Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Favorite Therapy Resources and Products 2011

The results are in. Your favorite therapy resources and products from 2011... (if you can not view you can download the winners at YourTherapySource)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Does CIMT Effect Gait and Balance?

What an interesting question to raise...does constraint induced movement therapy (CIMT) effect gait characteristics, balance and functional locomotor ability? The researchers evaluated 16 children, who participated in a 3 week CIMT program, with the Standardized Walking Obstacle Course (SWOC), the Pediatric Balance Scale (PBS) and the GAITRite Gold system. The children underwent a pretest and post test during the 3 week CIMT program. The results indicated a significant difference in faster cadence and faster velocity. No changes were recorded on the PBS or the SWOC. Reference: Zipp, Genevieve Pinto; Winning, Sue. Effects of Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy on Gait, Balance, and Functional Locomotor Mobility. Pediatric Physical Therapy. 24(1):64-68, Spring 2012. doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e31823e0245

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Motor Characteristics of Children with Possible Autism

Pediatric Physical Therapy published research on a retrospective chart review of 30 children (mean age 31.57 months (plus or minus 6 months) who were referred to an autism clinic.  According to scores on the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, Third Edition (BSID-III), the children exhibited a mean delay of 6 months in gross motor skills and 8 months in fine motor skills.  Although, overall there was no difference between in total score or item analysis between children who were or were not diagnosed with autism.  The researchers concluded that motor skill delay is a characteristic of young children who are referred to an autism spectrum disorder clinic.  

Reference:   Lane, Alison; Harpster, Karen; Heathcock, Jill. Motor Characteristics of Young Children Referred for Possible Autism Spectrum Disorder. Pediatric Physical Therapy. 24(1):21-29, Spring 2012. doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e31823e071a

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Grant Money Available From Collective Brands

Collective Brands Foundation is offering grant money to non profit organization with programs that involve children's physical activity and fitness or improving the lives of children and youth in need.  They also consider sponsorship requests if you live in certain areas (NYC and greater Boston area are two locations along with others).  Grants can be awarded up to $30,000.  You must submit the grant by Feb. 13, 2012.  You can get more information at the Collective Brands Foundation website.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Handwriting Summit

News report from the Handwriting Summit in Washington DC yesterday. Just hit the play button to start the video.

Dr. Karin James Discusses the Importance of Handwriting in Child Development: MyFoxDC.com

Need handwriting activities? Check out YourTherapySource website.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fine Motor Match Up

After seeing this picture on Pinterest, I knew I had to try this activity. Just match up little tags with numbers, letters or shapes to beads using toothpicks. I did not have any Styrofoam so I used some clean, recycled meat trays. This was a real fine motor challenge but a nice twist. You really have to grade the movement along with having coordination to get the small bead onto the toothpick. I did matching letter beads, number of beads and a four in a row vertical game. Just make sure that the beads you are using can fit on toothpicks. If this is too difficult, you could use larger wooden skewers and bigger beads. This is a nice cheap activity that encourage fine motor skills, coordination skills, cognitive skills and grading of movements.

Matching beads and colored toothpicks

Matching letter tags to letter beads

Playing four in a row - you need to get four beads in a row horizontally, vertically or diagonally to win. Here blue won with 4 vertical blue beads in a row. Nice small travel game to stick inside a tin to take on the go.

Have fun!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Physical Activity and Improved Processing in ADHD

A study to be published in the Journal of Attention Disorders indicates that physical activity helped to improve the coordination, motor skills and ability to process information in children with ADHD.

Ten children (9 boys and 1 girl) with ADHD participated in a physical activity training program for 3x/week, 45 minute sessions during lunch, over a 10 week period. The control group was 11 children (10 boys and 1 girl) with ADHD who did not participate in the physical activity program. The sessions consisted of warm ups, aerobic, muscular and motor skill exercises and a cool down. The results indicated the following in the experimental group:

  • increase in locomotion and total motor skill scores
  • information processing improved
  • increased scores in arm muscle strength
  • no changes in aerobic fitness and body composition
  • higher scores in behavior and attention functions
  • improved scores on the social scale

You can view the full article at the Journal Of Attention Disorders.

If you need activity ideas for children with ADHD check out our sensory motor electronic books.

Reference: Verret, C et al. A Physical Activity Program Improves Behavior and Cognitive Functions in Children With ADHD : An Exploratory Study. Journal of Attention Disorders January 2012 vol. 16 no. 1 71-80

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Accommodation for Shoe Tying?

I came across a young soccer player wearing this on her indoor soccer sneakers this past weekend. This was a new product to me but I thought it was worth a mention although I have not personally used these. It is worn over the laces to make sure the sneakers stay tied during the game. To me, this seems like the perfect accommodation for a child who just can not tie his/her shoes. Rather than being limited by velcro sneakers, perhaps give this "SweetSpot" a try. They come in many colors (could use school colors or team colors). It is really just a piece of looped heavy duty resistive band. They are latex free.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

Another benefit would be for eye foot coordination training. When teaching a young child to drop kick a ball the colorful marking provides a good visual target.

