October is National Physical Therapy Month

October is National Physical Therapy Month


Every year since 1992, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has used this month as a way to help raise awareness and educate the public on various topics. This year the APTA has chosen to educate the public on the use of physical therapy as a safe way to manage pain. Physical therapists treat pain through movement, helping patients improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion. Physical therapists also can educate their patients about pain, which has been known to improve outcomes.  

So why choose physical therapy? First physical therapy has been found to be as effective as surgery for some conditions such as osteoarthritis, meniscal tears, and rotator cuff injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Physical therapy is effective for numerous conditions and there is high quality evidence supporting exercise as part of physical therapist treatment for familiar conditions like low back pain, hip and knee osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia. Second, physical therapy plans are individualized. This means that everyone’s pain management therapy is different and tailored around you, your needs, and your pre-existing conditions. Lastly, physical therapy can help identify other potential risks and health issues beyond what the patient initially reports.  

In June of 2016 the APTA launched their new campaign titled #ChoosePT to help educate the public on choosing physical therapy as a way to manage pain. Click here for more information on the #ChoosePT campaign and other resources on how physical therapy can help with pain http://www.moveforwardpt.com/choose-physical-therapy-over-opioids-for-pain-management-choosept

  For more information physical therapy in general check out the APTA’s website here https://www.apta.org/Default.aspx

 -Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT

 Pediatric Physical Therapist

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month                  Author: Krista Flack, MS OTR/L


October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month!  According to the National Down Syndrome Society, this is “a chance to spread awareness.  During the month of October, we celebrate people with Down syndrome and make people aware of our abilities and accomplishments.  It’s not about celebrating disabilities, it’s about celebrating abilities.” 


What is Down syndrome?

In every cell in the human body there is a nucleus, where genetic material is stored in genes.  Genes carry the codes responsible for all of our inherited traits and are grouped along rod-like structures called chromosomes.  Typically, the nucleus of each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, half of which are inherited from each parent. Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.  This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome. A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm - although each person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees, or not at all.


How can children with Down syndrome benefit from speech, physical and occupational therapies?

Occupational therapy practitioners work with persons with Down syndrome to help them master skills for independence through self-care like feeding and dressing, fine and gross motor skills, school performance, and play and leisure activities. During infancy, occupational therapy practitioners can help mothers whose children are having feeding problems because of weak muscles in their cheeks, tongue, and lips. During early childhood, therapy can focus on mastering motor skills for independence, focusing on low muscle tone, loose ligaments at the joints, and visual and auditory deficits.  School-aged children with Down syndrome benefit from an occupational therapy practitioner’s ability to address self-care skills like zipping a jacket, and fine and gross motor skills like cutting with scissors or completing multistep classroom routines to facilitate participation in school activities.  Occupational therapy practitioners can also assist in the classroom by enhancing the child’s communication skills through printing, handwriting, and keyboarding. Other issues addressed are adaptations to the classroom—such as the position of desks and chairs—for optimal performance, based on the child’s physical abilities.


Because of certain physical characteristics, which include hypotonia (low muscle tone), ligamentous laxity (looseness of the ligaments that causes increased flexibility in the joints) and decreased strength, children with Down syndrome don’t develop motor skills in the same way that the typically-developing child does. They find ways to compensate for the differences in their physical make-up, and some of the compensations can lead to long-term complications, such as pain in the feet or the development of an inefficient walking pattern.  The goal of physical therapy for these children is to help the child develop good posture, proper foot alignment, an efficient walking pattern, and a good physical foundation for exercise throughout life.


Speech and language present many challenges for children with Down syndrome, but there is information that can help infants and toddlers begin learning to communicate, and help young children progress in speech and language. Although most children with Down syndrome eventually learn to speak and will use speech as their primary means of communication, they will understand language and have the desire to communicate well before they are able to speak. Total communication, using sign language, pictures, and/or electronic synthesized speech can serve as a transitional communication system.  Children with Down syndrome have strengths and challenges in development of communication skills, including receptive (understanding) language and expressive (speaking and composing sentences) language skills and reading. Speech-language pathologists have information and expertise to help address the speech and language problems faced by many children with Down syndrome. 


