Harrison’s Success Story

April is Autism Awareness month, so we asked one of our Therapy SPOT families to share their thoughts and experience with autism with you.

 

Autism spectrum disorder and autism are terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development.  The disorders are characterized in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors, according to Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, www.autismspeaks.org. April is National Autism Awareness Month and we would like to share Harrison’s success story so far.

 

They say if you’ve seen one child who has autism, well, you’ve seen one child who has autism.  While each child is unique, families with children who have autism share common challenges, goals, and dreams and they overcome obstacles in their own unique way.  We are one of those families. Autism doesn’t look like anything but the way it looks. It doesn’t always look like Rain Man. It doesn’t always include hand flapping, rocking, or issues with language.  Sometimes it does but, sometimes it doesn’t.

 

On January 26 2012, Harrison, our pride and joy was born.  He was so excited to see us and the world that he was born four weeks early.  Harrison was such a good baby that rarely cried or fussed even when he was wet or hungry.  We would often have to wake him to feed him. I remember asking my mother who ran a daycare for many years if she ever had a baby that was this good.

 

I had everything planned out for Harrison but life does not always go as planned.  Through reading various baby and parenting books and referring to Dr. Google we discovered that Harrison was about a month behind on hitting the “milestones” such as holding up his head, rolling over, and sitting up.  We as parents had convinced ourselves he was behind because he was born a month early, but later were told that does not factor in to reaching milestones.

 

Harrison loved his jumperoo!  He would jump and spin the spinners like no other child you have ever seen.  At the time we were amazed at how fast he would spin the spinners and for the length of time with such control.  His dad being a coach was really impressed with his hand eye coordination. We never thought of it as being a sign.  Harrison was also one that would take a toy that had beautiful colors on the front and turn it over and study the back of the toy to figure out where the music was coming from.

 

Harrison was saying ma ma and da da at ten months and of course we were excited.  It was around this time that Harrison out of the blue would have these really quick nods with his head.  We were obviously scared thinking he was having mini seizures. Being first time parents and wanting the best for Harrison we saw a neurologist and had an EEG.  The results from the EEG said that Harrison had lots of brain activity and the nods were tics not seizures. During the months that followed with tics we as protective parents were scared to encourage Harrison to walk fearing the tics could cause him to have a bad fall.  Through prayer and God’s grace the ticks only lasted a few months and disappeared as quickly as they had appeared. Then we focused on walking which was mastered at 17 months and Harrison has not slowed down since!

As parents we felt something was just not right so we started asking questions to Harrison’s pediatrician at his 18 month check up and realized that he was displaying signs of autism and developmental delays such as late holding his head up, rolling over, sitting up, walking, no eye contact, spinning toys, etc.  He was no longer saying ma ma and da da. We were asked to fill out the M-CHAT which is a series of questions that help determine if you are at risk of autism. The M-CHAT does not provide a diagnosis but can aid in early detection and indicate if a child should seek further evaluation. As a mother, I can remember crying for days because this was not part of my plan for Harrison.  After about a week, I realized it’s not about my plan but God’s plan so I started making appointments with every doctor I thought could help us help Harrison. We scheduled another appointment with the neurologist but she still was not ready to diagnose Harrison with autism but did want to do a genetic test. She swabbed Harrison’s mouth and ours. When the results came back we learned our unique little boy has a very unique gene duplication called 22q11.21.  The gene duplication is so rare that it does not have a name and at the time of the results through research there was only one study of 100 cases in the UK. We then decided to see a gene specialist that had been practicing for 30 years plus to try and learn more about 22q11.21. He should have had paid us (haha) because we knew more about 22q11.21 than he knew from our research at home.

 

The focus of any parent is your child and how to help them be successful.  That challenge is taken to a whole new level with an autistic child. Harrison started receiving speech services around 18 months old.  The speech therapist after a couple of months of working with Harrison said to us that Harrison needed more than she could do and suggested ABA.  What is ABA….? We researched ABA which is Applied Behavior Analysis and discovered that it has helped many children with autism become more successful so we went to work trying to find ABA therapy for Harrison in our area.  When Harrison first started ABA therapy it was not covered by insurance so everything came out of pocket until the passing of Ava’s Law which requires insurance companies to pay up to $36,000 in therapy per year. Many thanks to Ana and Ava Bullard for all of their hard work for these unique and special kids.  Through the ABA journey we have seen some really good therapists, some that were very strict and some that did more therapy through play which helped Harrison become well rounded and not programmed like a robot. Harrison in his young life has seen various speech therapists, occupational therapists, ABA specialists and has often worked 30 plus hour weeks at the table in the makeshift therapy/laundry room just to try and catch up to typical children his age since age two.  

 

Harrison knew his alphabet at two years old and numbers 1-100 by three years old.  He loves to look at books and have you read them to him. If a word is missed he will not let you flip the page until the page is read correctly.  Harrison is believed to have Hyperlexia and has been reading since he was two and half years old. Hyperlexia is characterized by a child’s precocious ability to read (far above what would be expected at their age), significant difficulty in understanding and using verbal language (or a profound nonverbal learning disability), and significant problems during social interactions.

