Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cool Use of a Cell Phone

I know many schools have banned cell phones but check out this use for students with disabilities. All you have to do is take a picture with your cell phone of notes, white boards, presentations and more and you can make a pdf copy of it. Once the pdf is created you can save, share, print and listen to the information on your own time. All for free. If your school bans cell phones you can use digital cameras as well. This is a cheap way to get notes organized and read to students with learning disabilities. The possibilities for the visually impaired is endless. Check it out at

Friday, February 27, 2009

Team Blog for Pediatric Therapists???

I am thinking about starting a team blog for pediatric therapists. Basically it would be one location where different therapists could contribute content. It is similar to a list serve but in blog format. Want to see if there is any interest out there from other pediatric occupational, physical or speech therapists to contribute before I start it. Please answer the poll we have on the right sidebar. If we can get some interest I will start it next week. Sounds like a great, simple way for all pediatric therapists to collaborate more.

Stand Up Desks

Quite a few classrooms in Minnesota are in the process of trying out stand up desks. These desks were created by a teacher and a furniture company two years ago. The desks are height adjustable. The children can stand, sit and swing their feet on the movable foot rest. This desk seems like a great option for many children including some children with sensory processing disorder (with adequate balance). Anyone using stand up desks now? Here is the full story from The New York Times.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sample Activity from Play Strong

Here is a sample activity idea from our electronic book Play Strong - Activities to Promote Muscle Strengthening in Children Through Play This is a four year old boy working on bilateral coordination, upper extremity and trunk muscle strengthening. The equipment needed is a regular size rolling pin and index cards. There are several index cards folded in half with sight words written on each card. The adult or friend calls out a word. The boy rolls the rolling pin over the correct word to steam roll the card.

Couch Potato Preschoolers

Child Development reports on a study indicating that preschoolers spent most of their time performing sedentary activities (89%). They spent 8% of the day performing light physical activity and only 3% of the day doing moderately vigorous physical activity.

This is some scary information. If we are worried about obesity now, it may only get worse. In addition, I would think the number of children referred for occupational and physical therapy services will increase. If preschoolers are sitting all day long, children will not learn the necessary gross motor skills. Muscle strengthening throughout may also be affected resulting in "low tone" trunks and decreased fine motor skills. Raising couch potato preschoolers in not a good idea! As therapists in the preschools we need to educate teachers and staff on the importance of physical activity throughout the day.

Reference: AU: William H. Brown, Karin A. Pfeiffer, Kerry L. McIver, Marsha Dowda, Cheryl L. Addy, Russell R. Pate Social and Environmental Factors Associated With Preschoolers' Nonsedentary Physical Activity Child Development
80: 1 (45-58) 2009.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Recess Time and Behaviors

Pediatrics reports that 8-9 year old children who receive at least 15 minutes of daily recess had better teacher's rating scores of classroom behavior. The New York Times wrote an article on this topic yesterday. Read more at the New York Times. There is a great discussion that follows. This is a informative article for any therapists working in the schools to help us promote increased physical activity time. Want to promote more physical activity in the classroom? Check out our article entitled Therapists as Advocates for Physical Activity in Children and print out our free hand out to increase activity time in the classroom.

Reference: Barros, Romina M., Silver, Ellen J., Stein, Ruth E. K. School Recess and Group Classroom Behavior Pediatrics 2009 123: 431-436

Monday, February 23, 2009

Therapy Idea Video

Four year old boy working on hip external rotation, weight shifting, abdominal strengthening lower extremity dissocation and eye foot coordination. This is also a great activity to prepare for donning/ doffing socks and shoes for occupational therapy. Go to for more therapy activities.

Motor Skill Testing Over Time

Infant Behavior and Development reports that during infancy predictive fine and gross motor scores were non linear. During the preschool years, predictive gross motor scores were non linear and fine motor scores were more linear. The authors suggest that professionals should be careful about reporting percentile scores. Children's scores were non linear which means depending upon when the children were tested their percentile scores did not remain consistent. Therefore, a child tested in May may be at the 50% for gross motor skills and 40% in June but that does not necessarily mean the child has regressed. If re-tested in August the child may score at the 60%. Interesting info!

Reference: J Darrah, A Senthilselvan and J Magill-Evans (2009) Trajectories of serial motor scores of typically developing children: Implications for clinical decision making Infant Behavior and Development Volume 32, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 72-78

Sunday, February 22, 2009

About our website

I guess I better describe our website to those of you who are not following us yet. We offer many resources for school based therapists, teachers and parents who work with children with special needs. Over the years, we have grown to a successful business that offers economical therapy ideas and products. Please take the time to check out our website for all of our free downloads, newsletter and more at

New Blog Location

I am moving our blog to here versus leaving it on our website. I can not do much with the blog tool I am currently using so I will give this one a shot. Please be patient as I switch it all over.

We just posted a new video on the website about a success story of a pediatric physical therapist who teaches dance to girls with special needs. Check it out.

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