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What’s the Right Way to Carry a Backpack

Backpacks! Most school-aged kids use them on a daily basis. The American Occupational Therapy Association suggests best backpack habits to avoid injury or issues from wearing a backpack. First, pack your child’s backpack right to avoid strain and pain, poor posture and weakened muscles.

Place the heaviest items closest to the back in the larger pockets to help with balance and make sure items are secure and won’t slide around.

  • Lighter items toward the front of the backpack
  • Sharp or pointy items away from the back

Make sure your their backpack weighs no more than 10% of their body weight. If your child weighs 50 pounds, their backpack should not weigh more than 5 pounds. Show your child how to put on their backpack by bending at the knees instead of the waist to pick it up. Once the backpack is on, use all straps available (both shoulder straps, chest straps, hip straps) to secure the pack. These help to balance the weight and keep the backpack securely against the back.

Reconsider these guidelines above if you notice any of the following issues:

  • Difficulty putting on or taking off the backpack
  • Complaining of pain from wearing the backpack
  • Tingling or numbness in limbs
  • Red strap marks where backpack is digging into shoulders
  • Change in posture from wearing the backpack

Source: American Occupational Therapy Association (July 2017). Backpack Day Handouts, Artwork and Video. https://www.aota.org/Conference-Events/Backpack-Safety-Awareness-Day/Handouts.aspx.

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Traveling with a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder

There are many things to consider when traveling with kids, let alone traveling with a child who has Sensory Processing Disorder. We are in the heat of summer and many of our PAT families are taking a break, heading to the beach or visiting relatives far away. Here are some tips from our clinic to help you make the most of your vacation.


Plan Ahead

  • Dietary Needs: Search the area ahead of time for appropriate restaurants. If you have a child with dietary restrictions or food texture issues, it’s nice to take the guesswork out of meal time. By the time everyone gets hungry, you won’t be Googling to find a restaurant that works for your whole family.
  • Accommodations: Most hotels have amenities like blackout shades to regulate light, but it’s always worth reading reviews to find a quiet space for your sensory kid. Don’t chance showing up at a hotel in the middle of renovations or choosing a room in the middle of a nightlife district.  
  • Create a Plan: Kids like plans, but especially kids with sensory processing struggles. Take some time before your trip to create a plan and share it with your child. This could mean simply talking about the trip and what to expect, or drawing/typing out a fun list with pictures for your child to follow along.
  • Engage in physical activity: Before you hop on a plane for several hours, get some energy out! Consider scheduling your travel time during nap time/quiet time so that everyone will be relaxed.

Travel in Comfort

  • Comfortable clothes: On top of being squished in a car seat or on a plane, set your kids up for ultimate comfort by dressing them in soft clothes with minimal zips, snaps or hardware.
  • Activities: Pack a variety of toys that your child is sure to enjoy. Having multiple activities is the key! When something becomes old, be ready to pull out a new activity to keep your kiddo occupied. Resistive items (i.e. stress balls) can give proprioceptive input while traveling and feeling confined.
  • Snacks: Bring protein-packed snacks that will keep bellies full and happy. Gum and/or lollipops (if your child is old enough) can be helpful for sensory stimulation as well. Gum is a resistive chewy snack and can be calming, organizing and help with any carsickness. Water bottles with straws are good to pack too. They are also very calming and organizing for when kids are starting to get tired of being confined in the car or plane.
  • Headphones: When all else fails, noise cancelling headphones can create a controlled environment for your child to listen to their favorite music or show wherever they are.
  • Pre-board: Take advantage of pre-boarding, available on many airlines to families traveling with children. Talk to the gate agent before boarding if you have any concerns.

Have Fun

  • Take Breaks to Play: Travel can involve a lot of sitting to get to the fun parts! Make sure you take opportunities to play and run when they arise.
  • Avoid overload: Too much fun might not be a good thing. Keep a pulse on how your kiddo is feeling. Skip that last roller coaster if you think it might mean meltdown.
  • Don’t get discouraged: Like we said before, traveling with kids in general is a medal-worthy sport in itself. Give yourself grace and take a deep breath if things get tough. Sure, there will always be those grumps on your plane, but the majority of people are very understanding and accommodating, so try not to stress!