 

Our journey with our 6 six year old nonverbal little boy through ABA therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists has at times been a long, stressful, and emotional ride. So many times when we have lost a therapist for whatever reason we have wondered what are we going to do?  We turn to God because we know He has a special plan for our unique little boy.  This journey has led us to the Therapy SPOT in Statesboro. We drive over an hour every Tuesday and Thursday so Harrison can receive the best therapy from Mrs. Lea and Ms. Olivia. The Therapy SPOT has helped Harrison in so many ways from feeding issues because of texture issues to a communication device so we can communicate with our little boy. We always receive notes from sessions so we can pass those notes along to his therapists at school because repetition and everyone being on the same page is critical for children with autism. The Therapy SPOT helped us get the Accent 800 from the Prentke Romich Company which is a device dedicated solely for communication.  Thank goodness for insurance that covered the purchase of the device. Until we got the communication device we were using Harrison’s ipad with the LAMP app which is a communication app that uses a therapeutic approach using motor learning principles and voice output communication aid to give nonverbal individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities a method to develop independent and spontaneous communication. With the LAMP app on the iPad Harrison learned one word responses or request for items. Unfortunately, Harrison didn’t see the iPad as a communication device but he saw it as fun and a source to google and Youtube so no real communication took place with the iPad.  The communication device uses the same LAMP software and setup as the app on the iPad so it was familiar to him. The first day we had the communication device we showed Harrison how to request “I want chocolate milk” when he had been just pointing or bringing the milk to us. The next morning at 5:00 am we hear the communication device say “I want chocolate milk” of course that boy got him a cup of chocolate milk. Since that morning Harrison has requested I want Chuck E Cheese (loves to go to Chuck E Cheese), I want iPad please, I want eat pizza, I want iPhone please, I want iPod please and open door play outside. So as you can tell communication is blossoming with the device and we look forward for what is to come in the future.  He has even shown teachers at school where things are located on the device lol. He is one smart little boy!

 

Harrison is currently in Kindergarten at Treutlen Elementary School and having a great year.  He is one of the top students in his class and having a successful year even with all the obstacles he has had to overcome to this point. This success is because of the great team that helps Harrison at school and away from school that work closely together to help him be successful.  Every parent wants to see their child bring home a 100, but when your autistic child that you have seen over come so many barriers and obstacles brings home 100’s on a weekly basis it makes your heart swell cause you are so proud of him and the work he has done to get to that point.

 

Autism so many times has a negative stigma attached to it because so often people don’t fully understand it, but having a son with autism has shown us what truly matters in life.  Harrison’s struggles and successes have shown us to enjoy the small victories in life and to enjoy the journey and not be so obsessed with the destination because if you are you will miss out on so many of the laughs, tears, accomplishments that takes place during the journey.  Harrison has come along way since he was first diagnosed at 18 months old and has had so many successes. As parents of an autistic child, we know we still have many obstacles to overcome in our family’s journey with autism but with prayer and God’s direction there is nothing we can’t overcome.  We are extremely proud of our happy, lovable, compassionate, and truly unique little boy!

Misty and Brad C.

If you have questions about your child’s development, we encourage you to have a conversation with your child’s pediatrician as soon as possible.  Harrison’s story could have been much different if his parents had waited a few years to get him the help that he needed.  Early intervention is so important!  

The Therapy S.P.O.T. – Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy

Our multidisciplinary therapy center was established in 2007, and is committed to providing quality therapy services in a fun, family and child centered environment. We provide pediatric speech, feeding, physical, and occupational therapy as well as adult speech and swallowing therapy.  Our therapists have unique and specialized skills and training, and we strive to pair our patients with the therapists who will best meet their specific needs.  You can learn more about our services at http://www.therapyspotstatesboro.com.  Questions or concerns?  Call us at (912) 681-7768 for a free consultation.

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015

 

Yay! Ouch! Uh oh! Exclamatory Words. What are they and why are they important?

Exclamatory words are words that many people do not consider true words such as yippee, yay, and oh no. These words are fun, easy to imitate, and have a wide variety of vowels and early developing consonant sounds that will help children develop a larger phoneme repertoire. They are made up of simple syllable sequences that are easier to say than other more complex words. Many children will be able to say these words before they can produce functional words such as more, no, and all done.

If your child is having difficulty imitating and expressing new words, consider playing with your child in a way that encourages imitation of exclamatory words. You may find that functional words will follow!

Exclamatory words you can try at home:

  • Wow
  • Yay, yippee
  • Woo hoo
  • Oops, whoops, oopsie
  • Uh oh, oh no
  • Weeee
  • Aw, man
  • Ouch, owie
  • Mmmm, yum
  • Yuck, ick, ew
  • Whoa
  • Boo
  • No way

Tips for play to encourage exclamatory words:

1.  Use a slow rate of speech and short 1-3 word phrases.

  1. Use toys and activites your child loves. Be creative and find ways to model these sounds with their preferred toys and activities. For example, knock items off the table-oops! Uh oh! Pretend babies or superheroes have a boo boo-ouch! Ooops!
  1. Pause and wait. Don’t require that your child imitate you by saying things such as “Say yay.” Instead, slowly model the words through play, pause and wait and give your child the opportunity to say the word, and if they don’t then model the word again.
  1. Smile and have fun!  Enjoy this time with your child.  Interactions with people are the best way for your child to learn.

