phone call with a parent or teacher to educate them on something regarding a child, coaching is an ongoing process.  Most likely you are doing some form of coaching already you probably just didn’t call it that, you just called it your job!

Here are additional details about coaching.  The basics of coaching include:

  1. modeling of the desired behavior or outcome – therapist shows the parents, teacher or staff how to teach a certain skill.
  2. opportunities for practice by the learner – the parent, teacher or school staff practices the same skill you modeled while you are watching.
  3. providing feedback – you offer suggestions, tips and more demonstration if necessary to help scaffold learning.

To put these three basics into practice is not as easy as it seems as you probably know already.  Time constraints is probably the biggest hurdle.  Schedules are overpacked and sessions run overtime so the day is frequently spent running or playing catch up.  Here are a few suggestions to become the best pediatric therapist coach you can be.

To begin with establish the learning goals that have been identified as a priority by the parents, teachers or children based on your setting. To work on a goal that you think is super important as the therapist but the children, families and teachers see as no issue is a waste of time. The top goal is to ensure you are all on the same page about the goal.

Try providing the coaching and practice within relevant contexts.  This is the hardest part as a pediatric therapist due to our time and location constraints.  This is easiest in an early intervention setting.  Get creative here and try changing IEP requirements to minutes over a certain amount of days versus 30 minutes/3 times per week.   Push into the classroom inviting school staff to model your behavior. Invite parents into the school so they can observe you directly.  If these are still not an option, video yourself and the child (with permission) and provide a copy to the parent.  Provide handouts and directions to the parents and teachers.

Make sure there is time for evaluative feedback and self-reflection.  After you model teaching the desired skill, take the time to observe and provide feedback.  Ask questions to the parents, teachers and children such as: what helped the most? did the handouts help? what can we improve? what are suggestions for the future?

A huge benefit to coaching is providing parents and teachers the skills to support their child’s learning throughout daily routines, which can lead to an increase in the caregiver’s involvement and follow through.

Reference:  Branson, D. PhD. A Case for Family Coaching in Early Intervention. Young Exceptional Children. Vol 18, Issue 1, pp. 44 – 47. First published date: January-27-2015. doi 10.1177/1096250615569903

If you need hand outs and resources to provide to parents and teachers to provide a review of the skill set or additional information, check out all of our resources here.  Some specific hand out titles include:

What? Why? How? Series 1-4 Collection

Therapeutic PLAY Activities for Children

25 Tip Sheets for School Based Therapists

Successful Pediatric Therapist Coach

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Using Toys to Support Development in Infants and Toddlers

Using Toys to Support Development in Infants and Toddlers: Children develop physically, socially, emotionally and cognitively through play.  And of course, children of all ages enjoy playing with toys. Providing the proper toy selection to support development in infants and toddlers can be a difficult and overwhelming task especially for new parents, therapists or teachers.  Here are suggestions to make the right choices when it comes to using toys to support development in infants and toddlers:

The main goal is to select toys that are safe and suited to the child’s age, abilities, and interests.  Here are several questions to answer to determine if a toy is appropriate for a specific child:

  1. Is the child interested in the toy? The child must be motivated to actually use the toy.
  2. Can the child physically use the toy (adapted if necessary)? If the child can not independently or with minimal assistance use the toy the child may not be motivated to explore the toy.
  3. Is the toy appropriate for the child’s cognitive level?
  4. Is the play space at home or school appropriate for the toy?

Select toys that encourage development within and across the domains of childhood development such as language, fine motor, gross motor, social, emotional and cognitive skills.

Creativity using basic, household materials can stimulate play and encourage infant and toddler development across all domains.

In order to facilitate childhood development, toys selection should be intentional.  For example, select simple play materials for infants and toddlers to encourage cause and effect skills, tactile input, vocabulary development, motor skills and more.  Try the following ideas to start:

  • Construction type toys – i.e shoe boxes, cereal boxes, fabric blocks, plastic blocks, wooden blocks, etc.
  • Open ended toys – i.e. large cardboard boxes to explore, scraps of fabric to pull and touch, fabric for peek a boo games, pots and pans, plastic “tupperware” type containers, etc.
  • Books – Board books are wonderful for little hands to explore.  Read to children starting at birth at least 20 minutes per day.
  • Puzzles – For young children, a puzzle can be trying to fit an object into a muffin tin, a ball into a basket or stuffed animals into shoeboxes.  For older children, you can increase the difficulty but decreasing the size of opening.

When parents, day care providers, teachers and therapists are informed about proper toy selection, play and developmental skills are stimulated across all domains.

If you need more information about infant and toddler development check out these great resources:

The Infant and Toddler Handbook, written by Lauren Drobnjak PT and Claire Heffron MS, OTR/L,  is a 30-page downloadable ebook packed with reader-friendly information about the developmental motor milestones you can expect in kids ages 0 through 5.

The second half of the book is full of development-boosting fine motor, gross motor, and sensory activities divided by age range so you can find exactly what you’re looking for depending on the ages of the kids in your therapy practice, classroom, or home.  Find out more.

Developmental Milestones Handout PackDevelopmental Milestones Handout Pack, written by Lauren Drobnjak PT and Claire Heffron MS, OTR/L, is the ideal resource for sharing information about baby, toddler, and preschool development with parents and caregivers.  Find out more.

Reference:  Guyton, G. (2011). Using toys to support infant-toddler learning and development. YC Young Children, 66(5), 50.

Using Toys to Support Development in Infants and Toddlers

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