Get Set for Summer!

For many kids, the end of the school year and beginning of summer is an exciting time!  But for children that have difficulty tolerating changes to their routine, it can also be a stressful time.  School provides a structure and routine that is predictable and comfortable, while summer can be full of spontaneity and free time, which can be a difficult thing to adjust to.  For some families, finding a way to add structure and predictability to the day-to-day happenings of summer is a good way to keep everyone calm and happy. 

For some, having a schedule of the day, week, or month is enough to add an element of predictability.  Visual schedules can add more predictability for young children to be able to see what to expect throughout the day or week.  Social stories and verbal scripts can be helpful when preparing for something new or different that may cause anxiety, like a vacation, daytrip, or having family come to visit. 

Summer camps and day programs are a great way to add structure, while providing educational, social, and leisure opportunities.  Below are a few camps and programs that are available in this area this summer:

Camps Specifically for Children with Special Needs:

  • T.E.K. Quest is a half-day camp designed to expose children and parents to different technologies available to help overcome obstacles faced in everyday life.
  • Challenge Camp at Island Rec is designed for children with special needs. Continued development of motor, social and cognitive skills throughout the summer. This camp is integrated into our all day summer camp program.  An All Day camp is also offered through Island Rec.
  • Camp Treasure Chest serves between 25 and 30 children under the age of 21 each summer. It provides those children who cannot fit into any other camp situation a chance to have a camp experience.


Affordable Day Camp Options

Additional Camps in the Area

Author: Krista Flack, MS OTR/L


Speech Therapy vs Dyslexia Therapy with Dana Glaser

Interview with Dana Glaser
Matt: What brought you to LTC?  

Dana: Originally I came to LTC as an alternative to working in the schools. I worked in the schools for 11 years in Wisconsin and then came down here. I ended up taking about a year off due to medical issues and having a hard time lifting kids up and putting them in swings. So I sat down with Jessi and we talked about changing the position and using more of my reading and literacy background.


Matt: What is the difference between speech therapy and dyslexia therapy?


Dana: The biggest difference would be that Lowcountry Dyslexia Center’s goals and objectives are much more focused on phonemic awareness and orthographic awareness, so how letters represent sounds. The lessons are much more focused on developing that along with reading comprehension, reading fluency, and spelling which are not part of typical speech therapy.


Matt: What are some of the myths about dyslexia?


Dana: The biggest myth would be that people with dyslexia read and write backwards. We certainly see that in a lot of kids with dyslexia such as things like the “b” and “d” reversals, but that does not mean that they are going to have dyslexia.


Matt: What are some of the signs of dyslexia?


Dana: Some of the biggest signs to me would be the difficulties at the sound level, being able to play with words, and being able to manipulate rhyming words. It really comes down to difficulties at that sound level, and knowing what letter represents what sound and being able to decode. Decoding is being able to look at a word and putting the sounds together and blending them correctly.


Matt: What does the dyslexia program entail?


Dana: Typically we start with a 2 part evaluation. The first part is a speech and language evaluation and the second part looks at site word reading and nonsense word reading. I also compare listening comprehension to reading comprehension. Once we have recommended therapy, we always include a plan for classroom accommodations whether it is books on tape, give warning if being called on, give copies of notes, etc. Then they come in and we teach them letter names, letter sounds, vowel combinations, etc. The curriculum follows the Orton-Gillingham Approach which is a very direct and structured program.



Matt: How can dyslexia therapy and speech therapy work together?


Dana: Speech and language and reading are twofold. In speech therapy we look at speech fluency, spoken language comprehension, and word meaning. In reading we talk about decoding, spelling, reading fluency, and reading comprehension, so really they are a nice blend. Some patients will also see a speech therapist to really focus on articulation and other spoken language aspects, so that when I see them we can focus on the literacy piece.


Matt: What should a family do if they have concerns that their child might have dyslexia?


Dana: They can look at our website and read about what dyslexia is. The international dyslexia association is an awesome resource with lots of information. Talk to your pediatrician and share your concerns with them. Even if your child is in kindergarten it is not too early to see if the phonological awareness needs to be worked on.  You can contact us and come in and get an evaluation.  If we don’t diagnosis with dyslexia we typically see speech and language impairments or a combination of language and literacy impairments, but no matter what they will leave with some suggestions to help build their skills.


-Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist

Interview with Barbara Helms on School Versus Clinic Based Speech Therapy

Interview with Barbara Helms, M.Ed., CCC-SLP

Author: Krista Flack, MS OTR/L


Krista: What brought you to Lowcountry Therapy Center?