The Therapy S.P.O.T. – Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy

Our multidisciplinary therapy center was established in 2007, and is committed to providing quality therapy services in a fun, family and child centered environment. We provide pediatric speech, feeding, physical, and occupational therapy as well as adult speech and swallowing therapy.  Our therapists have unique and specialized skills and training, and we strive to pair our patients with the therapists who will best meet their specific needs.  You can learn more about our services at http://www.therapyspotstatesboro.com.  Questions or concerns?  Call us at (912) 681-7768 for a free consultation.

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015

Pediatric Occupational Therapy 101. What is OT and how can it help my child?

So your child’s pediatrician, teacher, speech, or physical therapist has recommended an Occupational Therapy (OT) evaluation and you are left wondering what OT is and the benefits it could offer your child. Don’t worry, most parents feel the same way as you do and have many questions that sometimes go unanswered. I am here to answer some of those questions in this short blog.

What Is Pediatric Occupational Therapy?

An occupational therapist’s role is to evaluate a child’s strengths, as well as their difficulties, in critical developmental areas. The OT will then design individualized interventions that promote the healthy development of skills needed for success with daily tasks. By incorporating meaningful activities and play, OT facilitates the development of age appropriate skills, which promotes independence thus improving quality of life.

How Do I Know If My Child Will Benefit From Occupational Therapy?

According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), children with the following medical problems might benefit from OT. They are as follow, but not limited to:

  • Birth injuries or birth defects
  • Sensory processing disorders
  • Traumatic injuries (brain or spinal cord)
  • Learning problems
  • Autism/pervasive developmental disorders
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • Mental health or behavioral problems
  • Broken bones or other orthopedic injuries
  • Developmental delays including fine motor delays
  • Post-surgical conditions
  • Burns
  • Spina bifida
  • Traumatic amputations
  • Cancer
  • Multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and other chronic illnesses

 

What Should I Expect During Treatment Sessions?

 After the initial evaluation is performed, the OT will work together with the parents/caregiver to establish client centered goals.  This just means that we address your biggest concerns.  The OT will then create individualized interventions to address difficulties noted in the OT evaluation. Below are common areas addressed by an OT during treatment sessions. They can include, but are not limited to:

  • Work on fine motor skills so your child can grasp and release toys for development of good handwriting skills.
  • Address hand–eye coordination to improve your child’s play and school skills (hitting a target, batting a ball, copying from a blackboard, etc.).
  • Assist children with severe developmental delays so that they can learn basic tasks (such as bathing, getting dressed, brushing their teeth, and feeding themselves). OT is all about improving quality of life!
  • Help children with behavioral disorders maintain positive behaviors in all environments (e.g., instead of hitting others or acting out, using positive ways to deal with anger, such as writing about feelings or participating in a physical activities).
  • Teach strategies to improve coordination skills needed to feed themselves, use a computer, or increase the speed and legibility of their handwriting
  • Work with kids who have sensory and attention issues to improve focus and social skills for success in school, home, and community.

I realize that this is a lot to take in and there are many more questions that you will have. I recommend the website below with more in depth information on Pediatric Occupational Therapy and what to expect. Please click the link below:

 

Click This Link For More Info.

 

References:

 

American Occupational Therapy Association Retrieved November 14, 2016, from http://www.aota.org/

 

Kids Health Occupational Therapy Retrieved November 14, 2016, from http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/occupational-therapy.html

About the author:

Olivia Chester, OTR/L

olivia

Olivia is a Statesboro native who is excited to be a part of the Therapy SPOT team. Olivia graduated from Queens University of Charlotte with a Bachelors degree in Psychology in 2013. She then went on to earn her Masters in Occupational therapy from The University of St. Augustine in 2016. She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Olivia developed a passion for working with children during one of her academic rotations in Savannah and decided after graduation to pursue pediatric OT. She specializes in working with children who have sensory processing disorder (SPD) by providing appropriate and individualized therapeutic intervention. Olivia hopes to not only provide exceptional therapy services to your child, but to also educate caregivers on activities they can work on at home by providing ideas, resources, and handouts. Olivia continues to grow her skill set by staying up to date with research, participating in continuing education, and staying involved with caregiver’s concerns and questions. Olivia’s hobbies include spending time with her family and golden retriever, Boone, riding her bike and kayaking on Tybee Island, and spending time exploring the history and natural resources of the Low Country. She looks forward to working with your child!

The Therapy S.P.O.T. – Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy

Our multidisciplinary therapy center was established in 2007, and is committed to providing quality therapy services in a fun, family and child centered environment. We provide pediatric speech, feeding, physical, and occupational therapy as well as adult speech and swallowing therapy.  Our therapists have unique and specialized skills and training, and we strive to pair our patients with the therapists who will best meet their specific needs.  You can learn more about our services at http://www.therapyspotstatesboro.com.  Questions or concerns?  Call us at (912) 681-7768 for a free consultation.

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015

 

 

What Is Childhood Apraxia of Speech?

So, what IS Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS)?  
The American Speech-language-hearing association defines it as, “…a neurological childhood speech sound disorder in which the precision and consistency of movements underlying speech are impaired in the absence of neuromuscular deficits (e.g. abnormal reflexes, abnormal tone)” (ASHA, 2007).  A way I like to tell parents about CAS: there is nothing wrong with their brain and there is (typically) nothing wrong with their speech articulators/muscles, but there is communication breakdown between the brain and these speech helpers.  The breakdown makes it difficult for the child to coordinate and sequence speech.

