Child and Family Development (officially) welcomes counselor, Trisha Dyer

Thursday, Dec 1, 2016 by Child & Family Development

Trisha Dyer LPC/A, joined the Child and Family Development team earlier this year and is transitioning to a more permanent role now.  She is a licensed professional counselor associate who works at both the Pineville and Midtown offices.  

After years of volunteering in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, she recognized her interest in working with children on a deeper level in regard to social, emotional and behavioral issues. She returned to school to pursue a Master of Arts in Counseling with a focus in School Counseling at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a specific interest in social issues confronting and confounding children and adolescents and, in particular, bullying. While there, she focused much on classroom guidance, as well as small group sessions.  In the counseling room, she worked individually and in small groups on wide-ranging social, emotional and behavioral issues. Over the last few months at C&FD, she has worked children and adolescents on improving social skills, coping mechanisms, managing ADHD, anxiety and other developmental difficulties. 

Welcome Trisha- officially!  

Read more about our psychological services here.        

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Topics: Psychology, Trisha Dyer

Training for Parents who have kids with ADHD

Wednesday, Nov 30, 2016 by Child & Family Development

A recent article in ADDitude magazine suggests that behavioral parent training (BPT) is beneficial to treat a child's ADHD, improve family relationships and boost the child's social skills.  Essentially, BPT helps parents and caregivers develop house rules and procedures that help everyone.  BPT can be completed in a group or individually with a psychologist.

Some of the focuses of parent training are:

  • Catch the child being good by noticing and rewarding appropriate behavior
  • Create a daily routine, with rules about doing homework, bedtime, getting ready for school in the morning and other key moments of the day
  • Give your child specific rather than general directions (i.e. "Put all of your clothes away" rather than "clean up your room")
  • Minimize distractions in your home, thus minimizing choices to avoid overwhelming choices
  • Create an organized home
  • Help your child break down large tasks and set small, achievable goals that add up to a large accomplishment
  • Establish age-appropriate rewards and discipline

Read more about Child and Family Development psychological services here

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Topics: Psychology

Melissa Petcu, occupational therapist, celebrates 3 years at C&FD

Tuesday, Nov 29, 2016 by Child & Family Development

 

Happy C&FD Anniversary to Melissa Petcu 

Melissa Petcu MS OTR/L is an occupational therapist at the Midtown office. She is celebrating years at Child and Family Development this month.   

Melissa has experience working with children with a variety of neurological and physical diagnoses, including seizure disorders, sensory processing difficulties, cerebral palsy, ADHD, autism, Down syndrome, feeding difficulties, fine motor delays, visual motor deficits and developmental delays. She especially enjoys little ones in the birth through 5 year age range. She values input from parent, caregivers and colleagues and uses a collaborative approach when creating treatment plans to ensure activities and progress can easily be carried over in the child’s natural environment. 

A colleague shares:  

C&FD is lucky to have Melissa Petcu on the team!  She works so hard and compassionately for both clients and multidisciplinary co-workers.  She is such a smart therapist who persistently strives to find workable and realistic solutions for clients and their families.  She is always willing to go the extra mile to promote occupational therapy services and support her colleagues. She has a great rapport with everyone!

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Topics: Melissa Petcu, Occupational Therapy

Promoting handwriting skills in little ones

Monday, Nov 28, 2016 by Child & Family Development

Meghan Davidson-Palmer MS OTR/L, an occupational therapist at the Midtown office of Child and Family Development, recently read a great article from Frog Jump Gazette, a publication from Handwriting Without Tears® (HWT), about how to support handwriting skills in the classroom. The author shared some great tips to promote good handwriting habits at a young age:

  • Use broken crayons (or shorter pencils) which are easier for younger children to grasp and can help promote a better grasp at a young age
  • Encourage kids to form all letters and numbers from the top of the line for better letter and number formation
  • Practice making letters and numbers with HWT fun and interactive wood pieces
  • Incorporate handwriting time into busy classroom or home schedules

Their website has many detailed ideas and tools.

