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, C&FD Occupational Therapy Services

Kati Berlin, occupational therapist, celebrates 5 years at C&FD

Wednesday, Jun 22, 2016 by Child & Family Development

Happy C&FD Anniversary to Kati Berlin

Kati Berlin MS OTR/L is an occupational therapist at the Pineville office. She is celebrating years at Child and Family Development this month.   

Kati has a number of specialty trainings, including but not limited to Handwriting Without Tears®, Sequential Oral Sensory Approach to Feeding™(SOS), Therapeutic Listening® and Zones of Regulation®.  She enjoys and has experience in helping children and teens with ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, developmental delays, fine motor difficulties, handwriting difficulties, sensory processing difficulties, feeding difficulties and visual perceptual difficulties.  

A colleague shares:  

Kati is an excellent clinician who cares deeply about her clients and colleagues. She is always willing to collaborate and listen to her coworkers when there is a complex case, and she is always thoughtful when considering interventions for her own clients. Kati is a key part of our occupational therapy team!

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Topics: Kati Berlin, C&FD Occupational Therapy Services

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, Kati Berlin, Megan Bevington, Courtney Stanley, C&FD Occupational Therapy Services, Kim Toomer, Meghan Davidson-Palmer

April is Occupational Therapy Month!

Friday, Apr 1, 2016 by Child & Family Development

 



April is Occupational Therapy Month and we are celebrating with our team.  Visit our Charlotte and Pineville lobbies to add a note of THANKS for the wonderful work they do! 

MIDTOWN

  • Abbey Wash MOT OTR/L
  • Jessica Hoffarth MS OTR/L
  • Megan Bevington MS OTR/L
  • Meghan Dooley MS OTR/L
  • Melissa Petcu MS OTR/L

 

PINEVILLE

  • Courtney Stanley MS OTR/L
  • Kati Berlin MS OTR/L
  • Katie Haywood MS OTR/L
  • Kim Toomer MOT OTR/L
  • Marion Wilm OTR/L C/NDT

 

Click here for more information on the occupational therapists at Child and Family Development!

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, Kati Berlin, Megan Bevington, Courtney Stanley, C&FD Occupational Therapy Services, Kim Toomer, Meghan Davidson-Palmer

Occupational therapist recommends app for screen time safety

Wednesday, Feb 17, 2016 by Child & Family Development

 

Kati Berlin MS OTR/L, occupational therapist at the Pineville office of Child and Family Development, helps the rest of us stay up to date with the latest apps and technology options for pediatric therapy.  Recently, she discovered a resource with various features that she has already used and recommended. 

Child Lock has a feature and guided access that allows a parent/caregiver to lock a child into a specific application so they can’t float around the app or the device as they please. 

Occupational therapy intervention always includes recommendations for outside the session, such as things to do at home, school and beyond.  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: Kati Berlin, C&FD Occupational Therapy Services

Occupational therapist, Kati Berlin snuggles up to weighted blankets

Thursday, Jan 28, 2016 by Child & Family Development

Kati Berlin MS OTR/L, occupational therapist at the Pineville office of Child and Family Development, enjoyed this information about weighted blankets.  The article provides a good explanation of why this type of sensory input is helpful, who can benefit from one, how to get and use a blanket, as well as the importance of sleep.  

Kati especially appreciates the nod to Temple Grandin, a pioneer in sensory processing and autism and the suggestions on using a weighted blanket.  

Click here for the full article.  

An occupational therapy evaluation will provide standardized and normed data that highlight a person's sensory processing preferences and difficulties across all senses. 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: Kati Berlin, C&FD Occupational Therapy Services

Occupational therapist, Kati Berlin suggests tips and webinar for picky eaters at the holidays

Monday, Dec 21, 2015 by Child & Family Development

Kati Berlin MS OTR/L, occupational therapist at the Pineville office, has some tips for meals with families who have picky eaters at the holiday table.  

