Tag Archives: OT

Make your home a playground!

by Melody Katz

Are your children getting antsy? Are you missing your favorite PT and OT? While we are all staying healthy there are simple things you can do at home to have fun, work off some of your child’s energy and best of all help their motor development!

For children not yet sitting:

  • Children NEED movement! Roll across the bed to the right and then to the left several times till the giggles abound. If your child is hesitant of movement roll them slowly one time each way and increase as they tolerate and enjoy the movement.
  • Put blankets and pillows in a hard square or rectangular laundry basket (or one of the many Amazon boxes we all have) and lie your child down and move them side to side, forward and back and around in circles. Make sure you spin to the right AND to the left stopping in between briefly.
  • If your child is light enough, lie them in a sheet or blanket and with the help of a friend or family member, swing them.
  • TUMMY TIME, TUMMY TIME, TUMMY TIME! Yes, it is important! Kids love to look at their beautiful selves in the mirror so put a small mirror on the floor or bed while they are on their tummies. If this is hard for them roll a small receiving blanket and put it under your child’s chest to help them lift up higher. Lie on YOUR tummy on the floor facing them. YOU are their best motivator and toy. Sing and be silly!!

For children who are sitting, but not yet crawling:

  • All of the above activities still work for your child. They can now sit up in the box or basket while spinning to help improve their core strength and balance.
  • Use that empty diaper box or Amazon box with toys on it and help your child play while kneeling.
  • If your child is starting to get on their hands and knees sing silly songs and encourage them to rock! Row, Row, Row Your Boat works well for this. Be silly and think of more lyrics!!

Row, row, row your boat

gently down the stream,

Mommy’s going crazy now,

listen to her Scream.

Ahhhhhhhh………………….

For Crawlers:

  • The above movement activities are still fun and good for them!
  • Make a crawling obstacle course! Put folded blankets, rolled towels and pillows on the floor for your child to crawl over! If you have a big box, open at both ends and let your child crawl through it! Good luck keeping up!!

For Walkers:

  • All the movement activities listed above will still be fun and good for development.
  • Make obstacle courses for walkers

Using pillows, fold a towel or blanket to a balance beam shape (a long rectangle 4”-8” wide”), stepstools, big textbooks, different sized boxes with some soup cans inside for stability for different sized steps, pile pillows on the floor to make a mountain and climb up to the sofa or bed. Do you have bubble wrap and other textured packing materials? They are really fun to walk on with bare feet!!

Most of all have fun, be silly, laugh and love! This too shall pass!! We miss you too!!

Finally it’s SPRING TIME!!!

by Megan Guthrie

We have fully embraced the idea of spring and all that it encompasses in the Bear Cubs classroom. With our Occupational therapist we made a Paper Mache bird house out of a milk jug in the morning class and took our experimentation outside for the afternoon group. As we always say here at the Early Intervention Center, it is more about the process, not the product and being very flexible. As we weremaking our bird house outside we quickly realized that we forgot our Paper Mache materials. To improvise we used grass, sticks, flowers, nuts, and dirt (things that we thought birds would like on their house). The afternoon kids loved collecting the items for the bird house and we made it a more of a nature centered lesson opening the conversation up to talk about what we saw on the ground and what we thought birds eat.

In keeping with the spring tradition of gardening, we have planted carrots and flowers. Each child decorated their pot with stickers, and of course Thomas the Train made it on to most of the pots. Weplaced them next to the window to get the most amount of sunlight and have loved watching them grow and being a part of the process by watering them every day. We have been reading the book, Planting a Rainbow, which talks about planting and growing various flowers. This project really helped our children to better understand what it means to plant.

Painting Bird House Making bird house Painting Bird House 2

OT Awareness

by Anna Lassman

April was OT awareness month, and as usual our Occupational Therapy department in the Philadelphia division likes to not only promote the profession, but share some practical knowledge with staff. This year we decided to piggy back on our Early Intervention (EI) Center staff celebration with an activity for staff that earned them a chance to win one of 2 gift baskets.

One of the important foundational skills for hand function is tactile perception. Stereognosis is a unique skill of tactile perception. It is the ability to identify objects through touch. When a person handles a material, he or she sends touch signals to the brain, and the brain identifies the object. It is important for overall hand function and developing grasp patterns, as well as dexterity and ability to use materials. A person would explore the shape with their palm and fingers, and then use their memory of what things feel like. For example rough/smooth/ sharp or rounded edges, depth, weight, etc. In other words, what are the properties we may be looking for as we explore objects without hearing or vision assist?

In our game, staff were shown a card with 6 different 2D shapes, and asked to put their hand into a large box and match 1 object hidden in there. On an interesting side note, a number of staff was very hesitant to put their hand into a box when they couldn’t see what was in there, needing assurances that we were not trying to trick them.

This is a skill we use so often and are unaware of how many systems we are using to be successful. When I am driving and trying to find my chap stick in my purse compartment where I have other lipsticks as well as other wayward items, I think about this. Touching a counter top with crumbs or sticky substances, finding your keys in your pocket, anything that is identified without the benefit of other senses (hearing, vision) are examples of how we use this skill in our everyday life.

Anna Lassman has been an OT for 35 years, working in a variety of pediatric settings in New York, California and, for the past 18 years, in Pennsylvania. She has been with Easter Seals in the Philadelphia Division as the OT department head for 7 years. She has special interests working with infants and young children with feeding difficulties as well as working with children with neurological impairment. Her favorite aspect of her current job is the ability to mentor new practicing OT’s as they begin their career in the field. Anna loves the ocean and misses easy beach access, but loves the Philadelphia area.