Easy Summer Therapy Fun on Pinterest

Pinterest_Badge_Red

Pinterest, we love thee! But you can get a little overwhelming…

I am a huge Pinterest fan. You can find anything on there including thousands (millions?) of great pediatric therapy related pins…sometimes, it can get pretty daunting! Whenever I see a pediatric therapy board with 2,000+ pins on it, I pass it by, no matter how tempting. You know that once you click on a board, you won’t stop scrolling til you reach the bottom. Is that even possible when a board has 10,000+ pins? (I’ve seen it!)

 

To make it easier on you folks out there just looking for some easy to find summertime therapy activities, here are five boards with less than 300 pins!

  1. Summer Fine Motor Ideas Fine motor printables and activity ideas with summer time themes! We love the printable playdough mats from Sing A Story.
  2. Holiday Summer Sensory Activities A selection of outdoors sensory activities perfect for a hot summer day! Check out the Colored Ice & goop by Creative Playhouse.
  3. Summer Activities A variety of fun summer ideas for fine motor, visual motor, and gross motor activities. Squirt Bottle Painting by Mess For Less is a great idea to keep kids occupied during a summer get together!
  4. Summer – Speech Printables and activities to keep your child’s speech and language skills sharp over the summer! We like Surf Into Summer language activities, a free printable from First Grade and Fabulous.
  5. Summer Therapy Fun! You can find all of these suggested pins and more fine motor, gross motor, sensory, speech, and language ideas on our summer themed board. We promise–you won’t have to weed through 2,000 pins to do it!

Do YOU have a summer themed therapy board on Pinterest? E-mail your board to tina@stellartherapy.com and we may feature it on our blog!

 

Springtime Gross Motor Cards

firstdayofspring

This winter held on strong, but spring is finally here! We’ve developed these awesome Springtime Gross Motor Cards to help your family usher in the sunny season.

Send us pictures of your family playing with the Springtime Gross Motor Cards and you could be featured on our blog! E-mail pictures to tina@stellartherapy.com. By e-mailing photos you consent to your images being shared on blog.stellartherapy.com

Stellar Therapy Springtime Gross Motor Cards


 

Springtime Shuffle Egg Race

2+ players, outdoors

Skills addressed: gross motor, attention, following written directions

Supplies: Stellar Therapy Springtime Gross Motor Cards, plastic eggs , Easter baskets, streamers (optional)

  1. Print and cut out Stellar Therapy’s Springtime Gross Motor Cards on card stock. Print enough to have at least two cards per player.
  2. Set up your starting line and finish line. You can use colorful streamers to mark your lines but if you don’t have any, outdoor landmarks will do.
  3. Place empty Easter baskets at the finish line, one basket per team.
  4. Divide plastic eggs into piles at the starting line. You’ll want at least 1 egg per player, but the more eggs, the more fun!
  5. Shuffle your Springtime Gross Motor Cards and divide them into piles at the starting line. Place the cards face down, no peeking!
  6. Divide into teams at the starting line. If there is an odd number of players, one can conduct the race!
  7. As the race begins, the first players will pick up an Easter egg and a card from the stack–the Springtime gross motor card you pick is how you have to run your leg of the race–but don’t drop that egg! As players reach the finish line and drop their egg in the basket, the 2nd player from the team grabs an egg and a card and so on until all of the eggs from the starting line are in the Easter baskets! Small teams can run back and forth to deliver the eggs picking a new gross motor card each time.
  8. Line up your first players at the starting line…ready, get set, GO!!!

Springtime Fine Motor Matching Game

1+ players, anywhere

Skills addressed: fine motor skills, visual memory, concentration

Supplies: Stellar Therapy Springtime Gross Motor Cards

  1. Print and cut out Stellar Therapy’s Springtime Gross Motor Cards on card stock. Print at least 4 sets of cards. The more cards, the more fun!
  2. Shuffle the cards and spread out face down.
  3. Flip the cards over, 2 per turn, until you find a match.
  4. When all the matches are found, act out your favorites! This can be used as a movement break during tabletop activities.

 

These are just a few suggestions for how to enjoy your Springtime Gross Motor Cards. We encourage you to find more fun ways to use the cards, and we’d love to hear about it! Comment on this blog post to share other exciting ways your family has used the Springtime Gross Motor Cards.

 

Check back for new fun, therapy-related games each month!

Expert Q&A on Feeding Therapy with Kristy Steil, SLP/CCC

Expert Q&A on Feeding Therapy

An interview with Speech Language Pathologist
Kristy Steil, SLP/CCC

One of Stellar Speech-Language Pathologist Kristy Steil's feeding therapy creations!

One of Stellar Speech-Language Pathologist Kristy Steil’s feeding therapy creations!

