Monday, January 19, 2015

Pets and Children with Autism

Recent research reveals that children with autism who have pets are more assertive. Click HERE for more information.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Motor Skill and Brain-Boosting Developmental Toys for Baby's First Year

Parents often ask me to recommend developmental toys, but I usually recommend simple household objects for play. For example, when children play with empty boxes or pots and pans, they use their imaginations which is wonderful for fostering creativity.  However, new toys at Christmas or on birthdays are always a treat! Here are several of my favorites:

Sassy Ring O' Links Rattle Developmental Toy

These rings are brightly colored which is good for visual stimulation. Babies enjoy shaking and manipulating them, which is wonderful for fine motor skills. I especially like the different textures on the rings!

Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Rock-a-Stack

This toy is also colorful and the stacking task is nice for developing eye-hand coordination. While your baby is playing with the rings, you can teach him about the concepts of big and small.

Here's another toy that's good for motor skills. Babies love to take and out of containers and put them back in, so this toy typically keeps a child occupied while also addressing eye-hand coordination.  During play, teach him the names and colors of the shapes.

The First Years Stacking Up Cups

Here's another basic stacking/nesting toy that I really love. These are super neat because they have numbers on the bottoms, so your baby can learn about counting as well as color and number recognition, and of course, stacking and placing the toys is wonderful for manipulative skills.

Handwriting with the Alphatrangle

While working with a student today, I had the opportunity to use an “Alphatrangle” from “The Size Matters Handwriting Program,” and I was very pleased with my student’s handwriting performance while using it! The product reinforces the handwriting program's concepts, and it’s lightweight, portable and fits perfectly on a desk or small table.  It allows students to have direct visual access to letter formation and size information. A bonus is that the “Alphatrangle” includes a 12-inch ruler! Check out the product here:
Photos from:

Friday, January 16, 2015

Book Winner!!!

The winner of the "The Occupational Therapist's Handbook for Inclusive School Practices" is Amy Mc!  Congratulations!!!

Amy, please message me on Facebook so I can get your address:)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Book Give-Away: The Occupational Therapist's Handbook for Inclusive School Practices!

I was super excited when I was asked to write a review of Julie Causton's new book, "The Occupational Therapist's Handbook for Inclusive School Practices." Now I'm even more excited because she has provided a copy for me to give one of my readers!

This book is a comprehensive and informative resource for all occupational therapists who work in the school system. With a focus on inclusive practices, it includes chapters on special education, collaboration, and the use of social, environmental and academic supports. As an OT with 24 years experience working in the schools, I highly recommend this guidebook to all occupational therapy students, new graduates and seasoned therapists who strive to promote the best practice of occupational therapy in educational settings.

Any reader that lives in the continental US is eligible to win a copy of this book. For a chance to win, all you have to do is sign up on the right side of this page to follow my blog AND "like" my Facebook page. I will be announcing the winner soon!  Good luck!!!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Let's Go Fishing Game!

This is a fun therapeutic activity that is simple and inexpensive to make.

You will need:

Colorful sponges
Paper clips
Empty paper towel roll
String or yarn
-Cut the sponges into various "ocean" shapes and use a Sharpie marker to add eyes, etc. The child may even want to decorate the sponges using sequins, stickers, etc.

-Place a clothespin through each sponge making a "hook"

-Tape a piece of string to one end of the paper towel roll and tie the magnet on the end of the string.

Instruct the child to use the fishing pole to "go fishing" for the various sponges. This activity is great for working on matching and identifying colors and shapes. It's also wonderful for eye-hand coordination. Add a light weight to the child's wrist to work on strengthening.  You can also address multiple step directions. For example, instruct the child to 1) put the fish on the green square 2) the octopus on the yellow square, 3) and the star on the blue square. There are lots of options for adapting this activity!  Have fun :)

Dear Readers, If you have found my blog to be helpful, please "like" my Facebook page and follow my blog...Thanks :) 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Developmental Milestones Chart


Closes fingers around toy place in hand
Brings hands to mouth
Watches adult’s face when feeding

One to Two Months

Regards a toy in the line of her vision
Holds hands open for a 5 minute period
Shows awareness of hands
Visually follows a toy past midline
Focuses on toy for 5 seconds
Recognizes familiar person
Smiles or gurgles to a familiar person

Three to Four Months

Manipulates hands at midline
Reaches out for toy
Grasps toy crudely
Holds bottle for one minute
Laughs out loud when stimulated
Puts hand in mouth
Raises head and chest when lying on stomach

Five to Six Months

Reaches and attains toy
Bangs in play
Transfers toy hand-to-hand
Grasps tiny toy with palm and fingers

Seven to Eight Months

Shakes rattle in imitation
Grasps toy with thumb and fingers
Pokes at tiny toy with index finger
Picks up food to place in mouth
Responds to name
Shows shyness around strangers
Rolls from back to stomach and stomach to back

Nine to Ten Months

Grasps pellet with thumb and index finger
Holds a toy in one hand- reaches with the other
Points with index finger
Good release of objects is present
Responds to image in mirror
Responds to familiar words
Smiles selectively
Sits without support

Eleven to Twelve Months

Removes lid from box with no assistance
Places one cube/block in a cup
Removes cover to attain hidden toy
Repeats a performance to draw laughs
Drops a toy deliberately
Brings spoon from bowl to mouth
Temporarily responds to “no” or “stop”
Walks with or without support

Thirteen to Eighteen Months

Pulls to stand
Walks with or without support
Squats down and picks up a toy
Eats with fingers
Turns pages of a board book
Drinks from a cup independently
Throws a ball underhand
Stacks 4 blocks
Removes basic clothing

Nineteen to Twenty-Four Months

Runs with stiff legs
Eats with spoon (some spillage)
Kicks a ball forward with one foot
Scribbles in circles
Jumps in place two times
Points to specifics in a book
Assists with some dressing
Stacks 6 blocks