Physical Therapists are highly-educated, licensed health care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility. Physical Therapists teach patients how to prevent or manage their condition utilizing treatment techniques to restore function and prevent disability. Importantly, physical therapists work with individuals to prevent loss of mobility before it occurs by developing wellness-oriented programs supporting healthier and more active lives.
Common Exercises in Physical Therapy
Physical Therapy treatment and fitness-related programming/education are critical for conservative management of pain per recent CDC guidelines. Walking, step-ups/downs, and sit-to-stand-go (Up n Go’s) are good functional activities that address strength, balance, coordination, and cardiovascular function. Please join OTG Fit Families and join our collaborative step program! It is fun, exciting, and rewarding!
A balance disc/tilt board/Bosu ball can be used strategically to address balance and sensory impairments. Many variations and uses of these tools can greatly assist restoration in function.
Treatment and prevention of strains/sprains. Theraband will provide resistance in specified ranges of motion as prescribed by your physical therapist to strengthen weakened muscles.
Walking and physical activity such as biking, swimming, and running have been shown to significantly improve physical, emotional, and social health for all ages. With our busy schedules and increased screen-time the challenge is finding the time and meaningful motivation to achieve a balanced lifestyle to stay active.
How many steps are recommended for children? Why is it important? What are some strategies to stay motivated as a family? Where can these ideas be implemented?
HOW MUCH WALKING IS RECOMMENDED FOR MY CHILD?
A systematic review from 2011 indicated that elementary school aged boys should be taking 13,000-15,000 steps/day and girls 11,000-12,000 steps/day. A pedometer is a portable device, such as a FitBit, that counts steps. This will give the most accurate reading of actual steps taken. The correlation of steps is in accordance to evidence-based recommendations of 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous activity for children.
WHY IS WALKING SO IMPORTANT?
Increasing physical activity can lead to improved cardiovascular fitness, improved metabolism, and an increase in caloric expenditure, which can decrease the risk for obesity, improving the overall health of our children and families.
WHAT CAN FAMILIES DO?
OTHER FUN WAYS TO STAY ACTIVE
Written by: The PT Dept. for Oceanside Therapy Group
Source: Tudor-Locke C, Craig C, Beets M, Belton S, et al: How many steps/day are enough? For children and adolescents. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 2011, 8:78.
Do you have questions about your child's IEP?
If your child has an IEP (Individualized Education Program), you may have questions about its contents and what rights you have as a parent. On Saturday, September 30, 2017 from 9AM - 2PM, North Coastal Consortium for Special Education is hosting a workshop to help parents/guardians understand the special education process including IEP (Individualized Education Program) process, meetings, and components. This is a FREE workshop for parents/guardians/family attending NCCSE member districts (Download the registration form below for more details).
Resources for Families - NCSSE Website
Kindergarten is a big step in every child’s life. It’s exciting and possibly the first real experience a child has in a classroom setting. With the new school year fast approaching, many parents may be wondering if their child is ready and how they can help their child be successful in their first year.
Below is a checklist of skills your child should have or should be working on as they enter kindergarten...
What your child should understand:
• Understands ordinal words such as, “first, next, and last”
• Understands time concepts such as, “yesterday, today, and tomorrow”
• Understands spatial concepts such as, “under, in back of, next to, in front of”
• Follows 2-3 step directions in the correct order with qualitative concepts such as, “Pick up your pencil and draw a circle on your paper around something you drink
• Understands most of what is said at home and outside environments
• Recognizes 8 basic colors and shapes
• Recognizes first and last name
• Recognizes some letters
• Sits still and listens to a story
• Pretends to read a book
• Good attendance
Speech and language your child should use:
• Says all speech sounds in words, although it’s okay if mistakes are made on later developing sounds such as L, R, CH, SH, TH
• Says alphabet
• Says days of the week
• Says or shows age
• Sings songs or nursery rhymes
• Counts to at least 10
• Names some letters, numbers and colors
• Uses pronouns such as, “I, me, you, mine, yours, he, she, him, her”
• Answers simple WH questions such as, what, where, when, who, why
• Uses sentences with action words such as, “jump, play” and “get"
• Tells a short story
• Keeps a conversation going
• Talks in different ways depending on the listener and place, such as speaking in shorter sentences to younger children or talking louder outside than inside
Let’s set our kids up for success! If you have any questions or need any suggestions, please reach out to your OTG SLPs.
