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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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  • MIDTOWN OFFICE
  • 4012 Park Road, Suite 200
  • Charlotte, NC
  • 704.332.4834
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  • 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.

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Speech therapist endorses holiday fireworks tips from Autism Speaks

Friday, Jul 3, 2015 by Child & Family Development

Stephanie Gerlich MS CCC-SLP, speech therapist at Child and Family Development endorses this list from Autism Speaks about helping kids and teens with autism enjoy the 4th of July. 

Their tips include:

  • Prepare your child. Talk about what's going to happen at the party or fireworks display. You can show a video of fireworks -- perhaps playing it quietly first, then slowly turning up the volume.
  • Focus on the fun! Let your child know that you're excited to attend, and describe the activities you know they will enjoy.
  • Bring along favorite items such as toys, games and snacks. Provide distractions if your child gets antsy.
  • Defining a space with a blanket, towel, or chair can help a child with autism feel more comfortable in a crowd.
  • Bring headphones to help block out some of the sound, or consider sitting some distance away to avoid the intense noise.
  • Make sure your child knows how to ask for a break from the crowd or noise. If your child is verbal, he/she may need a reminder. However, many children do best with a visual aid. For example, provide your child with a special card to hand to you when he or she needs a break from the stimulation.
  • As always, make sure safety is a priority!

Enjoy Independence Day! 

 

 

 

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Topics: Stephanie Gerlich, Speech Therapy

Don't Take Our Word For It: Occupational Therapy, Psychology, Speech Therapy

Thursday, Jul 2, 2015 by Child & Family Development

Recently, a new client survey was returned with a wonderful note about the multidisciplinary approach at Chlid and Family Development that includes occupational therapy, speech therapy and psychology services!

“The therapists (Melissa Petcu OT & Allison Parker SLP) and the doctor (Devon Redmond PSY)  are all great!”

Read more testimonials on our blog.  

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Topics: Melissa Petcu, Allison Parker, Devon Redmond, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Psychology, Testimonials

OT advice on fireworks and sensory processing difficulties

Wednesday, Jul 1, 2015 by Child & Family Development

It's that time of year, so Melissa Petcu, Occupational Therapist at Child and Family Development is saying "Happy Independence Day, Y'all!" once again and offering some tips to keep fireworks fun for kids and teens with auditory sensory processing difficulties. 

If you have a child with auditory defensiveness or auditory sensitivity, they may have difficulty with watching the fireworks. As you may know, children with auditory sensitivity often have a fight or flight response to a noise that is too over stimulating.  

Plan ahead to avoid overload and meltdowns:

  • Show videos of fireworks on youtube or other sources.
  • Color pictures of fireworks
  • Talk about how they go BOOM! 

Control the multi-sensory experience of fireworks in these ways.  Ideas include:

  • Insert soft earplugs to reduce noise
  • Insert cotton balls (halved) to reduce noise
  • Wear sound reducing headphones to reduce noise
  • Practice using and wearing these items before the big night 
  • Snuggle up with a weighted blanket to provide comfort during the show to provide comfort and decrease fight or flight response to the loud noise
  • Eat some crunchy or chewy treats, like popcorn or chewing gum, during the show to provide comfort and decrease fight or flight response to the loud noise
  • Practice using and eating these items before the big night
  • Watch the show from a far away spot to reduce the intensity of the sound
  • Watch the show from an indoor spot to reduce the intensity of the sound  

Click to read more about auditory defensiveness in another post by Melissa Petcu.

Our 9 Occupational Therapists are available for a free phone consultation. 

 

 

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Topics: Melissa Petcu, Occupational Therapy

Melinda Ross, celebrates 1 year with client services at Child and Family Development

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 by Child & Family Development

Melinda Ross marks 1 year at Child and Family Development this month! She is a member of the Client Services team at the Pineville office.  

team_admin_sign

 

She keeps things going smoothly with families checking in and checking out throughout the day.

She participates in lots of fun activities around the office, like Green Days and Costume Days. 

She is ready to share a candy and a laugh with a co-worker.   

 

 

 Happy C&FD Anniversary!

Want to learn more about our team? 

Sign up for C&FD News

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Occupational therapist, Courtney Stanley, celebrates 6 years at Child and Family Development

Monday, Jun 29, 2015 by Child & Family Development

Courtney Stanley marks 6 years at Child and Family Development this month! She is an occupational therapist at the Pineville office.  

Courtney shares what she likes about her work:

TEAMstanley

As an occupational therapist, I am an integral part of the uniquely comprehensive and multidisciplinary team at C&FD. 

