Do It Yourself Platform Swing

Do It Yourself Platform Swing

Platform swings are a great way to help with sensory integration. Swinging provides essential vestibular movement to help children achieve normal developmental milestones, calming them and letting them have fun. Swinging can help sooth, relax, and unwind the child. The motion of swinging help restores the balance of the vestibular system and help children feel more in balance and be able to concentrate more.

Whether you are super handy or have never held a tool before making a platform swing can be very simple. Here are the plans for a simple platform swing that I found. You will need plywood (cut to the size of your choice), sturdy braided rope, soft material to cover the plywood, eye bolts, and 2 D ring clips. Start by drilling a hole through each corner of the plywood. Make sure to keep the holes about 2-3 inches away from the corners, and make sure the hole is big enough for the rope to fit through. Next thread the rope through knotting at each corner and create an X on the bottom of the swing. Attach the top of each side to the D ring carabiner. Also when hanging the swing in your house make sure it is attached to a think beam and not just a regular joyce using an eye bolt.  Use 2 eye bolts for more back and forth swinging and use 1 eye bolt with a spinner attachment in order to make the swing spin in circles.  Here is the website with the instructions along with some pictures

This is just one example of a platform swing that I have found. There are a ton of different styles using different materials depending on how handy you are. This website has a couple different platform swing ideas along with a few hammock and inner tube swing designs

-Matthew D’Antonio, DPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist

Sensory Play Recipes

Sensory Play Recipes                      Author: Krista Flack, MS OTR/L


In my blog last week I mentioned a couple ideas for making holiday-themed sensory bins.  This week I’m going to expand on that and include a few favorite recipes, along with a few I’ve been wanting to try. 


One favorite is Glacier Gak.  This slime is such a fun texture!  While hands get messy in the mixing process, the end result is more similar to Silly Putty.  The ingredients are simple to find (you may have them around the house already), including Borax powder (or in some recipes, liquid starch) and glue.  Here are a few links to variations to the recipe, some that use glitter glue, scents, and even sequins: Santa Slime, Grinch Slime, Holiday Slime, and Slime BallsThis site has even more variations, all with a holiday theme!

 Another fun (and messy!) one is Quicksand Goo.  Using corn starch and water, this recipe is very simple.  Like quicksand, this goo changes thickness depending on how it’s manipulated.  It’s fun to roll into a ball, then watch it melt away as it sits still. 


Play snow is fun to make this time of year, especially here in the south where we don’t get to experience the real thing.  This easy recipe uses baking soda and hair conditioner, while this one uses corn starch and baby oil, and this one uses corn starch and shaving cream.  It’s fun to try different recipes and compare the textures.


There are endless recipes online for making homemade “play dough.”  Some require baking, some require use of the stove top, and some are just a mixing bowl away from being ready.  The different recipes can result in doughs of varying textures.  The cooked versions tend to last a bit longer for multiple days of play.  With a little searching, you can find edible recipes, scented recipes, and ideas for items to add in for some fun novelty!  If you find a favorite recipe, please share with us! 

For a dry sensory bin addition, follow this easy recipe for dying rice or noodles using vinegar and food coloring, or this recipe using Kool-Aid and rubbing alcohol.  Liquid watercolors can result in more vivid colors, but for simplicity, the food coloring and Kool-Aid methods work just fine!

December Events

December Events


Looking to for a way to celebrate the holiday season with your family? We’ve compiled a list of local events for you! Check it out! 

 Lowcountry Therapy Center will be in BOTH Bluffton and Beaufort parades this Saturday, December 3rd and Sunday, December 4th! Come out to see us and the other floats! See below for more details! If you are interested in having your child walk with us in our float, please call (843) 815-6999 for more information!

Bluffton (event page )




Hilton Head Island (Full list of events = )




 -Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist


Holiday Crafts and Games

Holiday Crafts and Games                            Author: Krista Flack, MS OTR/L

 During the holidays, it is easy to become overwhelmed with the stress of it all, and forget to sit back and enjoy it.  It is so great for you and your children to enjoy some holiday-related crafts, games, and traditions, to take the focus off of the stress and make lasting memories.  Below are some ideas I love, although the internet is filled with so many ideas to choose from! 


