Monday, December 25, 2017

Developmental Milestone Chart: 18 to 24-Months

Your 18 to 24-month old baby is growing and learning new skills quickly. He is likely knows the meaning of simple objects, names items in a book, understands simple verbs.  The following developmental milestone chart will give you an idea of what do expect during the next few months.
 The project above was completed by Master of Occupational Therapy students at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center and posted with permission.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Free Holiday Worksheets for Visual Perceptual Skills!

Here are 4 free holiday worksheets that address visual perceptual skills. Visual perceptual skills are the ability to efficiently process visual information. When a child has visual perceptual problems, it can lead to challenges with writing, eye-hand coordination tasks, memory and attending to task. Enjoy these free visual perceptual worksheets over the holidays!
Have fun!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Free Visual Perceptual Worksheets: Matching Shapes

Have fum with these free visual perceptual worksheets!

When toddlers explore their surroundings, they discover that certain things have similar characteristics while others are different. They eventually learn to sort items by particular characteristics, and after that, they learn how to match. Your toddler will find it easier to match actual concrete items first, and once she masters items, she will move on to matching pictures. These worksheets will help your child learn about colors and how to discriminate various shapes.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

6 Ways to Improve Your Little One’s Motor Skills While You Work Out

Photo Credit: By
Let’s face it: many parents have no choice but to become excellent multitaskers. If you can’t help with homework while also folding the laundry, for example, one of those things just doesn’t get done. All too often, the need to get the most out of every waking moment means making a sacrifice here and there – usually missing out on something we as parents would like to do (morning jog, I’m thinking of you).

If you are one of those people with a jam-packed day who would feel so much better about getting some exercise if it didn’t mean sacrificing quality time with your little one, despair no more. You can indeed multitask this portion of your life as well! There are also many benefits of exercise for kids, including developing their motor skills without them even realizing, so you get bonus points if you both get a workout.

Try out some of these simple ways to develop your little one’s motor skills while you squeeze in a workout. 

1. Try out some of the free “baby and me” workout videos that abound on YouTube. Many of these help develop hand-eye coordination for your baby while you do yoga, Pilates, cardio, strength training, or dance.
2. If your little one is a bit older, try some children’s exercise videos, also on YouTube (my preschooler loves the Cosmic Kids Yoga series), to help your child learn to balance, stretch, follow instructions, jump, and more while you actually get a fairly decent (if brief) workout.
3. Show your little one how to roll, do the army crawl, crab walk, somersault, and more. Demonstrating the activities gives you the chance to work your core and upper body while teaching your child how to move in different ways. If they’re old enough to try to copy you, they’ll be working on coordinating the motion of their arms and legs to try new postures.
4. Have a dance party. The vast majority of physical exercise I got when my son was 1 and 2 was in the form of dance parties. Raffi, BeyoncĂ©, whoever. You can make it aerobically intense for you while having your child dance, hop, twist, or play the (pot and pan) drums. “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” and the good old “Hokie Pokie” have the added benefit of teaching body parts and additional skills while getting you both moving and grooving.
5. Jog with your little one in the stroller and attach activity-based toys to keep them busy. These include books, shakers, mirrors, and other items with ties, buttons, springs, rattles and more. They will be happily occupied playing while simultaneously learning about colors, textures, physics, sounds, and more.
6. Reserve some of your coolest motor activity-based toys for your workout times. While you exercise, your little one can have a blast exploring a special toy that they only get to use during your workouts. This toy should be something that has lots of possible ways it can be used, such as a set of blocks, yarn pegboards or a kid-friendly toolkit.

Finding motor skill-building activities and exercises for kids that they enjoy can be the key to fitting in a workout for you without relegating them to a seat in front of the TV. Best wishes for a dual-purpose workout, fellow multitaskers!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Developmental Milestone Chart: 12 to 15-Months

Your 12 to 15-month old baby is learning new skills at a rapid rate. He is likely pointing to get the attention of others, drinking from a cup and feeding himself a snack.  The following developmental milestone chart will give you a general idea of what do expect during the next few months.

Brill, A. (2017, March 16). Giant List of Self-Care Skills for Babies,Toddlers and Preschoolers. Retrieved from

Gross & Fine Motor Milestones. (n.d.). Retrieved August 08, 2017, from

Gross Motor Skills Milestones for Toddlers 12 - 24 Months | EIS. (2015, April 02). Retrieved from

Important Milestones: Your Child By Eighteen Months. (2016, August 15). Retrieved August 08, 2017, from

Physical Development of Toddlers From 12-18 months. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Toddlers' Social and Emotional Development From 12-18 Months. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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

Friday, September 29, 2017

Free Visual Perceptual Worksheets!!!