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

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Topics: Occupational Therapy, Meghan Davidson-Palmer

Don't Take Our Word For It! Knowledge & Experience

Wednesday, Nov 23, 2016 by Child & Family Development

Ann Guild MA CCC-SLP is a speech therapist and a swallowing/ feeding difficulties specialist at Child and Family Development- Midtown office. 

A recent client survey provided this praise: "We were extremely pleased with the speech therapy our son received.  Ann is very knowledgeable and experienced.”

Read more about Ann's approach to pediatric therapy here.       

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

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Topics: Ann Guild, Speech Therapy, Testimonials

School placement help from C&FD Educators

Tuesday, Nov 22, 2016 by Child & Family Development

Child and Family Development Educational Specialists have received schooling and advanced training in administering educational evaluations, interpreting data diagnostically, and developing and implementing educational treatment plans. At minimum, they each hold a master’s degree and have extensive clinical experience developing their skill set. Our team has expertise in the treatment of learning disabilities and academic interventions. They are well connected with the educational resources of our community. Perhaps one of their most unique qualifications is that they are experienced in working collaboratively with schools and are knowledgeable about the rules and regulations that govern services within the school system.

So, as part of psychoeducational assessments or during the course of academic support or tutoring intervention, the Educator may recommend exploring different school settings and particular schools to a family. There are many options to consider:

  • Public Schools: These schools are financed by local, state and federal government funds.  In most cases, they must admit all students who live within the borders of their district.  Charter and magnet schools are relatively new sub types of public schools.
  • Charter Schools: They are independently operated public schools started by parents, teachers, community organizations, and for-profit companies. These schools receive tax dollars, but the sponsoring group may also come up with private funding. Charter schools do not charge tuition. These schools must adhere to the basic curricular requirements of the state but are free from many of the regulations that apply to conventional schools. They are not subject to the scrutiny of school boards or government authorities. Considered cutting edge, charter schools usually challenge standard education practices and sometimes specialize in a particular area, such as technology or the arts, or adopt a basic core-subjects approach. Some charter schools specifically target gifted or high-risk kids. They usually have smaller classes and offer more individual attention than conventional public schools. Online charter schools are now also an option.
  • Magnet Schools: These are free public schools that can be highly competitive and highly selective. They are known for special programs and high academic standards. They may specialize in a particular area, such as science or the arts. Students who apply to these schools may go through a rigorous testing and application process. Some magnet schools have boarding facilities to allow students from other communities to attend. Magnet schools were first launched in the 1970s to help desegregate public school systems by encouraging children to attend schools outside their neighborhoods. Student diversity is still an explicit goal of most magnet schools.
  • Public School Choice Programs:This option frees families from having to attend their assigned neighborhood school. Some districts voluntarily offer school choice. Others are required to provide parents with options when a school is failing to meet the standards set by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
  • Private Schools: These schools rely on tuition payments and funds from nonpublic sources such as religious organizations, endowments, grants and charitable donations. These schools select from a pool of students who apply for admission. They may be coed or single sex. About a third of the elementary and secondary schools in the United States are private.
  • Independent Schools: These are private, nonprofit schools governed by boards of trustees. Independent schools draw their funds from tuition payments, charitable contributions, and endowments rather than from taxes or church funds. They may be affiliated with a religious institution but cannot receive funds or governance from them.
  • Parochial Schools: These are church-related schools, most commonly owned and operated by Catholic parishes or dioceses but also by Protestant denominations. Hebrew schools may also be termed parochial. Your child doesn't have to be Catholic or Protestant to attend a parochial school, but he/she will still be required to attend religious education classes and prayer services.
  • Propreitary Schools: These schools are private schools run for profit. This is a relatively new category of school. They do not answer to any board of trustees or elected officials, so they claim to be able to respond quickly to the demands of the market. Tuition is comparable to that of private, nonprofit schools.
  • Home Schools: Some families opt to complete academic studies at home.  They are obligated to meet state standards but have flexibility in many areas.

When student changes schools, whether starting a new grade or moving from one setting to another, our Educators can help. They developed a program called Transitions to support the student and make a plan for success. Read more about Transitions here.

Read more about our Educators here.

