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

September is National Yoga Month

September is National Yoga Month                        

 Interview with Kate Meyer, OT at our Port Royal Lowcountry Therapy Center location:

First of all, can you please introduce yourself and tell me a little bit about what you do here at LTC, and how long you’ve been here?

I’m Kate, I’m an OT.  I specialize in a couple of areas: feeding/oral motor, handwriting, self-regulation, yoga, and executive functioning.  I have been here for almost 5 years, in February. 

The reason I am interviewing you today is to talk about yoga, since September is National Yoga Month (get more info here!).  Can you talk to me a bit about your experience with yoga?

I am a certified Kidding Around Yoga teacher.  There are many programs out there for kid's yoga (it does differ from adult yoga, which is one thing I like about it).  I got started because I had a child that had a diagnosis of autism, had poor self-regulation skills, and I was just trying to find another avenue for him.  I pulled some yoga one day, tried doing a couple things with him, and he loved it.  He actually had his dad and him doing it together.  It was very motivating for him.

Can you talk a little bit about how yoga benefits children, specifically children who may be getting services here?

Yoga in itself, has many components as to how it can be beneficial to the human body: you have a lot of stretching; you have strengthening you can do with it; it builds up endurance (not only for the muscles, but also for the mind); you’re learning to follow sequences and follow directions; you learn body awareness – knowing where you are in space (are you upside down?, where is your leg?, where is your arm?); it teaches you placement in that space (like having body awareness to remain in your space, such as on a towel); you have to be able to pay attention; you work on deep breaths; you’re doing kind of a 2-step motion with yourself – you’re moving, but you’re also breathing, too. 

Breathing is so important.  When we get upset, we do those quick breaths – bunny breaths – that is excitatory, it gets your heart pumping, it gets your nervous system fired up.  Our kids need to learn the opposite – we need to learn how to calm ourselves.   You also learn some self-esteem and some confidence.  There are harder poses that kids can try and work their way up to.  It builds self-esteem up for kids that may not be athletic or have opportunities to be in sports, they can still get those movements, they can build those skills.

One thing I love is that when you’re trying to give these ideas and strategies to families, they don’t always have the means to buy certain things, and yoga is one of those things you can take anywhere with you.  It’s free, you don’t need anything, you can use a towel as a yoga mat, or a carpet, it doesn’t really matter, you don’t need a lot of supplies with it.  If you can learn yoga at a young age, and you can learn those self-regulation skills, it can take you so far in life.

What are some of the differences between yoga for children and yoga for adults? 

With kids yoga, it’s a lot of fun.  You do a lot of fun games, you do a lot of moving, then you have a couple things that you do, like a story that goes along with yoga poses, and then at the end there’s usually a ‘secret garden’ – which is meditation for adults; for kids it’s just a relaxing time, to let your body be still.  A lot of our kids don’t get that, their bodies and minds are constantly going, they don’t have that relaxation time.  We use it like painting a picture, usually after they’ve already gone through a lot of games, then we just do some visualizations: I want you to create your space, where you can always go back to, whenever you’re upset, or sad, or bored, you can go back into your space.  So I help them create their space.  First we build it, what does your space look like?  Is it at the ocean, in the forest, on a magical cloud?  Then let’s paint it, and put some things in it – a tree, a  dolphin, a horse.  Whenever you’re sad or mad or upset or bored, you can always goes back to that space.  You created it, it’s your home now, you can always go back to it. 

When you think of traditional yoga, you think, how could kids ever be that patient, and it’s nice to hear how kid’s yoga can be more active.

Yes, it differs greatly.  The games you play are short, you play multiple games.  It’s very adaptable for all ages, you can gear it towards 2 year olds, pre-teen to teen yoga does start to become more adult, kids are older and don’t want to play all the little games.   It’s great because you can vary it to the child, which is great here because it doesn’t matter what abilities a child has, you can fit yoga to fit their needs. 

