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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

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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.

May is Better Speech and Hearing Month!

Monday, May 2, 2016 by Child & Family Development


May is Better Speech and Hearing Month and we are celebrating with our team.  


  • Amy Elder MA CCC-SLP
  • Ann Guild MA CCC-SLP
  • Allison Parker MA CCC-SLP
  • Melinda Schatz MS CCC-SLP


  • Kristin Lyman MA CCC-SLP
  • Lisa Peterson MS CCC-SLP
  • Stephanie Tolley MS CCC-SLP 

Click here for more information about the speech therapists at Child and Family Development!

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, Allison Parker, Amy Elder, Ann Guild, Melinda Schatz, Speech Therapy, Kristin Lyman, Lisa Peterson

Occupational therapists recommend Therapressure for sensory defensiveness

Friday, Apr 29, 2016 by Child & Family Development

The occupational therapy team at Child and Family Development often recommends the Therapressure Program™ Protocol for treating sensory defensiveness.

This protocol was developed Patricia Wilbarger M.Ed., OTR, FAOTA and there are many online resources to learn more:

WHEN?  For optimal benefit, the Therapressure Program (both the deep touch input with a brush and the joint proprioception) should be applied every 90-120 minutes or 8-10 times per day.  If performed less often, the benefit may be lessened.  Each routine takes approximately 3-5 minutes.  The program may be used before the 2 hours are up if the child is having difficulty with waking up after having a night terror, acts overwhelmed, and before/after a difficult transition.  The objective is to keep the calming input in the child’s system to help the child remain in optimal zone of sensory modulation (calm and alert and not overly aroused).  

HOW?  Deep touch input is provided with a specially recommended brush using firm, even pressure.  Do not sweep with the brush.  Hold the brush horizontally.  Think of steam cleaning and press hard enough to bend the bristles.  You may brush over clothing if you pull the clothing tight to maximize the pressure.  Effectiveness is lessened over clothing. 

  • Begin with the arms, then hands, back, legs, and feet
  • Spread your fingers over the brush to apply pressure across the entire surface of the brush.
  • Use long, even strokes in an up and down motion covering as much area as possible

Joint Proprioception immediately follows the deep touch input with the brush.

  • Shoulders: Put one hand on top of child’s shoulder and the other hand at the elbow.  Push towards the shoulder 10 quick compressions.
  • Elbows: With one hand grasp arm just above the elbow and with the other, grasp the child’s forearm.  Push towards the elbow 10 quick compressions while keeping the elbow straight. 
  • Wrists: With one hand grasp just above the wrist and the other hand grasps the child’s hand. Push the hand gently towards the wrist 10 times.
  • Hips/Knees/Ankles: Place one hand firmly over the hip bone and the other hand at the base of the foot.  Push the foot towards the hip, keeping the knees straight, for 10 quick compressions. 
  • Fingers/toes: Place one hand across the knuckles of the fingers/toes and with the other hand gently cup the tops of the fingers/toes and gently push towards the knuckles 10 times. 
  • Back/Chest: Place one hand on the back, between the shoulder blades and place the other hand on the breastbone.  Gently push both hands down and in at the same time 3 times (not 10 times)

 Additional sensory diet recommendations are provided by an occupational therapist.

  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

Autism: early diagnosis and intervention

Thursday, Apr 28, 2016 by Child & Family Development

    April is Autism Awareness Month! 

Allison Parker MA CCC-SLP is a speech therapist at Child and Family Development and works at our Midtown office.  She works with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and recently reviewed the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) article about ASD diagnosis criteria, the early signs and the importance of early intervention. 

The article focuses on identifying at-risk infants and asserts that recent reports show that characteristics may be seen in the 1st and 2nd year of life, especially:

  • reduced eye contact
  • reduced babbling
  • feeding issues 

The article promotes awareness and intervention, especially beneficial for parents to become better advocates for their kids over their lifespan and to be more aware of available community services.  

Allison shared that if there is one thing she could tell parents, it is that early intervention is key to improving their child's outcome. This article discusses the benefits of an early diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder in children and how important it is to be aware of the signs as early as 1-2 years of age. Many times, SLPs are the ones who make a referral for an autism assessment since language delays are such a huge part of the diagnosis. Making parents aware of these "red flags" helps them better advocate for their children and receive early intervention, possibly improving outcomes. 