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Topics: Mary Froneberger, Marie Arrington, Jessica DeLing, Education, Amy Hanna

Body Sock wrap-up from an occupational therapist

Monday, Nov 21, 2016 by Child & Family Development

Body socks are a fun activity used regularly in occupational therapy.  They are a long-time favorite of occupational therapist Jessica Hoffarth MS OTR/L from Child and Family Development- Midtown office. 

She found this useful article on Growing Hands On Kids that explains the "WHAT" and "HOW" of body socks for both home and classroom use. According to the author:

  • WHAT: For children who crave sensory input, particularly proprioceptive and vestibular input, the sensory body sock is a fun and different way to get this input. Sensory body socks are very stretchy and provide resistance when you move in them. This provides deep pressure through the joints (proprioceptive input) and when you move around in different ways, this provides the vestibular input (balance and movement in space).
  • HOW: Pop Game, Rolling, Bunny Hop Race, Alphabet Game, Quiet Time; There are countless ways to use a body sock!

Jessica adds these ideas:

  • Be mindful when your child is walking around in it that it can be very slippery on hard floors. 
  • In addition to a body sock for quiet time, use deep pressure for calming kids when they are upset, especially for sensory seekers.  I tell a child to hug themselves as hard as he can, to squeeze his hands into fists, or intertwine his fingers and squeeze as hard as he can.  Pulling a body sock tightly around you (to an individual's comfort level) can help make that hug even more soothing. 
  • If you don't have a body sock, try curling up inside of a jersey knit pillow case.  I recommend reinforcing the seams or adding some Velcro to the opening to help it close partially, but this is a good option for an at home version, even with the pillow in it if the child can fit and is properly supervised. 

Learn more about occupational therapy and sensory processing here.

Read the full article here.

Contact our office to schedule a free phone call with our occupational therapists.

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

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Topics: Jessica Hoffarth, Occupational Therapy

Help Your Baby Stand with these tips from physical therapy

Friday, Nov 18, 2016 by Child & Family Development

Is your 14-16 month-old unable to stand alone? According to the Denver Developmental Screening Test- 2nd Edition: 

  • 25% of babies stand alone by 11 months
  • 50% by 11.5 months 
  • 90% by 13.5 months

After mastering sitting and crawling, most babies move onto to standing.  In order for your baby to stand alone, they must have sufficient muscle strength present in the legs, hips and core. If you have noticed your baby struggling with other milestones such as rolling, sitting, and crawling, your baby may not have properly strengthened these muscles over time.

WAYS TO ENCOURAGE STANDING

  • Put your baby in your lap with his/her feet on your legs. For more support, face your baby towards you leaning against your chest. For less support, face your baby away from you. Help your baby rock side to side or bounce up and down while supporting their upper trunk.
  • Look for opportunities for your child to play with children who are just slightly more developmentally advanced than your child. Watching other children as they figure out how to stand can encourage your child to try as well.
  • Help your baby crawl up stairs to strengthen their leg muscles.
  • If your baby avoids all contact between their feet and the floor, place them in a sitting or supine position. While in this position, gently pound their feet on the   floor so that they can get used to the feeling. You can also massage their feet using lotion or powder.
  • Lay your baby on their back. Grab their feet and gently jostle your baby by pulling and pushing them through their legs to get some “weight bearing” through their legs while laying down.  
  • Place your baby on a medicine ball lying on their stomach. Gently roll the ball backwards till their feet touch the floor and they are in a standing position. Repeat this sequence several times.

Typical child development follows a predictable pattern. Still, it takes time for babies to develop the necessary skills and muscle strength needed to perform gross motor tasks, such as standing. Certain babies simply take longer progressing through these milestones, especially babies born prematurely. If you are still concerned about your baby’s development, here are some early warning signs that should not be ignored:

EARLY WARNING SIGNS

  • Not rolling by 7 months of age
  • Not pushing up on straight arms, lifting head and shoulders, by 8 months of age
  • Not sitting independently by 10 months of age
  • Not crawling 10 months of age
  • Not pulling to stand by 12 months of age
  • Not standing alone by 14 months 
  • Not using both sides of body equally
  • Not standing when supported by 9 months or later

NEED HELP?

Contact our office to schedule a free phone consultation with a physical therapist.  Learn more about pediatric physical therapy here.