  • Bake cookies or another festive treat.  Not only is this fun (and has a built in yummy reward at the end), but it is a great executive functioning task.  Following directions and sequencing steps is an important part of baking.  Think ahead about the steps that your child can do independently and those that he or she can help you with.  Don’t worry about the end result looking beautiful, just enjoy the activity as a family!
  • Go on a scavenger hunt.  Make or download a list of Christmas related items, and go for a drive searching for them among decorations and lights.
  • Make holiday-themed sensory bins.  Use gift wrap, ribbon, cotton "snow" and other medias to explore and hide treasures in.  Dry noodles and rice can be dyed red and green (or any color!), and there are plenty of ‘slime’ and ‘snow’ recipes out there!
  • Make handprint and footprint art.  Not only is this a great sensory experience and fine motor task, but it is a great way to watch your child’s growth each year, as the prints get bigger and bigger.  These homemade crafts homemade crafts can also make excellent personalized gifts for loved ones.
  • The gift of giving.  Make room for new toys and minimize clutter (which can be visually overstimulating and overwhelming) by donating outgrown or gently used toys. 


For even more ideas, check out these blogs:

Gift Buying Guide

Gift Buying Guide                            Author: Krista Flack, MS OTR/L

Only 38 days until Christmas!  The holiday season always sneaks up on us, as we balance visiting with friends and family, preparing wonderful meals, participating in fun and heartfelt family traditions, and exchanging gifts with loves ones.  As children make wish lists for Santa, and friends and family request gift ideas for your young ones, it can be hard to come up with the perfect gifts.  When deciding on gifts for my own or other children, I like to consider a few details:


  • Quality over quantity: Rather than having mountains of toys, several of which will be neglected while new favorites are discovered, invest in a few toys that are of high quality, and will last.  This also helps to reduce sensory overload, both on Christmas morning and in the days and weeks that follow as you attempt to organize a play area. 
  • Multiple ways to play: Toys are expensive, and children’s skills and interests are always changing.  Find a toy that can be played with in multiple ways so that play can develop as your child grows and changes.  
  • Developmentally appropriate: Think about the age of your child, but also consider where they are developmentally.  Does your child need more practice with fine motor skills?  There are plenty of fun games and toys to develop specific skills.  Is he a sensory seeker?  Christmas is a great opportunity to give him the tools he needs to self-regulate!


 There are some great blogs and resources out there that suggest toys and gifts for children at specific developmental stages and with a variety of special factors in mind.  Here are a few of my favorites:

When it comes to where to shop, you don’t have to go to a special retailer to find toys for children with special needs (although some of the toys, games, and equipment available at sites like Fun and Function and Special Needs Toys are awesome!). The blogs listed above name numerous ‘mainstream’ toys that can cater to specific needs and skills.   

For a little extra guidance, check out Toys“R”Us’s Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids.  Using this guide, you can search for toys that promote skills development in numerous categories, including auditory, creativity, fine motor, gross motor, language, self-esteem, social skills, tactile, thinking, and visual. The website also includes links for Tips for Toy Buying and Toy Safety Tips.

Another great resource is the National Lekotek Center, a nonprofit organization that provides an array of services to improve the lives of children with special needs through the utilization of toys and play.  They publish the AblePlay website, which offers research, ratings, and reviews of toys and products appropriate for children of all abilities, focusing on the developmental areas of physical, sensory, communicative, cognitive, and social/emotional abilities of a child. 

Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress!

Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress!

The holidays can be a stressful time for everyone. Long car rides, lots of people, loud noises, and various other stimulants can make the holidays exhausting and make you feel overwhelmed. This can cause children with sensory difficulties even more stress and anxiety than normal. Below are a few tips and tricks to help you and your child have an enjoyable holiday season without the stress.

