Friday, November 4, 2022

How early can ADHD be recognized?

How can a parent know if their 3 or 4 year old has an attention problem? Is it possible to recognize Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) before a child starts to grade school? Dr. Mark Mahone, director of the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Maryland says yes. He feels that it is important to identify ADHD as early as possible because of the impact that it has on a child’s academic performance in school. Interestingly, warning signs of this disorder frequently appear in preschool, around age 4. By school age, the Centers for Disease Control reports that one in 11 school children have been diagnosed with ADHD.

The following early signs are associated with ADHD.

  1. Avoids tasks that require sustained attention for up to one to two minutes.
  2. Does not maintain interest in a task after several minutes, and switches to another task.
  3. Is more verbal and noisier than same-age peers.
  4. Climbs on furniture and other items when directed not to.
  5. Unable to hop on one foot by four years of age.
  6. Is constantly restless, wiggling feet and hands and not wanting to stay seated.
  7. Puts self in danger because he exhibits no fear.
  8. Not cautious of strangers
  9. Displays inappropriate aggression with peers.
  10.  Frequent injuries (broken bones or stiches) because of impulsivity.

Of course, any time a parent has concerns related to their child’s development, they should consult with their pediatrician.

Source: Psychology Today

Friday, August 19, 2022

Sleep Problems Solved: Get Cool Koala Child-Friendly Bedtime Meditations!!!

It can be challenging, and sometimes nearly impossible, to get your kids to fall asleep quickly and get a good night's rest. Now, there is a solution to this problem! Cool Koala, created by music therapist Ryan Judd, is a program of relaxing, engaging, bedtime meditation sessions. Ryan’s intuitive and deliberate approach to his work with children is evident in this amazing product. Every evening, your child will have access to a unique, child-friendly guided meditation. With fun characters like Cool Koala, Busy Beaver, and Cranky Cat, your child will look forward to relaxing and going to bed. Not only will your nighttime routine go more smoothly, but your child will also gain skills that will help them relax, focus, and find peace on a day-to-day basis moving forward. I highly recommend Cool Koala Meditations!


To learn more about Ryan Judd, visit his website, The Rhythm Tree!

Friday, June 10, 2022

VOTE NO for the proposed AOTA Bylaws changes!


Dear reader,
      If you are an AOTA member, please VOTE NO for the proposed AOTA Bylaws changes! The AOTA Board of Directors has put forth a full set of “New” Bylaws.   There are major changes put forth that will impact your representation and voice in the Associations affairs.  
     Some of the proposed changes include but not limited to: 

1. Changing the means method for which slating and voting for certain key positions will occur;
2. Establishment of an Executive Committee to take action on behalf of the Association with limited input;
3. Eliminates state/geographical representation in the Representative Assembly and reduces the Assembly membership to 23 “appointed” positions;
4. Restructuring of the Executive Board membership with the elimination of a separate Treasurer and Secretary and elimination of voice or vote representation from State Association Presidents and other key groups that support the membership.    
5. Revises language from “requiring” that the Board provide AOTA membership with an Annual update of activities and affairs to “may provide” which leaves it up to the discretion of the Board versus mandating this occur.

The vote for the AOTA revised bylaws is open now through June 24th. Please VOTE NO!!!!



Wednesday, May 25, 2022

How to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

In one year, all across this country, approximately 2,500 infants die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also known as SIDS. SIDS awareness is critical. If you are not familiar with that term, SIDS is the unexpected death of an apparently healthy infant during sleep. Prior to 1992, most babies in the United States slept on their stomachs. In 1992, after researchers discovered that infants were approximately 12 times more likely to be found on their stomachs than on their backs when they had died of SIDS, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended that all infants be placed to sleep on their backs or sides. Later, the side position was eliminated from the recommendation because infants could roll from their sides to their stomachs in their sleep. Since that original sleep position recommendation was made by the AAP in 1992, 50% fewer infants have died from SIDS. Putting babies to sleep on their backs turned out to be a simple and effective way to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome!

                                                               Photo Credit: Free Digital

Following these recommendations reduces the risk of SIDS.