By: Oceanside Therapy Group's Speech/Language Department
“Four to Five Years.” ASHA, http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/45/. Accessed
25 July 2017.
Parents often want to know at what age they should be encouraging their child to grasp the pencil correctly. While it is important to facilitate the development of a functional pencil grip, it is crucial to understand the normal development of a pencil grip to avoid forcing your child to use a grasp he or she may not be ready for.
Typically, the development of a pencil grip in young children follows this predictable course:
An efficient and functional pencil grip is one that allows the child to write neatly in a timely manner without fatiguing the hand muscles. Poor pencil grasps engage the incorrect hand muscles, leading the child to fatigue quickly and produce messy handwriting.
How Occupational Therapy Works on Pencil Grasp Development
Occupational therapists facilitate the development of a functional pencil grasp through the use of various therapeutic activities and exercises. Sometimes the use of an adapted grip is implemented to facilitate a functional tripod grasp. There are many grips to choose from so please consult with your child's occupational therapist on this matter.
Activities that facilitate the development of a tripod pencil grasp...
-Coloring with small or broken crayons is a great activity as it facilitates the use of the thumb, the index, and middle finger as there is limited space for the other fingers to come and join the party
-Coloring on a slanted surface - this promotes the wrist to extend backwards, which facilitates controlling the writing tool with the finger joints instead of using the entire hand
Manipulating Theraputty or Play-Doh is a good activity to strengthen those hand muscles needed for sustaining a pencil grip during writing activities. You can hide beads in Theraputty and have your child find them. Other ideas include:
-Attach clothespins to the brim of a cup
-Operate trigger spray bottles
Fine Motor Control and Finger Isolation
-Play Lite Bright
-Roll 1/4 inch balls of clay or theraputty between the tips of the thumb, index, and middle fingers
-Pick up small objects (pom poms, pegs, cheerios) with a tweezer or tong
As a child's postural control and shoulder strength improves, the child's ability to control the pencil with the fingers will begin to emerge.
If you have any specific questions, please feel free to contact your occupational therapist.
Written By: Nalleli Reyes, MS, OTR/L for Oceanside Therapy Group
Case-Smith, O (2010). Occupational therapy for children. Missouri: Mosby Elsevier.
Fleming-Castaldy, R. P. (2014). National occupational therapy certification exam: Review & study guide. Evanston, IL: TherapyEd.
Core Muscle Strengthening
On a day-to-day basis, whether our children are at school, physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy we are told that they need to “strengthen their core.” But what are core muscles? How do we strengthen them? Why do some children “W” sit? What can we do to help?
What are core muscles?
Core muscles are a group of muscles in your stomach, back, pelvis, and trunk that help provide stability and create movement. When these muscles are not working properly they can cause back pain, decrease balance, cause difficulty with coordination and poor posture.
The muscles of the core are as follows...
-Pelvic Floor Muscles
All of these muscles work together to compress the abdomen, provide trunk rotation and movement, and help create upright posture and support your spine. These muscles help provide your child with stability, balance, body awareness, and the ability to move around in space, which impacts bilateral coordination, stair climbing, balance, navigating obstacles, and upright sitting and standing, and more!
How can I tell if my child has a weak core?
A weak core can have effects that trickle down to many other developmental skills from balance to posture to pencil grip and more.
Signs of a Weak Core
-Sitting: slumping, fidgeting, leaning on one hand, difficulty with fine motor tasks, W-sitting.
-Transitions: difficulty rolling, crawling, moving from lying down to sitting, and moving from sitting to standing.