There’s toe-ga – yoga for your toes, you pick up pompoms with your toes and try to put them in a bucket, working on foot-eye coordination.  There’s wheelchair yoga.  You can do pompom basketball (blowing the pompoms from your hand at a target), where they’re working on breathing, but also for us, as OTs, we’re looking at visual convergence, hand-eye coordination, bilateral integration.   Yoga is big on the idea that whatever you do to one side you do on the other, so you get that balance. 

If somebody wants to get involved, have their child, or themselves as a parent, get involved in yoga, what would you recommend as a first step?

First step, I would go online.  There are a lot of YouTube videos.  I love the Kidding Around Yoga, they actually have some music selections you can download on iTunes.  There are a lot of resources that are available online.  There’s Can Do Yoga, which is actually a yoga teacher in North Carolina.  She blogs about yoga, and she’s actually an OT.  She has a yoga studio in North Carolina for kids with special needs.  There are some awesome books, too.  There’s one by Baron Baptiste which is called My Daddy is a Pretzel, and there’s a Good Night Yoga book.  Just starting moving with your kid, it’s so important to have that piece, where the parent isn’t just telling the kid how to do it.

And you don’t have to be flexible, yoga is for anyone.  If you can move, you can do yoga!  It doesn’t have to be competitive, you’re on your mat, doing your abilities.  Pinterest has a ton of ideas, you type in kid yoga, it’s going to come up with a ton of ideas! 

Any closing remarks?

The biggest thing I love about yoga is you can take it anywhere.  That self-regulation is so important for kids to learn at an early age; it can take them so far in life. 


For a great list of articles about the benefits of yoga, check out this list! https://nextgenerationyoga.com/articles/?mc_cid=fa59b90008&mc_eid=7a887ff998

Author: Krista Flack, MS OTR/L

Pain Awareness Month

Pain Awareness Month

September is declared Pain Awareness Month and was established in 2001 by the American Chronic Pain Association. Their goal is to promote education and awareness on chronic pain in order to break down the barriers to effective pain management. According to John Hopkins University, nearly 100 million Americans experience chronic pain. That is more than the number of people who have diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined. In 2012 the Institute of Medicine reported that the economic burden of chronic pain exceeds $500 billion per year.


In 2010 the Massachusetts Pain Initiative conducted a study to assess the quality of life in people with chronic pain. Nearly three quarters of respondents reported that their pain negatively impacted their quality of life and productivity. 78% reported that pain had interfered with their sleep.  73% reported feeling anxious, irritable, or depressed because of their pain and that they were less productive at work due to their pain. 68% of respondents reported that their pain interferes with their ability to perform everyday tasks such as driving, walking, grocery shopping, or cooking. Read the rest of the report here at http://masspaininitiative.org/files/MassPI_Pain_Survey_-_Executive_Summary_v3.pdf


Pain is a warning sign that indicates a problem needs attention. With that being said, now that school is back in session and kids have begun playing sports pain should not simply be brushed off. It is important to address the pain effectively. According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), more than 6.2 million children are sent to the emergency room each year due to sport related injuries. The best offense is a good defense. Making sure your child is prepared properly can help your child avoid an injury. Stretching and the use of proper equipment is one way to reduce the risk of injuries. If pain or an injury does occur the most effective way to treat the pain is by combining various treatments such as physical therapy, bracing, medications and more.  Here is the link for the American Society of Anesthesiologists article on pain in children and how to prevent it https://www.asahq.org/about-asa/newsroom/news-releases/2016/09/pain-awareness-month


For more information on pain awareness month and how you can get involved check out the link below from the American Chronic Pain Association:



-Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist


Paralympics                        Author: Krista Flack, MS OTR/L


The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will be held from September 7-18, 2016.  Around 4,350 athletes from more than 160 countries will travel to Rio to compete in 528 medal events in 22 different sports, including archery, cycling, equestrian, sailing, wheelchair basketball, and my favorite: wheelchair rugby!