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

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Topics: Amy Sturkey, Physical Therapy

Prematurity Series: the school years

Thursday, Nov 17, 2016 by Child & Family Development

November is Prematurity Awareness Month!

March Of Dimes has released some new and concerning information about an increase in preterm birth rates for the first time in more than 8 years, as well as statistics about North Carolina and the US.  Visit their website to read more.

During this month, read the Child and Family Development blog series about prematurity and it's serious and predictable effects on child development during:

  • nursery years
  • preschool years
  • school years 

A baseline evaluation and ongoing assessment of children born prematurely can identify challenge areas and guide a proactive plan for a child to develop the necessary skills to be successful at every age. There are a number of ways that prematurity can affect children in the early stages of growth, especially during the SCHOOL YEARS.   Research indicates that children born three months prematurely are 3-4 times more likely to struggle in school than full term peers and can have learning disabilities that persist while teenagers. One study found higher levels of anxiety, depression and aggression and lower self esteem too.  

  • May be described as clumsy or uncoordinated
  • May have difficulty acquiring complex motor skills such as skipping, hopping or doing jumping jacks, as well as poor physical endurance when compared to peers
  • May have difficulty following directions in the classroom, remembering assignments and learning to read

Our multidisciplinary team recommends that all children born prematurely be assessed for developmental skills and educational readiness during infancy, the preschool years and early school years.  Even children who demonstrate typical development during early years remain at risk for delays and may experience significant challenges as they get older.  

Early referral and early intervention allows potential problems to be identified and monitored to lessen the impact on academics and other areas.  An early and thorough plan will answer parent's questions, establish a support system and ensure optimal development.   

 TALK  TO A  THERAPIST 

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Struggling at school? Try our Educational Services.

Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 by Child & Family Development

 

Educational specialists have a unique role at Child & Family Development.  They work closely with psychologists and other developmental therapists to understand the learning styles and needs of school-aged children, adolescents and young adults during psycho-educational evaluations.

We help kids, adolescents and young adults with difficulties, including but not limited to:

  • ADHD and other attention difficulties
  • Dyslexia
  • Dysgraphia
  • Learning Differences and Learning Disabilities
  • Non Verbal Learning Disorder

In addition to psycho-educational evaluations, our team offers diagnostic educational support and tutoring.  Most clients have weekly appointments, but intensive and consultative sessions are also available. Several treatment services are available, including:

  • Academic Coaching
  • College Placement, Preparation and Application Process
  • Educational Therapy
  • End-Of-Grade (EOG) Preparation 
  • Organizational Skills 
  • School Placement and Transitions 
  • School Project Support
  • Schoolwork/ Homework Help and Planning 
  • Social Skills Support 
  • Summertime Academic Intensives
  • Tutoring 
 

Learn more about educational testing and tutoring services here

Contact our office to schedule an Intake with an educator at Child and Family Development. 

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Topics: Mary Froneberger, Marie Arrington, Jessica DeLing, Education, Amy Hanna

Occupational therapist, Katie Berlin relates fresh research about handwriting 

Tuesday, Nov 15, 2016 by Child & Family Development

Katie Berlin MS OTR/L, occupational therapist at Child and Family Development- Pineville, reviewed a common sense article titled "5 Brain-Based Reasons To Teach Handwriting In Schools" from Psychology Today.  Believe it or not, this is a debate!

Katie shares that the information is a breath of fresh air to the occupational therapists who have observed some schools opting out of introducing pre-writing, printing and cursive to elementary aged students.  The author, J. Richard Gentry, Ph.D, offers supporting research that highlights the benefits of handwriting, including that it helps kids to learn their letters for reading, be better writers and spellers. His main points include:

  1. Handwriting helps kids develop reading circuitry in their brains.
  2. Handwriting makes better writers and spellers and predicts reading and academic success.
  3. Handwriting makes both children—and adults—smarter! Close those laptops!
  4. Start out with teacher modeling.
  5. Teach handwriting directly and explicitly.