 

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7 Ways To Have A Happy Eater

 

Having a picky eater can be inevitable. Some kids are just wired that way. However, getting off on the right foot with healthy eating habits can often curb those issues. Here are some ideas to try at home:

 

  1. During meal time, be sure to turn off the TV and limit distractions. Check for correct seating and posture, making sure your child’s feet touch the ground.

  2. Every meal should be well-rounded. include one protein source, one starch, one fruit/vegetable (even if the child is not going to eat it).

  3. Minimize talking about the child and their behavior during feeding and focus on the food during conversation, using positive language (no bribing, no yelling, and no questions). Remember it takes at least 15 exposures for a child to try a new food before they decide if they like it.

  4. Family meal time routines are important for modeling good eating and family meals should occur at least 5 days a week. An adult should sit down with the child for all meals. All foods are presented and served on the table “family style” to allow the child to see and smell foods in front of them.

  5. A trip to the grocery store is a great way for a child to touch, look, and smell new food items. Your child can help you fill the cart while you talk about the properties of the food including similarities.

  6. Playing with food and meal preparation are great ways for your child to interact with food. Allow them to stir, squash, smell, and pour the food into different containers to become comfortable with the food. In addition, making food craft snacks with your child will expose them to new foods too. These two websites have great ideas: www.familyfun.com and www.anotherlunch.com for making food crafts.

  7. When children prefer to only eat the same food prepared the same way every time, this can lead to what we call a food jag. It is best to remove all foods from original packaging before presenting the food to the child. Some children become fixated on package specific foods and if a marketing change occurs in the packaging this can impact their acceptance of the food item. Remember to be flexible with meals and allow supper for breakfast and vice versa to avoid eating the same foods at the same time every day.

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School Therapy vs. Clinical Therapy: Is One Better?

School is often the first place that a deficit can be identified. A child struggles with a task and their teacher might suggest in-school therapy. Therapy offered through the school is typically performed by a therapist employed by the school or by a contracted therapist from an outside clinic. These sessions assist kids working on occupations that help complete school-related tasks. An occupational therapist might help a child with handwriting for example. Or, a speech therapist may assist a child in better communicating so that they can effectively participate in class. School therapy is vital to helping a child adjust in their learning environment, but it can be further enhanced by additional clinical therapy.

 

Clinical therapy refers to therapy outside of the school setting. Here, circumstances allow for longer sessions that can increase progress even more. Also, aside from additional time, therapists in a clinical setting are able to go beyond school-related tasks and work with the child on a more holistic range of occupations that help in all aspects of life, not just at school. In the clinic setting, foundational issues can be addressed that may be impacting a child’s participation or skills in both the school or community environments. The clinic setting, with its equipment and activities, helps with sensory processing by increasing attention span in the classroom. Kids can get the chance to work on core strength, to be able to sit upright in their chairs for longer periods of time. During clinic therapy, therapists are able to get to the root of the problem. In the school setting, a child can be provided with strategies that can help short term until increased skills are developed.

 

So, to answer our initial question, is one type of therapy better than the other? You might be surprised that the answer is “no”! Both types of therapy are crucial to your child’s success and offer their own unique benefits. Participating both school and clinical therapy maximizes treatment time for your child and allows time to work on increasing function at home and at school. Both are essential to most effectively achieving outcomes.

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What Is The Difference Between PT and OT?

Many parents ask us, “what is the difference between physical therapy and occupational therapy?” Some people think that pediatric physical therapy focuses on gross motor skills, while occupational therapy focuses on fine motor skills. This is not necessarily true. Although they are similar in many ways, pediatric physical therapy aims to treat the impairment or injury and help increase physical function. On the other hand, pediatric occupational therapy helps the child accomplish everyday tasks in light of their impairment. If we think about the word “occupational” or “occupation” we might think of a synonym, a job. Occupational therapy focuses on kids’ “jobs” or tasks like eating, bathing, dressing or grooming themselves. These jobs might be further complicated by a cognitive or developmental disability. Occupational therapy aims to help with navigating life despite these challenges.