-Balance: Difficulty with balance and unsupported sitting, frequent falls, and difficulty with one leg standing.
-Coordination: Difficulty running, performing jumping jacks, crossing midline, and ball skills.
Why is W-sitting bad?
W-sitting is when a child sits on their bottom with their knees bent and feet positioned outside of their hips and this makes a "W" shape.
When W-sitting is a child’s go-to sitting position they are at risk for...
-Lack of cross body movements
-No hand preference
-Increased muscle tightness
-Limited core strengthening
What can I do to help my child’s core strength?
There are many ways to help children of any age strengthen their core muscles.
-No W-Sitting: Make sure that your child is not sitting in W-sitting position and correct with “fix your feet”. Sitting on the floor in long sit, side sit, or legs crossed sitting helps increase core strength and improve trunk mobility.
-Play Time: Encourage your child to play in unstructured, spontaneous play where they are running, climbing, lifting, rolling, pushing, pulling, moving, and engaging in whole body movements.
-Planks: Have your child get into a push up position and hold. Make sure that their body is making a straight line from head to toe. Encourage by having a contest with family members!
-Bridges: Have your child lie on their back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Have them suck their belly button into their spine and push through their feet to raise their bottom up off the floor. Encourage by rolling a ball or cars under the bridge.
-Super Hero: Have your child lie on their stomach on the floor and try to lift their arms, upper chest, and legs off the floor like they are a flying super hero.
-Wheelbarrow Walks: Hold your child’s feet and legs and have them walk forward on their hands towards a target. Try to have a relay race with friends!
For more ideas about core strengthening at home or with any questions about core strength or W-sitting, make sure to talk with a physical therapist!
Written by: "KC" Karen Albiston, PT, DPT for Oceanside Therapy Group
Drobnjak, L., Heffron, C. (2015). The Core Strengthening Handbook. The Inspired Treehouse, LLC.
What Is W-Sitting? (Copyright © Pathways.org) Pathways.org. Retrieved June 2, 2017 from https://pathways.org/blog/what-is-w-sitting/
Core Exercises: Guidelines and Examples. (Copyright © 2010 American Academy of Pediatrics). Healthychildren.org. Retrieved June 2, 2017 from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/fitness/Pages/Core-Exercises-Guidelines-and-Examples.aspx
Frequency, length, and duration of therapy will vary according to the needs of each child. In order to achieve therapy goals, consistency is the key. It can be difficult to incorporate a therapy schedule into your weekly routine on top of all the other responsibilities and commitments you may already have. However, the more regular your child's attendance, the more likely he/she will make therapeutic progress.
Having the ability to communicate with your child's therapist regularly will help you to carryover a successful home program. Your pediatric therapist can give recommendations, tips, tools, and resources for your child's unique needs and personality to empower you, as the parent, to help your child thrive in the outside world with his/her peers. Parental involvement will positively impact your child's therapy progress.
Routine practice with therapeutic activities and exercises are crucial to gaining and maintaining new skills. Regression may become a concern if therapy is inconsistent. As a parent this can be frustrating and disappointing. For your child and therapist, that means more time spent re-teaching previously learned skills. Sticking to your therapy schedule and practicing learned skills at home will give your child the best opportunity to progress. When our children succeed, we all win!
Oceanside Therapy Group, Copyright 2017
“Toy in box.”
“My turn ball.”
The examples above are a type of simplified speech known as telegraphic input. It includes nouns and verbs, but deletes other parts of language such as articles (e.g., a, the) and word endings (e.g., -ing, -s, -ed). Some clinicians promote the use of telegraphic input, particularly for children who only use one or two words. Advocates for telegraphic speech argue that it is beneficial for several reasons:
1) It assists children who struggle with processing information accurately because they have a language delay.
2) It focuses children’s attention on specific parts of speech such as noun to verb relationships (e.g., “I jump”).
3) It creates spoken utterances that are easier for children to imitate, especially if they are only producing single words.