For more information on therapies that can be beneficial to children with Down Syndrome, read here.


Additional Resources:

The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society is a local family support group to benefit people with Down syndrome and their families through local leadership, outreach, education and advocacy to champion and celebrate acceptance and inclusion.

The National Down Syndrome Society is the leading human rights organization for all people with Down syndrome.

The National Association for Down Syndrome supports all persons with Down syndrome in achieving their full potential.

Halloween Costume Contest!!


Halloween Costume Contest!


LTC is excited to announce that this year we will be holding a costume contest for our kiddos!! The contest is open to all children that attend LTC. First prize will receive a $25 gift card to target. Here is how the contest will work:


1) We will make a post on facebook on 10/27.


2) Comment on THIS post with a picture of your child in their Halloween costume.


3) The picture with the most likes is the winner AND the winner with receive a $25 gift card to Target!!


Voting will end on November 2nd at 11:59pm and the winner will be announced on November 3rdIf you have any questions or concerns you can ask any one of our therapists for more information.


Check out these links below for some fun and creative costume ideas for children with special needs





-Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist

Halloween for Everyone!

Halloween for Everyone!

While Halloween is a fun holiday enjoyed by many, it can also be stressful or overwhelming for family members with special needs.  Here are some ideas for preparing for and enjoying Halloween with your family:

Prepare your child for the holiday by discussing some of the associated traditions and activities.  Read a book, create a story, or role play.  Many Halloween traditions clash with established rules, like taking candy from strangers.  To help your child understand what Halloween is – and is not – review your values and establish rules and boundaries.  Visual schedules and social stories can help to set these limits and boundaries, and create expectations for the event.

While shopping for a costume, think about your child’s comfort – children with sensory sensitivities can become overwhelmed by an outfit that is too scratchy, tight, slippery, or stiff.  Test your child’s comfort when walking, reaching, and sitting.  If your child has facial sensitivity, avoid make-up and masks.  On the other hand, hats, earmuffs, and glasses could help reduce sensory stimulation if your child usually tolerates them.  Be creative with incorporating comfort items into their costume.  A superhero’s belt could have weighted added for proprioceptive input, or tight spandex can be worn under, or as part of, a costume.

If you want to try trick or treating, focus on a quiet street with sidewalks.  Trick or treating while it’s still light out helps to reduce anxiety and increase safety.  Practice the sequence of walking to the door, saying “trick or treat,” putting the treat in the bag, and saying “thank you.”  If your child is nonverbal or has difficulty communicating effectively, think about having a note card that states something like, “I may not be able to say ‘trick-or-treat,’ but I’m trying!”  If possible, go only to homes of family and friends to keep the comfort level high.  Skip homes with flashing lights, loud noises, and scary decorations.  If trick-or-treating sounds too overwhelming, remember that many children enjoy handing out candy as much as receiving it.

If your child has a food allergy, look for teal pumpkins as an indicator of houses that have allergy-friendly items for trick-or-treaters.  If your child does not have a food allergy, consider putting a teal pumpkin out and offering glow sticks, tattoos, or small toys to help make trick-or-treating a fun experience for all kids in your neighborhood.  For more information, check out FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project.

Krista Flack, MS OTR/L

Fall Crafts and Activities

 Fall Crafts and Activities                               

 It is officially fall, and I love this time of year!  There are so many fun crafts and activities to do, which can be a great way to improve fine motor and visual motor integration skills, as well as to tap into the sensory system!  Here are a few of my favorite fall (and Halloween) crafts.

  1. Use different materials to create beautiful fall trees.  After drawing the branches onto paper (or tracing your arm and hand for the trunk and branches), try gluing buttons or wadded-up tissue paper to make the colorful fall leaves.  You can also paint them on using finger paint, or ‘dot’ them on with the end of a cotton swab.  Get creative; this is a great way to add some tactile sensory play into your day.




