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.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Are You Raising a Retro Toddler?

Jennifer Graham with recently interviewed me about my soon-to-be released parenting book, "Retro Toddler."  Click HERE to read the article!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Developmental Milestone Chart: 24 to 30-Months

What an exciting time!  Your toddler is likely talking more every day, and she may even have started engaging in pretend play. The developmental milestone chart below lists many of the different skills that typically emerge between 24 and 30 months of age.

     Click HERE to download a copy of the chart.

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

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Have OT services made a difference in your child’s life?
Update!  AOTA Board President has responded to the concerns about the OTD degree requirement.  This is wonderful news!  Click on the link below to hear her message, and if you haven't had a chance, please click on the second link and sign the petition.

I'm an occupational therapist, and I love my profession, but the "powers that be" recently mandated that a doctorate (OTD) degree will eventually be required to enter the field of OT.  This is called “degree inflation,” and it will likely lead to increased costs of care for OT services, the closing of OT programs, and shortages of OTs. No doubt, it will cause irreparable damage to the OT profession! An OTD degree should be an option but not required.
If OT services made a difference in your child’s life or helped someone you care about be more independent with daily living skills, please take 1 minute to click on the link below and sign this petition to stop the OTD mandate.  Thanks so much, and please share!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Clothespin Activities for Fine Motor Skills

The following clothespin activities will help your child strengthen the fingers, which will likely improve fine motor skills and help with handwriting and other manipulative tasks.  Vary the activity to work on matching colors, improving math skills, and spelling.

You Will Need:
A ruler or paint stirrer
Different colors of Sharpie markers
Different colors of stickers

To Make the Activity: 
Place colored stickers on the clothespins and the paint stirrer.  You can also use a Sharpie to write/draw shapes, numbers, math symbols and letters on the clothespins and paint stirrer. 

Activity Instructions:
Have the child match and place the corresponding clothespins to the sticker colors.
Have the child spell words.
Have the child complete simple math problems.
Have the child can alternate which hands when placing and squeezing the clothespins.
If the child can't differentiate colors/numbers, etc. you can help them identify which one to match.
Position the stick to encourage the child to cross their midline.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Addressing Auditory Defensiveness

Auditory defensiveness is an over sensitivity to sounds in the environment.  Children with auditory defensiveness may present with some or all of the following symptoms:

* Seems unsettled or distressed in loud environments
* Frequently cover their ears to sounds that other children tolerate
* Are bothered by noises made by things like the vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, etc.
* Avoids activities that have loud environments such as parties, ballgames, and movies.
* Possible language difficulties

Here are several strategies to help children with auditory processing issues.

* Modify the environment by considering the acoustics
* Changing seating arrangements may be beneficial
* Limit extraneous noise from the hallway by closing the door or windows
* It may be necessary to cover the loud speaker with buffering material
* Having rugs or carpet on the floor will decrease echo and extraneous noises
* Whenever possible, children should be forewarned about bells, announcements, fire drills, etc.
* Have the child wear headphones or earmuffs that that cover the entire ear
* Play calming music such as Mozart in the headphones or as background music
* If concentration is an issue, the child should chew gum, suck on sour candies, and/or eat fruit roll ups, or crunchy snacks.
* Therapeutic Listening® is a program that may help a child with issues such as auditory defensiveness, hypersensitivities, sensory modulation, and general organization issues.
For more information, go to and click on parent info.
David Castillo Dominici@Freedigitialphotos