Sunday, January 19, 2014

Help Your Child Learn Through Experiences!

Children with special needs often struggle with language, motor, and sensory processing skills. Difficulties in one or more of these areas may impact how a child interacts with the world. For example, a child with a language delay may have fewer social interactions throughout the day. Because children learn by engaging with the world around them, it is critical that all children have unlimited opportunities for learning. Here are several strategies for helping a child with special needs learn through engagement. 

-Never underestimate the power of imitation. Imitate your child and encourage her to imitate you. Guide her through the motions if she needs a bit of help. Even if she’s being guided, she will feel the movement and learn from it.

-Exaggerate, exaggerate, exaggerate! Exaggerate your expressions, your voice and every move that you make in order to get and keep your child’s attention. During play, always position yourself in her line of vision. Your child learns through observation, so the more he watches you, the more he learns.

-Reinforcement may be necessary. A child with special needs may not be naturally excited by play and interaction, so keep the motivation high through positive reinforcement. Be sure to use reinforcers that are motivating and meaningful to your chld.

-Keep it simple. Play doesn’t have to be complicated. Break activities down into simple, basic steps in order to increase your child’s opportunities to successfully complete a task. Praise your child for every small accomplishment.

-Make it fun. Try not to “push” your child. Play should be natural and fun and if your child senses that you aren’t having a good time, it’s likely he won’t have as much fun. Laugh as much as possible and have a good time!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

We're Gonna be OTs! Way to Go St. Louis University OT Students!!!

St. Louis University occupational therapy students shared their enthusiasm for our wonderful profession by creating an awesome video! "We're Gonna be OTs" is a student anthem written and performed by a group of talented students to the tune "Royals," a song by the band Lordes. Every time I watch the video, it makes me smile. To watch it, just click HERE. Please share this post and spread the word about the amazing profession of occupational therapy!
St. Louis University Occupational Therapy Students
Posted with permission of the Public Relations Committee of the SLU OS and OT Department

Dear Readers, If you have found my blog to be helpful, please follow my blog (on the right of this page) and click here and "like" my facebook page... 
Thanks :) 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Shelby County Regional Special Education PTA

Logo for

Attention all Shelby County families of children with special needs! Have you heard of the Shelby County Regional Special Education PTA? SEPTA is a Parent Teacher Association for parents, guardians, and anyone with an interest in the welfare of children with special needs. Whether your child attends public school, private school or is home schooled, SEPTA is open to you. This wonderful organization also welcomes family members, caregivers, educators, school related personnel, community professionals, as well as medical, therapeutic and paraprofessionals.

SEPTA Vision: 

“To be viewed as a leading resource and advocate for gathering and disseminating information to support families and children with special needs in the greater Mid-South area.”

For more information about SEPTA, click HERE!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Interoception: The “Other” Sense

Of course, occupational therapists are familiar with the traditional senses: vision, hearing, smell, touch, taste. We are also knowledgeable about the vestibular and proprioceptive senses, but there’s an “eighth” sense that may not be as familiar to us…the interoceptive sense. This sense takes the sensory input from certain internal organs and shares the information from those organs with the central nervous system. The interoceptive system regulates body temperature, thirst, hunger, heart rate, digestion, and bowel and bladder functioning.

For a child with sensory processing problems, it’s possible that the interoceptive system is impaired. Consider the following issues that are often present in individuals with sensory processing challenges:

-       Difficulty regulating body temperature
-       Stomach issues (constipation or diarrhea)
-       Challenges with potty training (may not be able to feel when bladder is full)
-       Feeding issues (decreased awareness of fullness or hunger/thirst)
-       Respiration and/or heart rate sensitivities (too fast, too slow, or problems transitioning from being sedentary to exertion)

If your child has a sensory processing disorder and struggles with several of these issues, consult with your occupational therapist. There are therapy techniques and adaptive strategies that may be effective in addressing these challenges.