Spring Break OT Activities for OT Month

Spring Break OT Activities for OT Month                                Author: Krista Flack, MS OTR/L




Occupational therapy activities can include some hard work, but they can be done through fun and games!  If you’re looking for activities to carryover some of the skills being worked on in therapy, here is a list of some fun things to do, that you can start now while on spring break! 


Attention span and executive functioning skills can be improved through games and tasks that require higher level thinking skills.  Board games and card games like Battleship, Clue, and Yahtzee require sustained attention, problem-solving, working memory, and planning/organizing skills.  Tasks like cooking and completing crafts or experiments with directions provide a great opportunity to work on initiation, following directions, and sequencing.


Use this time to go to the park, go for walks, and try out different sensory experiences around your home and community.  There are some great local businesses in the community to try out big equipment (Ignite the Senses and GiggleBox, to name a few), but there are also opportunities within your own backyard, and even your home!  From swinging, climbing, and spinning, to mixing up slimes and dry sensory bins in your kitchen, there are many sensations to experience.  Watch how your child’s arousal level and demeanor changes when trying out these things; it can give you, and your child’s occupational therapist, clues about what his or her body needs to maintain a “just-right” arousal level.


Puzzles, games, and crafts often challenge fine motor and visual motor integration skills, without adding frustration.  Try a project like stringing beads, modeling with clay, or making a collage!  Mazes and dot-to-dots require precise drawing, which improve handwriting legibility.  Choose games like Operation and Pictionary, or open up an I Spy book to improve visual perceptual skills.


With a week free from rushing through the morning to catch the bus, take a step back and see what your child can do on his or her own before stepping in to help.  With busy schedules, it is tempting to offer help with dressing and other skills to speed up the process.  Given extra time and just a little support, you may be surprised that he can cut with a knife, pour into a cup, take off his own shoes, or comb his hair.  Children have a lot of ADL tasks to master, and most children love becoming independent with these tasks.

April is OT Month!

OT Month                           Author: Krista Flack, MS OTR/L


April is OT Month!  This year is especially important as we celebrate 100 years of occupational therapy!  This website has some interesting stories and moments throughout history, highlighting how the field of occupational therapy has grown and evolved. 


Did you know??


Occupation, as defined in Webster’s Dictionary, is "an activity in which one engages." Occupational therapists promote skill development and independence in all daily activities.  For an adult, this may mean looking at the areas of self-care, home-making, leisure, and work.  The "occupations" of childhood may include playing in the park with friends, washing hands, going to the bathroom, cutting with scissors, drawing, etc.  A favorite quote of mine, by Mr. Rogers, says that “play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play IS serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” Skills worked on through play are more likely to be practiced and carried over, resulting in better learning!


Nearly one third of people employed in the profession of occupational therapy work with children, helping them master the "occupations" of childhood – learning, playing and growing.  Handwriting problems are a leading reason schoolchildren are referred to occupational therapists.


Occupational therapy services are delivered in a variety of settings, such as schools, clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, mental health clinics, and even in patient’s homes.


The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) was founded in 1917. The historic roots of occupational therapy lay in the movement to reform mental health care at the turn of the 20th century, when it was shown that patients who engaged in "purposeful occupations" such as crafts and practical work experienced a more successful recovery.


In the past few years, occupational therapy has consistently ranked on Best Jobs by Forbes and US News. 


For a brief introduction to what OT is and how it may help your child, take a look at last April’s OT Month blog and the Benefits of OT Part 1 and Part 2!

Light It Up Blue For Autism!

Light It Up Blue for Autism!

As most of you know April is Autism Awareness Month, and on April 2nd was national light it up blue day for Autism. But why blue? According to Autism Speaks.com, the color blue was chosen because autism is 5x more likely in boys than in girls. The light it up blue campaign started in 2010. For years, iconic landmarks like Niagara Falls, Empire State Building, Willis Tower, and even the White House light up blue on April 2nd (World Autism Day) in order to raise awareness.


Autism Speaks is an organization that is dedicated to advancing research into causes and better treatments for autism spectrum disorders and related conditions both through direct funding and collaboration; increasing understanding and acceptance of autism spectrum disorders; and working toward solutions for the needs of individuals with autism and their families across the spectrum and lifespan through advocacy and support.


