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Monthly Topic

Things to Think About – December Snow Day 2015

The first snow day is expected!

It’s fun to go outside – but if you can’t get outside, indoor activities that provide heavy work (proprioception) are great for keeping the kids regulated.

Think of activities where your child can:

push, pull, tug, lug, mush, mash, squish, drag, squeeze, jump, crash….

 

Build a Fort

Many kids will start to feel the stress of the change in routine, different foods/smells, noise, and the hub-bub of the holidays. Possible signs of this stress: meltdowns, stomach or headaches, or just plain irritable.  Creating a cozy spot is great for the kids to “get away” from the hub-bub of the holidays.  And building the fort provides great heavy work opportunities – moving furniture, carrying the bedding, lifting, pulling, pushing, tucking, etc. are all great input!

 

Indoor Obstacle Course

Create an obstacle course with steps like jumping over a pillow, crawling under a row of chairs, catching a weighted ball, or tossing balled up socks to a target or into a laundry basket. Feeling stuck for steps?  Find objects to go over, under, around, and through. Make sure your child helps to set-up and clean-up for extra heavy work input.

 

Click here for downloaded copy to post or share:  Things to Think About December Snow Day 2015

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Monthly Topics – October 2015 – Halloween Tips

Halloween is a tricky time for kids with sensory difficulties!

AOTA (American Occupational Therapy Association) offers the attached Halloween Tips.

Click here for downloaded copy to post or share: Monthly Topic 2015 October AOTA Halloween Tips

Other suggestions that our parents have found helpful:

  • Tolerating a Costume:  A tight-fitting layer of clothing, such as bike shorts or an Under Armour style shirt, may make the material of the costume more bearable. Be willing to adjust your definition of a costume; a pair of comfortable sweatpants and a favorite Batman shirt can be a great Batman costume.
  • Tolerating a Mask:  Attach a wooden dowel or paint stick so he can hold it up near his face rather than attaching it to his head.
  • Need to Remain Calm:
    • Add a few water bottles to your child’s candy bag to provide some extra weighted input.
    • Chew a large piece of gum to chew (if he is already proficient at safe gum chewing) or drink from a sports style water bottle.
    • If see your child is starting to become dysregulated, stop and have a sensory break. Move away from the crowd and do some deep breathing techniques, wall pushups against a tree, or press his palms together at chest level. Ask your therapist for other ideas that may benefit your child.
  • Having a Positive Experience:  Be flexible. If your child is done after only a few houses, end the night on a positive note rather than pushing him to his limits.

 

 

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Things to Think About – October 2015

Wash the Clothes

It’s time for long sleeves and pants. But they have been in a plastic bag, bin, or untouched in a drawer for 5 months! Those of us with sensory sensitivities will be distressed or bothered by the “smell” of the clothes. Even though they are clean, give them a quick wash.

Academic Stress

The kids have been in school for a month and the academic demands are really starting to kick in! Many kids will start to feel the stress of the increased pace and cognitive demands. Possible signs of this stress: meltdowns, stomach or headaches, or just plain irritable. Give them some down time when they come home in a cozy place, get outside and move around (even a walk is helpful to decompress), and don’t forget the heavy work activities to get calm and organized.

It’s Cold at Night!

We go to bed in summer pajamas and a light blanket but by the early morning hours, it gets cold! With the quick change in temperature, those with sensory sensitivities might not sleep well or may toss and turn trying to feel “grounded” in the bed. Make the bed a cozy place where the child can snuggle in and get comfy. Check with your therapist for age specific, safe ways to help your child get a good night’s sleep.

Click here for downloaded copy to post or share:  Things to Think About October

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Monthly Topic – August 2015: Article Alert

CPT is always looking for ways to improve our services. Last year we began providing Monthly Topics on our website (http://centerforpediatrictherapy.com/whats-trending/monthly-topic/).   These topics were designed to help families manage life events (e.g., long car trips, getting a haircut, indoor games for snowy days).

In our effort to support children with specialized therapeutic needs, their families, and the team of people involved in their care, CPT is pleased to announce our Article Alert Series. We will do the search for helpful articles, get permission to share the article with our families, and post for your use.

This month, August 2015, the chosen article was written by teachers for teachers on how to get ready for a child with sensory difficulties. In this article, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) offers suggestions for the classroom teacher. We would encourage you to share the article with your child’s teacher. If the teacher has any questions related to your child’s specific difficulties, simply have the teacher call the office to speak with your child’s therapist – and don’t forget to sign the permission form for your therapist to speak with the teacher!

Article Alert: Teachers Getting Ready

Click here to read the article: Monthly Topic 2015 August – Article Alert Meeting Sensory Needs in the Classroom

The National Association for the Education of Young Children holds the copyright for this material and it is freely available at: http://www.naeyc.org/yc/files/yc/file/201305/Meeting_Sensory_Needs_Thompson_0513.pdf

 

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July Monthly Topic – 2015

4th of July

Neighborhood parties, community fireworks, grilling, and sparklers!

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With the noise (booms, whistles, & pops), visual input (sudden flashes), unpredictable touch (crowds, people moving randomly), and different smells (picnic food, smoke from fireworks), children are prime for over-stimulation.

 Getting Prepared Ahead:

    • Pick a party/event that will work for your family – size, location, level of noise, familiarity with the location, etc.
    • Read a story about the 4th of July or watch videos online.
    • Make a picture schedule of what to expect. Talk about the steps in positive terms (“Sometimes there will be a sudden noise, but we’ll be OK.”)
    • Provide lots of heavy work and deep touch pressure on the days leading up to the holiday.
    • With your child, pack a backpack with comforting items needed for sensory breaks away from the party – favorite stuffed animal, cozy blanket, etc. Careful not to have these cozy items near fireworks or the grill.
    • Try not to have other highly challenging activities scheduled in the days before the party/event.

