Back pain in kids

Wednesday, Apr 26, 2017 by Child & Family Development

Recently, Gail Fennimore PT PCS C/NDT reviewed an article titled Many US Children suffer from low back pain. Interestingly, she has noticed increasing number of complaints in her pediatric physical therapy work with kids and teens. 

According to a JAMA pediatrics study, low back pain in school-aged children is becoming more common, especially as they age and is reported in as many as 18% of 14 to 16-year-olds. While no single risk factor was identified, many cases stem from musculoskeletal overuse and trauma associated with sports.  Other common factors  are back injury, family history and quick or spurts of growth.  It is also reported that children are at risk for back injury because of their developing bodies. 

Study recommendations include communicating with a pediatrician or specialist about back pain symptoms and consulting with an expert, like a pediatric physical therapist, to prevent and manage pain.  One general suggestion is to allow a child to participate in a designated number to hours per week that is equal to his age; that is a 10-year-old can play sports for 10 hours per week.  Also, encourage variety in exercise and movement! 

Click here to read more about our physical therapists.  

Have a question about developmental milestones? 704-541-9080 Call to schedule a free phone consultation with a  Physical Therapist

Read More

Topics: C&FD Physical Therapy Services

Learning Disabilities: info from our educators

Tuesday, Apr 25, 2017 by Child & Family Development

Reading disorders or learning disabilities, and specifically dyslexia impact approximately 20% of the population. The NC and SC public school systems have resources in special education to identify individuals with learning disabilities however, procedures and guidelines are such that most children are not identified with learning disorders until 2nd or 3rd grade and in order to be identified their delays must be significantly impacting their educational performance. Therefore, many children with mild delays simply “fall through the cracks” as their mild delays turn into moderate and severe delays without appropriate intervention. Research indicates the children make the greatest gains in learning to read in grades K through 2nd. Research has also shown that if the reading gap is not remediated by the 3rd grade, it is very hard to close. Therefore, it is imperative that professionals in the medical field collaborate with parents and educators to help identify individuals with learning disabilities.

Learning Disability sub-types:

  • Dyslexia is a phonological based reading disorder which shows in an “unexpected difficulty” with reading tasks such as fluent word recognition, reading decoding, spelling and likely reading comprehension.
  • Dyscalculia is a mathematics disorder in which functioning in either arithmetic calculation; math concept formation and/or speed of execution are substantially below a student’s expected level for age, ability and educational experience.
  • Dysgraphia is a developmental written expression disorder in which the complex set of motor skills and information processing skills required to produce writing are delayed in handwriting, spelling and the organization of the written word on paper.
  • Nonverbal Learning Disability Is not presently a diagnostic condition but rather refers to a syndrome characterized by significant deficits in motor, visual spatial and social skills resulting from an individual’s difficulty interpreting nonverbal information. 

Pre-academic/Pre-school Warning Signs of Learning Disabilities:

  • Late speech development
  • Late development with learning alphabets letters and sounds (late is considered by 5 to 5 ½ years)
  • Inconsistent development and learning of the alphabet and sounds
  • Poor rhyming skills
  • Avoiding drawing/coloring, pre-writing tasks
  • Weak fine motor skills
  • Late established hand dominance
  • Immature or muddled speech (says aminal for animal)
  • Difficulty with word retrieval (says ummm and thing)
  • Advanced vocabulary in comparison to development of reading skills
  • Late color recognition

Warning signs for school aged children:

  • Oral reading is slow or labored
  • Reads with substitutions, adds words or guesses at words
  • Poor decoding skills (not able to properly “sound out a word”)
  • Poor spelling skills (often individuals with dyslexia will spell words correctly on a spelling test ,but are not able to generalize into other day-to-day writing assignments)
  • Poor fine motor skills, handwriting
  • Trouble with recall or retrieval of math facts, especially quick retrieval
  • Writes or reads letters and/or numbers reversed
  • Doesn't enjoy reading and/or writing

Often, teachers do not pick up on signs of learning disabilities until later grades as letter reversals and poor handwriting are often times viewed as developmental concerns. However, if a parent has any concern it is best to at least speak with an educational specialist and psychologist to determine the need for evaluation. Early intervention is the key.