Barbara: I was looking for a change of environment, stability working in one place, not traveling, working with an interdisciplinary team under one roof.

K: Where did you work before this?

B: I started out working in the Beaufort County School District, I worked there for 3 years, then I heard of a greater need in the Hampton County School District so I contracted for a position to work for them and I was ere for 3 years.  I had also done nursing home work, home health briefly, and my internship was in a hospital doing outpatient and I liked it a lot.  I always wanted to get back to that, so I decided to go ahead and go for it.

K: How do you feel like the transition went?  Was there anything that was hard to get used to?

B: Were led to believe in grad school that its really hard to make the change between schools and clinic but I didnt find it hard at all.  In fact, it was pretty seamless moving from one environment to another.

K: What would you say are some of the biggest differences between working in the schools and working in the clinic?  What do you feel like we can provide in the clinic that cant be provided in the school?

B: Your team is different between school and here.  You dont always have OTs and PTs around you all the time, your support system in mainly your teaches, your guidance counselors, the faculty and staff at school.  The one-on-one attention that is available here is not always possible there.  Not to say that it wasnt done, because I definitely had children that I saw one-on-one.   When youre going from Pre-K all the way to high school, you have to serve all those kids in the amount of time you have to be there.  And you always felt really bad when you did miss kids, whether you were out, or they were out, testing; there was always something going on in the schools.  Parents are not there, thats another huge thing.  There are some families you only see once a year for an annual review.  Whereas here, [families are] bringing them.  I like the parental involvement.  I feel like its better for generalized carryover because you can talk to the families face-to-face on a weekly basis as opposed to an annual basis.

K: What would you recommend for parents that have kids getting school services but maybe arent seeing the progress they want?

B: I would tell them that ASHA totally advocates both clinical and school.  The more support you can give your kid, the better off theyre going to be.  Also, the reality in school is that youre seeing two, three, possibly four children in a group at the same time; not that theyre not getting what they need, but that one-on-one is just really so much better.

K: Any other comments or advice for parents?

B: Im glad I got the chance to do both and see both sides, because when a parent does come in and asks me Oh you used to work in the school, let me ask you some questions. Im happy to help as much as I can.  Things change drastically from year-to-year, not only on a county level but state and federal levels, too.  I would definitely encourage parents to go online, do the research.  The South Carolina Department of Education has any information that you could need.  Theres also the Office of Special Education Programs and the United States Department of Education.  I encourage parents to read up on what IDEA is and what a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) entails.  If youre going to be an advocate for your child, its really important that youre on top of it, because youre not there all the time.

Why Is My PT/OT Recommending Speech Therapy?

Why is my PT/OT recommending ST?


When treating therapy with a multidisciplinary approach, it is not uncommon for therapists to recommend other therapies. So what makes other therapists recommend speech therapy?


There are two areas of communication that both physical and occupational therapists observe during sessions. First, they look at how well the therapists can understand your child’s communication. There are many different forms of communication such as spoken language, gestures, and electronic devices all of which help your child to be understood. Working with a speech therapist can help determine which method of communication is best for your child. This can decrease frustration when trying to perform difficult gross motor tasks, and being unable to ask for assistance.

The second area is how well your child can understand and follow therapist directions. Understanding is essential for the completion of gross motor tasks. If your child does not understand the task then the brain will not be able to send the signal to the correct muscles. This can cause the task to be difficult or seem impossible for the child. Speech therapists can help target why your child is having difficulty. For example, there may be too many steps involved causing your child to become confused and either add or remove steps. Another is example would be if your child is having problems understanding directional phrases such as up, down, under, and behind.


Your child’s physical and occupational therapist may also have referred your child for speech therapy due to concerns unrelated to gross motor or speech and language. Your therapist is concerned with the “big picture” of your child’s development, and strives to ensure that all areas are being addressed so your child can achieve their maximum potential.  If you’re unsure why a referral has been made, ask your therapist.  Your therapist will help you better understand why the referral was made, and how your child will benefit from receiving additional support.


-Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist

How Loud is Too Loud??

How Loud is Too Loud??

Since May is better speech and hearing month I thought it would be a good idea to look at just how loud some sounds are and how they can affect your child’s hearing. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) launched a campaign called “Listen to your buds. “ The campaign is designed to educate children and parents about safe listening habits.