 

The two can work in tandem as well. Pediatric physical therapy can help with muscle strength and flexibility that can greatly improve occupational capabilities. A child may be fitted with orthotics for toe walking (physical therapy) as a side effect of having cerebral palsy. Simultaneously, an occupational therapist could help the child complete daily tasks as a result of the limitation. Occupational therapy also includes treatment for sensory processing so that kids can complete daily activities. Helping kids that have aversions to certain foods, food textures, fabrics, types of clothing or sounds is part of occupational therapy.

 

If you are still not sure what type of therapy your child might need, please contact us to make an appointment for an initial evaluation at 704-799-6824. Pediatric Advanced Therapy is one of the premeir occupational and pediatric physical therapy facilities in the Charlotte area.

 

Pediatric Advanced Therapy

2520 Whitehall Park Drive Suite 350 Charlotte, NC 28273

134 Infield Court Mooresville, NC 28117

129 Woodson Street Salisbury, NC 28144

patkids.com

704-799-6824

 

Sources:

http://otaonline.stkate.edu/blog/occupational-therapy-vs-physical-therapy-whats-difference/

http://www.allalliedhealthschools.com/physical-therapy/occupational-therapist-vs-physical-therapist/

http://nspt4kids.com/therapy/what-is-the-difference-between-occupational-and-physical-therapy-for-children-north-shore-pediatric-therapy/

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What Should I Do If My Child Is Toe Walking?

Toe walking, like the name suggests, is the phenomenon of walking on the toes or balls of the feet. Toe walking is common in early walkers, and can sometimes last until your child is a toddler or older. Toe walking can be common in children with Cerebral Palsy or Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Along with these connections to neuromuscular or musculoskeletal conditions, toe walking may also be present in children with developmental disorders like Autism. However, being a toe walker does not always lead to another diagnosis. Regardless of the cause of toe walking, the issue can be helped with physical therapy.  

 

Other than noticing your child walking on their toes or the balls of their feet, toe walking my cause your child to frequently fall or stumble. They might also communicate having pain in their leg or foot. Results of toe walking can cause increased foot pain in adulthood, hip and knee issues and balance difficulties. Toe walking can be easily prevented or treated through physical therapy.

 

Your therapist may use techniques to stretch and strengthen the muscles including:

  1. Taping the area to guide correct positioning
  2. Orthotic intervention or shoe modifications
  3. Night splinting
  4. Manual manipulation and therapy

 

Early intervention using these techniques will help and will likely decrease the need for later invasive procedures or surgery.

 

To schedule an appointment to see if pediatric physical therapy could help your child, please call as at 704-799-6824.

 

Pediatric Advanced Therapy

2520 Whitehall Park Drive Suite 350 Charlotte, NC 28273

134 Infield Court Mooresville, NC 28117

129 Woodson Street Salisbury, NC 28144

patkids.com

704-799-6824

 

Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/toe-walking/basics/definition/con-20034585

Idiopathic Toe Walking – Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

http://blog.dinopt.com/toe-walking/

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What Is Infant Feeding Therapy?

What is infant feeding therapy? It may seem obvious, but you may not have realized that it can be helped through speech therapy services.

At Pediatric Advanced Therapy, our Director of Speech Therapy, Joslin Davis, is highly qualified to treat a variety of infant feeding problems. If your child is exhibiting any of the following behaviors, it could be worth a visit with your doctor to talk about a referral for:

  • Failure to progress with any feeding skills
    • Sucking – bottle feeding, nursing
    • Spoon-feeding
    • Chewing
    • Biting
    • Drinking from an open cup
    • Drinking from a straw/sippy cup
  • Excessive fatigue during a bottle feeding/nursing (may appear as falling asleep or jaw/lip/tongue tremor)
  • Exceptionally long time to complete a feeding- greater than 20 minutes
  • Exceptionally fast bottle feedings/nursing or frequent feedings (for example: feeds less than every 2 hours)
  • Caregiver experiences increased anxiety or distress when feeding infant
  • Pain when nursing due to poor suck
  • Weight loss
  • Poor weight gain/failure to thrive
  • Disinterest in feeding
  • Refusing or avoiding certain food textures
  • Swallowing solid food whole
  • Pocketing food in cheeks
  • Loss of food or liquid from lips while eating/drinking
  • Signs of discomfort while feeding
  • Coughing/choking during or after eating/drinking
  • Gagging/vomiting during or after eating/drinking
  • Tongue tie/lip tie