The ASHA Leader has the full article online in April, as part of Autism Awareness Month.

C&FD speech therapists offer free 15-minute phone consultations to parents who have questions about their child's communication skills.  

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: Allison Parker, Speech Therapy

Autism and Medications: a local resource

Tuesday, Apr 26, 2016 by Child & Family Development

April is Autism Awarness Month!



Brandyn Street PsyD  is a psychologist at the Pineville office of Child and Family Development and one of 3 Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) experts, offering diagnostic evaluations and related services. 

Recently, she learned of a new community resource for people with autism who need medications. GPS Pharmacy customizes orders, including:

  • offer specific formulations that are gluten and casein free, as well as free of carb fillers
  • compound melatonin drops and other items in various flavors
  • can combine and add various derivatives for health benefits
  • make creams, oral suspensions, troches, popsicles and powder packets

We think these services will be especially helpful for children.  

To learn more about their services, click here.  

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Topics: Chris Vrabel, Brandyn Street, Psychology

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

Monday, Apr 25, 2016 by Child & Family Development


Melissa Petcu MS OTR/L, occupational therapist at the Midtown office, 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 April, she shares:

"I’m stuck in the kitchen a lot these days- cleaning bottles, wiping up the baby’s tray after meal time, making snacks, making dinner…. I know I’m not alone with this.  So often I allow my baby to play in the Tupperware cabinet while I’m loading the dishwasher (hey it keeps him out of the dishwasher!) or let him bang on pots. So in the spirit of spending so much time in the kitchen and trying to occupy children, I thought I would send out a list of activities that can be completed with kitchen items.


  • String cheerios on a dry spaghetti noodle
  • Make a dry pasta necklace by stringing different shaped pasta on a string
  • Use a baster to fill muffin tin or ice cube tray with colored water
  • Use tweezers to put small pom poms into ice cube tray
  • Put pipe cleaners through holes of a colander
  • Weave ribbon on a kitchen extension rack


  • Use straws to complete games such as blowing a pom poms across the kitchen table or sucking a bingo chip long enough to hold it on the end of the straw and then place in a container


  • Follow a recipe to make home-made play dough or something yummy 
  • Pour water, dry rice and dry beans into different containers
  • Use different kitchen tools such as a masher, dropper, fork or plastic wrap to paint


  • Flip bean bags with a spatula. You could even make the bean bags with dried beans!

An occupational therapist provides practical suggestions for parents and caregivers in a home program. 

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

Autism Spectrum Disorder evaluations at C&FD

Friday, Apr 22, 2016 by Child & Family Development

April is Autism Awarness Month!

Three psychologists at Child and Family Development offer Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) evaluations and related services.

  • Devon Redmond PhD
  • Brandyn Street PsyD
  • Chris Vrabel PhD

ASD primarily affects three areas of behavior:

  • communication
  • social interactions or connectedness
  • behavioral rigidity

Because autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed based on behavior, the evaluation includes both formal assessments, as well as structured play and interaction scenarios.  Standardized tests are used for this purpose, and may include:

  • Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition (ADOS-2)
  • Autism Spectrum Rating Scales (ASRS)
  • Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ) 
  • Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS)
  • Vineland Adaptive Behavior System-Second Edition (Vineland)
  • Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Fifth Edition (WISC-V)
  • Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence- Fourth Edition (WPPSI-IV)

The Wechsler scales are widely used and broadly accepted tests of cognitive skills for children with and without developmental delays or learning differences.  The ADOS is a semi-structured assessment that specifically examines those behaviors commonly associated with autism.  Other standardized instruments and informal measures may be used as needed to determine the presence of the behavioral characteristics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Of course, each evaluation is designed to address the particular needs of each child and family. In addition to addressing the impact of behaviors often associated with autism, comprehensive evaluations may include an assessment of cognitive and intellectual skills, educational performance, social/emotional adjustment and independent living skills.

Similar to our Psychological-Educational evaluations, an ASD evaluation will include an Intake appointment with the parents or caregivers, several evaluation sessions, and an Interpretative Parent Conference providing results and recommendations.