What kind of tools does Autism Speaks provide? If you go on their website they have tons of different tool kits. For example, they have one tool kit about toilet training tips for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This is a free tool kit that helps give you as a parent different tips and guidance for toilet training a child with autism. Autism Speaks also has tool kits for professionals. For example, there is a toolkit for dentists. This tool kit discusses ways to help reduce children’s anxiety levels and increase compliance. It provides general and specific information that may help dental professionals better serve the needs of children with ASD. Click here for all the toolkits offered by Autism Speaks https://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/tool-kits


For more information check out their website https://www.autismspeaks.org



-Matthew D’Antonio, DPT, PT

-Pediatric Physical Therapist

April Updates

April Updates                    Author: Krista Flack, MS OTR/L



As March wraps up, we are excited to move into April.  April is a very exciting month to the LTC community!  First of all, April is Autism Awareness Month!  This year, emphasis is placed on moving past awareness, into action, inclusion, acceptance, and appreciation.  There are many ways to show support (beginning with Light It Up Blue on World Autism Awareness Day, which is Sunday, April 2nd), celebrate with your community, and even receive discounts on therapeutic games, toys, and materials! 


April is also Occupational Therapy Month!  The American Occupational Therapy Association is celebrating its 100th birthday this year, so keep an eye out for how we celebrate and recognize #100YearsOfOT.


There are some fun local events planned throughout the month, including the following:


Kid Fest – this event is THIS Saturday from 10am-2pm.  This event is for children and their families to enjoy free games and activities and gather educational information and resources.  Come join us!


5K Bubble Run and Children’s DASH – this event, put on by Ignite the Senses Children’s Gym, is on April 29th.  Proceeds will go towards scholarships and special activities such as art and music programs for our special needs population in and around the Lowcountry.  Sign up early for a discounted price!

Athletes representing South Carolina and Georgia in the Special Olympics!

Meet the athletes representing South Carolina and Georgia in the Special Olympics!!



City, State



Keith Frostic

Lake City, SC

Alpine Skiing

Keith competed in the 1997 Winter games in Toronto

Jackie Hoch

Florence, SC

Alpine Skiing

Jackie was named Female Athlete of the Year in 1996. She competes in 8 different sports but Alpine Skiing is her favorite.

Latrice Pringle

Florence, SC


Latrice also competes in track and field, softball, volleyball, and basketball.

Evan Hodge

Kennesaw, GA

Alpine Skiing

Evan has been a part of the Special Olympic organization for the past 5 years, and graduated with an associate’s degree from Chattanochee technical college



For more on the athletes and the Special Olympics click here:



-Matthew D’Antonio, DPT, PT

-Pediatric Physical Therapist

LTC Winter Olympics!

LTC Winter Olympics


With the Winter Special Olympics right around the corner we thought it would be fun to create our own winter Olympics right here at LTC!! The LTC Olympics will run from 3/14 to 3/25. Compete in all 9 events to win a great prize! Below is the list of events!



  • Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, get ready it’s bobsled time!!! Use your feet to go as fast as you can on a “scooter board bobsled” through the track!

  2. Cross Country Skiing

  • Complete a series of scissor jacks in order to cross the frozen tundra!

  3. Speed Skating

  • Quickly skate around the track and put the Olympic Event into the correct category!

  4.The Luge

  • Be the first one to the finish line by laying down on your belly and propelling your “Scooter board luge” with your arms!

   5. Figure Skating

  • Skate through your “figure 8” routine without stepping off the line in order to receive a perfect 10!

   6. Half Pipe

  • Board back and forth through the half pipe (or in this case jump back and forth over the rope)! Each time you get to the side you will have to name 5 items in a category!

   7. Curling

  • Standing on the start space (dyna disc, airex, bosu, etc), you have to throw bean bags into the hula hoop without falling off!

   8. Ice Hockey

  • Using a straw, either push or blow a cotton ball into the net! See how many goals you can score in 30 seconds!

    9. Thrill of Victory and Agony of Defeat

  • Look at pictures of athletes who have won or lost an event. Then describe how the athlete might be feeling!



-Matthew D’Antonio, DPT, PT

-Pediatric Physical Therapist

Winter Special Olympics

Winter Special Olympics


The Special Olympics Winter games will kick off on March 14th and will end on March 24th. This year the games are held in Austria. Opening Ceremonies will be held on March 18th. For more information about this year’s Winter Special Olympics check out their official site http://www.austria2017.org/en/about-us


The Special Olympics began in 1962. Eunice Kennedy Shriver was the first person to organize summer camps for individuals with intellectual disabilities. When they first started out there were 1,000 athletes and 2 countries (USA and Canada), and now 170 countries participate with 4.2 million athletes. For more on the history of the Special Olympics click here http://www.specialolympics.org/Sections/What_We_Do/Our_History.aspx


ESPN will be broadcasting the opening and closing ceremonies. They will also be covering the games and airing them throughout the week. Here is the ESPN broadcasting schedule for the 2017 Winter Olympics. Also, be sure to download the official app to follow all the results and keep up to date.