  1. Use nature!  Trace or paint around leaves (or color over them with crayons for a fun textured stencil), or turn a pinecone into a funny-faced critter.  See what else you can find in your backyard that can be glued, traced, or painted!




  1. Turn your handprint or footprint into a fun Halloween image.  Put your two hands together to form a spider, or your foot (turned upside down) can make a spooky ghost or monster.



  1. Use cotton swabs to make a skeleton on black paper.  Cut out a head from construction paper, then use cotton swabs to make the spine, ribs, arms, legs, and even fingers and toes!  Cutting or tearing the cotton swabs in half for the smaller body parts is a great fine motor task.  This is also a great opportunity to talk about body awareness – where our body parts are located and how they connect to each other.


     5.  Make scented dough. There are endless recipes online for making your own “play dough.”  You can search for ones that are edible, or allergen-free, or require little prep.  It’s worth noting that the doughs that require some cooking are often the ones that last longest and maintain consistency best.  But if making it is half the fun to you, then go ahead and explore all of the different recipes out there to find the one you like best.  Here is one example of a recipe to make pumpkin spice and apple spice scented doughs




Author: Krista Flack, MS OTR/L

Interview with Amy Bredeson about Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance

Interview with Amy Bredeson about Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance

Matt: Tell us a little about yourself.

Amy: I'm a wife and mother of two. I'm a freelance journalist and a volunteer with the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance. Ever since my daughter, Chloe, was diagnosed with tuberous sclerosis complex in 2010, I have been passionate about raising awareness and raising money for research into a cure.

Matt: What is Tuberous Sclerosis Complex?

Amy: Tuberous Sclerosis Complex is a genetic disease that causes tumors to grow in the vital organs, particularly the heart, brain, lungs, skin, kidneys and eyes. It is the number one known genetic cause of autism and epilepsy. Recent studies indicate that more than 80 percent of individuals with TSC will have epilepsy at some point in their lives. Approximately 50 percent of individuals with TSC develop autism. The rate of autism in the general population is substantially lower (around 1 percent of the total population), so there is clearly a very substantial increase in the rate of ASD in children with TSC.

Matt: What are the details for the TSC walk?

Amy: Registration will begin at 9 am. We will have a superhero yoga class at 9:30, and the walk will begin at 10. The theme for the walk is superheroes, and our honorary chair, Hilton Head Island Mayor David Bennett, will be there dressed as Superman! SC Sen. Tom Davis is expected to speak briefly about his work to legalize CBD oil, which comes from the marijuana plant, and how it is helping people who suffer from epilepsy. We will have a big celebration after the actual walk, and DJ Crush of Crush Entertainment will be there to play music for us. We will have face painting and other fun activities for kids, free lunch provided by Chick-fil-A, Pizza Hut and Street Meet. Hilton Head Island firefighters will be there to show off their firetruck, and Kona Ice be selling ice-cold treats to benefit the TS Alliance.

Matt: What superhero are you going to dress up as and why?

Amy: Ha! I will be dressed as Supermom! No fancy costume, just my new Step Forward T-shirt, some yoga pants and, of course, my trusty cape!

Matt: What is your favorite part about the walk?

Amy: My favorite thing about the walk is seeing how many people truly care about this cause and want to make a difference, not only for my little Chloe but for the other 1 million people worldwide who are fighting this disease. It's a wonderful reminder that there are good people in this world who take the time out of their busy day to help others.

Click here to sign up and join Lowcountry Therapy Center’s team for the walk!!http://giving.tsalliance.org/site/TR/Step_16/StepForward?team_id=5491&pg=team&fr_id=1330

For more information about the walk click here http://giving.tsalliance.org/site/TR?fr_id=1330&pg=entry


Here is a link for more information on Tuberos Sclerosis http://www.tsalliance.org/pages.aspx?content=2


-Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist

How to choose the right shoe!