Click here to read more about educational testing and tutoring services at Child and Family Development. 

Click here for a printable page about learning disabilities.

Read More

Topics: Mary Froneberger, Marie Arrington, Jessica DeLing, C&FD Educational Services

Free Seminar on June 8: New Take on Tummy Time

Monday, Apr 24, 2017 by Child & Family Development

 New Take on Tummy Time

Two esteemed members of our multidisciplinary team will lead this presentation:

  • Gail Fennimore, PT, PCS, C/NDT, physical therapist
  • Ann Guild, MA CCC-SLP, C/NDT, speech therapist

For parents, caregivers and professionals (adults only; no childcare available)

Thursday, June 8 @ 6:15-7:15 pm

Child and Family Development– Midtown, 4012 Park Road, Suite 200, Charlotte NC 28209

How to effectively guide your child’s early development. Topics:

How early motor skills develop

  • Gravity – Good or Bad
  • Development from 0-3 months
  • Development from 4-6 months

Early benefits of positioning and movement

  • How positioning helps a baby gain skills
  • Positioning for feeding
  • Positioning for movement

Fresh alternative activities while interacting with your baby

Click here for a printable flyer.

RSVP is required.  Click HERE to register. 


Read More

Topics: Gail Fennimore, Ann Guild, C&FD Seminars

Baby not walking?  A physical therapist can help! 

Thursday, Apr 20, 2017 by Child & Family Development

Many parents eagerly await the day their baby takes his first steps towards independence. Children progress through developmental sequences at a different pace. It is important to monitor timely developmental milestones and seek support from professionals, such as a pediatric physical therapist, if needed. 

Reasons why a baby may not be walking

  • Hypotonia – low muscle tone
  • Hypertonia – high muscle tone
  • Other abnormalities in muscle tone and power
  • Stiff limbs or poor balance
  • Baby is carried everywhere and not given the opportunity to try walking
  • Intellectual disability

If a baby is not walking by 16-23 months, a medical examination should be conducted to check muscle strength, range of motion and joint flexibility. Delayed walking could be an initial warning sign for cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or other genetic conditions. A physician can rule out some of these common disorders.

When to be concerned

  • Baby cannot sit without support by 9 months
  • Baby is not standing with support by 12 months
  • Baby is not walking steadily by 16-23 months.
  • Baby or child consistently toe walking (walking on tip toes)
  • Baby is consistently late progressing through common developmental milestones (lifting head, rolling over, sitting up)

How to help your baby to walk

  • Limit the use of baby walkers and bouncers which can prevent leg muscles from fully developing.
  • Delay introducing shoes until the baby walks well inside. Walking barefoot improves balance and coordination.
  • Child proof the home/ setting and allow the baby to walk in a safe and familiar environment.
  • When a baby is cruising along furniture, challenge them by increasing the distance between each piece of furniture, as possible, to encourage him to take small steps.
  • When a baby is close to independent walking, walk with him with support the skill everywhere until he can do it on his own. Walking is a mindset!
  • When holding a baby’s hand, bring your hand down lower to lessen the support you are providing. This will help build endurance, balance and confidence in a child. 
  • Have a baby stand with his back against a wall. Step away and call out to him with your arms outstretched. Encourage him to take lunging steps towards you and into your arms.

Need help?

If you want help with these suggestions or notice any of the above mentioned warning signs, a physical therapy evaluation can determine if there is simply normal variability in gross motor development or if the child can benefit from intervention. 

Click here to read more about our physical therapists.  

Have a question about developmental milestones? 704-541-9080 Call to schedule a free phone consultation with a  Physical Therapist

Read More

Topics: C&FD Physical Therapy Services

Brooke Bostic, Client Accounts Specialist, celebrates 5 years at C&FD

Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 by Child & Family Development

Happy C&FD Anniversary to Brooke Bostic!