What is feeding therapy?
What I have learned about feeding therapy is that it is very complex in nature.  Feeding therapy can be structural and focus on the oral-motor structures and how they function or it can be behavioral and address issues related to the picky and/or problem eaters.  Regardless of the need, my approach is to provide positive interactions with food to advance the child to the next skill level.  Therapy will look different for a picky or problem eater than it does for a child who has oral-motor impairments or who was born with swallowing difficulties. 

What are some reasons a child may need feeding therapy?
There are many different reasons a child may benefit from feeding therapy.  Children can benefit from therapy in order to increase the types and amounts of foods they eat.  Some children may have difficulty moving from baby foods to solids.  Other children may have past medical conditions such as reflux that have caused negative experiences with food and.  Other children may not have the oral-motor movements needed to chew and/or swallow.   Currently I am treating a lot of children who are “picky or problem eaters”.  These children do not have a variety of foods in their core diet and are at risk for “dropping” food that they do eat.  

What do you look for when evaluating a child for feeding therapy?
When I am evaluating a child to see whether or not they could benefit from feeding therapy I am looking at the types of food they eat, the variety, the amount, as well as, the function of the oral structures.  I also want to take a detailed look at the child’s history in regards to eating.  

What are some things you may do in feeding therapy?
Currently, the majority of the feeding therapy I do is with picky and problem eaters.  Therapy focuses on increasing positive interactions with food in order to disassociate any negativity from it.  I work on making food fun, involving the child with food, helping the child interact with food by touching, smelling, or putting it in their mouth.  I try to decrease any kind of pressures they may feel about eating to increase positive interaction.  I also work closely with the families to establish mealtime routines and guidelines about eating.  

Is feeding therapy something most Speech-Language Pathologists do or is it more specialized?
Feeding therapy is a specialty among SLPs.  The majority of SLPs do not get specialized training in their programs to begin treating children who have feeding difficulties. It definitely requires additional training that can be provided in continuing education courses and mentoring from other SLPS.  

What is your background in feeding therapy?
I have been working with children who have feeding difficulties for the past 17 years, primarily infants and young children. SLPs do continuing education yearly, and feeding therapy has been the focus of mine over the last 10 years. Every child’s needs are different when it comes to feeding so it “keeps me thinking”.  It is very rewarding to help families and children be able to enjoy the social aspect of eating without stress!

Kristy Steil, SLP/CCC

Kristy Steil is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist with over 17 years of experience in pediatric therapy. Kristy provides outpatient Speech & Feeding Therapy at Stellar Therapy’s Outpatient Pediatric Clinic. To learn more about Kristy, visit our website.

Valentine’s Day Sensory Bin with Megan & Tina

Valentine’s Day is less than a month away, and whether you bask in its lovie-dovie glory or stay far away from Cupid’s arrow, we know your kiddos will enjoy this themed sensory bin.

Stellar Therapy blogger Tina teamed up with Stellar Therapy Pediatric Clinic Manager Megan to create this fun, easy to make Valentine’s Day Sensory Bin!

Stellar Therapy Valentines Sensory Bin

The Bas(e)ics

Megan: Sensory Bins provide a way for children to explore their senses in a controlled environment. Sensory bins are not only great for children with Sensory Processing Disorders, but for engaging fine motor skills as well. You can easily turn a sensory bin into a fine motor game, which you will read more about in the next section!

Tina: We used plain white rice as our base for this sensory bin, but if you are feeling ambitious you can dye your rice a festive color! Check out this Rice Dyeing How-To from More Than ABC and 123.

The Fillings

Tina: One of the best things about sensory bins is that you can fill them with whatever you like! We used items we already had in our Clinic to fill this Valentine’s Day Sensory Bin with a variety of weights, sizes, and textures.

  • Raised heart ornaments
  • Feathers
  • Marbles
  • Tissue paper
  • Pencil grips
  • Pipe cleaner hearts
  • Therapy tongs

Fine Motor Game

Megan: If you’re looking to help your child practice their fine motor skills, you can have a sensory bin treasure hunt!

Using the tongs, have your child dig through the rice to find the buried marbles, pipe cleaners, and pencil grips. Have a small bucket or box nearby for your child to drop in the treasures they find. For a super challenge, try picking up the tissue paper or feathers! (Tina: I couldn’t do it…)

The Best Part

Megan: Sensory bins are so adaptable! You can make them as simple or as involved as you like. Stellar Therapy’s Valentine’s Day Sensory Bin was made with items we already had in our clinic; many are things you may already have at home!

Tina: After Megan and I put together this sensory bin, it looked so fun I tried it out at home immediately. I worked with items I already had on hand: rice, empty storage bins, tissue paper, pom poms, and pencil grips.

As you can see, it was a hit with my niece (7 years) and twin daughters (almost 3 years)!

They had so much fun with the sensory bins, they completely ignored the castle in the living room!

They had so much fun with the sensory bins, they completely ignored the castle in the living room!