As electronic devices become more popular among children of all ages, so does noise induced hearing loss. In 2014 ASHA estimated that 75% of kids ages 8 and under have access to a smart mobile device at home as compared to 52% in 2011. They have also estimated that 1 in 6 adolescents suffer from high frequency hearing loss which is typically noise related and very preventable. AHSA outlines 3 simple to steps to help make listening safe. First, keep the volume down to 50% of the max level. Second, limit listening time by giving you or your child quiet breaks. Lastly, talk to your kids about safe listening habits.

So how loud is too loud? According to OSHA, you can safely listen to noise or music at 85 decibels for 8 hours at a time. But once you’ve gone above 85 decibels then the length of time you can be exposed to noise without harming your hearing decreases rapidly. The rule of thumb is that for every 5 decibels the noise level increases above 85 the safe listening time decreases by half. In 2010 NBC news conducted an interview with an audiologist. They stated that parents can monitor their child’s music with a couple of easy tips. If you are having difficulty hearing someone who is talking from about an arm’s length away then chances are your volume is too high and above 85 decibels.  Also if you find yourself raising your voice to have a conversation, the level is probably higher than 85 decibels.

For more information on the Listen to Your Buds program click here Here is the link to the 2010 article from NBC news


-Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist

What is a Sensory-Friendly Film?!

What is a Sensory-Friendly Film?!

 Lowcountry Therapy Center is collaborating with the Cinemark Bluffton movie theater to create a sensory-friendly movie screening of Finding Dory.  You might be wondering…

What is a sensory-friendly film??

A sensory-friendly movie screening means:

  • the lights are dimmed, but not off,
  • the volume is turned down, and
  • children have the freedom to move around the theater.

This means that children with sound sensitivities are not overwhelmed by the volume of the movie, and that children that are fearful of the dark will be more comfortable.  Children that have difficulty sitting still and benefit from frequent breaks, or even movement while watching, are encouraged to give their bodies what they need!  This event provides an environment that is accepting of children with special needs, and a place where the child, their family, and their friends can enjoy time together.  Last, this is a great opportunity to network with other families!  Being able to relax and enjoy quality family time without worrying if someone will complain or be disturbed by noise or movement is a wonderful experience! 

This event will take place on Saturday, June 25th at 10:00am.  Tickets can be purchased at Lowcountry Therapy Center’s Bluffton or Port Royal locations.  The cost is $10 per person and includes a ticket voucher, popcorn, drink, and snack.  Cash or Check is accepted at this time only.  For questions, please call (843) 815-6999.

Author: Krista Flack, MS OTR/L

May is Better Speech and Hearing Month!

Each May, Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM) provides an opportunity to raise awareness about communication disorders and the role of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in providing life-altering treatment.  At Lowcountry Therapy Center, we love and value our SLP’s for all the work they do!  One question they say is frequently asked is:

What is the difference between speech and language?

Speech is the verbal means of communicating. Speech consists of the following:

  • Articulation - how speech sounds are made (e.g., children must learn how to produce the "r" sound in order to say "rabbit" instead of "wabbit").
  • Voice - use of the vocal folds and breathing to produce sound (e.g., the voice can be abused from overuse or misuse and can lead to hoarseness or loss of voice).
  • Fluency - the rhythm of speech (e.g., hesitations or stuttering can affect fluency).

Language is made up of socially shared rules that include the following:

  • What words mean (e.g., "star" can refer to a bright object in the night sky or a celebrity)
  • How to make new words (e.g., friend, friendly, unfriendly)
  • How to put words together (e.g., "Peg walked to the new store" rather than "Peg walk store new")
  • What word combinations are best in what situations ("Would you mind moving your foot?" could quickly change to "Get off my foot, please!" if the first request did not produce results)

When a person is unable to produce speech sounds correctly or fluently, or has problems with his or her voice, then he or she has a speech disorder.  When a person has trouble understanding others (receptive language), or sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings completely (expressive language), then he or she has a language disorder.

Language and speech disorders can exist together or by themselves. The problem can be mild or severe. In any case, a comprehensive evaluation by a speech-language pathologist (SLP) is the first step to improving language and speech problems.

To learn more about typical speech and language development and the importance of early detection and treatment, visit the following link:

Author: Krista Flack, MS OTR/L

What is Plagiocephaly and How Can Physical Therapy Help?

Plagiocephaly is a condition when a flattened spot develops on the back or side of a baby’s head. This is caused by uneven pressures on the back of the head usually due to how the baby is lying. Plagiocephaly can lead to a misshapen head and in severe cases cause deformities in the facial bones around the cheeks and eyes.