Brooke Bostic is a Client Accounts Coordinator at Child and Family Development, supporting the team and families at both the Charlotte and Pineville locations. This month, she celebrates 5 years.   

She has excelled in many roles over the years which sometimes leads to surprise about the who/what/where of her job.  Recently, a psychologist greeted her at the Midtown office and was happy to learn that Brooke is based at that office now. 


Read More

Don't Take Our Word For It! Professional, diligent and kind psychologist

Tuesday, Apr 18, 2017 by Child & Family Development

We knew Child and Family Development psychologist, Ashley Kies PhD LPA NCSP strives to satisfy her clients and provide a quality service for psychoeducational assessments and treatment but these nice words confirm that a parent feels the same: 

A recent client survey included this comment: "I want to thank Dr. Kies for her professionalism, diligence and kindness in evaluating our son. Dr. Kies provided excellent references for autism services and other community organizations.  I believe her analysis of my child's condition was accurate.”

Read more about psychoeducational evaluations here.          

Read More

Topics: C&FD Psychological Services, C&FD Testimonials, Ashley Kies

Psychologist, Ashley Kies shares info about autism and evidence-based practices

Friday, Apr 14, 2017 by Child & Family Development

Recently, the Child and Family Development multidisciplinary team gathered to collaborate and exchange expert information.  In April, Ashley Kies PhD LPA NCSP, a psychologist at the Midtown office, shared information from the Autism Society of North Carolina, specifically

EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICES (EBP) as focused interventions that:

  • Produce specific behavioral and developmental outcomes for a person 
  • Have been demonstrated as effective in applied research literature
  • Can be successfully implemented in educational settings

EVALUATING INTERVENTION OPTIONS with probing questions such as: 

  • What is the purpose of the treatment?
  • How will the child benefit?
  • How will I know it has worked for my child?


  • Select and plan for EBP
  • Implement with fidelity
  • Assess progress

Dr. Kies shared several websites for professionals, parents and people with autism with her occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy and psychology colleagues at both the Pineville and Charlotte/ Midtown offices, including:


Learn more about our autism evaluations here.

Read More

Topics: C&FD Psychological Services, Ashley Kies

End-Of-Grade (EOG) support for CMS students from C&FD experts

Thursday, Apr 13, 2017 by Child & Family Development

TheEnd-Of-Grade (EOG) assessmentsare approaching in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools.  Over the past few years, there have been some changes with the implementation of the Common Core and Read to Achieve.  The level of expectations are on the rise.

The educational specialists at Child and Family Development help students prepare for the EOG's.  All of the educators have worked as teachers and diagnosticians in our public school system. 

Strive For Five is an intensive one-on-one program that reviews the reading and math standards learned over the school year. Preparation techniques, critical study skills and effective test-taking strategies are covered to maximize performance and get the student and parents ready.  It is designed for 3rd – 5th graders preparing to take the End-Of-Grade (EOG) Assessments. 

The goals of the program are to review all standards taught during the school year, learn test-taking strategies, acquire positive life-long study habits and instill confidence in your child and include:

  • Review Common Core reading standards based on grade level
  • Review Common Core math standards based on grade level
  • 5th graders only – Review Common Core Science standards
  • Learn test-taking strategies such as referencing the text and identifying key information
  • Learn ways to manage stress prior to the test day and the day of the test
  • Learn positive study habits (notecards, reading out loud, study guides, etc.)
  • Tips for parents to support their child leading up to the test and ways to support them the days of the testing

Read about the program here. For more information, call 704-541-9080 to connect with Marie Arrington, MAT.


Read More

Topics: Marie Arrington, C&FD Educational Services

Looking for therapy services for kids and teens near Waxhaw?

Wednesday, Apr 12, 2017 by Child & Family Development

Looking for therapy services near Waxhaw?  The Child and Family Development Pineville office is less than 5 miles from the border and easily accessible from I-77 and the 485 loop.

