Monday, November 12, 2018

Art by Children with Special Needs!!!

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) Rachel Kay Stevens Therapy Center is a student-run, pro bono pediatric occupational therapy clinic serving underinsured and uninsured children from birth to 18 years of age.  Last spring, an amazing art show and auction was held in which artwork submitted by children with special needs was donated, displayed, and auctioned to raise money for the center. The children were so proud to showcase their artistic talents! Attendees were healthcare professionals, artists, family members of UTHSC students, and the families of the children who contributed artwork. The event brought together this  diverse group of people  and showcased the talents and creative expression of children who receive occupational therapy services!  Check out some of the artwork below.


Saturday, October 27, 2018

UTHSC Occupational Therapy Rap

Check out this UTHSC Occupational Therapy Rap Video that our amazing MOT students created!!!
      Click HERE to watch it!
This rap was created by the University of Tennessee Health Science Center MOT Class of 2020 in order to promote their occupational therapy program to incoming students and advocate for the field of occupational therapy. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Free Webinar!!! Tummy Time: The Why’s and How’s

 Does you baby resist tummy time?  If so, you may want to click on the link below and check out the free webinar.  You will gain information about how important tummy time is, along with a variety of fun tummy time positions, and tips for a baby who fusses during tummy time.  Remember, tummy time is important for gross motor, fine motor, and sensory processing skills!
To access the webinar, click on the following link:

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Teaching Counting Creatively!

Do you know a child who struggles with learning numbers and counting?  Well, here is a simple and creative way to teach counting! You will need four or five different colored cups and pom poms with corresponding colors.  Glue or tape each number and it's appropriate number of "dots" on the cup. 

Begin the activity with the pom poms mixed together on a surface in front of the cups.  Having the child place the correct number of pom poms in front of each cup pointing and using one-to-one correspondence and the dots as a guide.  Once the child has placed the correct number of pom poms in front of each cup, he can place them inside the cup. Make this task more challenging and address fine motor skills by having the child use tongs to sort and place the pom poms.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Gravitational Insecurity Activities

Children with gravitational insecurity typically respond to movement activities by overreacting emotionally.  Why?  Their vestibular system is not functioning properly. These kids are extremely afraid of heights, falling, and they resist having their feet leave the ground. For this reason, children with gravitational insecurity children prefer to stay low to the ground.  They are typically lying down or sitting and doing their best to avoid movement.

How can I help my gravitationally insecure child?
  1. It may be helpful to physically guide your child during play activities such as climbing, sliding and swinging. You can swing with your child in your lap, and this might provide just enough security to prevent a fearful response.
  2. Encourage your child to participate in climbing, crawling, and jumping activities that are within his comfort zone.
  3.  Demonstrate movement activities such as this for your child, “watch me to this, or do it just it the way I do this.”
  4. Introduce new movement activities gradually and a little bit at a time.
  5. Encourage water play in the pool that includes movements such as twirling, jumping, and flipping.  The water might make your child feel more secure.
  6. If your child has extreme responses to movement, I recommend pursuing occupational or physical therapy. by dvrcan

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

BOOK GIVE-A-WAY: The Centipede Who Couldn’t Tie His Shoes

We have a winner!  Congratulations to Sue R! 

Attention all teachers and therapists!  Have you ever known a child who struggled with learning to tie her shoes?  This is an important task that seems basic, but it is actually very complex, and for a child with special needs, shoe-tying can be overwhelming. Fortunately, Karen Dobyns, OTD, OTR/L has written a very special book on shoe-tying that every professional who works with young children needs to have on their bookshelf! 

The Centipede Who Couldn’t Tie His Shoes” tells the story of Ben, a kind and sensitive second grader with visual challenges who is having difficulty learning how to tie his shoes. Obviously, this is a big problem, because Ben is a centipede with 100 feet!  What to do?  I’m not going to tell you what happens, because I want you to purchase the book, but rest assured the problem is solved when a school occupational therapist enters the picture.

This lovely book includes sections that explain shoe-tying, and it will help young children without special needs see the perspective of a child who might need special services and support.  To top it off, the delightful illustrations bring Ben’s world to life!
Click HERE to purchase the book on Amazon. Please click HERE to like my Facebook page.

Karen Dobyns, OTD, OTR/L, is a pediatric occupational therapist who has spent her career working with children with special needs in schools, clinics, and homes.  She has a clinical doctorate and master’s in occupational therapy.  Special note: Karen is a graduate of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center Occupational Therapy, which is where I teach! Everyone at UTHSC is extremely proud of her accomplishments!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Developmental Milestone Chart: 30 to 36-Months

It’s a busy time for your toddler!  She is putting sentences together of 4 to 5 words, and she is now able to follow simple instructions which is nice.  She is also probably engaging in pretend play and enjoys playing with a playground ball. The developmental milestone chart below lists many of the different skills that typically emerge between 30 and 36-months of age.

The project above was completed by Master of Occupational Therapy students at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center and posted with permission.