Visual perceptual worksheets are a fun way for students to work on visual perception skills.  As a special thank you to my readers, I am sharing these free visual perceptual worksheets! 
The following worksheets address Visual Closure.
Visual Closure is the ability to visually complete a picture or form that is not in full view. This skill is important for reading and recognizing words, forms, etc. in a speedy manner.
Visual-Closure Activities
-Complete pictures in which only parts of objects/shapes are revealed.
-“What is missing” worksheets
-Dot-to-dot activities
-Jigsaw puzzles
-Building three-dimensional models from cubes, cylinders, and blocks
-Connect broken lines to complete a shape or form.
-Partially cover an object or shapes and have the child identify it.
-Figure-ground activities also help with visual closure.

Reference: Test of Visual Perceptual Skills

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Developmental Milestone Chart: 9 to 12-Months

Developmental Milestone Chart: 9 to 12-Months

From 9 and 12 months, your baby is developing at an extraordinary pace.  She is likely exploring her environment by crawling, and believe it or not, she will be walking and talking soon!  The following developmental milestone chart will give you an idea of what do expect during the next few months.

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

Saturday, September 2, 2017

New Occupational Therapy Podcast!!! On The air: A space for teaching and learnng about OT

My good friend and colleague, Stephanie Lancaster, recently started a new OT podcast.  She came up with the idea for the podcast because she noted an absence of podcasts aimed at a general audience of individuals interested in occupational therapy. Her goals for the podcast are to promote and share information about the profession of OT to interested parties, to support learning and networking of OT students, and to provide a space for engagement and inspiration of OT practitioners in the field.
 This will be a wonderful resource for all OTs, OTAs, OT students, and other individuals interested in the amazing field of Occupational Therapy.

Here is a link to the website:

The podcast will also be available on Stitcher and I Heart Radio in the near future. Feel free to share this information if you'd like to!

Image used with permission.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Developmental Milestone Chart: 6 to 9-Months

Your 6 to 9-month old is growing and developing skills every day. She knows her name, imitates sounds, and is likely rolling over by now.  The following developmental milestone chart will give you a general idea of what do expect during these months.
 The project above was completed by Master of Occupational Therapy students at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center and posted with permission.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Developmental Milestone Chart: 3 to 6-Months

Your 3 to 6 month old baby likely enjoys socializing by smiling and cooing at you. This is a fun age!  He has discovered his hands and fingers and explores them with his mouth.  The following developmental milestone chart will give you a general idea of what do expect during this time frame.
Photo/Image Credits:
Liz. (2012, May 30). Pastel ABC baby blocks. [Photograph]. Retrieved from
Saaraa. (2015). Infant and elderly: the most prone to burns. [Photograph]. Retrieved from

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

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Developmental Milestone Chart: Birth to 3-Months

Parents, teachers, and therapists need to understand typical child development and be aware of developmental milestones.  If we know what to expect when it comes to development, then we will know when to consult with the pediatrician if a developmental problem is suspected.  For this reason, I am happy to share a series of posts that will include developmental milestone charts for infants and children ranging in age from birth to 6 years of age.  Here is the developmental milestone chart for an infant ranging in age from birth to 3-months.

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

Friday, August 11, 2017

Tummy Time Research!!!

Infant Positioning, Baby Gear Use, and Cranial Asymmetry
Anne H. Zachry · Vikki G. Nolan · Sarah B. Hand · Susan A. Klemm 
Study Objectives: This study aimed to identify predictors of cranial asymmetry. We hypothesize that among infants diagnosed with cranial asymmetry in the sampled region, there is an association between exposure to more time in baby gear and less awake time in prone and sidelying than in infants who do not present with this condition.

Methods: The study employed a cross sectional survey of caregivers of typically developing infants and infants diagnosed with cranial asymmetry.

Results: Caregivers of children who are diagnosed with cranial asymmetry report their children spending significantly less time in prone play than those children without
a diagnosis of cranial asymmetry. Side-lying and time spent in baby gear did not attain statistical significance.

Conclusions for Practice: Occupational therapists, physical therapists, pediatricians, nurses and other health care professionals must provide parents with early education about the importance of varying positions and prone play in infancy and address fears and concerns that may serve as
barriers to providing prone playtime.