He emphasizes that keyboarding- rather than writing new information- is less effective when it comes to remembering information and “synthesizing” it, or building the new information into what you already know.  Of course, an occupational therapist will recommend keyboarding for those who are unable to learn manuscript, but this article helps to support the idea that keyboarding should be an accommodation and not the norm in the classroom.

Katie and our other occupational therapy team members offer evaluations and treatment options that determine strength and coordination for pre-writing, printing, cursive and keyboarding.  Handwriting Without Tears® (HWT) is one popular program.  Read more about our HWT services here.

Read full article here.   

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

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Topics: Kati Berlin, Occupational Therapy

Ashley Kies attends seminar about autism and behavior management 

Monday, Nov 14, 2016 by Child & Family Development

Ashley Costner Kies PhD LPA NCSP, psychologist at Child and Family Development- Midtown, attended an informative seminar offered by the Autism Society of North Carolina this month called "Managing Frustration and Anxiety and Teaching Social Skills with Jed Baker".

While the seminar was designed for parents and teachers, Dr. Kies enjoyed Jed Baker's suggestions and plans to will apply the information to her work with young students, especially those with autism spectrum disorder. She especially liked the parent-friendly language. She also purchased and will recommend his book titled No More Meltdowns: Positive Strategies for Managing and Preventing Out-Of-Control Behavior. The book offers an easy-to-follow, 4-step model that will improve your everyday relationships with the children in your life:

  • Managing your own expectations
  • Learning strategies to calm a meltdown in the moment
  • Understanding why a meltdown occurs
  • Creating plans to prevent future meltdowns
Jed Baker has several other helpful books that are available on his website, Future Horizons and Amazon.   
 
Four C&FD psychologists offer ASD evaluations and support services.  Learn more here

 

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Topics: Psychology, Ashley Costner Kies

Occupational Therapy: November Around-The-House with Melissa Petcu

Friday, Nov 11, 2016 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 around the house to facilitate development and improve skills. In November, she shares:

Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away! Now is the time to focus on the things you are grateful for before getting into the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  With the spirit of thanks on your heart and mind, take some extra time with your children to incorporate their occupational therapy (or just developmental skill building) goals into the season. 

  1. Practice handwriting and written expression by making a list of the things they are grateful for.
  2. Picky eater? Nothing can be better than helping mom make a new recipe. Especially one of those holiday dishes that your child isn’t offered frequently. Being involved with the cooking is great exposure to the new dish.
  3. Use those visual skills by collecting and sorting items for centerpieces. Leaves, flowers, pine cones, berries, and acorns are readily available this time of year.
  4. Children of all ages can help with setting the table, cooking, clearing the table and washing dishes. Involving the children in these chores boosts confidence and provides that vestibular/ sensory"heavy work" that helps us feel centered and organized.

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

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Topics: Melissa Petcu, Occupational Therapy

Prematurity Series: the preschool years

Thursday, Nov 10, 2016 by Child & Family Development

November is Prematurity Awareness Month!

March Of Dimes has released some new and concerning information about an increase in pre-term birth rates for the first time in more than 8 years, as well as statistics about North Carolina and the US.  Visit their website to read more.

During this month, read the Child and Family Development blog series about prematurity and it's serious and predictable effects on child development during:

  • nursery years
  • preschool years
  • school years 

A baseline evaluation and ongoing assessment of children born prematurely can identify challenge areas and guide a proactive plan for a child to develop the necessary skills to be successful at every age. There are a number of ways that prematurity can affect children in the early stages of growth, especially during the PRESCHOOL YEARS.   

  • Mild delays in gross motor skills make it difficult for children to keep up with peers as academic and physical demands increase  
  • These children may demonstrate poor safety awareness during motor activities, appear clumsy with frequent falls and display immature running, jumping and balance
  • Kids may get behind in age-appropriate social skills, speech intelligibility or vocabulary organization and understanding of contingent behavior, i.e. consequences

Our multidisciplinary team recommends that all children born prematurely be assessed for developmental skills and educational readiness during infancy, the preschool years and early school years.  Even children who demonstrate typical development during early years remain at risk for delays and may experience significant challenges as they get older.  

Early referral and early intervention allows potential problems to be identified and monitored to lessen the impact on academics and other areas.  An early and thorough plan will answer parent's questions, establish a support system and ensure optimal development.   