Early Signs of CAS
Limited babbling as an infant
-No intelligible first word by 18 months
-Inconsistent sound errors
-May be able to imitate sounds on one trial, but unable to reduplicate
-Children appear to understand more than they can say
-Vowels may appear distorted
-More vowels present than consonants
-Children may develop a go-to word that is used for many things
-Oral groping when attempting to imitate or produce connected speech sounds

I think my child has CAS
If you think your child demonstrates characteristics of CAS, the best place to start is with a speech-language evaluation.  A speech pathologist can rule out other possible causes for these signs/symptoms, such as a severe phonological processing disorder or an expressive language impairment.  

Treatment

If your child has CAS, the American Speech Language Hearing Association recommends frequent, individual speech therapy sessions for children with childhood apraxia of speech.   A multi-sensory approach to treatment with frequent home practice and early focus on functional communication is most effective.  There are a variety of treatment tools and programs available, but no one “program” or treatment approach is right for each child.  At The Therapy SPOT, we are experienced and trained in using a variety of materials and approaches to treat childhood apraxia of speech making certain we individualize treatment to what works best for each child.

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References
Smith, L. (2015, August 5). When We Asked Ronda Rousey If She Had Apraxia of Speech. Retrieved November 23, 2015, from http://themighty.com/2015/08/when-we-asked-ronda-rousey-if-she-had1-apraxia-of-speech/#ixzz3sLlmn5pi


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2007). Childhood apraxia of speech [Position Statement]. Available from http://www.asha.org/policy.

About the author:  Danielle Carey, M.S., CCC-SLP, became a licensed speech-language pathologist in 2012, treating patients mainly in hospitals and subacute rehab centers with clinical time spent in the public school and at a private practice treating patients ages 2-80+.  She graduated magna cum laude from East Carolina University with a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders with a minor in child development and family relations.  Danielle received her master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Old Dominion University.  She is a member of American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.  Danielle received VitalStim certification (neuromuscular electrical stimulation) in 2014 to use for adults with dysphagia (swallowing impairment).  Danielle  enjoys working at The Therapy SPOT with both young children and adults.  She is passionate about speech-language pathology and enjoys completing continuing education courses and sharing knowledge with colleagues.  Danielle and her husband Jared have one spunky daughter, and they love to travel.  In her free time, Danielle enjoys reading, riding horses, cooking, and spending time at the beach.

The Therapy S.P.O.T. – Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy

Our multidisciplinary therapy center was established in 2007, and is committed to providing quality therapy services in a fun, family and child centered environment. We provide pediatric speech, feeding, physical, and occupational therapy as well as adult speech and swallowing therapy.  Our therapists have unique and specialized skills and training, and we strive to pair our patients with the therapists who will best meet their specific needs.  You can learn more about our services at http://www.therapyspotstatesboro.com.  Questions or concerns?  Call us at (912) 681-7768 for a free consultation.

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015

 

No Big Deal! Talking To Your Child About Therapy

When you decide your child needs to see a speech, occupational, or physical therapist or it has been recommended by your doctor, your child may experience some anxiety or want to know more about what he or she will do at this appointment and why do they need to go?

  • Explain to your child that when they are sick or do not feel good they go to the doctor for help and to feel better.  Along the same lines, a parent might explain that a sports coach helps provide tips and practice to get better at the sport the child plays.  A therapist is much like a coach that will help the child improve in area(s) where they experience some difficulty. You can explain that sometimes kids have difficulty with their talking, walking, eating, or handwriting.  When children have these types of troubles they can see person called a “therapist.”
  • Tell your child that the therapist they will see is like a new special teacher friend that will help them with the areas of difficulty they might be experiencing (talking, walking, eating, writing, etc.)
  • What is a therapist?  The therapists are people who have gone to school with specialized training for speech, physical, or occupational therapy.  Therapists are helpers!
  • It maybe comforting to explain some things the therapist may ask them to do when they are visiting for the first time.  The new therapist may ask the child to do some things like run, jump, name pictures in a book, draw, talk, eat/drink, follow directions, or point to pictures. The therapist may also spend some time talking with parents about what kinds of difficulties the child is experiencing.
  • Children might wonder what they will do when they visit a therapist when they are scheduled for regular therapy appointments.  A parent can explain to their child that the therapists do their work by playing games and planning fun activities to work on things that may be a little difficult for the kids to do by themselves.  Therapists often plan therapy activities based on the child’s interests.   
  • The clinic or office where the therapist works is a safe place with lots of fun things to do.  There are toys and games that will be used during therapy.  It may look like a doctor’s office, but it will be fun!  There are no needles or shots.
  • For older kids, be sure your child knows that they can choose to tell their friends that they go to therapy or they can decide not to share this information.  Who they tell, and if they tell, is their decision.  
  • If a child needs help, explain to them that working with a therapist is the right thing to do to make their problems better.  You might say “No one is perfect.  We all have strengths and things we need extra help with.  You will get to have fun while getting even better at talking, writing, walking, etc.” Getting help is no big deal and can be lots of fun!
References: an article from Therapeutic Partners 

The Therapy S.P.O.T. – Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015
http://www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015

Our multidisciplinary therapy center was established in 2007, and is committed to providing quality therapy services in a fun, family and child centered environment. We provide pediatric speech, feeding, physical, and occupational therapy as well as adult speech and swallowing therapy.  Our therapists have unique and specialized skills and training, and we strive to pair our patients with the therapists who will best meet their specific needs.  You can learn more about our services at http://www.therapyspotstatesboro.com.  Questions or concerns?  Call us at (912) 681-7768 for a free consultation.