The cost of the evaluation depends on several factors, including:

  • age of the child
  • the complexity of the testing
  • the unique needs of each child

Typically, testing is completed over three sessions. At times, two sessions are adequate. Our focus is on providing the best testing environment and ensuring that each child has the time and energy to do their very best. As a part of a multi-disciplinary practice, we can also assist in coordination of care with other therapists, including speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, educators and a psychiatrist.

Our April 22 Autism Conference in Charlotte will feature Dr. Gary Mesibov, a renowned expert.  This day-long conference is focused on understanding the neurological differences that research has identified between people with ASD and typical learners and then adjusting educational, clinical, and community-based programs to more closely match the learning styles and needs of those with ASD. The presentations will describe some of the learning differences that have been identified in people with ASD (referred to as The Culture of Autism) and show how these can be accommodated by making evidence-based appropriate adaptations in how interventions are created and delivered. Emphasis will be on strategies for teaching skills that will be needed to help those with ASD to achieve the highest quality of life possible and also on reviewing new approaches that are on the horizon.

AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER CONFERENCE Friday, April 22, 2016 for parents & professionals CLICK for info

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Topics: Chris Vrabel, Brandyn Street, Devon Redmond, Psychology, Autism Spectrum Disorder Conference 2016

Handwriting makes us smarter!

Thursday, Apr 21, 2016 by Child & Family Development

Marion Wilm OTR/L C/NDT is the most experienced and tenured occupational therapist at Child and Family Development and works at our Pineville office.  Over her 20+ year career, written expression has changed a lot (from handwriting to typing to keyboarding to smart phones and more!).  She continues to put an emphasis on the importance and benefits of handwriting, printed and cursive. There is more and more evidence that people who take notes by hand retain and process the information more fully.  

Recently, the Wall Street Journal published an article "Can Handwriting Make You Smarter?" by Robert Lee Hotz.  It summarizes several studies on this topic and asserts that while laptops and organizer apps make pen and paper seem antique, handwriting appears to focus classroom attention and boost learning in a way that typing notes on a keyboard does not.  Students who took handwritten notes generally outperformed students who typed their notes via computer, researchers at Princeton University and the University of California- Los Angeles found. Compared with those who type their notes, people who write them out in longhand appear to learn better, retain information longer, and more readily grasp new ideas, according to experiments by other researchers who also compared note-taking techniques.

Marion agrees that the physical act of handwriting rather than typing embeds the information more deeply in our memory and improves the ability to organize information.  This improves the ability to recall information during tests and thus made the students appear “smarter”.  Occupational Therapists continue to work with children in learning how to write-- and type!  

Read full article here.     

Several of our occupational therapists are trained in Handwriting Without Tears® (HWT) and offer individual and group sessions.  

Click here to learn more about HWT. 

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: Marion Wilm, Occupational Therapy

OAH Summer Tips from the Psychology Team

Wednesday, Apr 20, 2016 by Child & Family Development

As the school year draws to a close, the Child and Family Development team of psychologists like this tips from the US Department of Health and Human Services- Office of Adolescent Health about having a health summer.   

These months can be a great time to provide youth new opportunities and catch up on their healthcare visits. 

  • Give youth a say and let them take action. Teens are establishing  their own identities and can benefit from selecting something they are passionate and invested in.  
  • Connect adolescents to high quality care. Preventive care helps people maintain their physical and mental health and catch potential issues early. 
  • Foster healthy habits. Warmer weather brings new options for fruits and vegetables as well as additional time outside. Healthy eating and exercise in the adolescent years can establish healthy habits for years to come. 

Find more information on this and other adolescent topics on their website

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Topics: Psychology

Autism Conference Vendor Spotlight

Monday, Apr 18, 2016 by Child & Family Development

Child and Family Development is pleased to spotlight the vendors for the upcoming Autism Spectrum Disorder Conference: A Multidisciplinary Review of Current Research and Interventions.  Click on each name to learn more about the organizations. 

Courtagen Life Sciences

At Courtagen, we understand that finding answers about complicated neurological and metabolic diseases can be a quest for many parents and a challenge for their doctors. Courtagen tests help to uncover your child’s unique genetic profile, which may make a real difference in the explanation of their symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and day-to-day quality of life. 


