May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, so there is no better time to brush up on your developmental milestone knowledge! Remember- early intervention is key! Talk to your pediatrician if your child is not meeting these milestones to determine if a referral to a speech-language pathologist or audiologist might be necessary.
BIRTH TO 3 MONTHS
Reacts to loud sounds
Calms down or smiles when spoken to
Recognizes your voice and calms down if crying
When feeding, starts or stops sucking in response to sound
Coos and makes pleasure sounds
Has a special way of crying for different needs
Smiles when he or she sees you
Enjoys physical contact
Makes eye contact
4 TO 6 MONTHS
Follows sounds with his or her eyes
Responds to changes in the tone of your voice
Notices toys that make sounds
Pays attention to music
Babbles in a speech-like way and uses many different sounds, including sounds that begin with p, b, and m
Is that normal? Do other children act like this? What should I do when he acts like this?!
Parents, how often have these thoughts run through your mind? If you are anything like me, or the parents I work with every day- then you are no stranger to this feeling of bewilderment about your child! To help you navigate these land mines of parenting- we have compiled our Top 5 Strategies for modifying your child's most challenging or embarrassing behaviors...
Ignore Unwanted Behaviors!
This can be the most challenging strategy of all- but arguably the most important! Children LOVE attention- some even love negative attention. Often times, unwanted behaviors are unintentionally reinforced through this recurrent loop of giving your child attention when they are engaging in unwanted behaviors. So, remember- unless your child is hurting themselves or someone else- ignore, ignore, and then ignore some more!
Most children also suffer from a severe case of FOMO (fear of missing out). Paren...
Teaching typically developing children how to use the toilet is difficult enough- but what about our children who have developmental delays, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Down Syndrome, and communication challenges? Here are a few considerations and strategies to use when toilet training your child with special needs.
If your child is sensitive or upset by the sensory aspects of going to the toilet, try controlling your child's sensory experience during toileting.
Get your child familiar with sitting on the toilet by practicing for a few minutes every day.
Make him comfortable- consider letting your child wear socks, warm the temperature of the room, provide a foot stool for better support, consider a toilet seat reducer/insert to decrease fear of falling in the toilet, use warm flushable wipes, and try noise canceling headphones or background music to block out upsetting background noises.
Parents, beach time is here- and it’s no secret that you are longing for the care-free, laid-back atmosphere of your beach vacation! We also know that you may be dreading the long drive there as traveling with your little ones can be quite a daunting task! So, to help you maintain your sanity- we compiled a list of some great activities to keep your children occupied and happy!
This great idea comes from greyhouseharbor.com. Making a simple visual of your destination and how close you are to being there helps curb the inevitable question…”Are we there yet?!”
Try this greatfree printable for a Road Trip Scavenger Hunt. Aside from you and your children having fun, your occupational therapist will be very happy that you are practicing visual discrimination and visual scanning skills while on the road! Turn up the excitement by allowing the winner to choose where you stop for lunch!
Reach into your cabinets and grab a cookie sheet for hours of travel fun! You can use it to play ma...
Your cell phone rings, you look down at your phone to see it's your daycare calling. Your heart sinks thinking that something might be wrong with your little one. Apprehensively you answer your phone and are immediately informed that your child has bitten a classmate. For many, embarrassment creeps over them and they begin to profusely apologize, stressing to the director that they will address this behavior with their child- confidently assuring them that it won't happen again. A week later, another phone call from the daycare, it's happened again, and this time you can sense the frustration in the director's voice...
Unfortunately for many parent's this is an all too familiar cycle. A cycle that can provoke feelings of frustration, embarrassment, anger, and despair. But what is a parent to do?
First, as I always stress, it is important to have realistic expectations for your child. This starts with know...
Handwriting can be a tricky skill for children to learn and those pesky U's and NI's on report cards for handwriting can worry a parent! Here are some simple tips and tricks for lessening your worry and helping your child become a more confident and legible writer.
1. Make sure you have age appropriate expectations for your child.
Unfortunately, I have noticed a trend of pre-school and kindergarten aged children being held to developmentally inappropriate standards. I can't tell you how often I hear a parent tell me that their pre-K student is expected to write from memory both upper and lowercase letters of the alphabet and that their Kindergarten students are expected to compose multiple sentences regarding a given topic. Let's pump the brakes here guys! A child's ability to form an oblique line (like in the letter A) doesn't fully develop until about 4 and a half years of age and a true hand dominance is not expected to befullydeveloped until 6 years of age. With tha...
Teaching any child how to resist their impulses and stay on task is a difficult feat, but teaching a child with executive functioning difficulties how to inhibit their impulses can make even the most patient parent want to run for the hills! Here at Abilities, we can help children with Autism and ADHD stay on task and independently complete daily routines by implementing some pretty simple strategies. A therapist favorite for promoting on task behavior is the Time Timer! This tool is a great way to teach children the concept of time as a system of measurement. Showing time disappear helps to teach children how to pace themselves as they work. It also functions as a motivational tool, encouraging your child to stay on task as they can see that break time is nearing!
Visual schedules are another useful tool for helping to keep your child on task and to ease difficult transitions. Visual schedules serve as an external reminder to complete specific tasks,...
As you celebrate with loved ones, keep in mind that holiday meals are not the time to make progress in trying new foods. It is a time to maintain the skills and positive feelings about eating that have been gained in therapy. The holidays are a fun but often challenging time for picky eaters. Numerous factors can cause this stress:
Being with unfamiliar foods
Eating at different times, in different homes/places, and with different people than usual
Being served food by someone who doesn’t usually fix your child’s plate
Being around well-meaning family members who encourage and maybe push your child to eat new foods
Here are a few suggestions that may reduce the stress of eating holiday meals if your child is at a very picky stage or new to therapy and just making gains in trying foods and building confidence about eating.
Don’t let well-intended family members push your child about eating. He or she already has enough struggles with the challenges she feels about...
Social stories are short narratives aimed at describing the social rules and expected behaviors of various situations. They have been a valuable tool for helping children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other social-emotional disorders. These carefully worded stories provide children with specific strategies for success in different social situations. Social stories can also be used to help children prepare for upcoming life transitions (starting school, moving to a new town/city). Here at Abilities, we use social stories frequently to help our children overcome challenging situations. While it may take a little prep work, generating a quick social story for a child that is struggling to be successful with transitions or social exchanges is definitely worth the extra effort. Below is an example of a social story about an upcoming life transition and the new social expectations that come along with it.