Maybel took a quick snack break between patients to reflect on her first week at Work. “My favorite part is welcoming unsure kids with a smiling face and wagging tail. I love helping kids learn to tie shoes and buckle. Someone also decorated my leash with stickers to help her fine motor precision and control. I can’t wait to meet more frineds.!”
Did you know?
September is children’s eye awareness month!
Vision and eye health are important in every stage of life. Eyesight helps babies learn and explore their environment, assists school age children with reading and writing, and helps with hand-eye coordination during play, sports, and self care!
Vision is so much more than just being able to see! There are many components to vision that allow us to interact with our environment. Some of these include:
- Eye muscle movements: There are six muscles that help us control our eyes! They help us look up, down, and to the sides. They help us track moving objects. If one muscle isn’t working properly, it can affect our coordination and visual tracking.
- Visual acuity: The accuracy of how clearly we can see.
- Refractive errors: Sometimes the shape of our eye will slightly change, affecting our ability to see close up and far away. This is commonly referred to nearsightedness and farsightedness and is one of the most common reasons for glasses!
- Visual Motor Skills: The ability to see and perceive something, then send a signal to your brain to perform a motor action! Visual motor skills are important for recognizing and copying letters, shapes, as well as cutting and stringing beads.
- Ocular motor skills: Ocular motor skills can be broken into three components: fixation (focusing on one object), saccades (rapidly moving eyes from one object to another) and pursuits (tracking a moving object). These are really important skills for a child during play. For example, these skills help us catch and throw a ball, copy off the board during school, and scoop food with a spoon.
Eyecanlearn is an awesome resource for children to practice those visual skills! Visit eyecanlearn.com for fun games and activities to target ocular motor skills, visual tracking, visual focus and more!
Also, with Halloween around the corner, don’t miss this fun tips sheet from preventblindness.org to make sure your family has a safe holiday!
It is important to have your vision regularly checked. The Mayo Clinic recommends that children ages 0-3 should have their pediatrician check for eye problems at every visit, children ages 3-5 should have at least one comprehensive eye exam, and school age children should have their vision checked every 1-2 years. Often times, children do not know that their vision is abnormal and if left undiagnosed, can cause behavior problems in the classroom, difficulties with math and reading, and even mimic signs of ADHD! If your child has not had a vision screening recently, make sure to reach out to your pediatrician or schedule an appointment with an optometrist (eye doctor).
Keep Kids Creative Week
What is it?
National Keep Kids Creative Week was developed in 2003 by artist Bruce Van Patter. He created this holiday to inspire those who work with children to encourage creativity and foster the imagination. Allowing children opportunities to express themselves creatively is vital to the overall development and wellbeing of a child. It is the freest form of self-expression, where a child can express themselves openly and without judgement. Fostering creativity in children nurtures their emotional health, boosts confidence, and stimulates cognitive development. A child’s creative self-expression also provides an opportunity to appreciate how unique each child is and to celebrate their diversity!
How can we keep kids creative?
We can encourage creativity by providing children with the space and materials to explore freely. When engaging in arts and crafts, place emphasis on the creative process rather than the end product. Allow children to make their own artistic choices guided by their unique intrinsic motivations and ideas. Get messy, be silly, allow mistakes, and have fun! Pretend play is the perfect opportunity for kids to let their imaginations run wild. From flying to the moon in a cardboard box to fighting crime in a superhero costume, child-led imaginative play is the playground for creative exploration. Listening to music, adventuring in nature, journal writing, and dancing are other avenues that welcome and boost creativity.
Ideas to target speech and language goals while encouraging creativity
- Make up stories! Generate characters, a setting, a problem, and a solution. Next, formulate sentences, draw pictures, and assemble a book! This activity can target early literacy skills, sequencing, story grammar, and reading fluency. For articulation practice, make the main character’s name reflect your child's target speech sound. For example, write a story about “Samson the Silly Snake” to practice that “s” sound!
- Go on a nature walk or a scavenger hunt! Find items in the room that start with your child's target speech sound. Scavenger hunts can also be used to target early language skills such as categorization. Tape large and small circles on the floor using masking tape then go on a hunt for big and little objects around you, placing them in the right circle. Activities like these get creative juices flowing!