I strive to support children in building basic skills needed to play and interact with others and their surroundings and to participate in home, school and community environments to the best of their abilities. 

Being surrounded by fun and engaging people and activities is motivating and energizing both for the children who play here and those who work here. 

I look forward to coming to work to teach children new skills through multi-sensory play experiences.  Who wouldn’t when that means you can swing, play twister, crawl through tunnels, and jump on the trampoline?!

 

Happy C&FD Anniversary!

Read more about Courtney's extensive training here.  

Want to learn more about our team? 

Sign up for C&FD News

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Topics: Courtney Stanley, Occupational Therapy

Psychologist Joy Granetz recommends Cogmed in the summer months

Friday, Jun 26, 2015 by Child & Family Development

Cogmed Working Memory Training is an evidence-based program that helps children, adolescents and adults improve attention by training their working memory.  

The program is based on strong scientific research and is delivered under the supervision of one of the few Qualified Practitioners in the Charlotte area, Dr. Joy Granetz.  

The standard program includes:

  • Initial interview
  • Start-up session
  • 25 training sessions (30-45 minutes) over 5 weeks with weekly coach calls
  • Wrap-up meeting
  • 6-month follow-up interview
  • Access to Cogmed Training Web
  • Cogmed Extension Training (6 months)

Some of the timelines may be adjusted on a case-by-case basis. But, summer is an ideal time to get started.    

The software adjusts the complexity level for each exercise, in real time, for maximized training effect.  It can be done from the convenience of your own computer.  

The user/family sets the training schedule, with plenty of flexibility. You are supported by Dr. Granetz who leads the training, tracks results and gives support and motivation. 

Visit their website, www.cogmed.com, for more information about this state-of-the-art intervention.  A free parent webinar is available. 

To find out if Cogmed Working Memory Training is right for you, call our Pineville office at 704-541-9080 to schedule an initial appointment. 

Read more from our blog about Cogmed here

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Topics: Joy Granetz

Looking for pediatric therapy services near Fort Mill, South Carolina?

Wednesday, Jun 24, 2015 by Child & Family Development

Our Pineville office is conveniently located less than 5 miles from the border and easily accessible from I-77 and the 485 loop, making it easily accessible to people traveling from South Carolina for pediatric therapy services.

Our multi-disciplinary clinic has been helping children and families since 1980. The team of experienced therapists can assess and treat a wide range of childhood concerns, including autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and other learning disabilities or special needs.

We participate in many insurance plans.

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

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Don't Take Our Word For It: "great things" about an occupational therapist

Tuesday, Jun 23, 2015 by Child & Family Development

A short but sweet note from a parent to let us know how we are doing:   

“Cannot say enough great things about Katie Haywood.  She has helped my son so much!”

Read more testimonials about occupational therapy at Child and Family Development on our blog.  

Our 9 occupational therapists are licensed by the state of North Carolina.  We do not employ assistants or aides. We are in-network with many insurance plans, including Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield NC, Cigna, Medcost, North Carolina Medicaid, Primary Physician Care and United Health Care. Clients also may pay privately and access out-of-network benefits.

 

 

 

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Topics: Katie Haywood, Occupational Therapy, Testimonials

Physical therapy helped my child with Down syndrome learn to ride a bike

Monday, Jun 22, 2015 by Child & Family Development

Amy Sturkey LPT is an experienced and highly trained physical therapist at Child and Family Development in Charlotte. 

She is expanding the "Learning To Ride A Bike" program now.   

 

 

One family shares this experience:

Our child has Down syndrome, with corresponding low muscle tone.  We never thought it would be possible for him to ride a bike. 

Amy got him started on an adapted bike.   It gave him confidence and got him outdoors.  Also, it was good exercise and fun! 

Now he is able to ride a regular bike.

Read another testimonial about the Learning To Ride A Bike program here

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Topics: Amy Sturkey, Physical Therapy, Testimonials

Occupational therapist, Marion Wilm, celebrates 21 years at Child and Family Development

Friday, Jun 19, 2015 by Child & Family Development

Marion Wilm marks 21 years at Child and Family Development this month! She is an occupational therapist at the Pineville office.  

TEAMwilm15

Her reflection now:  The mission of C&FD is to provide comprehensive, integrated and quality services to children and families.  I have enjoyed being part of the integrated C&FD team of clinicians over the past 21 years because they have stimulated me to always look at the big picture. 

As I evaluate a child, I am not just interested in what they can during the session but in how issues impact their life in the home and community and how occupational therapy might make a difference for their present and their future. 

I can’t make a real difference in providing a service only once per week, but if I support and educate the family about their child’s strengths and weaknesses and give knowledge and tools, they can help their child the rest of the week. Then, we can all make a difference together. 