Our multidisciplinary team has been helping children and families since 1980. 

Our assessment and therapy services include:

Our experienced therapists assist families with a wide variety of concerns and questions. Extended education and training enables us to help many people in extraordinary ways. We work with children and young adults of all ages-- from newborns to kids to teens to college aged young adults.

Families visit us for variety of reasons. Often, a pediatrician or teacher identifies a concern. Other times, a parent has questions about a child’s abilities and development. Some families have concerns about specific diagnoses, such as ADHD, autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, learning disabilities and sensory processing difficulties. Others have questions about typical developmental milestones, school readiness, academic achievement and learning style. We are prepared to assist you.

Our mission statement says it all- to provide comprehensive, quality and integrated service to you.


The Contact Us tab on our website will link you to our address and Mapquest.

Read More

Topics: C&FD Office Locations

Physical Therapy: Around The House Easter Egg Hunts with Katie Eggleston DPT

Tuesday, Apr 11, 2017 by Child & Family Development

Katie Eggleston DPT, physical therapist at the Pineville office of Child and Family Development, emphasizes that we can improve our health and build motor skills not just in a physical therapy session or gym, but in everyday events and activities already happening around the house.

In April, Katie has ideas about Easter Egg Hunts!  This fun family activity can challenge many gross motor skills as an added bonus! 

  • Squatting to find eggs down low…and then returning to standing without use of hand support on the ground
  • Running to find eggs if your family does a “free for all” race to collect the most eggs
  • Dynamic balance is challenged if the egg hunt is outside on uneven ground
  • Place some eggs up high for children to stand on tiptoes (or even jump!) to retrieve
  • If your egg hunt is indoors, placing some on the staircase to work on leg strength and coordination
  • Environmental awareness for building safety, as your child will be scanning up, down, and all around

Happy Easter!

Have a question about developmental milestones? 704-541-9080 Call to schedule a free phone consultation with a  Physical Therapist

Read More

Topics: C&FD Physical Therapy Services, Katie Eggleston

Occupational therapist, Kati Berlin completes DIR Floortime® course

Monday, Apr 10, 2017 by Child & Family Development

Katie Berlin MS OTR/L, occupational therapist at Child and Family Development- Pineville, recently completed attended an introductory level online course about the Stanley Greenspan DIR Floortime® approach from ICDL

According to the DIR Floortime® website, DIR is the Developmental, Individual-differences, & Relationship-based model that has become the foundation for understanding child development and providing support and intervention that helps children reach their fullest potential.  The DIR® model is a framework that helps therapists, parents and educators conduct comprehensive assessments and develop educational and/or intervention programs tailored to the unique challenges and strengths of each child.


Kati shares that the approach is focused on bolstering foundational skills in cognition, language, social and emotional skills. Typically, it is used with children on the autism spectrum, but can also be used with other children with decreased emotional regulation and social skill difficulties.  The course has greatly impacted her perspective on development of social skills and self regulation. It has also altered the way that she might plan and implement treatment with occupational therapy clients who present with significant functional deficits. Now, her focus is on engagement, imitation, and social reciprocity, rather than skill acquisition. 

She encourages families and colleagues to learn more from their free parent education course here.  

Read more about our pediatric occupational therapy services, here

Have a question about developmental milestones? 704-541-9080 Call to schedule a free phone consultation with a  Occupational Therapist


Read More

Topics: Kati Berlin, C&FD Occupational Therapy Services

Don't Take Our Word For It! Psychologist, Brandyn Street recommended by charter school

Friday, Apr 7, 2017 by Child & Family Development

Brandyn Street, Ph.D. works at Child and Family Development- Pineville as a psychologist. 

Recently, a charter school coordinator shared this message:

"Dr. Street tested another student from here and the family was really happy with all C&FD did.  Sending more clients your way.  You guys are doing it right!"