On the Day:

    • Make a conscious decision to have some quiet time before going to the party/event.
    • Remember to pack:
      • noise filtering headphones or ear plugs
      • extra shirt – perhaps larger in size – so the child has an extra “barrier” between him and the world around him
      • extra clothes in case of spillage so your child can get rid of the itchy/gooey clothes; maybe even comfy pajamas for the end of the evening
    • Ask the host to help you identify a safe spot at the party/event for intermittent breaks from the noise and hub-bub.
    • At the party, set up a spot where your child can have his/her “own space” with a chair or large beach towel.
    • Be mindful of your child’s signals that he/she is becoming overwhelmed before the meltdown happens.
    • Plan on going straight home after the event so your child’s “insides” can relax.

Click here to download a pdf of July’s Monthly topic:  Monthly Topic 2015 – 4th of July

Readiness Camps – Summer 2015

CPT is committed to helping your child “get ready” for upcoming developmental, physical, and social demands.

We are offering a variety of short-term, group sessions to address a variety of readiness skills.

Click here for full list of summer Readiness Camps

 

Specific Flyers with dates and locations:

Summer Fun and Sports (July – Wallingford):  Click here for Wallingford Summer Fun & Sports Flyer

Kindergarten Readiness (August – Fairfield):  Click here for Fairfield Kindergarten Readiness Flyer

Kindergarten Readiness (August – Wallingford:  Click here for Wallingford Kindergarten Readiness Flyer

Handwriting Readiness (August – Wallingford):  Click here for Wallingford Handwriting Readiness Flyer

School Readiness (August – Wallingford):  Click here for Wallingford School Readiness Flyer

 

If we haven’t listed what you are looking for in a short-term group,

please let us know what you need and we will attempt to arrange a group!

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March Monthly Topic – 2015

Haircuts

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Many children find it difficult to tolerate haircuts.

With the auditory input (clippers & hairdryers), the visual input (large mirrors & styling tools),

the tactile input (water drips & trimmed pieces of hair), and the smells of a salon,

 this environment is primed for over-stimulation.

Here are some tips to help with the next time your child gets a haircut.

    • Prepare your child: Make a picture schedule of what to expect. Talk about the steps in positive terms (“Sometimes clippers are loud, but we’ll be OK.”)
    • Provide lots of heavy work and deep touch pressure on the days leading up to the haircut.
    • Consider giving your child a scalp massage prior to a haircut to help desensitize the scalp.
    • Do you need to bring ear plugs?
    • Make the haircut appointment on a day that your child does not have other highly challenging activities scheduled, and at a time when the salon is the least busy.
    • Bring an extra large tee shirt or soft flannel shirt from home to use instead of the stylist’s cape.
    • Bring a clean shirt to put on afterward or have your child dress in layers to remove the “itchy” layer.
    • Always plan on going straight home after a haircut so your child can wash off any stray hair clippings.
    • Barber shops are often less overwhelming from a sensory standpoint, as opposed to a salon.
    • Ask the stylist if he/she would be willing to give your child breaks. Count back from 10 (slowly), then give a break (read a short book or let your child play for a few minutes on a handheld game). Use a timer if needed. Repeat until finished.
    • Ask the stylist to concentrate on important areas first – trimming bangs or the back of the head, just in case the hair cut needs to come to an abrupt end.
    • Ask the stylist to spray water onto a comb and then run it through your child’s hair, rather than spraying his head directly.
    • Ask the stylist to use scissors rather than electric clippers if your child is sensitive to sound and vibration.

 

 

Click here to download a pdf of November’s Monthly topic:  Monthly Topic 2015 March

February Monthly Topic – 2015

Indoor Proprioceptive Activities

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With the wintry temperatures and the early sunsets,

this time of year can be hard for children who crave proprioceptive input for regulation.

Proprioceptive input is provided via activities such as pushing, pulling, dragging,

squeezing, jumping, and crashing.

Here are some ways to get this input while indoors.

 

  • Helper jobs – have your child push a basket of laundry down the hall, use a push broom in the garage, carry (non-breakable) groceries, move chairs to sweep under the table, drag a blanket with books or toys to move them to another room, etc.
  • Indoor obstacle course – create an obstacle course with steps like jumping over a pillow, crawling under a chair, catching a weighted ball, or tossing balled up socks to a target while sitting on a small yoga ball. Feeling stuck for steps? Find objects to go over, under, around and through.
  • Mini-trampoline – small trampolines can be a great way of getting both movement and proprioceptive input.
  • Animal walks – have your child walk like a bear or a crab, jump like a bunny or frog, slither like a snake, or even roll like a log.
  • Wall push-ups – have your child stand facing the wall with hands on the wall at shoulder level, and bend his elbows to complete a push-up movement. Start with 10 and see if your child wants to do more. Younger children can help “make the rooms bigger” by pushing on the walls.
  • Tug-of-War – clear an area of furniture or other objects. Make a line with tape on the floor.  Split into teams and pull! You can also use a jump rope, long scarf, old sheet, pillowcase, or blanket.  Tying knots at the ends of the object may make it easier to hold on.
  • Stationary bicycle – older children may benefit from using a stationary bicycle during the winter months. Allow your child to turn the resistance up or down to meet their proprioceptive needs. Be sure to monitor for safety.

 

Click here to download a pdf of November’s Monthly topic:  Monthly Topic 2015 February