It Takes a Village: Understanding Available Therapy Services

So, you think your child may need speech, occupational, or physical therapy.  Now what?  There are many ways your child can receive services, and it can be hard to understand and navigate all the options.  Relax!  We are going to run through the options for you.

There are three outlets that typically serve our children: private therapy, school therapy, and Babies Can’t Wait.  Each of these options have different service requirements and methods of administering therapy and intervention.

1.  Private Therapy:  In the private setting, your child will be evaluated and treated by a licensed therapist and is seen individually for treatment.  Therapy in the private setting requires a signed order from your child’s primary care physician to complete the evaluation if medical insurance is being billed.  At the time of the evaluation, the therapist will determine if therapy is warranted and recommend the frequency of treatment (typically 1-2 times per week).  Private therapy in most clinics is billed directly to your insurance.

Private therapy can provide services that may not be offered in other settings such as speaking valve trials for patients with tracheostomy, listening therapy, augmentative and alternative communication evaluations, feeding and swallowing therapy.  Private therapists work with all ages, from babies through elderly clients.  Referrals are typically scheduled quickly after the order from the referring physician is received.  In private practice, therapists communicate with parents and caregivers each week, and work closely with families to teach parents how to facilitate skills at home.

2.    School Therapy:  Children may qualify for therapy services through the public school system from age 3 through high school graduation (maximum 22 years old).  Typically, children are eligible to receive therapy services if their speech/motor/sensory difficulties have a negative educational impact.  Children who were enrolled in the Babies Can’t Wait program will transition into the school’s therapy services quickly and receive an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).  An IEP will have defined, measurable goals in each area of need.  IEP meetings are held annually and can be requested at additional times to modify the plan.  The referral process for school age students requires that they transition through the Response to Intervention prior to development of an IEP.  The Response to Intervention (RTI) process was federally mandated and put into place to require teachers to implement assessments, interventions, and document results of interventions in the classroom to improve student achievement and so that fewer students are identified as having special needs requiring an IEP.  The referral process for therapy services in the school system can take several months to be completed.

Once the process of RTI is complete and an IEP is in place, therapy within the school setting is provided by a licensed therapist and can be conducted in the classroom or in the therapy room, typically in a group of 2-4 students for 30 minutes.  School therapists strive to pair children with similar goals in groups to address goals together which is especially helpful for working on social skills and pragmatic language, but this can also be challenging when therapists are required to pull students from their regular classrooms only at certain times of the day so that they are not missing special area classes and direct instruction.  School therapy goals are often developed with academic standards in mind.  Many children who receive school therapy also choose to receive additional private therapy, and school therapists often communicate and collaborate with private therapists about children they both serve.

3.  Babies Can’t Wait (BCW):  Babies Can’t Wait is Georgia’s state funded early intervention program which serves children from birth to age 3 if they meet one of the two requirements:

  • Have a diagnosed physical or mental condition which is known to result in a developmental delay
  • Have a diagnosed developmental delay confirmed by a qualified team of professionals

BCW utilizes a teaming approach to provide intervention.  In our district, a multidisciplinary evaluation is completed in the home by a therapist or special instructor to determine the scope of services.  Following the evaluation and development an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) which outlines the early intervention services that your child will receive, the team will meet and choose the best candidate to provide special instruction/intervention.

Services are often rendered by a special instructor/teacher and at times by a licensed therapist.  Services are provided in the natural environment, typically in the home or preschool/daycare setting.  In our district, BCW does not usually send multiple therapists into the home to provide services.  Typically, one provider/special instructor is the sole provider of intervention for each child.  Many children who receive Babies Can’t Wait services also receive private therapy.  Special instructors collaborate and work with private therapists.  BCW providers strive to involve families and teach them ways to play with their children to help them reach their goals.  Evaluation and coordination is provided at no cost, services are provided on a sliding fee scale.  To contact Babies Can’t Wait, call 1-800-651-8224 or locally (912) 284-2552.

 

Knowing about all the options available can help families make informed decisions about what is best for each child.  In many cases, children receive services from Babies Can’t Wait and private therapy, or school therapy and private therapy!  We want our families to take advantage of all the wonderful services available, remembering that early intervention is so important!

 

The Therapy S.P.O.T. – Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015
http://www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015

Our multidisciplinary therapy center was established in 2007, and is committed to providing quality therapy services in a fun, family and child centered environment. We provide pediatric speech, feeding, physical, and occupational therapy as well as adult speech and swallowing therapy.  Our therapists have unique and specialized skills and training, and we strive to pair our patients with the therapists who will best meet their specific needs.  You can learn more about our services at http://www.therapyspotstatesboro.com.  Questions or concerns?  Call us at (912) 681-7768 for a free consultation.

