Monday, August 3, 2015

Back to School: Making the Transition From Summer to School

Summer has come to a close and school is about to start again. Here are a few tips to help make the transition back to school more bearable for you and your child. 

Review your child's current IEP or 504 plan. 
  • Schedule an appointment with your child's team at school to go over goals and to make a plan for the year. 
  • Start a communication log with each member of your child's team. Make sure everyone is always on the same page. 
  • Keep an ongoing list of questions!

Attend school events
  • If possible, schedule a time prior to or after a 'Back to School Night' to avoid crowds and the potential for a high anxiety situation for your child. 
  • Create a relationship with your child's new teacher. Make sure his/her teacher is prepared for your child and is aware of needs and accommodations. 

  • Talk to your child, your child's teacher, doctor, and even school nurse
  • Begin preparing your child for what is coming up. Address their concerns and provide information slowly to prevent them from being bombarded with too much at once. 
  • Talk to your child's doctor to make sure all medications are up to date and correct dosages are prescribed.
  • Talk to your child's school nurse to make sure any paper work is filled out to receive medications and they are aware of any medical concerns. 

Establish a routine
  • Create a master visual schedule for everyone at home. 
  • High light areas that are specific to your child. 
  • Post a visual picture and written routine so there is no confusion. 
  • Begin practicing before school starts to avoid surprises. 
  • Create positive incentives or reward system ahead of time. 
  • Gradually begin to adjust bed time if there was a change over summer. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

The 4th of July and Your Sensory Kiddo

Summer is in full swing, temperatures are beyond high, and the 4th of July is quickly approaching. As you begin to plan for the big weekend, here are some tips to help you and your child cope with the sun, food, and unavoidable over stimulation. 

Possible Instigators: 

  • Sand or grass in their toes
  • Loud and bright fireworks
  • Large display of foods
  • Itchy swimsuits and large bodies of water
  • Large crowds
  • Late nights and delayed bed times
  • Disruption in routine

Here's some ways we can help prepare your child for the festivities
Create a picture schedule and talk about what the day/weekend may entail

  • Squeeze in some nap time! This may be especially helpful when the nights get later than usual and their routine is out of whack. 
  • Bring familiar foods along in a cooler to avoid the dreaded pot luck that has nothing they will eat. 
  • Identify a safe spot that they can meet you when they are feeling overwhelmed. 
  • Bring the ear buds or head phones to help soften the sound of the those loud fireworks that go 'boom'! 
  • Provide them with calming techniques prior to heading outside. 
  • Discuss safety in situations with water nearby. 
  • Wear the right gear! Ensure their swimsuit or shoes are good to go for the day to keep things moving smoothly. Bring a preferred change of clothes just in case.
  • If you are avoiding the crowds and staying in, look into a white noise machine to help them sleep through all the noise. 
  • Don't forget the sunscreen and plenty of water! 
Be safe and have fun! 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Therapeutic Benefits of Swimming for EVERYONE!

It's that time of year! The kids are out of school, temperatures are soaring, and all the local pools are open for business. If you are finding the kids are cooped up indoors, head outside and take full advantage of all the swimming pool has to offer for all of your kids! 

Swimming has so many therapeutic benefits for all kids including those with sensory processing disorders, cerebral palsy, congenital diagnoses, and even the typically functioning. 

Swimming is multi-sensory experience for the whole body including: 

  • Proprioceptive input: This involves the input of the muscle and bones and their relation to another. The continuous sensation of water all over the body assists in increasing body awareness. The weight of the water can provide a calming experience. 
  • Vestibular input: Just a few hand stands, somersaults, and jumps into the pool can quickly satisfy vestibular input!
  • Auditory processing: This involves all of the sounds of the pool environment such as splashes of water, laughter, yells, and music at the pool. 

Swimming also helps with gross motor skills such as strength, endurance, and coordination. We all know how tiring swimming can get! Constant movement and the resistance of the water can help increase strength and endurance. Swimming takes skills. Actually performing swimming strokes takes great coordination. AND of course, swimming is great for heart and lung health!

The buoyancy of water can assist patients to learn to walk as it slows movement and takes gravity out of the picture allowing patients with physical disabilities to move in ways they typically cannot. 

Did you know that a day at the pool can even increase oral motor skills?! Blowing bubbles and and using water whistles can increase oral motor strength. 

Add in pool toys to enhance coordination and play skills! Bring your kids friends and encourage them to meet new friends at the pool to increase socialization and play skills. 

Always remember safety and teach your kids about following rules and listening to the lifeguard. Don't forget the sunscreen and hats! Have fun!