This toy lighIMG_5309_smallts up and plays music when the keys are hit, the center roller is spun, or if one of the top wires are pulled. It plays different music for each place that the toy is activated. If you push the on button towards a paw printed side, the music will be “barked” out.

Here are two positions we use the toy for. (And there are more ways and positions)

TUMMY TIME: In the clinic we use this toy to motivate a child to stay on their tummy and move their head up to look at the lights and listen to the music. Eventually using the toy to have the child move their arm to activate the music. What is that working on? A FOUNDATION – The pre-skills for crawling, building the shoulder and arm strength for coloring and writing.

SITTING: Having a child sit and learn that if they hit or push on the toy, it will do something that they like be it light up or play music. They have to learn to balance while sitting. They need to learn to move their arm and keep their body still so they don’t fall, but also keep their eyes on the toy.

 

Toys!

I am going to start featuring some of the toys that we use on a regular basis in the clinic with the children (infants and toddlers).

A lot of our toys are hand-me-downs from my children or from other therapists children. Some were bought many years ago when I first started as a therapist doing in-home visits. Majority of them have been discontinued. Some of the companies that made the toys no longer exist. BUT you can find similar toys in the stores or you can look on craigslist or eBay for them.

General rule: a toy should not cost more than $20.00. Unless it is an awesome toy that does laundry or cleans up after up and the child, most toys are not worth more than $20.00. The children will out grow the toy before you get your monies worth. IF you are a craigslister or garage sale person, and plan on getting some money back that way. It is much more economical to just limit yourself to a $20.00 limit. It can go along way, especially at Big Lots, TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, or Ross.

I will take a picture of the first toy tomorrow and post.

 

Graduated with an OT degree: Going into Pediatrics

I have been an occupational therapist for 12-13 years (I took a year and a bit off to have kids). I have seen the changes that the profession has gone through and those that it is going through. From capitation of inpatient therapy to funding cuts to early intervention, it has been a roller coaster. The one thing that I do think that has been constant is that becoming a pediatric occupational therapist is NOT an entry-level position, even for the newly minted OTD (entry-level).

Why?

Pediatrics has many different facets in itself. Just look at the age range that encompasses pediatrics – 0 (birth) until 21 years of age. Yes, some programs consider under 21-years of age as part of the pediatric population.

So what are the areas of Pediatric:

  • Orthopedics – Usually this is part of a hospital program. In California, it can be part of California Children’s Services Medical Therapy Unit which primarily treats children with Cerebral Palsy and other neuro-skeletal diagnoses.
  • Early Intervention – Children under the age of 3 years are in this group.
  • School-Based – Preschool – over 3 years of age up to 18 years
  • Outpatient Clinic – Dependent on the clinic
  • Sensory Clinic
  • Inpatient Rehabilitation

Within these groups these there are subspecialties (i.e. Hand therapy, augmentative communication, feeding, oral motor, swallowing).

Children are not small adults. Majority of the time as a therapist you are not RE-habilitating them, you are habilitating, supporting, challenging, educating.

It is hard enough for an entry-level therapist to try and get the skills down to understand what to do with a child, then on top you have the family. Family that is confused, concerned, and have been send here and there for this test, that doctor, this specialist. You become a different type of therapist that, if not open, can misrepresent what the occupational therapy profession can do for their child.

Option for new grads to consider if they want to go into pediatrics: take a lower rate to insure mentoring and supervision for at least a year. Actual onsite, face-to-face mentoring and supervision. Creating a solid foundation for the rest of your OT career. Think of it has been paid for continuing your education and becoming a good representation of the occupational therapy profession.

 

WOW!  Can you believe the amount of baby gear that is available to us today?!  Strollers, car seats, cribs, bassinets, pack-n-plays, Bumbo baby seats, swings, jumpers, bouncer seats, exersaucers, carriers, and walkers just to mention a few.  What makes it even harder is all those irresistible bright colors, playful prints, and cool little toy attachments.  And you may or may not have other moms telling you what they love and could not live without.

How do you know what is best for baby?

Do they really need all this gear?

Continue reading

Exciting New Class!!!!

Sebastian copy

Head to Toe Therapy is offering a 4-week class for Printing and Cursive.

The Class includes an assessment for placement into the appropriate group to optimize your child’s learning.

Majority of schools no longer teach printing as a sole subject. The teachers are not trained to teach handwriting. Therefore, children pick up habits that can hinder them for there rest of their academic career. Yes, they can go learn to type, but even being about to convey a thought to another person with just paper and a pencil is important.

Classes are 1 hour with 4 children to a group. These is a new program for Head to Toe therefore the introductory price for the 4 week class is FREE!!!

Classes are forming. Call us to find out more information. (714) 656-2371 or email: [email protected]

 

New Location

Our New Gym:photo7

 

The first week of July, Head to Toe Therapy moved to a new location. The location is a work in progress but gives us the ability to try new programs and served the community. As we work to get the clinic presentable, we hope to have an Open House to introduce the new programs that we hope to begin soon. It is an exciting time!

A Gym, a Community

I have always wondered when a child doesn’t need therapy but needs to continue to have a sensory rich diet, where do they (them and their families) go? Playgrounds/parks have really limited equipment and restrictions with how you can use the equipment. To place a swing in the middle of the living space may not be an option especially if you live in an apartment or in rental property. Plus, kids grow, so the equipment needs to be bigger too.

I have had an idea for families that wish to provide their kids with sensory needs a place to go where they have access to equipment. But also provide a place for families can create a supportive community for each other. Learn, play, and laugh with other families that have had similar experiences.

This place I am talking about is a sensory gym. Not a therapy gym, a sensory gym. They are popping up, mainly in the East Coast. But they are being created by active, motivated families that want the best for their family. They started small and have grown. One such place is Extreme Kids and Crew in New York. Yes, NEW YORK! http://extremekidsandcrew.org/about-us/

The director is a mom with a child with sensory needs and saw that even though therapy is great and beneficial, one time to two times a week is just not enough, and a therapist is not always necessary when you are just carrying out the basic of a sensory diet. They charge base on income and it run it similar to a workout gym. You check in and you guide your workout.

I have not found a place like this in Orange County. At least when I do an internet search.

It has been a dream of mine and this year I am making a reality. If you are interested contact me at [email protected]

 

Check back for updates.

One of the team members – Nutritionist/Dietitian

When I evaluated a child for the first time, I ask the parents what other therapies or specialists that their child has seen or are scheduled to see. Often they have been referred to a gastroenterologist. One specialist that has been a must on a team is the nutritionist/dietitian. A good one. That listens to the family and is compassionate, as well as passionate, when it comes to nutrition. No judging, just recommendations and suggests for the family. I have been fortunate to find one in Orange County in Melanie Silverman, MS, RD, IBCLC. I have not met anyone equal in her passion for nutrition but based in reality of family life.

What can a nutritionist help?
A nutritionist can really look at your child’s food intake as well as the family food intake and really dig deep and analyze if your child is getting all the nutrients that they need to grow and thrive. Which is what as parents we need to hear. They can assist in making slow changes in food choices to improve overall health and wellbeing for all the in the family, not just the child with feeding issues. They should be a coach for good food choices.
Interested in contacting Melanie?
Here is her contact info:
Melanie Silverman, MS, RD, IBCLC
(949) 607-8248