Fundanoodle is an education readiness program designed by pediatric occupational therapists and elementary school teachers to develop and improve the motor skills needed for success in and out of the classroom. Fundanoodle places an emphasis on the foundation skills that impact nearly every aspect of life.  The benefits of Fundanoodle are broad based and lifelong because they enhance the skills and abilities used in everyday living.  

North Carolina Connections Academy

North Carolina Connections Academy is a tuition-free virtual public school for students K-10.  New to North Carolina, our schools have been in existence since 2001. Currently, more than 60,000 enrolled students study from home or wherever there’s an Internet connection. Our mission is to provide a personalized approach to education that prepares students for a future filled with possibilities. We tailor instruction to the needs, learning styles, and interests of every student, so each can reach his or her own potential.  

Philips Academy

Philips Academy is a community of learning unlike any other in Charlotte. Designed specifically to meet the special needs of students requiring a life-centered approach to education, our school offers a unique combination of remediation, practical instruction and community-based application.  Our mission is to provide our students with the academic, occupational and social skills needed to be self-reliant, confident and contributing members of their communities. 

TEACCH Autism Program

TEACCH Autism Program provides services such as diagnostic evaluations, parent training and parent support groups, social play and recreation groups, individual counseling for higher-functioning clients, and supported employment. In addition, TEACCH Autism Program conducts training and provides consultation for teachers, residential care providers, and other professionals. Research activities include psychological, educational, and biomedical studies.

We look forward to learning more at the conference in Charlotte on Friday!

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Topics: Autism Spectrum Disorder Conference 2016

What is Occupational Therapy?

Monday, Apr 18, 2016 by Child & Family Development



Occupational therapy is all about the "job of living". 

The primary role of the occupational therapist in pediatrics is to help children play, grow, and develop many of the skills that will enable them to enjoy a satisfying adult life.  OTs do this through the knowledgeable selection and use of everyday activities (occupations) to evaluate and enhance children’s development and competence.  

We help children, teens and young adults with behavioral, developmental, neurological and physical deficits gain skills and learn to function with as much independence as possible.  Therapy visits might focus on helping kids learn to eat, hold a pencil, write letters and words, cut a straight line, get dressed, brush teeth, stay organized and focused in the classroom or on the playground, manage sensory input and their own behaviors, as well as stretch and strengthen their muscles.  In other words, we help children with everyday activities.  

If you notice difficulties in one or more of these areas, an evaluation and treatment may be appropriate:

  • Behavior
  • Developmental Skill Acquisition 
  • Delayed motor or self-care skills
  • Feeding 
  • Motor Planning
  • Motor 
  • Sensory Processing
  • Visual Perception 

Some of our occupational therapy specialty services are:

Click here for more information on the Child and Family Development occupational therapists at our Charlotte and Pineville offices!

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: Marion Wilm, Jessica Hoffarth, Melissa Petcu, Abbey Wash, Katie Haywood, Kati Berlin, Megan Bevington, Courtney Stanley, Occupational Therapy, Kim Toomer, Meghan Dooley

Brooke Bostic, Client Services Specialist, celebrates 4 years at C&FD

Friday, Apr 15, 2016 by Child & Family Development


Happy C&FD Anniversary to Brooke Bostic 

Brooke is a Client Services Specialist and is celebrating 4 years at Child and Family Development this month.   

She oversees much of the referrals process and works at both the Midtown and Pineville offices. The lady does it all!  

A colleague shares:  

Brooke B is a pleasure to work with!  

She contributes to a wonderful team atmosphere we have in the front office. 

She knows how to get the job done. 

She is open to new ideas and always willing to answer any question even when its been asked more than once. 

It is truly and pleasure to work with Brooke and one of the many reasons I enjoy my job.

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Teens and Screens: research review and advice from a psychologist

Thursday, Apr 14, 2016 by Child & Family Development

Amanda Cummings PhD is a psychologist at the Pineville office of Child and Family Development.  Dr. Cummings works regularly with children and teens, as well as their parents and caregivers.  These days, disagreement over screen time is a common issue.   She helps families find a common plan around computers and other devices by sharing research and recommendations.  