- Time for art! Provide your child with art materials without a clear end product in mind. Let their inner artist guide them. To encourage little ones to use language, incorporate “communication temptations.” Keep art materials just out of reach so that the child must request items, “Blue paint, please!” Model robust vocabulary by describing their art, “Wow, what a soft green feather” and narrating what you are doing, “I’m drawing dots. Dot, dot, dot.” Include opportunities to target turn taking by only offering one glue stick to use between two children.
The opportunities for creative expression are endless. Speech and language development can be fostered in any activity. Just get creative!
New Team Member Lesly Sanchez
Hello everyone, my name is Lesly. I have been living in the lowcountry for the past twenty or so years. I learned from an early age that I wanted to help people, but I wasn’t sure in what capacity. I went to school for dental hygiene but something was missing. While working in a pediatric office, I fell in love working with kids and the way they view the world. I switched my major, and I am currently a junior at USCB pursing a career as a child life specialist. In my free time I enjoy playing with my two rescue dogs Bella, who is a golden lab and Brooklyn a golden doodle. They keep me active and on my toes. I am excited to join the LowCountry Therapy and team and be able to witness the growth and progress of the kiddos. “If we could see the world through the eyes of a child we would see the magic in everything”- Chee Vai Tang
Happy Balance Week!
September 13-19th is Balance Awareness Week which was created to highlight how important balance is and how our body achieves balance.
What is balance?
Balance is a multisystem that enables us to know where our bodies are in the environment and to maintain the position we want to be in (standing, sitting, balancing on one leg, etc.) Balance is very important for our bodies so we don’t fall when playing games, sports, and other activities! We use three different systems to achieve balance- our vestibular system (where we feel our body is in space), our visual system (what we see is in our environment, and somatosensory system (what we can feel with our bodies like grass or pavement). In order to make sure we maintain good balance, we must stay active and challenge these system!
- While balancing on one foot, try to take your shoe off of the other foot and then put it back on without touching both feet to the ground. Time yourself to see how fast you can do this!
- If that is too easy, balance on one foot, take off your shoe of the other foot, and throw the shoe back and forth from your right to left hand! Whoever can complete the most catches without letting both feet touch the ground wins!
Back to School Visual Schedules
Life has been anything but ‘normal’ these past few months and many changes can be reflected through our children’s behavior. As we approach the 'Back To School' season, a visual schedule may reestablish and provide a sense of security and stability with new routines. There are many benefits to using visual schedules including:
Removes Emotional Responses - children know what is expected with less room for negotiation and emotional desire.
Easy Transitions - Often times meltdowns decrease and are replaced with improved cooperation.
Increases Predictability and Independence- children will look at the visual schedule instead of relying on caregiver instruction.
Learn Time Lapse/Order - Increases understanding of before, after, then/later, and recall of events throughout the day.
Visual reinforcement - Verbal instruction may be too complex. Having a visual picture to refer to will improve following direction skills.
Healthy Habits - sets up a routine that is predicted, improves memory, mental organization, and responsibility. As always, schedules can change. It’s important to establish flexibility from the start.
Increases Flexibility - Schedule changes are bound to happen. You can prepare and adapt them with the visual schedule to reflect the new ‘plan’.
Visual schedules come in many forms. Enjoy creating and adapting one for your individual family needs. Download our Visual Daily Schedule and our Morning Time and Bed Time Routines!
Gear Up for a Successful School Year
As we’re all attempting to navigate new and unconventional forms of education that this school year may bring, support your child’s success with these things in mind while creating their work space.
‣ Set aside some one on one time together to create an agreed upon ideal environment.
‣ Ease of eliminating distractions (TV, background noise, visual disturbances) and use headphones as needed.
‣ Ergonomics and posture - Using incorrect posture for extended periods of time can lead to increased fatigue and muscle strain. Leaning your head forward can add up to 10 lbs of extra pressure on the spine.
‣ Avoid slouching. This not only reduces back pain, but
is also beneficial for breathing patterns. Lengthen the spine by pulling shoulders back and aligning your head and spine.
‣ Use 90/90/90 Degree Rule- Elbows, hips, and knees should be at 90 degree angles to avoid muscle tension and strain.
‣ Schedule frequent, every 30 minutes, ‘movement’ or stretch breaks to reset and realign the body.
‣ Social/Emotional- Children may feel isolated with on-line learning. Set up time outside of class to connect with others (classmates, family, groups of interest). There are many virtual platforms to ‘meet’ when face to face socializing isn’t available.
Keep an open and flexible mind where ever 'class' may take place this school year and it'll be a successful one!