 TALK  TO A  THERAPIST 

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Brandyn Street, psychologist, celebrates 2 years at C&FD

Wednesday, Nov 9, 2016 by Child & Family Development

 

Happy C&FD Anniversary to Brandyn Street 

Brandyn Street, PsyD is a psychologist at the Pineville office. She is celebrating years at Child and Family Development this month.   

Dr. Street provides evidence-based therapeutic and assessment services to children and adolescents. She strives to create a comfortable therapeutic environment to support and empower clients and their families in achieving their goals.  Her specialized training includes assessment and treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, ADHD, adjustment disorders, behavioral difficulties and autism spectrum disorder.  

A colleague shares:  

Brandyn is quite an asset to the C&FD psychology- education team. She is very knowledgeable in child psychology and does an excellent job of communicating with parents, as well as her multidisciplinary colleagues. Brandyn is also so fun to work with! 

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Topics: Brandyn Street, Psychology

Technology and Learning Disabilities, from a teacher's perspective

Tuesday, Nov 8, 2016 by Child & Family Development

Mo Froneberger MAT, educational specialist at the Pineville office of Child and Family Development, recently read a great article from Frog Jump Gazette, a publication from Handwriting Without Tears®, about personalized learning for core technology skills. The author shared some great suggestions for parents and teachers including: 

  • What to look for:
    • Find tools that are flexible and promote self-directed learning to help students develop independence and confidence in their abilities.
    • Find grade-level and developmentally appropriate activities that engage children’s sense of curiosity.
    • Select digital programs that enable strong school-to-home connections.
  • How to get started:
    • Assess students before and after each lesson or activity to better understand each child’s needs and skill level 
    • Set the homework/ classroom pace, and stop and review lessons with students before moving on to the next activity
    • Allow more advanced students to skip ahead so they can continue to challenge themselves

This article emphasizes the importance of students developing computer-based skills for independent learning. These skills are critical to all students especially those with learning disabilities. 

The educators at Child and Family Development offer treatment services related to technology including use of audible books, Dragon Naturally Speaking for transcription and many apps that help with learning and executive functioning and organization.   

Read more about how an educator can help here.

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Topics: Mary Froneberger, Education

Katie Eggleston DPT attends Charlotte mobility and seating conference

Monday, Nov 7, 2016 by Child & Family Development

Katie Eggleston DPT, physical therapist at Child and Family Development- Pineville, attended this fall's NuFair by NuMotion.   

She attended various session about mobility, seating, funding and best clinical practices.   Katie helps children, teens and young adults select appropriate equipment choices and will use this knowledge and products to discern the best recommendations.

Session 1: Functional Mobility for Kids

  • Independent mobility can increase a child’s learning ability
  • The impact of intellectual disability on early mobility 
  • Pros/cons of manual vs. power wheelchairs for young children
  • Communicating about mobility equipment and funding sources

Session 2: Pediatric Seating- Clinical and Technical Aspects

  • Medical diagnoses and seating 
  • Primary and secondary equipment supports
  • Materials used for seating components
  • Contoured seating

Session 3: Coding and Reimbursement 

Session 4: Standing Wheelchairs- Applying the Evidence for Best Practice and Functional Outcomes

  • Medical diagnoses that would benefit from standing chairs
  • Research that supports the use of standing chairs
  • Benefits of a standing wheelchair compared to standard wheelchair and stationary stander
  • Medical benefits of passive standing

She also connected with various Charlotte vendors including but were not limited to:

  • Columbia Medical- P Pod positioner and Spirit Car Seat
  • Drive Medical
  • KI Mobility
  • Leggero- adaptive strollers
  • NuMotion
  • Ottobock
  • Permobil
  • Quantum
  • SleepSafe beds
  • Symmetric Designs- Free form Seating
  • Zippie

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

 

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Topics: Physical Therapy, Katie Eggleston

Occupational therapist, Kim Toomer shares benefits of working on a vertical surface

Friday, Nov 4, 2016 by Child & Family Development

Kim Toomer MOT OTR/L, occupational therapist at Child and Family Development, reviewed a fascinating article about the benefits of kids working on a vertical surface, rather than at a desk and/or looking down at a screen. This is especially true in these days of technology, which is impacting people's posture and vision.