Has anyone used these in their practice? Would love to hear if anyone has had any success with using them as an accommodation.
You can get them at Amazon.

1/22/12 - Follow Up: I stopped into the soccer store so I could buy the Sweet Spot but he was sold out. He stated there are several brands one being Adidas. I found these online as another alternative. I did wonder though could you sew velcro strips onto thick elastic and achieve the same thing? May have to try a sewing project. That way you could create different sizes.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Good Fine Motor Skills = Good Grades

New research that will be published soon in the Journal of Early Childhood Education and Development indicated that children who scored well on fine motor tasks when in pre-K had higher averages in second grade than those who scored lower on fine motor tasks in pre-K. Data was reviewed on 1000 second graders in Florida. The researchers looked at averages in 2nd grade and compared that to fine motor scores in pre-K. The results indicated the following:

2nd graders with an average GPA of 3.02 in math and 2.84 in reading – B averages, had received good grades in fine motor tasks in pre-K

2nd graders with an average GPA of 2.30 in math and 2.12 in Reading – C averages, scored poorly on fine motor tasks in pre-K

on the 2nd grade SAT the students with better fine motor scores in pre-k scored in the 59th percentile for reading and 62nd percentile for math

the students with poorer fine motor scores in pre-K scored in the 38th percentile on the Reading SAT and the 37th percentile for the math SAT

Although there is no cause and effect relationship is does make a good case for occupational therapy in the early years if delays are present.

You can read more about it at Florida International University website.

Reference: J Prenaud. Good handwriting and good grades: FIU researcher finds new link. Retreived from the web on 1/17/11 at http://news.fiu.edu/2012/01/good-handwriting-and-good-grades-fiu-researcher-finds-new-link/34934?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=good-handwriting-and-good-grades-fiu-researcher-finds-new-link

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Simple Portable Clothes Line

Here is a simple idea to sneak in some clothes pin work on a portable clothes line. Just empty out a picture frame and hang some string. Make sure the child clips the clothes pins low down or they will flip due to the short line. Here are some suggested uses:

1. Make a puzzle. Cut it up and hang it in the correct order.

2. Hang numbers in order.

3. Hang art work on the wall. Super easy to change often.

Want some more clothes pin activities? Check out out Clothes Pin Collection, Clothing Match Up or our freebie Clothes Line Numbers.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Wii Use and Down Syndrome

A case study was published in Pediatric Physical Therapy regarding a 12 year old with a diagnosis of Down Syndrome who followed a home program using the Wii. The 12 year old used the Wii 4 times per week for 20 minute sessions over a period of 8 weeks. The family was encouraged to participate. The 12 year old choose 4 different games to play. Following the 8 week period, the child exhibited improvements in "in the child's postural stability, limits of stability, and Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, 2nd edition balance, upper-limb coordination, manual dexterity, and running speed and agility standard scores".

Would love to see this study replicated with a larger sample size. The Wii is so much fun and engaging. In my opinion, home programs could be easily set up with increased follow through with the Wii. More fun for the individual and less set up time for the parents.

Do you use the Wii in your practice?

Curious to hear if anyone is using Kinect and what your opinion is?

Reference: Berg, P et al. Motor Control Outcomes Following Nintendo Wii Use by a Child With Down Syndrome. Pediatric Physical Therapy: Spring 2012 - Volume 24 - Issue 1 - p 78–84. doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e31823e05e6

Thursday, January 12, 2012

DIY Balance Board for about a buck!

Here is a video to make your own balance board out of cardboard, a piece of pool noodle and some glue. By gluing three sheets of cardboard together it makes it sturdy enough for kids to stand or sit on. You can watch the video at Your Therapy Source.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Goal Worksheet for 2012

I stumbled upon this idea over at ChapelHillSnippets blog to create some goal worksheets for OT and PT. This is a nice way to empower children to participate in therapy and sneak in some drawing and handwriting practice. You can print the goal sheets at Your Therapy Source.

If the children are stuck on coming with ideas ask open ended questions:
1. Do you want to work on skills for the classroom?
2. Do you want to work on skills on the playground?
3. Do you want to do more without the help of an adult?

Then once they answer those questions if they are still stumped offer different skill suggestions.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Intellipad App for the iPad

I have had the pleasure of playing around with a new app - Intellipad for the iPad. It was created by an occupational therapist, Cheryl Bregman. This app is quite impressive for a simple way to create individualized keyboards. It allows you to make any keyboard you want which is great for simple layouts. It offers word prediction and text to speech as well. Although I am not a speech therapist, I love this app because of its ability to be customized. This would work for an individual who needed very few symbols to select to an individual who could create his/her own boards for communication. Another huge plus if for keyboarding practice. You can eliminate keys to decrease the choices.

Here is one board I created for leisure activities:

Here is one created with a picture alongside of the text:

The updated version of the app allows you to add pictures to the keyboard:

Here is a basic video of the app reading the text aloud.