Child + Family + Clinical team = Success

Happy C&FD Anniversary!

Read more about Marion's extensive training here.  

Want to learn more about our team? 

Sign up for C&FD News

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Topics: Marion Wilm, Occupational Therapy

resources and suggestions from a child psychologist: helping kids cope with tragedy

Thursday, Jun 18, 2015 by Child & Family Development

A psychologist at Child and Family Development compiled this information a few years ago, after a tragic school shooting.  Unfortunately, another event has happened and we are overwhelmed by it again. 

Here is a re-post of that helpful information: 

How do you explain the unexplainable? While there are never simple answers tocomplex questions, here are a few suggestions that may guide your responses to your young children as they ask some very difficult questions.

Our priority at this time must be to make our children feel as safe and secure as possible and to help them to manage their distress. It is important to talk to your children about their feelings. The depth of the conversation will be dependent on your child's age or developmental level and their unique personalities. It is important that they feel comfortable talking about their feelings and fears.  Encourage them to express their ideas and thoughts and validate their feelings, even if there are no answers (e.g., You feel sad for the families affected; You feel scared; Senseless violence is hard for everyone to understand).  Encourage your children to put their feelings into words by talking about them or writing them down. If your child is inclined, encourage them to express their feelings through art. Try to keep your answers to their questions developmentally appropriate. As a general guideline, keep it brief and simple and be sure to include reassurances of their safety.

In our 24 hour news culture, it is hard to keep kids shielded from the news, but try to limit exposure to media to the best of your ability. Turn off the TV, do not leave the scary headlines of the newspaper for all to see, monitor computer usage. These healthy limits may benefit not only the children in the household, but the adults, as well.

We have all heard flight attendants tell us that in the event of an emergency, put on our oxygen masks first.  In a similar vein, it will be important for parents to take care of their own emotional health and well being in light of the recent tragedy. Children are seeking a sense of safety and parents can serve as models for how to cope under times of stress and adversity and be resilient. Be sure to regulate your own emotions and behavior in front of your children. Try to maintain your regular schedules and family routines, as they will provide a sense of comfort and consistency for your child. Keep home a peaceful place and enjoy precious family time.

If your child seems to be emotionally overwhelmed, consider consulting with a professional who may be able to help you and your child to develop coping resources and self soothing strategies to manage anxiety and emotional distress.

Here are some helpful and reputable resources:

The National Association of School Psychologists -- Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers 

American Psychological Association – Helping Your Children Manage Distress in the Aftermath of a Shooting
 
The National Association of School Psychologists -- A National Tragedy: Helping Children Cope
 
Massachusetts General Hospital for Children -- Talking to Children About a Shooting


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Topics: Psychology

Occupational Therapy review: cursive handwriting is still important

Thursday, Jun 18, 2015 by Child & Family Development

Marion Wilm, OTR/L, an occupational therapist at the Pineville office of Child and Family Development, recently reviewed an article about cursive handwriting 

This article by Meghan Hicks on How We Montessori.com poses the question, "Cursive Handwriting- Is it a dying art or an essential skill?" 

cursive-1

It asserts that many parents are not aware that cursive handwriting is an essential part of the Montessori experience, and although some believe with the advent of the digital age that handwriting should take a back seat in favor of keyboarding and word processing skills, good Montessori teachers know that learning cursive is so much more than just the letters on the page.  
And Marion agrees...

 

She shares, "The scientific and practical arguments for why cursive handwriting is still important are very true.  It seems like we are always looking for new ways to stimulate brain maturation and development in today’s children.  While it is important to embrace new technology and new ways of thinking, we should also not be so quick to discard  tools such as cursive handwriting that have historically worked well."

 

Marion and the 8 other licensed occupational therapists at Child and Family Development are available to share their expertise. We are in-network with many insurance plans, including Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield NC, Cigna, Medcost, North Carolina Medicaid, Primary Physician Care and United Health Care.  Our clients also may pay privately and access out-of-network benefits.

Read more about why cursive handwriting is still important here.  

 

 

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Topics: Marion Wilm, Occupational Therapy

counseling for kids and teens

Wednesday, Jun 17, 2015 by Child & Family Development

The psychologists at Child and Family Development offer a variety of counseling and treatment services: 

  • Individual Psychotherapy: Therapy can address a wide range of difficulties, including ADHD, autism, executive functioning difficulties, mood issues, emotional regulation, anger, management, family problems and overall adjustment issues.
  • Family Therapy: We often recommend that the whole family to be involved in counseling to learn different ways of interacting and resolving problems.
  • Groups: Peers have a strong influence in a child’s life. Group therapy channels this influence in a positive manner and can be powerful in changing behavior. The development of expressive and social skills, and healthy peer relationships and support systems in a safe environment is the goal of the group. We provide options for children and adolescents with ADHD, anxiety, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other difficulties.
  • CogMed Working Memory Training: An innovative home-based computer program that helps people with attention problems by training and increasing their working memory capacity. Visit www.cogmed.com for more information and a free webinar.  

