Fairfield 203-255-3669
Wallingford 203-949-9337

Monthly Topic

January Monthly Topic 2015

Winning and Losing Games

Did your family get any new games during the holiday season?

We all like to win at games but for children with regulation difficulties, losing can be especially difficult.

Here are some tips to help your child learn to lose at a game more gracefully.


  • Talk about the potential of losing ahead of time. Discuss it in a matter-of-fact way, “Sometimes we win, sometimes the other person wins. Everyone likes to win, but we’ll be OK if we lose. Games are for fun.”
  • Be a good model. Clearly discuss how you reacted when your turn was skipped or your piece was sent back to Start. Identify how you felt disappointed or frustrated, but you took a deep breath to stay calm. Also talk about what you did not do, such as stomp your feet, hide your face or yell at the other player.
  • Praise your child for what is going well. “Thanks for telling me I made a good move. That made me feel happy. That was a friendly thing to say.
  • Practice what to say at the end of a game, regardless of who won. For example, “Good game.” or “Thanks for playing with me.”
  • Use sports statistics to talk about winning and losing. Talk about how your favorite sports teams lose some of their games, or how specific athletes handle making mistakes or disappointments during a game.
  • Take a step back if you can see your child beginning to escalate during the game or as an impending loss draws near. Have him take a deep breath or do some wall push-ups. Remind him of the winning/losing concepts you discussed before the game. Taking a quick break may help your child gain perspective and avoid becoming dysregulated.
  • Try a “Lose to Win” sticker chart. Make a chart with 4-8 boxes. If your child appropriately handles losing a game without escalation, he can place a sticker in one of the boxes. When the chart is full, he can choose a small prize for learning to lose with grace.



Click here to download a pdf of January’s Monthly Topic:  Monthly Topic 2015 January

December Monthly Topic 2014

Family Gatherings

The holiday season is full of opportunities to get together with family and loved ones.

These gatherings can be a challenge for children with sensory needs, autism, or speech-language delays.

Here are some tips to help keep the peace and joy in the season.


Sensory Strategies


  • If your child is sensitive to noise, arrive early so the volume level rises slowly over time. And don’t forget noise cancelling headphones if it gets too loud.
  • Have your child complete sensory diet activities before being asked to sit for a long period at the table. Ask your therapist for ideas.
  • Allow your child to take a movement break during the meal. Or, have your child move to a quiet place in the house to take a break. Taking a break is always better than a meltdown at the table.
  • Bring a length of Theraband to loop around the legs of your child’s chair to provide an appropriate way of gaining sensory input without kicking the table (or a cousin).
  • If you are sleeping over at a relative’s house, consider bringing a set of your child’s sheets. Children who have tactile sensitivities may find it difficult to tolerate the novel sensation of different pillows, sheets, or blankets.
  • On days when the typical routine is not possible, make a visual schedule so that the child knows what to expect.

Speech and Language Activities

  • Speak to your child about the steps involved in getting ready for guests (ex: First we clean the house; Next we cook the food, etc.) This will target sequencing abilities and vocabulary development.
  • Cooking is a great activity to increase language development, improve sequencing skills, and problem solving. Let your child help in the kitchen and then he can tell the family about the items he helped to cook and the steps involved.
  • Practice using appropriate greetings for when family arrives, including the social rules of gift giving and receiving.
  • Come up with a list of holiday vocabulary words that contain your child’s speech sound. Practice those words in short phrases (ex: I see ______ ; I get _______; I hear _____) This way your child is prepared to use those improved articulation skills in front of the family.
  • If you have family coming to visit, use picture to talk about who is coming over.  Also, practice saying: Hi uncle Jim, etc.

Click here to download a pdf of December’s Monthly Topic:  Monthly Topic 2014 December

November 2014 Monthly Topic

Center for Pediatric Therapy

Family Road Trips


The holidays are quickly approaching.

Do you have any long car trips planned?

Here are some ideas to consider as you prepare to travel.

Sensory Strategies


  • Use a calendar to count down the days leading up to the trip. Highlight the days of the trip with a bright color. Bring it with you to help your child see when he will be going home.
  • Allow your child to wear comfy clothes in the car, even if it means wearing his pj’s for the ride.
  • Gather pictures to track your progress on the trip. Print pictures of planned stops, state lines, or miles traveled. As each milestone is passed, have your child put the picture in an “All Done” envelope.
  • Pack sensory smart snacks. Chewy foods like dried fruit and bagels or drinking liquids (even yogurt) through a thin straw can be organizing.
  • Use bathroom breaks as sensory breaks. Encourage wall pushups against the car or a tree, or have your child help you “rearrange” the luggage.
  • Attach a fidget toy to your child’s seat. This will provide tactile input without the risk of a flying projectile in the car.