A recent article from Psychology Today lists the dangers of too much screen time, including:

  • Disrupts sleep and desynchronizes the body clock  
  • Desensitizes the brain's reward system 
  • Produces "light at night"
  • Induces stress reactions
  • Overloads sensory system, fractures attention and depletes mental reserves
  • Reduces physical activity levels and exposure to "green time"

Dr. Cummings shares:

Related to fostering healthy habits, it is important that parents and kids themselves realize the importance of limiting screen time.  This has important implications for mood, self-regulation and sleep.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, television and screen-time should be avoided for infants and children under age 2 and limited to 1-2 hours of “high quality” screen time for children and teens.  Simply because a teen is older and has more freedom does not mean that parents should not put limits on their screen-time activities.  Parents should aim to provide a structure at home that promotes screen-free activities, such as by having games and books readily available and limiting the number of TVs in the home.  TVs or iPads should not be in children’s private bedrooms.   Children and teens should spend most of their free time outdoor playing, reading, engaging in hobbies and using their imaginations in free play.  Spending time in more productive ways will naturally help limit the free time they have to use electronic devices.

She likes the idea of creating a reading nook (no, not the e-reader!) in a home or school, that is a dedicated space for shared reading and discussions, books and other screen-free activities.    Read more from here.  

Our team of 7 psychologists recommends an emphasis on GREEN TIME over SCREEN TIME, especially in the upcoming summer months.  Give us a call for assistance in making a plan. 

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Topics: Psychology, Amanda Cummings

Speech Therapy Social Skills Groups

Wednesday, Apr 13, 2016 by Child & Family Development

Amy Elder MA CCC-SLP, a speech therapist at the Midtown office of Child and Family Development, often works with children and teens to improve social skills.  When appropriate, she forms speech and language-based SOCIAL SKILLS GROUPS to expand opportunities for practice and friendships. 


Groups are for children who struggle during interactions with others.  Participants focus on practical conversational skills, such as:

  • Greetings
  • Social awareness
  • Turn taking
  • Emotions
  • Expressing themselves
  • Non-verbal communications
  • Responding appropriately
  • Problem solving scenarios


These groups are ongoing, so new clients may join in at anytime.  Up to 4 participants are grouped by age range and speech-language abilities.   


Families may use available insurance benefits.  Regular deductibles and co-pays apply.  Prior Authorization, medical necessity approval and evaluations are required, as applicable by funding source.  Families may also pay privately.  Group services are $50/ session.      


Amy Elder MA CCC-SLP  • • 704-332-4834 ext. 122 

Currently, the group for 5-6-year-olds has an opening.  They met on Thursdays at 4pm.                                                                               

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: Amy Elder, Speech Therapy

OT Month reflections from an occupational therapist

Tuesday, Apr 12, 2016 by Child & Family Development


April is Occupational Therapy Month and our Melissa Petcu is reflecting on her profession.   She shares: 

Occupational therapists help their clients live a meaningful life, usually as independently as possible. Goals and treatment can look quite different depending on the stage of life a client is in. As a pediatric occupational therapist, play and skill acquisition are critical components of every session as children develop by exploring their environment. One area of importance to all occupational therapists no matter the clientele is the area of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).  ADLs address self-care skills like functional mobility, feeding, dressing, bathing and toileting.

Looking specifically at the areas of feeding and dressing, skills develop in a progression as follows:


by 12 months Pincer grasp for finger feeding; Dips spoon in food
by 15 months Holds cup with both hands; Scoops with spoon
by 18 months Drinks from cup without spilling
by 24 months Use of utensils is mastered; Pieces food with fork



by 12 months                       Begin to assist with dressing by pushing an arm through sleeve or picking up a foot to step in/out of pants
by 24 months                 Undressing of coat develops and continues to help removing pants
by 30 months Putting on t-shirts, shoes, socks with minimal assistance;  Zips jackets (engaged)
by 3 years  Buttons buttons 
by 3 1/2 years Dressing with supervision
by 4 years Independent with zippers and other fasteners including shoe buckles and belts

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

Read more about Child and Family Development occuupational therapy services here.  

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Topics: Melissa Petcu, Occupational Therapy

"Is my child dyslexic?" from the International Dyslexia Association

Monday, Apr 11, 2016 by Child & Family Development

Our Educators regularly provide resources to students and their families.  The International Dyslexia Association® has a wonderful handout title "Is My Child Dyslexic?" that is available on their website, along with several other fact sheets.  Here are some highlights:  

Common characteristics of dyslexia? People often present with 1-2 of these, not all of them.