Parents magazine published an article of Tricks for the Feeding Holiday Picky Eater that provides a workable list of suggestions. Click here for the full article.: 

  1. Do a dry run with new or unusual foods in a typical mealtime environment, rather than waiting until the hectic holiday meal.
  2. Do a taste testing with low pressure to like the food and time to adjust the flavors before the holiday meal.
  3. Tell the story behind the special holiday food item to create buy-in. 
  4. Put the child to work. Being part of the preparation may build comfort and willingness to try.
  5. Add condiments.  Kids may be more willing to try when a favorite dipping sauce is available.
  6. Reduce pre-meal snacks.  Bring them to the table hungry!
  7. Create a signature dish to promote interest.
  8. Give the food a catchy name.  Younger kids are more interested when food is fun.
  9. Keep servings small and simple.
  10. Don't serve a completely different meal, by including some familiar and favorite items.
  11. Don't battle over bites.

Kati also found a low cost online seminar for parents and professionals from Sensory Processing University called Surviving The Holidays With A Picky Eater and led by renowned expert Kay Toomey, PhD. The seminar promises suggestions on talking with family and friends about picky eating and how to deal with difficult situations, as well as information on the difference between picky eaters and problem feeders.  Click here to learn more about the course. 

Kati and other occupational therapists and speech therapists on the Child and Family Development team assess and treat kids, teens and young adults with feeding difficulties and swallowing difficulties.  She is trained in the Sequential Oral Sensory approach ™ (SOS) created by Kay Toomey.  The approach looks at the whole child in order to assess why a child is not eating or has a very limited diet.  Intervention then begins within a child’s comfort level and children are allowed to explore and learn about food in a non-threatening way through play.  

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, C&FD Occupational Therapy Services

Occupational therapist, Kati Berlin reviews article about handwriting

Thursday, Dec 10, 2015 by Child & Family Development

Kati Berlin MS OTR/L, occupational therapist at the Pineville office of Child and Family Development, reviewed an interesting article about how writing by hand is good for your brain.  Being trained in Handwriting Without Tears, she was intrigued by the title.  The author conferred with Dr. Marc Seifer, a graphologist and handwriting expert who wrote The Definitive Book of Handwriting Analysis, about the benefits of taking a pen to paper and here is the abbreviated list: 

Writing by hand

  1. has a calming effect
  2. coordinates the left and right brain
  3. boosts cognitive skills
  4. inspires creativity
  5. sharpens aging minds
  6. improves memory
  7. uses more of your brain

In particular, Kati agrees that writing things down impacts our memory. Especially for kinesthetic learners, one will retain more by writing than by simply typing. For her school aged clients, Kati proposes a balance between handwriting and typing.  Once you can master writing each letter without having to think much about formation, sizing, baseline, and spacing, writing is so much easier! That’s why we frequently recommend keyboarding as an accommodation to children with learning disabilities like dysgraphia and dyslexia.  Keyboarding removes the need to work on actual letter formation.  It lets the child think only about spelling and what they want to write, not how to write it.

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, C&FD Occupational Therapy Services

Occupational therapist, Kati Berlin, recommends the Scaredy Squirrel book series

Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015 by Child & Family Development

Kati Berlin, MS OTR/L, occupational therapist at the Child and Family Development Pineville office, has found another fun activity to enjoy in occupational therapy sessions! This one is an award winning book series by Melanie Watt called Scaredy Squirrel.  Check out her website to learn more.  

Katie thinks these books are a great laugh but are also a great resource for children with anxiety or sensory processing difficulties.  The stories can help kids with situations such as dealing with nightmares, making new friends or coping with crowds.  The Scaredy Squirrel stories have similar plots, in which Scaredy is prepared for the worst and then winds up finding out that things are better than he expected. 