Speech and Language Activities


  • Work with your child to come up with a list of Thanksgiving foods, which contain their speech sound. Practice using these words in simple phrases throughout the car ride to pass the time. (ex: Pass the ____ please; I like ____).
  • Give your child verbal clues to a food item typically eaten during Thanksgiving and have your child name the item described (ex: it is creamy and white and made from potatoes). This works on listening comprehension and vocabulary.
  • Before leaving home, speak to your child about what it means to be polite in social situations. Give your child tips on how to be a good guest.
  • During the ride, think of a category. Have your child find three things outside which belong to that category. (ex: something green, something round, restaurants). Switch and have your child think of a category. \
  • Talk about where you are going and what you are going to do there. Talk about whose house you are going to, what you are bringing, who is going to be there, etc. Engaging in conversation with your child is most important to language development.  


Click here to download a pdf of November’s Monthly topic:  Monthly Topic 2014 November

October 2014 Monthly topic

Center for Pediatric Therapy

Halloween Tips

Halloween is almost here!

This holiday poses some distinct challenges for children with sensory processing challenges.

Some children are extremely sensitive to the tactile and auditory input

Halloween involves, while other children have “high engines” and need help maintaining a regulated state during the fun.



Tips for Sensory Sensitive Kids

  • Allow your child to decorate his pumpkin with stickers or markers.
  • Be sure to try out the whole costume before the big night to allow time for any last minute changes or replacements. 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. Also, 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.
  • If your child wants to include a mask, but can’t tolerate the feeling of it on his face, attach a wooden dowel to the side so he can hold it up near his face.
  • 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.

Tips for “High Engine” Kids

  • Add a few water bottles to your child’s candy bag to provide some extra weighted input.
  • Give your child a large piece of gum to chew (if he is already proficient at safe gum chewing) or a sports style water bottle to drink from.
  • Review safety expectations clearly before Trick or Treating. Discuss the importance of staying with the family, walking instead of running and being aware of traffic.
  • If you see your child is starting to become dysregulated, stop and have a sensory break. Do wall pushups against a tree. Have your child press his palms together at chest level. Move away from the crowd and do some deep breathing techniques. Ask your therapist for other ideas that may benefit your child.

Click here to download a pdf of October’s Monthly topic:  Monthly Topic 2014 October

Kindergarten Readiness Camp: Aug 2014

   flyer K readiness imageat

Logo long 7-2014


4, 5, and 6 year old children

(must be able to follow group instructions and toilet independently)

Provided by Occupational and Speech Therapists


Get your child ready for the routine and activities of the classroom.

Campers will be in a structured setting which includes

turn-taking games, arts & crafts, movement & music, and more!

New activities every day!


August 12 – 14, 2014

August 19 – 21, 2014

T-W-TH:  9am – 12pm

One Session:  $150

Both Sessions:  $275


Click here to download/view a PDF of the Kindergarten Readiness Flyer

For more information or to register your child, please call: 203-255-3669

flyer K readiness image circletime

August 2014: Monthly Topic

Center for Pediatric Therapy

Planning Ahead for Back to School



Yes, we know it feels like summer vacation just started, but it is time to start thinking about preparing for another school year.  Here are some things to keep in mind for children across the grades:

Elementary School

  • Can your child tie his shoes?  If not, Velcro shoes may be easier than asking for help when laces come untied.  Can your child quickly manage buttons or snaps on his clothing for successful bathroom trips?
  • Can your child open the snack and beverage containers you are planning to send for lunch?  Have several practice lunches at home.  This not only works on fine motor skills, but also learning to save some food for lunch time and not eat it all during snack.
  • Does your child understand the rules (spoken and unspoken) of the bus?  Remain seated at all times.  If you are the first one in a seat, move towards the window so there is room for someone to sit next to you.  Voice volume at a moderate level.   Keep your backpack zipped up so it doesn’t spill.  Gather your things before the bus gets to your stop so you are ready to get off quickly.

Middle School and High School

  • Does your child know how to organize papers?  Color coding the folders for different classes may be helpful.  Practice using a planner at home.  Have your child record household chores or appointments to attend.  Older children with phones should learn to set reminder alerts for important tasks.
  • Can your child navigate around a large building?  Get a map of the school ahead of time to identify key locations, such as bathrooms and the nurse’s office.  Practice this skill in the community by asking your child use a map of the mall to find the way to a certain store.
  • Can your child consistently open a combination lock?  Purchase a lock ahead of time so he can become proficient in using it.  Challenge him to open it with visual and auditory distractions or even when you are bumping up against him.  If a standard combination lock is too difficult, try other types of locks, such as a padlock with a key or a letter-coded lock.