  • Examples: late talkers; difficulty with directions; small vocabulary; poor word retrieval
  • Examples: difficulty learning to read, rhyme and count; transposing order of letters; poor reading comprehension
  • Examples: spelling mistakes; difficulty putting ideas on paper 

Other symptoms that occur with dyslexia?

  • difficulty naming colors, objects and letters rapidly and in a sequence
  • weak memory for lists and facts
  • distracted by visual and auditory stimuli

Other learning disabilities?

  • related to Handwriting; examples: unsure handedness; poor and slow handwriting; poor fine motor skills
  • related to Math; examples: difficulty counting; calculation errors; poor memorization of math facts
  • related to Attention; examples: inattention, distractibility; impulsivity; hyperactivity 
  • related to motor skills; examples: difficulty planning and coordinating body movements
  • related to organization; examples: loses papers; poor sense of time; forgets homework; messy

What special instruction strategies might be helpful?

  • Intensive
  • Explicit
  • Systematic and cumulative
  • Structured
  • Multisensory 

Contact the educational specialists at Child and Family Development in Charlotte or Pineville to learn more about our assessment and tutoring services. Read more here

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

Connect at the Autism Conference

Friday, Apr 8, 2016 by Child & Family Development


The Autism Spectrum Disorder Conference: A Multidisciplinary Review of Current Research and Interventions is just 2 weeks away!

Registration: Online registration is closed BUT...

  • AHEC is accepting "waitlist" forms from parents and professionals now. Our hope is to offer some additional seats.  

Vendor Opportunities: A few vendor spots remain open. Service providers, exhibitors and local organizations can register and receive:

  • Conference attendance for up to 2 people
  • Display table
  • Networking time before, during and after the event 
  • Lunch for up to 2 people  

Conference Information: 

AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER CONFERENCE Friday, April 22, 2016 for parents & professionals CLICK for info

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Topics: Autism Spectrum Disorder Conference 2016

Autism and Preschool: Tips from AOTA

Wednesday, Apr 6, 2016 by Child & Family Development

The Child and Family Development team is excited about our upcoming conference, Autism Spectrum Disorder Conference: A Multidisciplinary Review of Current Research and Interventions.  The conference includes 3 breakout sessions, including some related to preschool aged children with autism.

  AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER CONFERENCE Friday, April 22, 2016 for parents & professionals CLICK for info


The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) has many useful resources., including a list of tips to support preschoolers  Occupational therapists help litte ones with ASD and recommend these suggestions: 

Prepare yourself and your child for preschool 
  1. join a play group so your child can practice being around other kids
  2. attend story time at the library and other places so your child can learn to sit quietly and practice taking turns and following rules
  3. play games like Follow The Leader to practice taking turns and following rules
  4. go to public places to practice waiting in line
Understand what going to preschool will mean for your child
  1. learn about preschool programs in your area and research options 
  2. participate in open houses and planning meetings
  3. visit the school with your child to get familiar with the staff and classroom
Share information about your child with the school
  1. share early intervention evaluations and reports with the school leaders 
  2. share successful routines from home with the school staff
  3. ask staff to describe a typical day so you can understand expectations and identify possible issues
  4. carryover routines and new skills from school at home

An occupational therapist can evaluate and treat children and teens to help them "live life to the fullest". 

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

Read more about occupational therapy services here

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Topics: Occupational Therapy, Autism Spectrum Disorder Conference 2016

Speech therapist, Kristin Lyman shares autism study results

Tuesday, Apr 5, 2016 by Child & Family Development


Kristin Lyman MA CCC-SLP is a speech therapist at Child and Family Development and works at our Pineville office.  She works with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and recently reviewed the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) National Outcomes Measurement System (NOMS) study about the importance and long lasting benefits of early intervention. 

The study focused on 3 areas of measurable change in preschoolers with autism: 

  • Pragmatics
  • Spoken language comprehension
  • Spoken language production

The study revealed that outcomes or improvements in these 3 areas was dependent upon the number of speech therapy sessions provided.  Children who demonstrated the most Functional Communication Measures (FCM) received 7-15 more sessions than those who made no or less progress. 