All 6 psychologists hold Doctorate degrees and are licensed by the state of North Carolina.  We are in-network with many insurance plans, including Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield NC and Primary Physician Care. Our clients also may pay privately and access out-of-network benefits. Good news, more folks are joining the team soon! 

Read more about our psychology services here.    

 

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Topics: Aleksandra Liss, Gretchen Hunter, Chris Vrabel, Joy Granetz, Brandyn Street, Devon Redmond, Psychology

Occupational Therapy review: 90+ ideas for heavy work

Tuesday, Jun 16, 2015 by Child & Family Development

Katie Haywood, MS, OTR/L, an occupational therapist at the Pineville office of Child and Family Development, recently reviewed an article about summertime and sensory processing issues. 

This article by Stephanie Yamkovenko on AOTA Blogs OT Connections offers about 90 ideas from various resources for heavy work activities for kids and teens. 

gardenKatie loves this compilation of ideas for heavy work activities and functional chores that can help children organize and appropriately respond to sensory input in their daily environments.  She is I especially partial to the gardening suggestions and the idea of getting children outside to play. 

Before moving to Charlotte, she worked on a horticulture therapy program for pediatric clients where we did all sorts of fun fine motor and sensory activities outdoors in our raised garden beds. She shares, "One of my favorite ways to start a session with a child who needed heavy work to organize or deep breathing to calm was to water the plants with a pool noodle! We would fill a bucket with water using the hose, and then carry it over to the beds and submerge our pool noodle. I would hold the noodle in a “u” shape to fill it with water, and then let the child blow into one of the holes to shoot the water out over the plants. It was always very motivating and beneficial." 

On Katie's recent vacation, she went hiking with a botany professor who was discussing the “No Child Left Inside” Act that was recently reintroduced. While he was excited about the implementation of this act from an environmental literacy standpoint, I was equally excited about it from an OT standpoint! So many senses are addressed in an outdoor environment, many of which are touched on in Sugar Aunts post about a sensory garden!

Katie and the 8 other licensed occupational therapists at Child and Family Development are available to share their expertise. We are in-network with many insurance plans, including Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield NC, Cigna, Medcost, North Carolina Medicaid, Primary Physician Care and United Health Care.  Our clients also may pay privately and access out-of-network benefits.

Read more about why we all crave heavy work activities in another blog post here.  

 

 

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Topics: Katie Haywood, Occupational Therapy

4 tips for summer reading for rising Kindergarten students

Monday, Jun 15, 2015 by Child & Family Development

Reading is important in the lives of all children. Even at a very young age, children benefit from exposure to good books. Summer is a wonderful time to spark an interest in reading and to build early skills as your child prepares to enter kindergarten. 

 

child_6

The following ideas will help you get started:

·        Talk about and point out letters in daily life. Rather than sitting down to teach your child the letters, introduce them as you go about your day. Talk about letters that you see as you are playing, riding in the car, or eating in a restaurant. This activity helps your child to see that letters are all around us.

·        Show children the connection between reading and writing. Introduce writing with the child’s first and last name. You can also have your child help to print a grocery list or write a short letter to a friend.

·        When you go on a trip or to a place that requires waiting, pack books about a topic that is of special interest to your child. Children will listen more attentively and find that they can learn new facts about something that they already love. Talk to them about new words that you encounter. By doing so, children will continue to build a strong vocabulary that will help with reading comprehension as they move through school.

·        Make reading a daily family activity. Show your children that you also enjoy and learn from books. Young children pay close attention to those around them, and they become excited about the things that their family and friends like to do. Have an older sibling read with younger children.       

The three Educators at Child and Family Development can develop a summer reading plan for your kids.  

 

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

Physical therapy helped my child with autism learn to ride a bike

Thursday, Jun 11, 2015 by Child & Family Development

Amy Sturkey LPT is an experienced and highly trained physical therapist at Child and Family Development in Charlotte. 

She is expanding the "Learning To Ride A Bike" program now.   

 

 

One family shares this experience:

My daughter has autism.  Although she has mastered pedaling the adaptive bike, we have not been able to get her to steer or even care to. 