Click here to download a PDF of the Monthly Topic 2014 August

May 2014: Monthly Topic

Center for Pediatric Therapy

Spring Cleaning

Spring is finally here!

Time to get started with spring cleaning indoors and out.

Many children benefit from proprioceptive input (gained by pushing, pulling, lifting, crashing, dragging, squeezing, etc.) which assists them in achieving and maintaining a regulated state.

Here are some ways to involve your children in the process.

Make the activities fun! Put on some music and have a reward planned for everyone  when the day’s work is done. (Ice cream, anyone?)

Keep in mind your child’s age and safety awareness and keep potentially harmful cleaning products out of reach.

Inside, have your child:

  • Pull the comforters and blankets off the beds so that they can be washed.
  • Help you flip and rotate mattresses.
  • Move furniture in order to do a good vacuuming.
  • Remove and stack cushions so that you can clean the couch – let them keep any spare change as a tip!
  • Pull around a laundry basket in order to gather all the toys and books around the house.  Then stack/organize where they belong!
  • Carry a box around the house in order to hunt for all the winter gear (hats, gloves, boots, etc.) that need to be stored.

Outdoors, have your child:

  • Use a push broom to sweep the driveway. If your child needs help organizing this task, use sidewalk chalk to draw a circle and give your child a target.
  • Hang area rugs on a clothesline to hit with a broom or tennis racket.
  • Push a wheelbarrow around the yard to pick up debris or drag a tarp to clean up leaves after raking.
  • Pull a wagon to distribute mulch or bring new plants to the correct spot.
  • Pull up weeds – make sure you help them identify weeds vs. desired plants.
  • Carry a watering can to water the plants instead of using a hose.
  • Can your child have their own garden area to dig and plant?

Click here to download a PDF of the Monthly Topic: May 2014

March 2014: Tara testifies to cap OT co-pay

March 6, 2014:  CT HB 5249 – An Act Concerning Copayments for Occupational Therapy Services

State HB5249 Picture

Tara tesified today, alongside Sue Goszewski (Connecticut OT Association President), Viginia Ells (Certified Hand Therapist – OT), and Dawn (the parent of a child who benefitted from occupational therapy).  If you support a cap on copayments for occupational therapy service to be $30, please contact your state senator (http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/slist.asp) or representative (http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/hlist.asp). 

State that you support HB 5249.  Thanks!

March 2014 Montly Topic: Fine Motor Strengthening

                         Center for Pediatric Therapy

Fine motor strength and endurance are key for successful handwriting and self-help skills.


Here are some fun ways to incorporate fine motor strengthening activities into your child’s routine.






  • Clothespins:  Use clothespins to move game pieces during board games. Try different types of clips:  chip clips, wooden clothespins, plastic clothespins, office clips etc., for more (or less) of a challenge.


  • Spray Bottles:  Spray bottles can provide year-round fun. Let your child paint on the driveway with water. Have him draw a picture with markers and spray it with water to make it “melt” into the sink. In the winter, mix in a few drops of food coloring and let your child paint the snow. In the summer, hang sponges outside and spray at the targets.


  • Turkey Baster:  Have a turkey baster race. You’ll need a turkey baster and some cotton balls or pompoms. Have your child lay on his belly on the floor and army crawl as he uses two hands to squeeze the bulb of the baster to blow on the cotton ball and push it across the floor. Use a stopwatch to see who can get to the finish line the quickest, or use two basters and go head-to-head. You can add obstacles, like toilet paper tubes or pillows for more of a challenge.


  • Scrap Paper Basketball:  Cut up small pieces of scrap paper (or better yet, have your child cut them up!), then show your child how to crumple the paper using one hand.  This works on strengthening the intrinsic muscles of the hand. See who can score the most points shooting the balled-up pieces into a laundry basket or trashcan.


  • Hole Punch:  Show your child how to slide paper into a hand-held hole punch and create holes in paper. Place small stickers or print small clip art images on long strips of paper for your child to aim at when punching holes. Make your own lacing cards by cutting out a silhouette on construction paper and drawing dots along the border for your child to punch out, then lace with a piece of yarn.


  • Play-Doh and Clay:  Make creations out of clay or play doh. Use cookie cutters to press into the clay, scissors to cut the clay or Play-Doh tools to manipulate the clay. There is even a clay-like material available from craft stores that can be used as an eraser after it is baked in the oven.