Kristin agrees with the evidence of this study; that the number of therapy sessions preschool-aged kids with ASD receive is directly linked to the amount of progress they may make with verbal expression, language understanding, and social language.  The earlier this intervention is provided, the more effective the therapy will be as well.  She advises parents and caregivers with concerns about autism to pursue a speech-language and/or a psychological evaluation as early as possible for appropriate diagnosis and intervention as recommended.  Don't wait! 

The ASHA Leader will post the full article in April, as part of Autism Awareness Month.

To learn more about autism, register for the upcoming 4/22/16 Conference, featuring Dr. Gary Mesibov, renowned expert in the field.  Click here for more information. 

C&FD speech therapists offer free 15-minute phone consultations to parents who have questions about their child's communication skills.  

Have a question about developmental milestones? 704-541-9080 Call to schedule a free phone consultation with a  Speech Therapist       AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER CONFERENCE Friday, April 22, 2016 for parents & professionals CLICK for info

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Topics: Speech Therapy, Kristin Lyman

sensory processing: clothing recs from occupational therapists 

Monday, Apr 4, 2016 by Child & Family Development

The team of occupational therapists at Child and Family Development enjoy helping kids, teens and young adults address their sensory processing challenges, especially the ones that impact daily life.  Finding clothing can be difficult as there are many factors that can cause discomfort: 

  • itchy tags
  • harsh materials
  • exposed bands

These days, there is a growing market of companies that produce and sell sensory-friendly clothing to accommodate people's preferences.  Here are a list of resources and links

  • Blossom for Children: quality, affordable and attractive items to make life brighter, nicer and easier
  • EZ Sox: looping socks to empower anyone to complete this task on their own
  • Fun and Function: clothing for people with sensory preferences including graphic print compression items
  • Hand Made by the Seeds of 3: softened and flattened seams with no buttons, zippers, etc. 
  • Honest Company: full coverage swim diapers
  • Jorgenson's: sensory friendly items have extra soft fabric, wide and smooth necklines, finder tags (with name and phone) and cute designs
  • Kickee Pants: designed for kids with special needs to be unrestricting that includes dresses, pants, underwear, leggings and pajamas
  • Kozie Clothes: clothing that provides proprioceptive and tactile sensory input and medically engineered clothing for preemies and toddlers 
  • Lucky and Me: luxurious underwear that is tagless, decorative and super soft
  • No Netz: anti-chafe, anti-bacterial swimwear
  • Pip Squeakers: "no-squeak" shoewear that are stimulating, safe, flexible and lightweight
  • Skinnies: therapeutic clothing products that aid recovery from eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions, designed to be seamless and anti-irritant 
  • Smart Knit Kids: seamless products that don't wrinkle or bunch 
  • Soft Clothing:  founded by a mom and teacher; uses organic cotton, non-toxic dyes, printed labels and flat seams
  • SPIO: flexible compression bracing designed by a seamstress and an occupational therapist 
  • Teres Kids: stylish line made for comfort and activity
  • Therapro: sensory smart vests, shirts, socks and pants, including compression and weighted garments
  • World's Softest Socks: low cut quarter, mini crew and over the calf options that are super soft and sensory sensitive

Occupational therapy evaluations include standardized and normed data that highlight a person's sensory processing preferences and difficulties across all senses. Customized recommendations are also included.  Call us to get started with a free phone intake.   

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

April is Autism Awareness Month!

Friday, Apr 1, 2016 by Child & Family Development


April is Autism Awareness Month!

There are many local opportunities to learn and celebrate: 

The Child and Family Development team wants you at our upcoming conference on April 22: 

  • Internationally renowned autism expert, Gary Mesibov Ph.D. 
  • Breakout sessions: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Executive Functioning, Sensory Processing
  • CEUs are available for healthcare and teaching professionals
  • Limited spots remaining
  • Early bird registration ends on April 8
  • New opportunities available for vendors, exhibitors and local organizations. A display table, conference attendance and lunch are included with your vendor registration. This is a great chance to market, network and learn! 

Click to register and read more: AHEC Conference Information & Registration

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Topics: Autism Spectrum Disorder Conference 2016