Happy Balance Week!
September 13-19th is Balance Awareness Week which was created to highlight how important balance is and how our body achieves balance.
What is balance?
Balance is a multisystem that enables us to know where our bodies are in the environment and to maintain the position we want to be in (standing, sitting, balancing on one leg, etc.) Balance is very important for our bodies so we don’t fall when playing games, sports, and other activities! We use three different systems to achieve balance- our vestibular system (where we feel our body is in space), our visual system (what we see is in our environment, and somatosensory system (what we can feel with our bodies like grass or pavement). In order to make sure we maintain good balance, we must stay active and challenge these system!
- While balancing on one foot, try to take your shoe off of the other foot and then put it back on without touching both feet to the ground. Time yourself to see how fast you can do this!
- If that is too easy, balance on one foot, take off your shoe of the other foot, and throw the shoe back and forth from your right to left hand! Whoever can complete the most catches without letting both feet touch the ground wins!
Back to School Visual Schedules
Life has been anything but ‘normal’ these past few months and many changes can be reflected through our children’s behavior. As we approach the 'Back To School' season, a visual schedule may reestablish and provide a sense of security and stability with new routines. There are many benefits to using visual schedules including:
Removes Emotional Responses - children know what is expected with less room for negotiation and emotional desire.
Easy Transitions - Often times meltdowns decrease and are replaced with improved cooperation.
Increases Predictability and Independence- children will look at the visual schedule instead of relying on caregiver instruction.
Learn Time Lapse/Order - Increases understanding of before, after, then/later, and recall of events throughout the day.
Visual reinforcement - Verbal instruction may be too complex. Having a visual picture to refer to will improve following direction skills.
Healthy Habits - sets up a routine that is predicted, improves memory, mental organization, and responsibility. As always, schedules can change. It’s important to establish flexibility from the start.
Increases Flexibility - Schedule changes are bound to happen. You can prepare and adapt them with the visual schedule to reflect the new ‘plan’.
Visual schedules come in many forms. Enjoy creating and adapting one for your individual family needs. Download our Visual Daily Schedule and our Morning Time and Bed Time Routines!
Gear Up for a Successful School Year
As we’re all attempting to navigate new and unconventional forms of education that this school year may bring, support your child’s success with these things in mind while creating their work space.
‣ Set aside some one on one time together to create an agreed upon ideal environment.
‣ Ease of eliminating distractions (TV, background noise, visual disturbances) and use headphones as needed.
‣ Ergonomics and posture - Using incorrect posture for extended periods of time can lead to increased fatigue and muscle strain. Leaning your head forward can add up to 10 lbs of extra pressure on the spine.
‣ Avoid slouching. This not only reduces back pain, but
is also beneficial for breathing patterns. Lengthen the spine by pulling shoulders back and aligning your head and spine.
‣ Use 90/90/90 Degree Rule- Elbows, hips, and knees should be at 90 degree angles to avoid muscle tension and strain.
‣ Schedule frequent, every 30 minutes, ‘movement’ or stretch breaks to reset and realign the body.
‣ Social/Emotional- Children may feel isolated with on-line learning. Set up time outside of class to connect with others (classmates, family, groups of interest). There are many virtual platforms to ‘meet’ when face to face socializing isn’t available.
Keep an open and flexible mind where ever 'class' may take place this school year and it'll be a successful one!
New Team Member Chelsey Durham
Hi everyone! My name is Chelsey Durham and I am a pediatric occupational therapist. I grew up in Savannah, Georgia. I went to Georgia Southern University and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology and then went to University of St. Augustine to obtain my Master's Degree in occupational therapy. I have been married for almost three years and we have two dogs- a 75 pound German Shepherd/Belgian Malinois mix and a 4 pound teacup Chihuahua. They are quite the pair! My husband and I have been living in Rock Hill, SC for the last two years, which is a small city outside of Charlotte, NC. My husband's job has decided to relocate his position back to the Savannah area and we could not be more excited! Over the past three years I have primarily worked in pediatrics. I also have some experience working PRN with adults through home health and inpatient rehab. I have to say, pediatrics has my heart! Whether it's making a craft, creating an obstacle course, or playing a game- the child may not realize we are working on visual motor integration, fine motor skills or motor planning. They just know we are having fun! I am so excited to be a part of the Lowcountry team and can't wait to meet everyone! :)
Battle of The Boxes
Lowcountry Therapy will be hosting a canned food drive this March. About one in six people in the United States struggles with hunger, and issues related to hunger affect people in every community. In the fight against hunger food banks play a key role by securing billions of pounds of food each year and distributing it to millions of people in need. You can help fight hunger in your local community by contributing to our Bluffton or Port Royal clinic. Each clinic will have three boxes: one for Speech, Occupational, and Physical Therapy. Towards the end of March we will tally up each box and determine which discipline won the battle! Please donate to support your community and your favorite disciple, no pressure;)
What to Donate:
Any non perishable food is really helpful. Some specific foods that are always needed are protein items such as peanut butter, canned tuna and canned chicken and any sort of cold or warm cereal. They are also looking for canned fruits and veggies, or whole grains and canned soup. Take pride in donating items you would feed your family with.
New Team Member Melissa Engel
My name is Melissa Engel. I am originally from the west coast, recently, Phoenix, Arizona where I went to high school and college. I moved to Savannah, Ga almost 3 years ago, and more recently now soon to be Bluffton, SC! :) I have a bachelors of science in Healthcare Administration and realized I'm more of a mover so I went back to school for Occupational Therapy at Pima Medical Institute to obtain my Associate of Occupational Science degree. I have been practicing Occupational Therapy for 6 years now. Initially starting in a Pediatric clinic specializing in sensory processing. When I moved to Savannah, I transitioned to adults for the past 3 years working in a Long-term Acute care hospital and finally transitioning back to pediatrics which I have a lot of passion for. I have worked in almost all areas of OT except home health care and behavioral health facilities. I love children. I do not have any myself yet, but maybe someday, but I do have a niece and a nephew who I love greatly and spend a lot of time with as well as with my fur-baby Penny. I love being around people and love to laugh.
Lowcountry Therapy Physical Wellness Month
Our team is practicing Physical Wellness this month with a 29 Day Challenge! They receive points for 7 hours of sleep, drinking 64 oz of water, working out 45 minutes a day, breaking one bad habit, stretching 10 minutes a day and encouraging their accountability partner. It?s not as easy at it looks.
So far this team of two is in the lead!
Check out these links for helpful tips on practicing Physical Wellness.
Welcome to the team- Laura Morley- Speech Language Pathologists
I am a Speech Language Pathologist with 30 years of experience. I graduated with my undergrad from Bradley University, in Peoria, Illinois. I earned my M.S. from Southern Illinois University in Speech Language Pathology. Yankee by birth, southern at heart. I moved to Georgia in 1987. I have been married 34 years, have two awesome kids, and 2 grandkids. Family is priority, next to having fun and being silly. I love being a speech language pathologist. Communication is at the heart of who we are as a person. My clinical background includes years of hospital experience with clinical and management. My most recent experience was as the Director of Quality and Risk. I am a certified professional healthcare quality specialist. I enjoy painting, drawing and sailing. I am a Mac and Cheese, Atlanta Falcons, Jimmy Buffet Fan. I am most looking forward to coming on to the LTC team so that I can make a difference in the lives of our patients and families. I have been out of peds for a few years, so I am looking forward to a new adventure and brushing up on all my Disney and Pixar knowledge.