In this way, “telegraphic input may help to bridge the one-word and two-word stages of spoken language development for young children with language delays” (Venker and Stronach 2017).
“Push the car.”
“Put the toy in the box.”
“It’s my turn for the ball.”
“The horse is running.”
The examples above are types of grammatical simplified input. It includes shortened phrases that do not break grammatical rules. Shortened phrases typically include simple grammatical features such as articles (e.g., a, an, the) and word endings (e.g., -ed, -ing, -s). Grammatical simplified input is beneficial for several reasons:
1) It assists children’s ability to process language by anticipating upcoming words (e.g., a noun typically follows an article, (e.g., the girl, a dinosaur).
2) The use of grammatical features help children’s ability to learn new words by providing clues (e.g., “-ed” is used for an action that already happened).
3) Not using these grammatical features may negatively impact children’s abilities to accurately use correct grammatical features in their sentences, which is “further penalizing children who have already fallen behind their peers” (Venker and Stronach 2017).
Although there is limited research about telegraphic input versus grammatical simplified input, there is current research that “points to the benefits of using grammatical simplified input” (Venker and Stronach 2017).
A 2014 treatment study by Shelley Bredin-Oja and Mark Fey of the University of Kansas Medical Center found that “providing a telegraphic prompt to imitate does not offer any advantage [as opposed to using grammatical simplified prompting] as an intervention technique” (Venker and Stronach 2017). An observational, meta-analysis study in 2016 found that “more grammatically complex parent utterances were associated with more positive language outcomes in children with developmental delays, particularly those with ASD” (Venker and Stronach 2017).
Why does all this matter? The best way to promote accurate and more complex language use in your child is to model “grammatically correct” language yourself. This will not only benefit your child as he/she builds his/her language, but will assist him/her in understanding accurate grammatical features as he/she learns and grows.
By: Oceanside Therapy Group’s Speech/Language Department
Courtney E. Venker, PhD, CCC-SLP and Sheri T. Stronach, PhD, CCC-SLP. 2017. “When Is Simplified Too Simple?” ASHA Leader. Vol. 2. I'm No. 1. January 2017. 44-47.
Parents frequently ask which apps are best to promote learning of vocabulary, ABCs, colors, and other important concepts at home. As a general rule, apps should not replace playing with toys, reading and exploring books, and social play with peers because learning through real life experiences is invaluable for a child. However, apps can act as supplementary tools to reinforce learned concepts.
Learning through apps can be beneficial when interaction and language is encouraged. When using digital media with your child, encourage interaction by sitting and talking with him/her while playing on the device. Add language to whatever you are seeing or playing by talking about what you are doing as you would when playing with toys, playing games, or reading books. Point out vocabulary pictures, ask questions, sing songs, and encourage asking questions as you use the device together.
Although playing with apps and devices is enjoyable for children, it is encouraged to limit your child’s daily screen time. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends limiting screen time to no more than 1 hour per day for children 2-5 years old. For children 6 and older, parents can determine the restrictions for screen time as well as monitor the types of digital media they use. For children 18 months and younger, the AAP recommends they not be exposed to any digital media. Overuse of digital media may put your child at risk of not sleeping enough, being delayed in attention, thinking, language and social skills, and have obesity and behavior problems.
For a comprehensive list of educational speech and language apps please see the front desk. These are from the OMazing Kids website, a website that frequently reviews learning apps for children. Enjoy experiencing digital media with your child!
By: Oceanside Therapy Group's Speech/Language Department
Healthy Digital Media Use Habits for Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers. (Copyright © 2016 American Academy of Pediatrics). Healthychildren.org. Retrieved April 27, 2017, from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/Media/Pages/Healthy-Digital-Media-Use-Habits-for-Babies-Toddlers-Preschoolers.aspx
The iPad & the SLP in 2017. (2017, February 26th). OMazing Kids. Retrieved April 26, 2017, from https://omazingkidsllc.com/2016/12/31/the-ipad-the-slp-in-2017-app-list-for-slps-sorted-by-goal-area/amp/