  • In Scaredy Squirrel Makes A Friend, Scaredy is not very fond of leaving his tree because of the risks that it can bring. He makes a plan about how to make a “safe friend” and packs everything he needs, but his plan is foiled by sweet dog (with scary teeth) who just wants to be Scaredy’s friend. 
  • In Scaredy Squirrel At Night, Scaredy is afraid of going to sleep because of nightmares.  The author helps teach children about the possible effects of not sleeping.
  • In Scaredy Squirrel At The Beach, Scaredy does not want to go to the beach because he is afraid of being around too many people.   He discovers that the beach with crowds is way more fun than the beach he created out of kitty litter under his tree.  

Thank you Melanie Watt for making some awesome social stories!

 

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Topics: Kati Berlin, C&FD Occupational Therapy Services

OT is excited to support Special Olympics 2015 World Games

Friday, Jul 24, 2015 by Child & Family Development

 

Kati Berlin MS OTR/L, occupational therapist at the Pineville office of Child and Family Development, is excited about the Special Olympics 2015 World Games that begin on July 25.

She is inspired by how the Games spotlight individuals on a national stage and change society's perceptions about people with disabilities.

Four athletes from North Carolina will represent our state. 

 

Randy Rogers(golf)

Katie Degnan(tennis)

Allison Douglas(equestrian)

Starr Kluttz(aquatics)

 

Learn all of the details on the Special Olympics NC website: http://sonc.net/ 

They will join 6,500 athletes from 177 nations as they compete in 25 Olympic-type sports at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games July 25-Aug. 2 in Los Angeles. With an anticipated 30,000 volunteers and 500,000 spectators, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games will be the largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015, allowing all to reveal the champion within. View the ESPN broadcast schedule for World Games. Photos from the North Carolina send-off dinner are now available.

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Topics: Kati Berlin, C&FD Occupational Therapy Services

Temper tantrums or Sensory stimulation: an Occupational Therapy review

Monday, May 11, 2015 by Child & Family Development

Kati Berlin, MS, OTR/L, an occupational therapist at the Pineville office of Child and Family Development, recently reviewed an article.    

This article from Understood: For Learning and Attention Issues summarizes the difference between a sensory meltdown and a temper tantrum.  

  • Tantrums and sensory meltdowns are not the same thing.
  • It can be hard to tell the difference between them by just looking at an upset child.
  • Knowing the causes of tantrums and meltdowns can help you learn how to manage them.

Kati likes the specific tips about how to view your child’s behavior and determine if the reaction is related to sensory overstimulation, a meltdown or a a temper tantrum.  She knows first hand that this can be quite difficult, especially when Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is present. 

An occupational therapy evaluation often includes a Sensory Profile which helps to determine a person's processing skills compared to peers. 

Kati and the 8 other licensed occupational therapists on our team 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 behavior and 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: Kati Berlin

addressing anxiety in occupational therapy

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2015 by Child & Family Development

Kati Berlin, MS, OTR/L, occupational therapist at the Pineville office of Child and Family Development, completed expanded training titled “Anxiety Disorders in Children & Adolescents, Recognizing & Treating the Emerging Epidemic”.

Kati learned more about types of anxiety that are prevalent in childhood and adolescents, including techniques for managing it.  Concepts include self-regulation, self-calming strategies, breathing techniques, yoga, activities of interest, mindfulness and others.  She plans to apply this knowledge to her work, especially as a part of sensory processing intervention.  

Read more about sensory processing here

Our OT team consists of 8 licensed occupational therapists, rather than 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.  Our clients also may pay privately and access out-of-network benefits.

 

 

  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

What is a Fidget?

Friday, Jan 9, 2015 by Child & Family Development

Occupational therapists likes Kati Berlin often have suggestions for home and school life. 

A fidget is a small object, like a koosh ball, stress ball, pencil, keychain, bracelet, paper clip, eraser, or small toy, that can be beneficial for helping a child pay attention in school, focus a need to move, or deal with anxiety. They are objects that can be pulled, squeezed or moved around with your hands or fingers while paying attention and looking at the teacher. Fidgets can be helpful for kids with ADHD, sensory processing disorders, or anxiety during classroom time or at home.

