Occupational Therapy

First Steps Toward Inclusion

From the day we are born we are a member of a community. As our development progresses and we learn to convey our wants and needs, our involvement and inclusion in family and community life increases. In some instances, infants and young children require early intervention therapy to augment their social, emotional and physical development so that they become actively engaged in their community.

 

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Tips for a Sensory Friendly Holiday

by Rachel Goode, Occupational Therapist
Integrated Pediatric Interventions at JCFS

The holiday season can be frustrating and confusing for a child with common sensory sensitivities.  Bright lights, loud music, new foods, crowded rooms, gift giving and different expectations can cause meltdowns and other disruptive behaviors.

We have some tips to help prepare your child for the excitement of the season, and a joyful December!

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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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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

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. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine if occupational therapy can help you and your child have a successful transition to pre-school and kindergarten.

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Come Fly With Me: Travel Tips for Children with 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 Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) because of factors connected to flying, including a change in routine, navigating unfamiliar environments and considerable sensory stimulation.

The following recommendations have been found beneficial to families planning air travel. It is important to remember that children diagnosed with ASD vary in terms of abilities and preferences, and not all recommendations may suit every child with ASD.

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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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Ask a Clinician: Developmental Benefits of Yoga for Kids (preK-3rd grade)

The Integrated Pediatric Interventions Program at JCFS is offering Yoga for Kids for children (preK-3rd grade). Come join our Occupational Therapist in a fun, child-centered environment that merges age-appropriate yoga practices including breathing techniques and animal poses with other play, art and social game experiences. This class encourages exploration of early yoga practices while building your child’s gross motor skills, coordination and body awareness.

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