 

 

Four Ways to Help Baby Pull to Stand

Pulling to stand is a gross motor skill that should occur around 9 months of age, according to the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales. It’s an exciting and significant gross motor skill, as it helps baby build the strength and balance required for independent standing and walking! Try these 4 ways to promote this important gross motor skill:

  1.  Make the crib a safe place for pulling up:
  • Crib railings offer the perfect opportunity to learn to pull to stand.
  • In preparation for this skill, make sure you lower the crib mattress to the lowest setting to prevent falling or climbing out.crib baby

Photo courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr

2.  Pull up to a kneeling position:

  • Teaching baby how to pull to a kneeling position is a great way to progress towards pulling to stand!
  • When babies transition from sitting to standing, they often come to a kneeling position, then push up with one leg in half-kneeling (see photos).
  • To encourage the kneeling position, place a toy or other motivating object on an elevated surface, such as a couch cushion (removed from the couch and placed on the floor) or ottoman. Place baby’s hands on the surface encouraging them to reach for the toy and rise onto his knees.

He may need you to help him by lifting up through his hips into kneeling. Encourage baby to maintain this position as he interacts with toys. This will build the strength required to stand!pull to kneel

Baby kneeling at elevated surface: Photo courtesy of Rob via Flickrstand

Baby half kneeling, preparing to pull to stand: Photo courtesy of Kris & Fred via Flickr

3.  Arrange furniture for pulling up:

  • A great place to encourage pulling to stand is the sofa, because it cannot tip over on top of baby like a table or dresser can.
  • Place toys, food, or other motivating objects on the sofa. There are two ways you can promote pulling to stand:
  • Help baby place both hands on the sofa and both feet flat on the ground as you encourage him to pull up through his arms and push up through his feet.  Baby may need you to help him by lifting up through his trunk or hips. If you feel like your sofa is too tall for baby, remove a cushion to create a lower surface.
  • Help baby come to a kneeling position as described above. Progress by bending one leg into a half kneeling position, placing the foot flat on the floor, then help baby push through that leg to stand.

4.  Try using an activity table:

  • An activity table is a great way to encourage novice and experienced “standers” to continue practicing this skill.
    • For new standers who need a lot of support, be sure to place it against a sofa or in the corner of a room, so it does not slip forward.
    • Always supervise baby and be aware of the potential for the activity table to tip over.
  • These are great toys because of its many uses! You can remove all of the legs and use it as a tummy time toy or as a motivator to pull to kneeling or standing by placing it on higher surfaces. It’s also a great way to promote cruising/side-stepping, as baby will want to explore all 4 sides of the table!activity table

    Photo courtesy of Andrew Jacobs via Flickr

The Therapy S.P.O.T. – Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015
http://www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015

Our multidisciplinary therapy center was established in 2007, and is committed to providing quality therapy services in a fun, family and child centered environment. We provide pediatric speech, feeding, physical, and occupational therapy as well as adult speech and swallowing therapy.  Our therapists have unique and specialized skills and training, and we strive to pair our patients with the therapists who will best meet their specific needs.  You can learn more about our services at http://www.therapyspotstatesboro.com.  Questions or concerns?  Call us at (912) 681-7768 for a free consultation.

About the Author:

Abby McAvoy, Doctor of Physical Therapy, graduated Cum Laude from the University of Georgia in 2012, with a B.S. in Health Promotion and Behavior. In 2015, she received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Armstrong State University in Savannah, GA. Abby is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and presented her capstone research at the APTA’s national Combined Sections Meeting in 2014. During a clinical rotation in an outpatient pediatric facility, she discovered a great passion for working with the pediatric population and decided to pursue a career in pediatric physical therapy post graduation. Abby hopes to expand her skill set by obtaining specialized training in aquatic physical therapy, manual therapy, and the NDT treatment approach, in order to provide the most comprehensive physical therapy services possible to her patients at The Therapy SPOT. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, and being outdoors with her dog.

Free Fall Fun for Families

Fall Fun for the Whole Family

pumpkinphoto

Photo courtesy of Gigi H via Flickr

Fall is such a fun time of year for kids. The weather is beautiful, and the excitement of Halloween is contagious! Festivals, carnivals, and fairs provide an ideal (and fun!) opportunity to work on gross motor, fine motor, communication, and social skills.

  • Arts and crafts are a great way for kids to experience different textures and get a little messy with paint and glue.
    • This is especially beneficial for kids with mild sensory aversions.
  • Crafts are also a fun way to hone those fine motor skills.
  • Jumping houses, slides, obstacle courses, ball and ring tossing games, and bobbing for apples all foster gross motor development and social interactions with peers.

fall photo

Photo courtesy of Michel Biedermann via Flickr

  • Trick-or-Treating can be a great social experience for children and a fun way to practice speech and language skills! Practice saying trick or treat, hi, bye, and thank you prior to going trick or treating. Find another family to trick or treat with, and encourage appropriate play and social skills. After, you can have fun labeling types of candy, counting, and describing them! Is it crunchy? Sticky? Sweet? Sour?  Passing out candy and answering the door can be just as much fun for kids and also encourages appropriate social interactions as well as fun practice of speech and language skills.

2014-10-31 19.14.37

  • Experiencing a fall carnival, fair, or even a petting zoo can be the perfect opportunity to expand your child’s vocabulary and communication skills.
    • Serve as a narrator for your child by pointing out and naming objects, such as pumpkins, cotton candy, ghosts, and leaves.
    • It’s also the perfect chance to explore verbs and adjectives, such as “round and round”, “up and down”, “scary and spooky”, “fast and slow”, and “big and small.”