The author, asserts these advantages:

  • shoulder/elbow stability
  • bilateral coordination
  • midline crossing
  • wrist extension/pencil grasp
  • visual attention/ hand-eye coordination
  • spatial awareness
  • sensory
  • core strength and posture

They also provided some easy and sample activities to do along a wall in different positions (seated/standing/kneeling):

  • play with stickers
  • build a Lego wall
  • tape a paper and trace/draw
  • draw/write on a dry erase board
  • draw/write on a mirror
  • draw/write on a smart board

Kim incorporates many of these philosophies and tasks into pediatric occupational therapy sessions.  In addition to the benefits, she finds that kids really like it, as they get the feeling of being allowed to do something out of the ordinary!

Read full article here.   

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

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Topics: Occupational Therapy, Kim Toomer

Prematurity Series: the nursery years

Thursday, Nov 3, 2016 by Child & Family Development

November is Prematurity Awareness Month!

March Of Dimes has released some new and concerning information about an increase in pre-term birth rates for the first time in more than 8 years, as well as statistics about North Carolina and the US.  Visit their website to read more.

During this month, read the Child and Family Development blog series about prematurity and it's serious and predictable effects on child development during:

  • nursery years
  • preschool years
  • school years 

A baseline evaluation and ongoing assessment of children born prematurely can identify challenge areas and guide a proactive plan for a child to develop the necessary skills to be successful at every age. There are a number of ways that prematurity can affect children in the early stages of growth, while in the NURSERY SETTING.  

  • Little ones may have poor trunk stability, strength and coordination, resulting in delayed rolling, sitting, crawling, walking, talking and hand use
  • Feeding and communication may also be compromised in preterm infants
  • Inefficient breast or bottle feeding may result in poor weight gain and a slowed transition to textured food with a limited diet or picky eating.  There children may also display a decreased amount and variety of babbling and delayed use of single words

Our multidisciplinary team recommends that all children born prematurely be assessed for developmental skills and educational readiness during infancy, the preschool years and early school years.  Even children who demonstrate typical development during early years remain at risk for delays and may experience significant challenges as they get older.  

Early referral and early intervention allows potential problems to be identified and monitored to lessen the impact on academics and other areas.  An early and thorough plan will answer parent's questions, establish a support system and ensure optimal development.   

 TALK  TO A  THERAPIST 

Read More

Improving your child's language: tips from an expert speech therapist

Wednesday, Nov 2, 2016 by Child & Family Development


Stephanie Tolley, MS CCC-SLP
is a speech therapist at the Pineville office of Child and Family Development.

She often shares basic tips with parents and caregivers about how to improve a child's communication skills:

WHAT TO DO

  • Use short sentences: Even if comprehension is good, speaking in 2-5 word sentences may allow a child to focus on the words more easily.
  • Talk often: help a child learn by describing everyday activities as they happen (preparing meals, getting into the car, playing at the park)
  • Talk about what YOU are doing ("I'm fastening your seatbelt", "I'm pushing the swing")
  • Talk about what THE CHILD is doing ("Drinking juice", "You are sitting in the back seat")
  • Accept the child's attempts to talk: Even if the words are not clear and sentences are not complete, respond or answer anway to reinforce the effort.
  • Expand on what the child says by repeating and adding more information: ("Mama eat", you say "Mom eats pizza")
  • Introduce new words: Talk about what you see in the environment, including naming people, objects and actions happening around you.
  • Expect the child to talk: If the child doesn't seem to know the words, provide a model and encourage a response: ("Want juice?" and wait for child to say "Juice")

WHAT NOT TO DO

  • Don't ask a lot of questions, such as "What's this?"; Children learn more easily when adults talk with them.  Instead, label and describe "You have apple juice"
  • Don't ask a child to repeat; Rather than "Say book", you can label and describe "Here is your train book"
  • Don't anticipate the child's needs; Create opportunities for child to request or describe on his own ("Juice please", "Turn the page")

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

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Topics: Stephanie Tolley, Speech Therapy

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

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