Read more about Dr. Street's expertise and approach here

Read More

Topics: Brandyn Street, C&FD Psychological Services, C&FD Testimonials

Speech therapist, Hilary Frank completes picky eating food chaining course

Wednesday, Apr 5, 2017 by Child & Family Development

Hilary Frank MA CCC-SLP, speech therapist at Child and Family Development- Pineville, recently attended a course titled Treatment of Picky Eating and Problem Eaters Using Food Chaining Therapy from Northern Speech Services. 

This method trains pediatric therapists to evaluate medical, nutrition, oral motor, sensory and behavioral areas to determine the benefit of food chaining.  Food chaining is a framework of expanding nutrition and diet, starting with a list of safe and accepted foods, modifying/ altering these foods in very small ways and gradually proceeding to an expanded set of accepted and enjoyed foods.

A recent study including 10 children ages 1-14 revealed that the food chaining approach resulted in all children expanding their diet in all cases. This study concludes that Ffod chaining is an effective method in treating extreme food selectivity.

Hilary likes this program because it is evidence-based and encourages the child to feel successful within his/her eating environment. When we consider how many steps and skills are involved in “eating”, we can better understand and appreciate the supports certain children need along the way.    

She plans to use this training to provide helpful strategies for children and families focused on improving nutritional intake and expanding food acceptance. 

Read more about pediatric speech therapy, including feeding and swallowing services, here

Have a question about developmental milestones? 704-541-9080 Call to schedule a free phone consultation with a  Speech Therapist

Read More

Topics: C&FD Speech Therapy Services, Hilary Frank

Occupational Therapy: Out & About at school with Melissa Petcu OTR/L

Tuesday, Apr 4, 2017 by Child & Family Development

Melissa Petcu MS OTR/L, occupational therapist at the Midtown office of Child and Family Development, emphasizes that pediatric occupational therapy is all about "the job of living". Families can capitalize of events and activities already happening when they are out and about in the community to facilitate development and improve skills. In April, she shares:

Have a wiggly student at school? Try these ideas:

  • Sit on a wiggle seat or balance disk during circle time or while in his chair. 
  • Wrap stretchy band around the front chair legs and place the child's feet on it, allowing some wiggle room and movement without getting up from a seat.
  • Prioritize front-of-class seating closer to the teacher, boards and screens to improve focus with less distractions and less auditory and visual stimulation. 

Have a question about developmental milestones? 704-541-9080 Call to schedule a free phone consultation with a  Occupational Therapist

Read More

Topics: Melissa Petcu, C&FD Occupational Therapy Services

Intellectual Disability and Developmental Disability program for preteens and teens

Monday, Apr 3, 2017 by Child & Family Development

Objective  The Healthy Bodies and Relationships program is led by Ashley Kies, Ph.D. LPA, psychologist at the Midtown office of Child and Family Development. It is designed to be an introductory course that explores a range of topics including:

  • anatomy
  • hygiene
  • body safety
  • social skills

Ideal participants are those who have an existing diagnosis of an intellectual disability or a developmental disability (e.g., autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, mitochondrial disease) with lower cognitive ability and a developmental age of at least 8 years old. Participants must be able to:

  • attend to verbally-based instruction
  • engage in group discussions
  • share about his/her own experiences

Dr. Kies introduces topics and guides participants through hands-on activities. Resources and materials are shared with parents to continue practice and teaching between sessions and in the future.

Schedule  As interest exists, schedules will be formed to males and females, ages approximately 11-18.  Weekly attendance is strongly encouraged to build continuity of skills. Attendees make more progress with consistent attendance to review and practice skills.

Cost  Programs are offered in 10 session bundles. Full payment of $500.00 is required at the time of enrollment.  These sessions are not billable to insurance and are non-refundable.  Unexpected provider-canceled sessions will be rescheduled to a designated make-up date and offered at no additional cost.  To ensure optimal placement, a diagnostic interview is required before enrolling to review presenting concerns and medical history. This service may be billable to insurance.  Most of our psychologists are in-network with Aetna and BCBS.   