It is important to give your child a schedule of events for the day. Whether it be a picture schedule or a written schedule, knowing what is coming next and what the day holds can help your child be more prepared and feel calmer. It is also important to talk to your child before events like parties, parades, etc. Talk about how long you plan on being there, how they should behave, and any other details about the event so that they know exactly what is going to happen. Packing sensory friendly items can also help make the holidays go by smoother. For example, pack ear plugs if you are going somewhere loud or a fidget toy if they are going to have to be sitting still for long periods of time. If your child does not like dress clothes but they are going to have to dress up then pack a pair of comfy clothes for them to change into as soon as possible. Also be sure to pack lots of treats and snacks if you have a child with lots of food allergies or sensitivities. Limiting holiday decorations is another way to keep easily over stimulated kids calm, and have them help decorate as much as possible so that they are involved in the changes that will be made to the house.


These are just a few of the tips and strategies to use to help reduce holiday stress. Here are some websites with more tips and tricks


Happy Holidays!!!


-Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month                            Author: Krista Flack, MS OTR/L


Epilepsy, or a seizure disorder, is a neurological condition which affects the nervous system.  It is usually diagnosed after a person has had at least two seizures that were not caused by some known medical condition. 


Did you know???

  • 65 MILLION: Number of people around the world who have epilepsy.
  • 3 MILLION: Number of people in the United States who have epilepsy.
  • ONE-THIRD: Number of people with epilepsy who live with uncontrollable seizures because no available treatment works for them.
  • 6 OUT OF 10: Number of people with epilepsy where the cause is unknown.


What should I do when someone has a seizure?

The most important thing is to keep the person safe and comfortable. For most seizures, giving basic seizure first aid is all you need to do:

  • Always stay with the person until the seizure is over.
  • Pay attention to how long the seizure lasts.
  • Stay calm. Most seizures only last a few minutes.
  • Prevent injury by moving nearby objects out of the way.
  • Don’t hold the person down.
  • Don’t put anything in the person's mouth.
  • Make sure their breathing is okay.
  • Know when to call for emergency medical help.
  • Be sensitive and supportive, and ask others to do the same.


Many children with epilepsy can benefit from physical, occupational, and speech therapy.  Occupational therapists commonly evaluate and treat people with epilepsy and other neurological problems.  They can help find out why people have problems with tasks of daily living and teach them ways of adapting or compensating for the problems.  They can also offer strategies to persons with epilepsy who also have additional disorders that affect their ability to perform fine-motor tasks, such as writing, buttoning clothes, or picking up small objects.  Physical therapists can help people who have problems with moving and walking around.  This may include helping people regain function or strength after a broken bone or a long period of not moving around.  PTs can help people improve their balance, coordination and learn safer ways of walking.  Ways to compensate for other neurological problems may include how to use adaptive equipment or make your home, school or work environment safer.  Speech therapists specialize in evaluating and treating people with speech and language problems.  People with epilepsy may have language problems that arise from an underlying neurological problems, or seizures affecting language areas of the brain.  Other cognitive problems can affect language abilities too.  Rehabilitation strategies will depend upon the type and cause of the problems as well as the age of the patient.  Speech therapists often work with children to address how language and other cognitive problems affect academic function and daily living.  


To learn more about epilepsy, visit

GERD Awareness

GERD Awareness

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is when the stomach backflows with stomach acid or non-acidic contents back into the esophagus. GERD is characterized by symptoms, with or without tissue damage, that result from repeated or prolonged exposure of the lining of the esophagus to acidic or non-acidic contents from the stomach. GERD is often accompanied by symptoms such as heartburn and regurgitation of acid. But sometimes there are no apparent symptoms, and the presence of GERD is revealed only when complications become evident.