There was a little rice on the floor afterwards but cleanup was easy and totally worth it! We will definitely be having fun with sensory bins from now on.

This post’s contributors…

Megan and Tina

Megan is the Pediatric Clinic Manager at Stellar Therapy Services. She has a passion for helping others, one that shines brightly in her work at Stellar. Megan looks forward to contributing more to the Stellar Therapy blog!

Tina is the Social Media Manager at Stellar Therapy Services, where she is dedicated to sharing fun, exciting ways to support pediatric OT, PT, and Speech Therapy at school and in the home.

Disney’s Frozen meets Feeding Therapy

Do you wanna build a snowman? We did this week in one of our feeding therapy sessions!

Stellar Therapist Kristy Steil, SLP/CCC came up with this little guy in tribute to Disney’s smash hit film Frozen.

Stellar Therapy Services Feeding Therapy Olaf

See the resemblance?

http://parksandresorts.wdpromedia.com/media/disneyparks/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Screen-Shot-2013-11-12-at-12.32.05-PM.png

Credit: DisneyParks Blog, Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort

The kiddos enjoyed their edible Olaf, as you can tell. They ate the raisin buttons off before we could even take a picture! I’d say that feeding therapy session was a smash-hit. Thanks, Kristy for another fun feeding creation!

Could your child benefit from feeding therapy? Stay tuned for an upcoming interview with Kristy Steil, SLP/CCC!

Holiday Themed Speech Game

The holidays are here at Stellar Therapy Services and this year we have spun up some holiday fun for you to enjoy!

Describing Words: Holiday Edition is a fun printable handout you can use at home or in the classroom to practice speech and language skills. The possibilities for this handout are endless, but here are some suggestions:

  • Read through the sheet and say the describing words out loud
  • After studying the handout, look around the room and describe other objects by size, shape, color, function, and texture
  • Use a slip of paper to cover up the describing words and describe the objects on your own. Did you come up with different descriptions than what is on the handout? There are many different ways to describe things!

This Handout was developed for Stellar Therapy Services by Stellar Therapist Laurie Shaw, Speech-Language Pathology Assistant. Thanks, Laurie!

Book Review: The Reason I Jump

Front Cover

Book review by: Paula Offut, OT

During Fall Break for Hamilton County Schools I was off work for a week, and had been looking forward to reading The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida, billed on the cover jacket as “the inner voice of a thirteen -year-old boy with autism”. As a pediatric occupational therapist in Hamilton County Schools, I work with children with autism of varying levels of functioning, many of whom are non-verbal. I was excited to get a glimpse inside the world of one such child. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy the book as much as I had hoped.

Naoki is essentially non-verbal. As a young adult, he is now able to communicate to some extent using technology, but at the time he was 13 his primary method of communication was picking letters from a Japanese alphabet grid, creating words one letter at a time. This is how the book was written, with transcription by his mother. It was later translated into British English from the Japanese language by KA Yoshida, and finally further edited by Yoshida’s husband David Mitchell. (Yoshida and Mitchell themselves are parents of a child with autism). In an interview posted on Amazon.com, Mitchell said his goal was  “to write the book as Naoki would have done if he were a 13-year-old British kid with autism rather than a 13 year-old Japanese kid with autism ”, and that “varying Naoki’s phrasing, while keeping the meaning, was a ball we had to keep our eyes on.” This is one of the concerning factors for me.

At times the words and descriptions seem pretty sophisticated, even for a bright 13-year-old, and at other times they are very simplistic and repetitive. I do not doubt that Naoki can communicate, and spelled out the content of his original book using the Japanese letter grid, I just wonder how much of his original content and intent is still intact through these multiple levels of translation. Also, in many instances throughout the book the language used is “we” and “us” in explaining the behavior and thought processes of individuals with autism (impossible to know whether the author originally used the first person plural, or if it became plural during one of the translations).  But just as every person without autism is different, so is every person with autism, which has many forms and levels of functioning (thus the designation as a “spectrum” condition).  Readers may have the tendency to assume all individuals with autism experience things as Naoki does, especially given the use of the first person plural. However, it is important to remember that the perspective of this one individual does not necessarily reflect on what someone else is going through or has experienced.

That said, there were some positive aspects of this book that make it worth reading. It is short and a quick read; it’s format (question and answer, with each entry no more than a couple of pages) is simple, direct, and easy to read, especially  compared to some of the dry research based books out there. It does give the reader an intimate glimpse into the mind and life of one individual with autism. As long as the reader does not assume his experience is like every other’s, it is still helpful in making the reader realize there is reason behind the behaviors we see in children with autism, even if we don’t yet know those reasons, and it reminds the reader to never forget the person behind those behaviors.

-Paula Offut, OT

Stellar Therapist Paula Offut, OT provides Occupational Therapy in the Hamilton County School District.