How to choose the right shoe!

Often times I get asked the question what shoes should I buy for my child? There are a couple of different factors that go into buying the proper shoe for your child. According to the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society, the 3 things you should look for in a shoe is how they fit, how they are made,  and if they are appropriate for your child.


The fit of the shoe is a very important aspect because a poorly fitting shoe can cause toe problems such as an ingrown toe nail, hammer toe, calluses, and more. Children’s feet grow in spurts and often require new shoes every 3-4 months. When standing there should be 1.25 cm (about 0.5 inches) between the longest toe and the tip of the shoe. Shoes should be comfortable from the start and not need to be “broken in.” If your child’s shoes needs a break in period, chances are they are not properly fitted for your child’s foot.


The construction of the shoe is also very important when deciding an appropriate shoe. Below is a 3 step diagram from the American Podiatric Medical Association on how to properly test the durability and integrity of a shoe.


What shoes are appropriate for what ages? For babies and crawlers, bare foot is the way to go. Toddler’s shoes should be breathable, lightweight, and preferably high top because they stay on the foot better and are harder to kick off. Shoes with laces are recommended for children with wide feet because they allow the shoe to be stretched wider than Velcro shoes. The sole of the shoe should be smooth in order to help prevent too much grip which can cause your child to fall. For older kids the proper shoe needs to be based on the activity.


Different types of shoes are made for different activities because they provide extra or less support based on the desired activity. For older kids being properly fitted for shoes is important because much like clothing shoe sizes can vary from brand to brand. The best shoes support your foot, front and back. Backless shoes actually alter the way you walk, and that can cause foot injuries and discomfort down the line. You don’t have to give up your flip-flops you just shouldn’t wear them all the time. Look for shoes that are stiff in the middle, but bend at the ball of the foot.


For more information on proper footwear check out these links below:






-Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, a time to honor children and families affected by these rare diseases, and help rally support to give kids with cancer better outcomes by supporting research.  Each year in the U.S., 15,780 children under the age of 21 are diagnosed with cancer; approximately 1/4 of them will not survive the disease.  During the month of September alone, 25,000 families around the world will get the horrible news that their child or teen has cancer, and 6,667 families will experience the loss of a child. 

Cancer, and the treatments that cure it, can be accompanied with many symptoms that therapy can help with.  For example, physical therapy can help children maintain or get back strength, endurance, and movement skills.  Occupational therapy can help children to participate in self-care, play, and fine motor skills.  Speech therapy can help with language/communication and swallowing problems. 

There are many organizations that support and advocate for families affected by childhood cancer through research and events.  To learn more about them and to find out how you can get involved, check out their websites.  American Childhood Cancer Organization, Go Gold Fund, and Children’s Cancer Research Fund are just a few.


Author: Krista Flack, MS OTR/L

Interview with Kimberley Reardon, Owner of Ignite the Senses Children's Gym!

Interview with Kimberley Reardon, Owner of Ignite the Senses Children’s Gym.


Matt: Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you started Ignite the Senses?


Kimberley: I am originally from Maryland and have been in the medical/financial field for a while now. In 2009 I had my son and a few years later he was diagnosed with Autism. After he was diagnosed I realized there was nothing around here for him. There were no support groups and no sensory gyms, and like most people I don’t have any room in the house to add the equipment like swings, trampolines, etc. that he needs, and that is why I started the Ignite the Senses Sensory Gym.


Matt: What type of equipment does Ignite the Senses have?


Kimberley: We have all different kinds of equipment. We have a zip line, roller slide, jungle gym, wheelie bugs, ball pit, crash pit, swings, and much more. We also have several different rooms such as an art center, a quiet room, and a fitness room for yoga and other fitness activities. We also have a projector that projects games onto the floor, and makes the floor interactive so when they touch it something will happen.


Matt: Who is Ignite the Senses open to?