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Topics: Kati Berlin

Holiday tips for kids with sensory processing difficulties

Friday, Dec 19, 2014 by Child & Family Development

Kati Berlin and Abbey Wash, occupational therapists at both offices of Child and Family Development recommend these tips from the STAR Center.  

Holiday celebrations bring joy, and sometimes challenges.  Excited children become noisier, decorations provide greater visual input and the lack of routine make some children more anxious and reactive. For children with sensory processing issues, the daily challenges of communication and social skills can be magnified.  

Here are some suggestions to support communication and emotion regulation for successful social interactions:

  • When changes in the school routine occur, it is important to compensate by providing greater predictability and structure at home.
  • Make a holiday calendar. Create a list or insert pictures of planned activities that are outside the regular routine.
  • Help your child learn basic phrases to use when meeting relatives that he or she hasn't seen for a while.
  • Provide a break for your child by watching a DVD or quiet time when days are full and busy.
  • Help your child stay regulated by watching for signs of sensory overload or emotion dis-regulation and help your child regain control before it is too late.

Read another blog post for more ideas to help kids at this time of year. 

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

Happy Holidays! 

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Topics: Abbey Wash, Kati Berlin

How to Make a Fidget

Thursday, Dec 11, 2014 by Child & Family Development

Kati Berlin, Occupational Therapist, shares ideas on how to make a fidget. 

Fidget toys are small objects that can be used during school, in the classroom, or at home to focus a need to move, help kids pay attention, or help to decrease anxiety. Children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD), hyperactivity, sensory processing disorder, or anxiety may be able to benefit from a fidget toy. Fidgets should help your child focus, should not make distracting noises, and should not distract other children in your child's class. When fidgets start to interfere with focus and functioning in the classroom, they should be taken away & a new approach should be attempted. Make sure to ask your child's teacher before sending a fidget with your child to school.

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Topics: Kati Berlin

Kati Berlin, Occupational Therapist recommends the Bouncy Band

Monday, Oct 20, 2014 by Child & Family Development

Kati Berlin, OTR/L and the other occupational therapists on the Child and Family Development team often recommend adding a piece of Theraband (elastic exercise band) to the legs of a desk so that a school-aged child can “fidget” and kick the band during class instruction, rather than engaging in more disruptive activities to get in needed movement.

One draw back to using the Theraband is that they do make noise when kicked, but this new band is advertised to be silent. So, she was thrilled to find this alternative: Bouncy Band!

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Topics: Kati Berlin

Don't Take Our Word For It about Occupational Therapist, Kati Berlin

Friday, Apr 25, 2014 by Child & Family Development

"Kati has been wonderful working with our son. We appreciate all she has done and the improvement we've seen. She has helped us help him as well through home work. She always takes time to make sure we understand what they've done and what we need to do."

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Topics: Kati Berlin

Child and Family Development offers Handwriting Without Tears® services

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 by Child & Family Development

Now that I have completed more Handwriting Without Tears® (HWT) training, Kati Berlin is busily preparing for summer handwriting groups at the Pineville office.

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Topics: Kati Berlin

Handwriting Without Tears® services for pre-K and kindergarteners are available in Charlotte

Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 by Child & Family Development

Handwriting Without Tears® (HWT®) is a therapeutic curriculum that teaches pre-printing, printing and cursive writing skills to children of all ages and abilities. HWT® was developed by an Occupational Therapist using child-friendly language, child development concepts, and fun teaching techniques.  All of the HWT® techniques are developmentally based, which means that a child builds upon the skills he has mastered.  It is a multi-sensory approach that incorporates posture, strength, grasp, coordination, perception, and writing.   

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Topics: Melissa Petcu, Kati Berlin

Greetings from a recent Handwriting Without Tears workshop!

Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 by Child & Family Development

A message from Kati Berlin, Occupational Therapist at the Pineville office.

I attended a Handwriting Without Tears® (HWT®) workshop in Charlotte recently and would like to share some of the overall ideas and principles from a pediatric occupational therapist perspective.  

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Topics: Kati Berlin

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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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  • 704.541.9080

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