  • Position your infant on their back to sleep. 
  • Use a firm, flat sleep surface.  
  • Your baby can be brought into your bed for feeding or comforting, but return your baby to her back in her crib when you are ready to go to sleep.  
  • Bed-sharing is not recommended for any babies.  
  • Room share by keeping baby’s sleep area in the same room where you sleep, ideally for the first 6 months.  
  • Keep soft objects, loose bedding, or any objects that could increase the risk of entrapment, suffocation, or strangulation out of the baby’s sleep area.  
  • Do not let your baby fall asleep on nursing pillows or pillow-like lounging pads.  
  • Never place your baby to sleep on a couch, sofa, or armchair.  
  • It is fine to swaddle your baby. However, make sure that your baby is always on her back when you swaddle her.  
  • Try giving a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.  
  • Set up a separate but proximate sleeping environment.  
  • Do not smoke or use any nicotine products during pregnancy or around your baby. Secondhand smoke increases baby’s risk of SIDS. 
  • Avoid alcohol, marijuana, opioid, and illicit drug use during pregnancy. 
  • Don’t let your baby overheat. She should be lightly clothed for sleep, with the bedroom temperature remaining comfortable.  
  • Use a crib, bassinet, or play yard. These have safety standards. Never let your baby sleep on a couch, armchair, cushion, or adult bed.  
  • Avoid commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS. Research reveals that sleep positioners (flat or wedged mats with side bolsters) pose a risk of suffocation because a baby can get trapped and suffocate between the sleep positioner and the side of a crib or bassinet. 
  • Don’t let your baby share a bed.  
  • Breastfeeding is recommended.  
  • Pregnant women should receive regular prenatal care.  
  • Do not rely on home monitors as a strategy to reduce the risk of SIDS. 
  • There is no evidence that home monitors decrease the incidence of SIDS. 
  • Keep immunizations up to date. 
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Monday, March 7, 2022

Going to Town: An Activity to Improve Balance!

This is a fun activity to work on sitting and standing balance! The town map is made from a trifold presentation board and is covered in construction paper. The individual buildings are made from card stock and construction paper, and the pond and trees are made from felt. There is Velcro on the back of each building, tree, and pond. This allows a child the creative freedom to arrange and rearrange the board.

For a fun treatment activity, have the child sit on a rocker board and decide which pieces to place in different spots on the board. Then have the child “drive” a toy car from one place to the other. Have the child work on following directions by asking him to drive from home to the school, etc. To grade this activity, have the child start by sitting on a rocker board then progress to standing. There is also the option of “driving” the car on the road in the center of the board, then as he becomes more comfortable with the movement of the rocker board, and then “drive” on the road to the outer edges of the board. The board can also be placed various distances from the child. For example, to begin, he could be very close to the board and as he becomes more comfortable with the rocker board and his balance improves, the distance could be increased to change how far he has to reach in order to “drive” from place to place.  

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

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Make your own DIY shape sorter toy!

In this post, I am going to explain how to make a DIY shape sorter toy! You probably have the necessary materials right in your home! A shape sorter is a fun activity that helps to improve visual perception skills, spatial awareness, eye-hand coordination, and fine motor skills. When a child plays with a shape sorter, they engage their problem-solving skills and learn about colors, and shapes.

- Shoe Box Scissors
- Pencil, crayons, or marker
- Colorful 3-D shapes or wooden blocks
- Contact paper- Stickers

Cover the box and lid with contact paper. Secure the edges of the contact paper in place with tape if needed. Place each shape on the lid of the box, and trace the outline of each shape. Use the scissors or a craft knife to cut out the shapes. Press each shape through corresponding hole to make sure they all fit. Have the child help decorate the box using crayons, markers, and/or stickers, and it’s time to play! Have fun!!!

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

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Mindfulness for Children: An Excellent Resource!!!

Smell the Flower… Blow Out the Candle is a delightful guide to mindfulness for children! This book will help children pay attention to their bodies, understand their feelings, and make good choices. Every child can use the strategies covered in this book to calm themselves, boost their mood, and improve their focus, and the charming illustrations will definitely keep the children engaged! An added bonus is that it includes social emotional activities for children that can be used by parents at home as well as teachers in the classroom. 


As a pediatric occupational therapist with over 30 years of experience, I truly believe that teaching children mindfulness teaches them how to deal with stress, practice empathy, and live with peace and gratitude. This child-friendly introduction to mindfulness will help every child build a greater awareness of their body and emotions. It is a must have for parents, educators, and therapists!