Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

December 4, 2015

Physical therapist, Amy Sturkey endorses RDI strategies to help children


Amy Sturkey LPT is a physical therapist at the Midtown office of Child and Family Development. Recently, she reviewed a piece on RDI Connect‚Ñ¢, an online resource about Relationship Development Intervention and related stories.  The post is titled When ‚ÄúNo!‚Äù Means ‚ÄúI‚Äôm Scared or Overwhelmed!‚Äù and aptly describes what many parents (and physical therapists!) experience during encounters with children. 

The author, Sarah Wayland, offers several practical suggestions and some other insights.  Click here to read the full post.     

When a child is overwhelmed, try these strategies: 

  • Use empathy
  • Give him something to look forward to
  • Communicate nonverbally
  • Remove all demands

When a child is scared, try these strategies: 

  • Help the child know what to expect 
  • Anticipate the unexpected
  • Meditate
  • Identify thinking errors
  • Help the child label his emotions
  • Brainstorm coping strategies during calm times

The information prompted Amy to examine her own practice and interactions. She shares, “Sometimes we are not quick to empathize and think about the reasons behind a ‚Äúno‚Äù that is verbal or nonverbal.  I think I may do better at this with a nonverbal child actually. With a child who is verbal, it is easy to think that the child is being oppositional or disrespectful but there are a whole myriad of reasons behind ‚Äúno‚Äù.  

Amy incorporates RDI‚Ñ¢ philosophies and other motivational approaches into her physical therapy sessions, especially when kids present with anxiety or fear.  Most times, giggles and performance prevail!