Below is a list of fall activities in our area that are perfect for kids! Be sure to check the local paper and community calendars for additional opportunities for fall fun!

  • Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair on October 19th-24th; Kiwanis Ogeechee Fairgrounds in Statesboro
  • Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair Parade @ 5pm on October 19th; Downtown Statesboro (FREE)
  • Teen Craft Night @ 5pm on October 20th; Statesboro Regional Library (FREE)
  • Greek Street Trick or Treat @ 6pm on October 21st; Olympic Blvd in Statesboro (FREE)
  • Halloween Hike at Oatland Island Wildlife Center @ 5pm on October 23rd & 24th; Oatland Island Wildlife Center in Savannah
  • Old Farm Day @ 10am on October 24th; Anderson’s General Store on Hwy 80 in Statesboro (FREE)
  • Statesboro First United Methodist Church Harvest Festival @ 5pm on October 25th; South Main Street in Statesboro (FREE)
  • Trick or Treat at Mill Creek Park @ 5pm on October 30th; Mill Creek Park Statesboro (FREE)
  • CrossRoads Community Church Fall Festival @ 7pm on October 30th; Hwy 80 in Statesboro (FREE)
  • Halloween Movie Event: It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown @ 10:30am on October 31st; Statesboro Regional Library (FREE)
  • Halloween Bazaar @ 3pm on October 31st; Jelinek Creative Spaces in Downtown Savannah
  • Annual International Festival @ 10am on November 14th; Mill Creek Park in Statesboro
  • Freeman Family Farm Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch is open through Nov. 1.  Visit http://www.andersonfreemanfarm.com/ for information regarding price and hours

DSC_0657

  • L & D Farm Fresh Produce has an adorable pumpkin patch.  It’s a great photo opportunity for your little ones! (FREE)

The Therapy S.P.O.T. – Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015
http://www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015

Our multidisciplinary therapy center was established in 2007, and is committed to providing quality therapy services in a fun, family and child centered environment. We provide pediatric speech, feeding, physical, and occupational therapy as well as adult speech and swallowing therapy.  Our therapists have unique and specialized skills and training, and we strive to pair our patients with the therapists who will best meet their specific needs.  You can learn more about our services at http://www.therapyspotstatesboro.com.  Questions or concerns?  Call us at (912) 681-7768 for a free consultation.

About the Author:

Abby McAvoy, Doctor of Physical Therapy, graduated Cum Laude from the University of Georgia in 2012, with a B.S. in Health Promotion and Behavior. In 2015, she received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Armstrong State University in Savannah, GA. Abby is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and presented her capstone research at the APTA’s national Combined Sections Meeting in 2014. During a clinical rotation in an outpatient pediatric facility, she discovered a great passion for working with the pediatric population and decided to pursue a career in pediatric physical therapy post graduation. Abby hopes to expand her skill set by obtaining specialized training in aquatic physical therapy, manual therapy, and the NDT treatment approach, in order to provide the most comprehensive physical therapy services possible to her patients at The Therapy SPOT. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, and being outdoors with her dog.

Hmmmmm. Hypotonia. What exactly is that?

Hypotonia is a term used to describe decreased muscle tone.

  • Muscle tone? This is the amount of tension in a muscle at rest.
  • Relaxed muscles have a resting level of tension/resistance to passive movement.
  • Those with hypotonia have very little or no resting tension.
  • They usually feel floppy or squishy (great for snuggling!) and can be very flexible.

Children with hypotonia often present with developmental delays in areas of gross motor, fine motor, speech, and feeding skills.

  • It’s harder for children with low tone to turn their muscles on and off.
  • They also have less endurance than those with normal tone.
  • Low tone is not the same thing as weakness, but they often exist together.

Physical, occupational, and speech therapy can help!

  • Since it is harder for them to use their muscles, early intervention is important.
  • Therapists can help these children learn to efficiently activate and control their muscles in order to move, play, speak, and eat.
  • They also need help increasing their strength and endurance, so they can keep up with their peers.

cutebabyPhoto courtesy of Rain0975 via Flickr

Children with hypotonia often need more practice to learn skills than children with normal tone. What you do at home is just as important as their therapy sessions!

  • It is important to keep them active and playing throughout the day.
  • For babies with low tone, tummy time is one of the best exercises they can do!
  • For older children, active games and toys that require movement of both arms and legs are best. Riding bicycles or tricycles, swimming, climbing, and crawling through tunnels are great examples.

boyoutside

Photo courtesy of Randen Pederson via Flickr

Each child is different, and your child’s therapist can give you the best exercises and activities specific to your child!

About the Author:

Abby McAvoy, Doctor of Physical Therapy, graduated Cum Laude from the University of Georgia in 2012, with a B.S. in Health Promotion and Behavior. In 2015, she received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Armstrong State University in Savannah, GA. Abby is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and presented her capstone research at the APTA’s national Combined Sections Meeting in 2014. During a clinical rotation in an outpatient pediatric facility, she discovered a great passion for working with the pediatric population and decided to pursue a career in pediatric physical therapy post graduation. Abby hopes to expand her skill set by obtaining specialized training in aquatic physical therapy, manual therapy, and the NDT treatment approach, in order to provide the most comprehensive physical therapy services possible to her patients at The Therapy SPOT. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, and being outdoors with her dog.