In 2013 the American Academy of Pediatrics released a study to estimate the incidence of positional plagiocephaly in infants 7 to 12 weeks old. They looked at 440 infants who attended the 2 month well checkup. They found 205 infants to have some form of plagiocephaly. The instance of plagiocephaly is estimated to be 46.6% of infants. More on this study can be found at

Since this study was completed in one specific area more studies need to be completed to get a better representation of the country as a whole. However, that is a very high statistic in just a single area. Plagiocephaly is something that can easily be prevented in infants. One major cause of plagiocephaly is due to not enough tummy time. While awake, babies can spend half of their awake time on their belly. This is a great position for the child to play in and helps keep pressure off the back of the head. Limiting the time spent in containers (car seats, strollers, etc.) is another way to help reduce the risk of plagiocephaly. Too much container time can lead to plagiocephaly and also developmental delays according to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).  Read more about what baby container syndrome is and the impact it has on your child’s development here at

The good news is that plagiocephaly can be easily treated through either a positioning program or through the use of an orthotic helmet. If you are worried that your child might have plagiocephaly, contact your pediatrician or bring them in to us at Lowcountry Therapy Center for a free screening.


-Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist

New Faces at LTC!!!

Lowcountry Therapy Center is growing, so we thought we would take a moment to introduce a few new faces you may notice around the clinic!

Eleanor Mockler, or “Ellie,” is a new OTR/L at the Bluffton clinic.  She attended Boston University: Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.  Some areas she is passionate about include Autism, sensory processing, and the Handwriting Without Tears program.  

Julianne Escoe is a COTA/L at the Bluffton clinic.  Julianne graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Science. She then moved to Birmingham, AL where she received her Associates in Applied Science degree as an Occupational Therapy Assistant from Brown Mackie College. Julianne has clinical experience in Early Intervention and geriatric Mental Health. She is well versed in Sensory Integration Theory and believes strongly in parent and caregiver involvement in treatment. Julianne recently relocated to Bluffton, SC to join the Lowcountry Therapy Team. In her free time she enjoys taking naps, going to the beach with her fiancé, and wedding planning.

Haleigh Dozier is a COTA/L at the Port Royal clinic.  She received her Associates of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant from Darton State College.  She was born and raised in Warner Robins, GA but moved to South Carolina to be closer to family.  She says “I am very passionate about children with autism and sensory integration.”

Marie Hooper is an Occupational Therapy student that will be at LTC’s Port Royal clinic for the next 3 months.  She is a Beaufort local, practically a native, after living here for 20 years.  She has been a Physical Therapist Assistant for 9 years with experience in multiple settings including outpatient pediatrics and adults, and inpatient hospital settings.  She has been married for 15 years and has 4 beautiful daughters between the ages of 8 and 13.  She says, “I decided many years ago I wanted to be an Occupational Therapist and finally had the opportunity to return to school recently to pursue that dream. I am very excited about the opportunity to learn from the staff here at Lowcountry Therapy Center and working with the families and children they serve.”

Author: Krista Flack, MS OTR/L


Screen free week begins next week (May 2nd – May 8th). Screen free week is when families across the world reduce and limit the amount of time that children spend looking at screens such as TVs, computers, phones, tablets, etc. Devices are still permitted for school and work. The amount of time spent on digital devices has increased tremendously in the recent years. Research has shown that excessive screen time is linked to poor school performance, childhood obesity, and attention problems.

There has been a lot of recent research that has shown that too much screen time in children can have negative effects. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) stated in 2011 that both foreground and background media have potentially negative effects and no known positive effects for children younger than 2 years old. They found that children under 2 who watch heavy amounts of television and videos have been found to have a significantly higher chance of having a language delay. They have also found that using television as part of the bedtime routine can be detrimental to a child’s sleep. Although parents perceive a televised program to be a calming sleep aid, some programs actually increase bedtime resistance, delay the onset of sleep, cause anxiety about falling asleep, and shorten sleep duration.

The use of screens and the effect they have on children is something that is constantly being researched. Screen free week is a way to raise awareness about the effects screens have on kids, and a way to encourage kids to have a more active lifestyle. Here is the link to the screen free website ( This website will help explain more about what screen free week is, the dangers of increased screen time, and some fun activities that kids can do. This link is for the article from the AAP that is mentioned above (

Don’t forget to ask your therapist how you can sign up for screen free week and win some fun prizes!!!

-Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist

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