U.S. TV Schedule:  ESPN’s Coverage of Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 

Day/Date Program Time (ET) Network
Sat, Mar 18 LIVE: Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 — Opening Ceremony 2-5 p.m. ABC
Sun, Mar 19 Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 2-3 p.m. ABC
Mon, Mar 20 Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 6-6:30 p.m. ESPN2
Tue, Mar 21 Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 6-7 p.m. ESPN2
Wed, Mar 22 Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 6-7 p.m. ESPN2
Thu, Mar 23 Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 6-7 p.m. ESPN2
Fri, Mar 24 Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 6-7 p.m. ESPN2
Sun, Mar 26 Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 —
Best of the Games


-Matthew D’Antonio, DPT, PT

-Pediatric Physical Therapist

National Children’s Dental Health Month

National Children’s Dental Health Month


Even though it is already the end of February I still think it is important to recognize that this month was National Children’s Dental Health Month. The goal is to promote the benefits of good oral health to children and their families. Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children to get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.


According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, children should brush their teeth 2x a day for 2 minutes each time. It is also recommended that they visit a pediatric dentist every 6 months to prevent cavities and other dental problems. Have questions? Visit http://www.aapd.org/resources/frequently_asked_questions/ for more information.


So how do I get my child to brush their teeth? One thing to try is the Colgate Tooth Fairy app. This app has a 2-minute timer along with games to help make the time go by faster and ensure that they brush their teeth for the full 2 minutes.


It is also important to take sensory issues into account. First thing to note is that it is ok to take your time. Ease into tooth brushing and working up to the full 2 minutes. This will allow them to be comfortable with it and it will help to ease the process into the daily routine. Let the child do most of the brushing no matter how messy it is. This helps to empower the child and allows them to feel a sense of independence, and remember to over how they did and talk about tips for improving the next time.


These are just a couple of tips and tricks to help making tooth brushing an easier process. For more tips and tricks check out the links below.







-Matthew D’Antonio, DPT, PT

Pediatric Physical Therapist




Congenital Heart Defects and Physical Activity

Congenital Heart Defects and Physical Activity


Should my child exercise if they have a heart condition? The answer is YES!! Research has shown that routine moderate exercise can be safe and beneficial for patients with congenital heart diseases whether it is a simple or complex condition. There are certain restrictions and parameters for certain conditions, so it is important to contact your physician before beginning an exercise routine.


The best and safest types of exercise are aerobic exercise. This type of exercise is more endurance based and include activities such as walking, swimming, running, and biking. Some team sports such as basketball, tennis, and volleyball are also good types of aerobic exercise. In order to keep the activity safe, it is a good rule of thumb to increase your activity so that you are breathing fast but still able to carry on a conversation. This allows the heart to work hard and get strong, but keeps it from becoming overworked.


It is best to avoid activities that cause grunting and straining while holding their breath, such as weight lifting. When you are grunting and straining while holding your breath you are creating a quick rise in blood pressure. This causes increased strain on the heart and causes it to work harder than it should be working. It also causes increased pressure in the lungs which causes increased pressure on the chest wall. This can be harmful for patients who are post surgery due to increased pressure on the scar or surgical site. Intense physical sports such as football, hockey, and boxing should be avoided due to increased risk of injury and strain on the cardiovascular system.


For more information, go to www.heart.org   


-Matthew D’Antonio, DPT, PT

-Pediatric Physical Therapist

NFL Play 60 Challenge

NFL Play 60 Challenge

The American Heart Association and the NFL have teamed up to create the NFL Play 60 Challenge. The challenge was first created in 2006 and is designed to battle childhood obesity. Today nearly 1 in 3 kids and teens in the United States are overweight or obese.  Research has shown that inactive children are more likely to become inactive adults. This is why it is important to limit screen time and encourage your children to get out and play!

The original challenge is a 4 week challenge and the kids must get 60 minutes of physical activity every day. We are going to modify it a little. The challenge will take place from February 13th to February 19th. The challenge is to be active for 60 minutes for 5 out of the 7 days. Below is a weekly log, and you must log your activity for each day. After you fill out the log bring it back and give it to your therapist to receive a PRIZE! It is that easy!

So let’s recap:

1) Be active for 60 minutes

 2) Log activity

3) Bring the log in and get a cool prize!!!!


For more information on the NFL Play 60 Challenge and for some great activity ideas check out this link http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Educator/FortheClassroom/Play60Challenge/PLAY-60-Challenge_UCM_304278_Article.jsp#.WJtYf_krLIU



Monday (2/13)




Tuesday (2/14)




Wednesday (2/15)




Thursday (2/16)




Friday (2/17)




Saturday (2/18)




Sunday (2/19)





Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist

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