Your Holiday Gift Guide: From a Developmental Therapist

Collection of Christmas present boxes on a light blue background

 

This time of year, the same question seems to be on everyone’s mind… “What should I get the child(ren) in my life this holiday season?” Here is a guide of my favorite gifts for the children in your lives that are both fun and encourage development!

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Let’s “talk” about AAC!

What does smiling at a neighbor, sending a text, and ordering food by pointing to menu pictures have in common? They are all examples of AAC. By writing this blog, I am utilizing AAC to convey this message to you. So, the question is…

What is AAC?

Augmentative or Alternative Communication (AAC) refers to all the ways that we convey our thoughts and feelings without talking. Our world is full of AAC and for good reason- AAC is essential for well-rounded and effective communication across all stages of life. 

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Is My Child Doing What They Should? Milestones from 1 to 5 years

 

Do you ever find yourself comparing your child to their peers at the park or playground? Or maybe even comparing them to their older sibling? Do you feel like they are behind with their motor skills? What truly is “age appropriate”? In this post, we will cover age-appropriate milestones from age 1 to 5 years and what to do if your child isn’t hitting their milestones on time. 

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Congenital Muscular Torticollis: What is it and how can I help my child?

Infant smiling while laying on back

You may have heard the strange medical term “torticollis” from your pediatrician, neighbor, or friend. Frankly, it can be overwhelming and quite confusing to understand. In this post, we will review what torticollis is, reasons why babies may develop a torticollis, what parents can look for if they have concerns, associated impairments if left untreated, and tips on ways to prevent torticollis. 

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Phonological Processes: What are they and is my child using them?

Do you find yourself asking your child to repeat what they said, utilizing your detective skills to figure it out, or perhaps acting as your child’s commentator for people that are less familiar with their speech? We know that children can sometimes be difficult to understand when they are learning to speak. It can be tricky to know if this is part of typical development or if your child would benefit from support. In this post, we will help you understand phonological processes and their potential impact on your child’s overall speech intelligibility.

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April Showers Bring Sensory Powers!

Not only do April showers bring May flowers, but with these rainy days also come the perfect opportunity to have your child engage in fun and exciting indoor sensory activities to get their creativity flowing!

Photo Credit: PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay

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Just Go to Sleep: Strategies for Improving Sleep Habits in Your Family

We all know sleep is important for maintaining a healthy, happy lifestyle. Unfortunately, sleep doesn’t always come easy, even to children. Some children, especially those with sensory processing issues and other difficulties, struggle to get to sleep and remain asleep through the night. What’s more, chances are, if your child isn’t sleeping, you aren’t either. The result is a cranky, sleep-deprived child and a cranky, sleep-deprived adult. Here are some strategies for improving your child’s “sleep hygiene,” or habits that promote healthy sleep.

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Snow Day! Heavy Work Activities to Promote Sensory Regulation in Your Child

Snowy days provide great opportunities for heavy work proprioceptive input! Proprioception refers to our sense of awareness of body position, which our bodies process by receiving input through the muscles and joints. This type of input is typically calming for most children, but can also be alerting for some children. Proprioceptive input generally occurs through heavy work activities that involve deep pressure or weight through the muscles and joints.

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What’s Inside the Mystery Box?!

Let’s make a mystery box!

It’s no mystery that families and children been spending more time at home than ever before. When we are constantly surrounded by the same scenery, including the same toys and games, it can be difficult to brainstorm ways to mix it up (without constantly rushing to the store or clicking ‘buy now’ on Amazon).

As a pediatric therapist, I am always seeking new ways to turn every day household items into fun, motivating, and enriching toys. I’ve found that some of the best toys are not ‘toys’ at all. One of my favorite non-traditional toys is a do-it-yourself mystery container/box!

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Play Together!

What Are the Benefits to Social Therapeutic Playgroups?

Play is the universal language of early childhood. It has been proven that children learn from each other. Therapeutic playgroups are interdisciplinary programs that allow children with developmental delays to grow through learning in a social setting. In this group setting, children learn how to foster their engagement by developing social-emotional and cognitive skills along with their peers. Therapists help facilitate organic social interactions between children. Therapists help foster relationships by encourage children to use them as a resource to engage with others. Playgroups are play-based programs that allow for children to be intrinsically motivated by their peers, grow their problem-solving skills, and facilitate social language in a sensory friendly environment.

The power of a play-based playgroup allow for children to grow their sense of self. Play therapy is used to promote cognitive development and social-emotional strategies to help children succeed in multiple environments. These play-based activities encourage children to problem-solve in a natural environment that is different from their home. Problem-solving skills are important for children to develop as these skills will be with them throughout their lives. In these playgroup children also learn how to follow directions. Children learn from peer models to follow familiar and novel directions. Peers grow their engagement for structured and unstructured play-based tasks by learning alongside on another. Unstructured tasks promote creativity and allow children to grow their symbolic play skills. Structured activities allow children to attend to adult-led activities and grow their task completion. The cognitive and social-emotional skills that children learn from playgroups allow them to succeed in a variety of environments and throughout their educational experiences.

 

Rachel Weiser, MS, DT
Developmental Therapist

 

Photo: PlayWorks Therapy classroom, Photographed by Thomas | © 2019 TK Photography |