Click on the following link to access the article:

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Activities for Tactile Sensitivity

Photo by Sattva @ 
      Try these activities with children who have tactile sensitivity. Any child's sensory system will benefit from these activities, defensive or not. Just be sure and remember to start slowly, and DO NOT force any input that your child resists. If your little one is extremely resistant, it’s probably time to consult your pediatrician and ask about the possibility of occupational therapy. There are more advanced treatments that can only be carried out under the supervision of a therapist. 
  • Spend a few extra minutes after bath time to vigorously rub the child with a towel, or guide them in doing so.  
  • Rub lotion or powder on the legs, hands and arms while singing (for distraction purposes). Let them also rub the lotion or powder on you, especially if they won’t tolerate it on their own extremities.
  • Pretend face washing or shaving- with different textures of cloth or towels.
  • Use a variety of textured materials such as corduroy, fur, terry cloth, etc. and rub on your child’s back, arms and legs.
  • Put textured mittens or puppets on child’s hands and let him or her take them off.
  • Encourage your child to play in binds of sand, rice, beans or popcorn. Hide items and have the child locate them, guessing what they are while still covered. If your child won’t touch the textures, provide cups and shovels for play.
  • Have the child roll up in a blanket or sheet, then play hot dog – press on mustard, relish, etc., and then have them roll out.
  • Put shaving cream, lotion, or pudding on a large piece of aluminum foil and have the child draw a picture or write spelling words. Be sure to get both hands messy!
  • Finger painting or body painting with water-based paints. 
  • Play in play dough or putty. Pulling, squeezing, rolling, etc.
  • Draw numbers/letters on the child’s back, arms, lets, etc. and have him identify. You can make it a multiple choice or yes-no question - Is this a 2 or a 5?
  • Provide activities that provide tactile input on the child’s entire body, such as a kid pool full of styrofoam, big soft pillows, or balls.
  • Games with physical contact are good – bear hugs, piggyback rides, wrestling, back rubs, petting animals.
  • Identifying objects with eyes closed – keys, comb, marble, block, coins, shapes, etc.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Play and Child Development

 Children learn about the world around them through exploration and play. The role of play in child development is important for the development gross motor, fine motor and social skills. Play can be as simple as imitating the sounds that your infant makes, or it can be more involved, such as putting puzzles together, stacking blocks and imitating complex block patterns. Play activities such as these are great for motor and perceptual development, and they are also wonderful for social skill development.

Parents and caregivers need to have a basic understanding of developmental milestones in childhood. This knowledge will be helpful when encouraging your child come up with ideas for play.

Here is a brief early developmental milestone chart of skills that influence play. Please keep in mind that all children develop at their own individual rates, so the ages for acquiring these milestones may vary from child to child.

Begins to show interest in and curiosity about the environment – 4 to 6 months
Object permanence emerging/pointing to pictures and objects- 10 months to 1 year
Imitation and solitary play skills- 1 year to 15 months
Parallel play and symbolic play- 2 years
Interactive play and taking turns- 2 ½ to 3 years

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Free Visual Perceptual Worksheets

We use visual perceptual skills to understand what we see around us.  Visual perceptual skills are needed for writing, reading, and copying from the board.  There are many different ways to work on visual perceptual skills!  For example, visual perceptual worksheets can be fun way for kids to improve visual perception.  As a special thank you to my readers, I am providing these free visual perceptual worksheets! 

For free visual perceptual worksheets, click on the following links:

 If you found this blog post helpful, please go to my facebook page and click like. Thanks! 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Fine Motor ABC: A Must Have Book!

Are fine motor skills important?  Yes!  Research tells us that there is a connection between fine motor skill development and future science, math and reading skills.  It is also important to know that all young children spend a large percentage of their school days engaging in fine motor tasks.  If you are looking for a fun and motivating way to develop and improve a child’s fine motor skills, then “Fine Motor ABC” can help!
This fun-filled book includes a fine motor strengthening task for every letter in the alphabet.  The photographs are colorful and engaging, and they will attract and delight children.  The instructions are easy to follow and will put your child on the road to motor skill success!

This book is perfect for use at home or in a therapy session.  Use it to help your child improve his dexterity and gain confidence in his abilities!

 Sign up for a chance to win your own copy of "Fine Motor ABC" by following my blog (lower right side of this page) or click HERE to order a copy on Amazon!