Contact  For more information, call our office (704-332-4834) or the lead psychologist, Ashley Kies, Ph.D. (704-372-9652) 

Click HERE for an information page. 

Read More

Topics: C&FD Psychological Services, Ashley Kies

Susie Crain, Business Development Manager, celebrates 18 years at C&FD

Friday, Mar 31, 2017 by Child & Family Development

Happy C&FD Anniversary to Susie Crain!

Susie Crain is the Business Development Manager at Child and Family Development.  This month, she celebrates 18 years!   

Each March, she reflects about all of the changes in the therapy industry and in her own C&FD work over the years and recalls, "I think I've had at least 5 titles at 12 workstations in 6 different offices". 

Read More

Child and Family Development welcomes occupational therapist, Rebecca Case

Thursday, Mar 30, 2017 by Child & Family Development

Rebecca Case, MS OTR/L, occupational therapist, joined the Child and Family Development team this month.    

Rebecca received her MS in Occupational Therapy from East Carolina University and BS in Psychology from Georgia Southern University. In 2016, Rebecca completed a 12-week clinical rotation at our Midtown office and joins us now as a full-time pediatric therapist.

She is based at our Pineville office.

Welcome Rebecca!  

Read more about our occupational therapy services here

Have a question about developmental milestones? 704-541-9080 Call to schedule a free phone consultation with a  Occupational Therapist           

Read More

Topics: C&FD Occupational Therapy Services, Rebecca Case

Child and Family Development welcomes Practice Manager, Cori Beard

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017 by Child & Family Development

Cori Beard joined the Child and Family Development team this month.    

Cori holds an Associates degree in Business Management from Southwestern Michigan College and is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication and a minor in Psychology from East Carolina University. She has several years of health care administration experience, most recently at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's TEACCH Autism Program in Charlotte. She supports the team at both the Charlotte and Pineville offices.

She will fit right in with this crowd as an animal and travel lover.  

Welcome Cori!  

Read more about us here.           

Read More

Child and Family Development welcomes occupational therapist, Abby Nguyen

Monday, Mar 27, 2017 by Child & Family Development

Abigail Nguyen, MOT, OTR/L joined the Child and Family Development team this month.    

Abby received a Master of Occupational Therapy from Nova Southeastern University and a BS from the University of Florida.  She has about 10 years of pediatric therapy experience including coursework in SIPT, Sequential Oral Sensory Approach (SOS), Handwriting without Tears and many other clinical focuses. She is a certified Fieldwork Educator for occupational therapy students.  

She works at the Pineville office.

Welcome Abby!  

Read more about our occupational therapy services here.         

Have a question about developmental milestones? 704-541-9080 Call to schedule a free phone consultation with a  Occupational Therapist

Read More

Topics: C&FD Occupational Therapy Services, Abby Nguyen

Inclusion Saturday: March 25

Friday, Mar 24, 2017 by Child & Family Development


Read More
follow us


insights is a helpful blog brought to you by Child & Family Development

Child & Family Development is a multi-disciplinary pediatric clinic serving the needs of Charlotte area children and their families.



  • 4012 Park Road, Suite 200
  • Charlotte, NC
  • 704.332.4834
  • 10516 Park Road
  • Charlotte, NC
  • 704.541.9080

latest news

The information contained in this website is intended to provide general educational information and client education on certain topics only and is not intended to offer healthcare/medical advice. This information should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice from a licensed healthcare professional. Child and Family Development is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information or services you obtain through this website. If you have, or suspect you have, a health problem you should never disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical attention because of something you have read on this website. Never rely on information on this website in place of seeking professional medical advice. If you have questions about a medical condition or seek advice, see your healthcare professional immediately.

Links from our website to other websites are provided as a service to help users find appropriate information. Absolutely no responsibility is taken by Child and Family Development or its employees for the accuracy of the information you may receive from any of the referred links. If you have questions about a medical condition or seek medical advice, contact your healthcare professional.