I can see many opportunities to use the app beyond communication. It would be an excellent tool for teacher's to create interactive lesson plans. Another huge benefit to this app is that it is suitable for all ages. It is available in Spanish, French and German. Fun app to use with ESL students especially with the picture cues. There is also a way to share notepads and keyboards. You can download keyboards already created or share the ones that you create. Overall, super versatile with a lot of bang for the buck.

You can view more videos of the app and further description of its capabilities at Intellipad's website. This app is only $19.95 available from Apple.

January Issue of Digital Magazine

Here is the latest issue of our digital magazine for pediatric occupational and physical therapy. You can read articles on goals for 2012, cerebral palsy, sensory processing and print lots of freebies. Check it out below. If you can not view the document below go to YourTherapySource.com and you can download a pdf copy.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Free Webinar Including Preschoolers with Special Needs in Active Play

Heard on Twitter from @balmeras about a free webinar on February 7th entitled including preschoolers with special needs in active play. Here is the description from the Head Start Body Start website:
"Join HSBS Advisory Board member Diane H. Craft, Ph.D. to learn fun ways to include preschool children with special needs in active play with their peers. This webinar provides many practical ideas for inclusive physical activities that are developmentally appropriate, use inexpensive equipment, can be done in small spaces, and are enjoyable for children to play together!"
You can register for the webinar for free here.

It looks as if they archive their webinars if you are not available at 1:00pm. You check out their previous webinars here.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Free Sensory Integration Webinars

I recently came across a company, Sensational Teaching, that will be offering free webinars on sensory integration. The first one is January 5, 2012 (tomorrow!). I asked the occupational therapist from Sensational Teaching, Katie Ryzhikov, some questions about the upcoming webinars.

1. Who is the target audience for the webinars - therapists, parents, teachers or all three?
- The webinars are aimed at teachers, parents and any therapist or youth worker who works with children who have sensory processing disorders, ADHD or Autistic Spectrum Disorder

2. How long are the webinars?
- The webinars are approximately an hour long

3. What is your background?
- I am an occupational therapist. I have worked with the pediatric population my whole career, both within the school system and privately, but my area of interest is sensory integration.

4. What motivated you to start the free webinars?
- Working in a private outpatient clinic I had the leisure of working on whatever goal the family and I chose. If the child's main goal was to pump a swing or ride a bike, that's what we would work on. Most of the kids we saw were struggling at home and at school, they were being labeled 'difficult' kids because of their sensory processing issues. Sensory integration therapy was really helpful on both social and academic levels. So when I started working within the school system I noticed that often the root of the child's issues was sensory based and many kids would not receive OT services for this. These kids would begin to 'fall through the gap'. I started working with teachers, explaining sensory integration and giving them ideas to build into their lessons to help these kids become more successful. Research was also suggesting that our ADHD kids would also benefit from some sensory strategies. Parents too were struggling, not only to get homework done but to get other daily activities done too, like brushing teeth or just getting dressed. I decided to launch a free webinar series, primarily for parents and teachers to help their 'tougher' kids become successful both at home and at school.

5. Will the webinars be archived online following the live webinar?
- Yes, the webinars will be available online following the webinar.

6. Tell us more about Sensational Teaching.
- Sensational Teaching is based in the Washington DC area. We bring practical, applicable and fun workshops to schools and parent groups. We combine Sensory Integration theory with dynamic teaching strategies in a format that enables parents, teachers and related service providers, to create rich and responsive learning environments. Our current workshops include
- How to improve attention spans!
- How to get homework and other stuff done!

To register for the webinars you can go to Sensational Teaching.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Set Goals for Yourself in 2012

With the start of a new year, how about setting some basic goals for yourself to accomplish in 2012. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Realistic Home/Classroom Programs - I will make every effort to provide parents and teachers with activities that are easy to carry out in the home or classroom (see below for ideas).

2. Take the time to observe - I will take the time to just observe. I will document observations in the classroom or home in writing or with photographs. It is very difficult to determine needs if you do not have an idea of baseline issues.

3. Make the children part of the therapy process - I will incorporate the children in each therapy session by allowing them to make choices. I will discuss goal setting with each child.

4. Be patient - I will encourage children to think critically and problem solve independently by allowing them enough time to form a motor response without interfering. Therapy sessions usually only last 30 minutes and we want to jam pack them with activities. Slow down and let the children respond - quality is better than quantity. Let me re-phrase that...independence is better than dependence (regardless of quality at times).

5. Document correctly in a timely manner - I will document therapy sessions immediately following the session so that the documentation is accurate.

6. Set a goal for each therapy session - I will set small, realistic goals for each therapy session.

7. Keep it fun, fun, fun!!!! - I will keep therapy sessions fun. Some children have to attend therapy sessions for years, keep it novel, motivating and fun.

Care to add to the list with your goals for 2012?

Need some easy activities for Goal #1? Try these reproducible forms from Therapeutic Activities for Home and School.
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