Kimberley: We are open to everyone. This is not just something for children with special needs. One of our goals is to raise awareness and acceptance about autism to help avoid these kids being stared at or bullied. Also this is a parent led gym, meaning that parents are to remain present and with their child. It is also encouraged to bring siblings so that the siblings do not feel left out and so that the whole family can play together.


Matt: Do you offer any types of programs?


Kimberley:  Yes. We offer a date night program that will start next month. It is limited to 15 kids and the parents are not present for this. It allows the parents to have some time to together and to get some things done such as shopping. We are also available for parities such as birthday parties, youth groups, sports teams, etc. We also offer special music and art programs. Next month we will be starting yoga and fitness programs as well. In the future we are also going to start support groups for not only the kids but for the parents as well.


Check out the link below to their website for more information.  http://www.ignitethesensesgym.com/



-Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist

Upcoming Events!

Upcoming Events


Now that school is back in session, routines are finally starting to settle in.  I want to take a moment to update you about some upcoming events Lowcountry Therapy Center is excited about! 

On Saturday, October 1st, there are two fun events to attend. 

  • First, Fish With Friends is a fun opportunity for children and adults with special needs to accompany fishermen out on their boats to experience fishing firsthand.  Following, there is a big cookout for all the fishermen, children, and families to enjoy.  This event is FREE, but registration ends Monday, September 19.  Sign-up sheets are available in both clinics, and we will fax them for you if you return them to us by Friday, September 16th. 


  • The Step Forward to Cure TSC Walk is at 10 am at Jarvis Creek Park on Hilton Head Island. All proceeds will go to the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance.  A little girl at Lowcountry Therapy, who is commonly known as Super Chloe, fights a life-threatening genetic disease called tuberous sclerosis complex.  TSC affects people in a variety of ways, causing tumors in the brain, eyes, heart, kidneys, skin and lungs. It is the leading known genetic cause of epilepsy and autism. About 50% of people with TSC have autism, and roughly 85% percent have seizures at some point in their lives. Some will develop cancer. Because of the relationship between TSC and autism, epilepsy and cancer, research into TSC could bring about treatments or even cures for these other conditions such as AUTISM!!  Chloe is considered to have a mild case of TSC, but she does have tumors in her brain, skin and one eye. She also has epilepsy, polycystic kidney disease and ADHD. Chloe is doing great right now. She receives three different types of therapies at Lowcountry Therapy Center, and requires quarterly labwork, checkups with specialists every six months and a lot of medication. Chloe will eventually need a kidney transplant.  To sign up for LTC’s team and to support Super Chloe, register hereDon't forget to dress like your favorite superhero! 

On Saturday, October 15th, there are also two events to attend.

  • The Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America’s (CASANA) first annual Lowcountry SC Walk for Children with Apraxia of Speech® will take place at 10 am at Pigeon Point Park in Beaufort, South Carolina.  CAS is a neurological, motor speech disorder. Children with CAS have problems saying sounds, syllables, and words. The brain has difficulty coordinating the movements of the lips, jaw, tongue, etc., which are required to process speech. Children with CAS are able to fully comprehend language, but they are unable to express themselves with their own voices.  Register for the walk here!
  • The 6th Annual Coastal Empire Beach Festival event through Surfers For Autism takes place on Tybee Island.  At these events, children with autism are exposed to surfing by being provided a safe environment where two to four highly skilled and trained surf instructors carefully guide them into waves. Our surfers and their families are treated like rock stars and enjoy a day filled with a range of activities including stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, live music, face-painting, games, bounce houses, fire engine tours and much more. A catered lunch is also provided, all at no cost. This is a very special day where children with ASD interact with typical peers and wow families with their capabilities. Register here!


We are also very excited to participate in and promote the FARE Teal Pumpkin Project, making sure that ALL children, including those with food allergies and special diets, get to enjoy trick-or-treating and other Halloween festivities.  More details to come on this later!


Author: Krista Flack, MS OTR/L

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