The Paralympics is an amazing and inspiring thing to watch.  It is exciting to see how, despite significant challenges, these men and women have overcome adversity and are able to participate in sports they love at an international level.  In order to participate, athletes must have an impairment in one of the following ten categories:


  • Impaired muscle power: Reduced force generated by muscles or muscle groups, such as muscles of one limb or the lower half of the body, as caused, for example, by spinal cord injuries, spina bifida or polio
  • Impaired passive range of movement: Range of movement in one or more joints is reduced permanently, for example due to arthrogryposis. Hypermobility of joints, joint instability, and acute conditions, such as arthritis, are not considered eligible impairments.
  • Limb deficiency: Total or partial absence of bones or joints as a consequence of trauma (e.g. car accident), illness (e.g. bone cancer) or congenital limb deficiency (e.g. dysmelia).
  • Leg length difference: Bone shortening in one leg due to congenital deficiency or trauma.
  • Short stature: Reduced standing height due to abnormal dimensions of bones of upper and lower limbs or trunk, for example due to achondroplasia or growth hormone dysfunction.
  • Hypertonia: Abnormal increase in muscle tension and a reduced ability of a muscle to stretch, due to a neurological condition, such as cerebral palsy, brain injury or multiple sclerosis.
  • Ataxia: Lack of co-ordination of muscle movements due to a neurological condition, such as cerebral palsy, brain injury or multiple sclerosis.
  • Athetosis: Generally characterised by unbalanced, involuntary movements and a difficulty in maintaining a symmetrical posture, due to a neurological condition, such as cerebral palsy, brain injury or multiple sclerosis.
  • Visual impairment: Vision is impacted by either an impairment of the eye structure, optical nerves or optical pathways, or the visual cortex.
  • Intellectual Impairment: A limitation in intellectual functioning and adaptive behaviour as expressed in conceptual, social and practical adaptive skills, which originates before the age of 18.


For more information about the games, sports, and athletes, check out the official Rio 2016 Paralympic Games website.  There you can learn more about specific events, read biographies of athletes, and get the short list of athletes to watch.

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month


More than 23 million children and teenagers in the United States ages 2 to 19 are obese or overweight according to COAM.org. According to the Centers for Disease Control 1 of every 5 (17%) of children in the United States has obesity. This puts nearly one third of American children at an early risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and even stroke.  Children who are obese are more likely to have obesity as adults and are more at risk for physical and mental health problems in the future.


Childhood obesity can be influenced by many different factors. One factor is too much time spent in sedentary activities. These activities include watching TV, playing video games, computer use, and any other activities that cause little to no physical exercise. The other major factor affecting childhood obesity is access to inexpensive high calorie snacks or beverages, or lack of access to affordable healthier foods.


Parents are the first line of defense in helping to prevent childhood obesity. One way parents can help to battle obesity is to offer your child healthy snack options. According to the CDC, parents should substitute higher nutrient lower calorie foods such as fruits and vegetables in place of high calorie snack options. Encouraging your child to drink more water and less sugary drinks is another way to help reduce the risk of childhood obesity. Limiting screen time and promoting outside playing helps your child get the exercise they need. These are just a few of the ways for parents to battle childhood obesity. Below are links to various websites with more information on childhood obesity and ways to keep your child healthy.


American Academy of Pediatrics Institute for Healthy Childhood Weight was launched in January 2013 to address the complex problem of childhood obesity from prevention through treatment. Here is the link to their website where you can find tons of resources for different programs and treatments such as Healthy Active Living for Families (HALF) https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Pages/Childhood-Obesity-Awareness-Month.aspx?nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000


https://www.choosemyplate.gov/ is a great resource for families to learn about proper nutrition and portion sizes. This will allow you to pick out better foods for you and your family to eat.


Here are the links for the CDC and COAM.org. They give information on the prevalence of childhood obesity along with the importance of raising awareness during the month of September.




-Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist

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