Help Your Child Prepare for the Holidays

by Jennie Marble, M.A., CCC-SLP, Assistant Director of Integrated Pediatric Interventions at Jewish Child & Family Services

The holidays are often a time to gather with friends and family to share a special meal, but for children with eating challenges a change in routine and environment, along with the sights and smells of new foods can be overwhelming. 

Preparation for the holidays is helpful for any child, but is particularly important for children with feeding and swallowing disorders. Talking about what to expect during the family visit, and looking at pictures of food and exploring scents beforehand can go a long way.

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Handwriting Without Tears

In this technological age, it’s easy to overlook the importance of handwriting. Pen and paper are no longer the primary means by which most people write. Instead, we favor keyboards and touchpads to communicate. While these modes are certainly less messy and more convenient, studies show that children who do most of their reading and writing on the computer have a harder time retaining and processing information. (American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 2006). For this reason, educators and occupational therapists alike are encouraging children and their parents to make building handwriting skills a priority.

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JCFS Programs Working Together to Support At-Risk Moms and Babies

For most newborns and toddlers, routine doctor visits are part of their formative years. At these early wellness check-ups, babies and young children are assessed to see if they are meeting major developmental milestones such as walking and talking.  If a child is diagnosed with a developmental delay, parents and caregivers are provided with available resources that can help improve their child’s condition. 

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First Steps After Receiving an Autism Diagnosis

by Caitlin McIlwee, M.A., Psychological Services Pre-Doctoral Intern

You have just learned that your child has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. For some parents, the news comes as a shock, while other parents may have been expecting it. However, almost all parents who receive this diagnosis for their child struggle with reimagining their child’s future with this pervasive developmental disability. You are not alone, and it is normal to feel this way. The important thing to know is that, although there is no known “cure” for autism, there is hope. Your child will be able to learn, grow and gain new skills within their potential. The important first steps are educating yourself about the diagnosis, adjusting the child’s home environment to best meet their needs, and seeking professional therapeutic services.

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Occupational Therapy Can Help Your Child Adjust to Pre-School and Kindergarten

by Leora Goldman MS, OTR/L
Integrated Pediatric Interventions at Jewish Child & Family Services

As with all beginnings, starting school can be a very exciting, yet challenging time in a child's life—suddenly there is a different environment to adapt to, unfamiliar people to get to know and a new set of rules to follow.  A child may be introduced to different activities which require skills not frequently used at home.

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Come Fly With Me: Travel Tips for Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder

by Eliana Wool, M.A., Psychological Services Pre-Doctoral Intern

Air travel can be an exciting, yet anxiety provoking experience. This may be particularly true for a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) because of factors connected to flying, including a change in routine, navigating unfamiliar environments and considerable sensory stimulation.

“Airplane travel presents many new sensory experiences including noisy environments, many visual distractions and new smells.  The inner-ear disturbances that occur at take-off and landing can impact vestibular processing disrupting how a child interprets their own body’s movements, which can be very disorienting," comments Haley Bartz, an Occupational Therapist with the Integrated Pediatric Interventions program at Jewish Child & Family Services. "Fortunately, there are numerous ways that a family can help to make air travel a less stressful experience for their child.”

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Give Your Child a Boost in Their Language and Thinking Skills This Summer

Summer doesn’t have to be a time for children to fall behind in their speech and language skills. Although school therapy sessions have ended, continued intervention with a speech therapist can maximize a child’s communication growth.

An intense 1-2 hours per week in a pediatric clinic during summer break can enhance their understanding of language, including following directions and improving their ability to express their thoughts.  These skills can help children relate better to friends and share information with their parents, in addition to providing a jump-start for the next school year.  

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The Impact Noisy Toys Have on Children

Does it ever seem like some toys are just too noisy? The sounds that many infant and children’s toys make are loud enough to reach hazardous levels. As cited in an article for Advance Healthcare Network for Speech & Hearing , 200 toys were recently tested and 98% of them measured at sound levels greater than 85 decibels at arms’ length.  That level of noise has the same impact as being near an airplane when it takes off.  White noise machines also exceed healthy hearing levels; some even exceed safe levels for adults. This type of exposure can put a child at risk for noise induced hearing loss.

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Feeding & Swallowing Therapy: One Mother's Experience with Our Team

The speech-language, occupational and developmental therapists and social workers at the Integrated Pediatric Interventions program at Jewish Child & Family Services work with infants, toddlers and children who are experiencing developmental delays.

These early childhood experts are passionate about working with the entire family—child, parents, siblings and family as a whole—not only to ensure the therapies are consistently worked into daily family life, but to address related issues that arise from raising or living with a child with a delay or disability. We love to share how their passion translates into real life stories of success and hope. Here is one mother’s experience, in her own words…

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