The Therapy S.P.O.T. – Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy

Our multidisciplinary therapy center was established in 2007, and is committed to providing quality therapy services in a fun, family and child centered environment. We provide pediatric speech, feeding, physical, and occupational therapy as well as adult speech and swallowing therapy.  Our therapists have unique and specialized skills and training, and we strive to pair our patients with the therapists who will best meet their specific needs.  You can learn more about our services at http://www.therapyspotstatesboro.com.  Questions or concerns?  Call us at (912) 681-7768 for a free consultation.

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015
http://www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015

The ABC’s of Torticollis

A: What is it?

  • Torticollis is a very common diagnosis seen by pediatric physical therapists.
  • It occurs when the neck muscles are tightened on one side and weak on the other side.
  • Tightness in the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle on one side of the neck is usually to blame. Tightness can also occur in other muscles of the neck and shoulders.
  • This causes an abnormal position of the head and neck.

B: What does it look like?

  • Tilting of the head to one side:
    • You may notice that your child tilts his head to one side, causing one ear to be closer to the shoulder on that side.
    • This is often noticed when lying down or when in the car seat.
  • Preferring to look in one direction:
    • You may notice that your child has a preference for looking to one side, rather than straight ahead.
    • In older babies, you may notice that your child is able to look straight ahead but has difficulty turning to look to one side.

torticollis

Image by Jennuine Captures Photography on Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/picturepurrfect685/7024053515/in/photolist-bGG7oX-ovEFGd-oeHKfv-ow5qb2-ow955q-oeSiuL-oukqhG-ovXSWo-owkuqq-oy6Vw4-owoYLC-ovKW6p-oeTkqK-6oepds-ow2AUT-otKQET-owjZpR-osFqg1-owaUe7-ovX5h9-ouAcrE-oe3vaH-ocEMnT-oeHAi2-odbM5u-owrsKR-osQbzq-odb8DN-osQDmS-oeqXZc-oeWsro-oez7Du-ovVKsF-oukpTA-oeSmb5-oexu2f-ow4XEF-oePcSM-ovZDZe-ow9xMj-owEuQB-ovR76G-oyevvH-oun1UR-oupE2Y-oy4K18-ou3HnJ-7a2eWF-ovqnjY-ovsyRS)

C: How is it treated?

  • If you think your child has torticollis, you should make an appointment to visit your pediatrician.
  • Your pediatrician should then refer you to a pediatric physical therapist.
  • There are 3 main approaches to treating it:
  1.  Positioning: Look at your baby’s head position throughout the day. Help your baby keep his head in a straight position, looking forward. It can be helpful to use small towel rolls to position your baby’s head when in a car seat or bouncer seat. Do not place towels in cribs or any other sleeping areas.

torticollis2

Image by Jennifer on Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/nathaniel_mark_2011/5695100104/in/photolist-xmY5bR-7JH55s-4HJ5qb-6b59fK-NQVE5-9FfSR7-5v3coc-6PsjcK-4Wx9kH-6CWQza-j489h-5iVbeZ-ouhjGf-bPRJCR-oN6TqK-3Kt6s4-oC7ch-aAEgzp-4oNXAG-ekift-o7vJbn)

2.  Tummy Time: This is crucial for your baby’s development and it helps strengthen the neck muscles. Time spent on the tummy can also prevent plagiocephaly (flattening of the back of the head). You want to do this in 10-15 minute intervals throughout each day.  If your child does not tolerate lying flat, try propping him on a towel roll/crescent shaped pillow or over your legs.

torticollis3

Image by Jon Pinder on Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/rofanator/16552752212)

3.  Stretching: Your therapist should provide you with specific stretches depending on your child’s torticollis. Only perform stretches with instruction from your physical therapist. In most cases, you cannot stretch too often. Many children tolerate stretching well when sleepy or when taking a warm bath.

About the Author:

Abby McAvoy, Doctor of Physical Therapy, graduated Cum Laude from the University of Georgia in 2012, with a B.S. in Health Promotion and Behavior. In 2015, she received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Armstrong State University in Savannah, GA. Abby is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and presented her capstone research at the APTA’s national Combined Sections Meeting in 2014. During a clinical rotation in an outpatient pediatric facility, she discovered a great passion for working with the pediatric population and decided to pursue a career in pediatric physical therapy post graduation. Abby hopes to expand her skill set by obtaining specialized training in aquatic physical therapy, manual therapy, and the NDT treatment approach, in order to provide the most comprehensive physical therapy services possible to her patients at The Therapy SPOT. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, and being outdoors with her dog.

The Therapy S.P.O.T. – Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy

Our multidisciplinary therapy center was established in 2007, and is committed to providing quality therapy services in a fun, family and child centered environment. We provide pediatric speech, feeding, physical, and occupational therapy as well as adult speech and swallowing therapy.  Our therapists have unique and specialized skills and training, and we strive to pair our patients with the therapists who will best meet their specific needs.  You can learn more about our services at http://www.therapyspotstatesboro.com.  Questions or concerns?  Call us at (912) 681-7768 for a free consultation.

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015
http://www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015