Amy developed an innovative approach to help her with this issue. After working with Amy, she is now grasping the idea of steering, paying attention to what is ahead of her and turning away from it.  She no longer is looking down at the ground while riding.  Now, she looks ahead and does not run into the grass.

We are looking forward to the day she can ride her bike down the street and back without someone hanging on to her!  

Read more about her Learning To Ride A Bike program here

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Topics: Amy Sturkey, Physical Therapy, Testimonials

psycho-educational assessments

Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 by Child & Family Development

Child and Family Development offers comprehensive psycho-educational assessments for people ages 3 years into early adulthood.  

Often, both an educator and a psychologist are involved.  Psychologists administer the cognitive, social-emotional and executive functioning measures.  Educational Diagnosticians administer the academic achievement portion, along with additional measures to determine any underlying processing difficulties that are interfering with school success.

The assessment is a 3-step process that includes:

  • Intake appointment: a 1 hour interview with the parents
  • Testing Sessions: multiple visits with the psychologist and educator to complete standardized testing, checklists and clinical discussions 
  • Interpretive Parent Conference: a 1.5 hour parent meeting with the psychologist and educator to share the testing results and review recommendations 

These assessments can identify or rule out attention difficulties, autism, developmental disabilities and delays, learning differences and learning disabilities, social-emotional concerns, as well as school readiness and classroom accommodations.      

All 6 psychologists hold Doctorate degrees and are licensed by the state of North Carolina.  We are in-network with many insurance plans, including Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield NC and Primary Physician Care. Our clients also may pay privately and access out-of-network benefits.

All 3 educators hold Master degrees and have testing/ diagnostic experience.  Each has worked in the public schools and is familiar with IEP parameters. 

Read more about getting started here 

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Topics: Education, Psychology

Occupational Therapy review: summertime and sensory processing

Tuesday, Jun 9, 2015 by Child & Family Development

Megan Bevington, MS, OTR/L, an occupational therapist at the Midtown office of Child and Family Development, recently reviewed an article about summertime and sensory processing issues. 

This article by Rae Jacobson from Child Mind Institute® offers simple tips on how to help kids stay comfortable in what can be overstimulating outdoor activities, as well as other great ideas on being prepared.  

  • study your child's specific needs-- plan accordingly
  • make a schedule-- and stick to it
  • avoid surprises-- by thinking ahead

Megan especially likes the idea of having a calendar to help kids transition from the structured days of school to an unpredictable summer. She plans to recommend all of the information to many families.  

Megan and the 8 other licensed occupational therapists at Child and Family Development are available to share their expertise. We are in-network with many insurance plans, including Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield NC, Cigna, Medcost, North Carolina Medicaid, Primary Physician Care and United Health Care.  Our clients also may pay privately and access out-of-network benefits.

Read more about sensory processing on our blog

  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: Megan Bevington, Occupational Therapy

Don't Take Our Word For It: positive feedback for pediatric therapists

Friday, Jun 5, 2015 by Child & Family Development

A Charlotte parent shares this positive feedback:

People, often times, take time for negative comments, but we live in a society today that rarely takes time to make positive comments.  I am sincere in this, and how much Child and Family Development has meant and continues to mean to our family.  As families navigate the world of special needs and autism,   it is absolutely vital  for parents to feel secure in a team that is providing purposeful life functioning skills for their child!  The therapists we have worked with have done this!

Read more testimonials from families on our blog.  

We are in-network with many insurance plans, including Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield NC, Cigna, Medcost, North Carolina Medicaid, Primary Physician Care and United Health Care. Clients also may pay privately and access out-of-network benefits.

Ready to get started

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Topics: Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Testimonials

Speech Therapy helps with otitis media

Thursday, Jun 4, 2015 by Child & Family Development

asha

Michelle Pentz, MS, CCC-SLP, a speech therapist at the Pineville office of Child and Family Development, relies on American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) to stay informed about the latest studies and supports for pediatric therapy.  She works regularly with kids with otitis media, and sometimes tube placements, related speech and language delays as well as hearing loss.   

According to this ASHA article, a child with otitis media should be followed by medical professionals, including: 

  • A physician should handle the medical treatment. Ear infections require immediate attention, most likely from a pediatrician or otolaryngologist (ear doctor). 
  • An audiologist's evaluation will assess the severity of any hearing impairment, even in a very young or uncooperative child, and will indicate if a middle ear disorder is present.
  • A speech-language pathologist measures your child's specific speech and language skills and can recommend and/or provide remedial programs when they are needed.

Read more about speech therapy services related to ear infections here

Michelle Pentz and our other licensed speech therapists are available to share their expertise.  

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: Michelle Pentz