What is the difference between reflux and GERD in children? In babies, reflux is called spitting up. In older kids the signs of GERD and reflux are burping, stomach aches, and heartburn. Most people experience reflux from time to time and it is usually not a problem. However, in some people reflux is so severe it develops into a condition called GERD. GERD occurs when reflux causes troublesome symptoms or complications such as failure to gain weight, bleeding, respiratory problems or esophagitis. There are some differences in the symptoms, management, and treatment in teens and babies with GERD.


With infants it is not uncommon for the baby to reflux or spit up. This happens for the majority of infants for the first year of life, and most of them are completely healthy. However, poor feeding, vomiting, irritability, and breathing problems are symptoms of pediatric GERD and you should consult your pediatrician as soon as possible. In many cases simple lifestyle changes can alleviate the GERD. Here is a link for more information GERD in infants


Kids and teenagers can also experience GERD. The signs and symptoms of GERD in kids and teenagers are hoarseness, coughing, wheezing, frequent regurgitation, difficult or painful swallowing, and recurrent pneumonia. Here is a link for more information on GERD in teens


Here are some links for more information about GERD:


Here is a link for a research article on how to manage GERD in children:


-Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist


November is Diabetes Awareness Month

November is Diabetes Awareness Month                            Author: Krista Flack, MS OTR/L


 Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food.  It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, called beta cells.  In the United States alone, 1.25 million people are living with Type 1 diabetes, including about 200,000 youth.  While often referred to as Juvenile Diabetes, Type 1 diabetes strikes both children and adults at any age.  It comes on suddenly, and its causes are not yet entirely understood.  While scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved, its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. 

Do you know the warning signs to watch for?  Symptoms may be mild at first, but often progress quickly, which is why it is important to know the signs and symptoms to watch for, including:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Drowsiness or lethargy
  • Increased appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Sugar in the urine
  • Fruity odor on the breath
  • Heavy or labored breathing
  • Stupor or unconsciousness


There is nothing you can do to prevent Type 1 diabetes, and—at present—nothing you can do to get rid of it.  While there is no cure for Type 1 diabetes, it can be managed.  Managing Type 1 diabetes requires consistent, daily care, including:

  • Insulin replacement through insulin injections (up to 6 per day) or use of an insulin pump
  • Monitoring of blood glucose levels regularly (up to 6 times every day or as directed by a doctor)
  • Following a healthy diet and eating plan
  • Participating in regular exercise


While people with T1D rely on insulin therapy to control their blood sugar, insulin is not a cure nor does it prevent the possibility of the disease’s serious side effects.  Even with intensive disease management, a significant portion of their day is still spent with high or low blood-sugar levels, placing people with T1D at risk for serious complications. 

Organizations such as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation support and advocate for those affected by Type 1 diabetes, and fund research to manage, prevent, and cure this disease.

Prematurity Awareness Month

Prematurity Awareness Month

In 2003, the March of Dimes launched the Prematurity Campaign to address the crisis and help families have full-term, healthy babies. Premature birth occurs when a baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. This can cause babies to have more health problems and cause a longer stay in the hospital. According to the March of Dimes, each year in the United States 1 in 10 babies are born prematurely.

What effect can prematurity have on a child? Studies have shown that premature babies are at an increased risk for learning and behavior problems which may lead to having a more difficult time at school. According to the March of Dimes, in the last few weeks of pregnancy, a baby’s brain is still developing and growing, and only weighs only two-thirds of what it will weigh at 39 to 40 weeks. This is why if your pregnancy is healthy, it’s best to stay pregnant for at least 39 weeks. This gives your baby’s brain and other organs the time they need to develop before birth.

Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait® is a comprehensive initiative by the March of Dimes to prevent preventable preterm birth, with a focus on reducing elective deliveries before 39 weeks gestation. It is important to wait until at least 39 weeks if possible because major organs like the brain, liver, and lungs are still growing. Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait® has a ton of information on why it is important to wait, risks of premature birth, facts and stats about preterm birth, toolkits for parents, and much more. Here is the link to the Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait® page

For more information on the March of Dimes, their mission, and how to get involved click on the link below:


-Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist

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