About the Speech Therapy Director: Joslin Davis is ASHA certified and has feeding experience with all ages, including newborns and infants. She has attended feeding courses and has received training in the following treatment techniques: medical and behavioral feeding (e.g. CAN-EAT), sensory based feeding (e.g. food chaining, SOS), complex feeding disorders, and oral motor feeding approaches (e.g. Beckman, TalkTools, Oral Placement Therapy, Oral Placement Therapy for Down Syndrome). She has also received training in myofascial release and identification of tongue tie/lip tie. She has collaborated with physical therapy to help infant feeding patients with torticollis, plagiocephaly or other neurological deficits.

Three Locations:

  • 134 Infield Court Mooresville, NC
  • 129 Woodson Street Salisbury, NC
  • COMING MAY 2017: 2520 Whitehall Park Drive Suite 350 Charlotte, NC 28273

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Consistency is Key in Pediatric Therapy

When your child is in need of occupational therapy, physical therapy, or speech therapy, therapists will spend time creating a plan specific to him/her. Therefore, it is essential for your child to attend each session to reap the maximum benefit. Consistency is key! Here are some tips to getting the most out of treatment for your child:

  • Don’t be late: Lateness cuts into treatment time. When you are running late, your child’s therapist is forced to cut out activities, making hard decisions on which treatment activities are more important. The catch is, they are all important activities!
  • Practice makes perfect: To learn a new skill or overcome a challenge, repetition is key. If you miss out on a session, your child gets less practice.
  • Take steps forward, not backward: Everyone gets sick sometimes! But, too many missed sessions can delay progress or even sabotage skills that have already been learned.
  • Consistency can mean quicker progress: Attending therapy sessions can mean extra time in the car or time away from home. Just remember that this time is worth it! The more you commit to your child’s care plan, the quicker they will see progress.  

If you would like to schedule a free 30-minute screening for a new patient or an appointment for an established patient, please call 704-799-6824.

Pediatric Advanced Therapy aims to provide the highest quality of care to all patients. In the interest of all of our patients, all cancellations require 24 hour notice to avoid a cancellation fee. In the event that the therapist needs to cancel, we will reschedule your child with another therapist for continuity of treatment.

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Red Flags: Occupational Therapy Screening Tool for 4-Year-Olds

What are red flags? A red flag is characterized as marker of delayed development in a child. These can manifest in many different ways. While every child is unique in their development and timeline of growth, there are certain behaviors that are universally causes for concern. For 4-year-olds, be aware if your child:

  • Not enjoying new toys, appears stuck on familiar or desired toys
  • Limited interest in tools/activities such as hammering, using scissors and markers, sorting objects, etc.
  • Unable to use one toy/object to represent something else
  • No interest in peer play, unable to engage in cooperative play
  • *Now able to play with single object or play theme approximately 10 minutes, quiet play approximately 30 minutes

 

Pediatric Advanced Therapy provides physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy to the greater Charlotte area. We have two offices in Mooresville and Salisbury, with a Charlotte office opening in May 2017.

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Red Flags: Occupational Therapy Screening Tool for 2 to 3-Year-Olds

What are red flags? A red flag is characterized as marker of delayed development in a child. These can manifest in many different ways. While every child is unique in their development and timeline of growth, there are certain behaviors that are universally causes for concern. For 2 to 3-year-olds, be aware if your child:

  • No enjoyment of rough and tumble play
  • No interest or difficulty scribbling, completing 4-5 piece puzzles, building, etc.
  • Not able to engage in parallel play (beside a peer), snatching toys from others typical at this age
  • No observation of using toys as agents (doll feeding self, dump truck scooping sand)
  • Not asking who, what, where, why questions
  • Not able to locate parts of body (eyes, nose, etc.)
  • Should be able to engage in quiet play approximately 15 minutes

Pediatric Advanced Therapy provides physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy to the greater Charlotte area. We have two offices in Mooresville and Salisbury, with a Charlotte office opening in May 2017.

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