Respite Night

At Lowcountry Therapy, we love volunteering and giving back to our community. It’s not only part our team culture but one of the foundations of our mission statement.

Lowcountry Therapy’s Mission:

  • We are dedicated to providing the highest quality therapy designed to serve each child’s potential.
  • We believe the participation of family and caregivers in the therapy process is fundamental to empower children to perform and participate in life’s activities.
  • We are committed to the support and growth of our professional team by promoting clinical excellence through continuing education, interdisciplinary teamwork and community outreach.

Volunteering outside of the clinic supports all of these invaluable beliefs, so we thought we would share our experiences with you.

Our team has partnered with the Lowcountry Autism Foundation and Island Playground to provide childcare for Parent’s Night Out. We have been participating in this event since July of last year.

Parent’s Night out is a 3-hour long respite program for parents/caregivers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Parent’s can drop their children off (sign in first please) at Island Playground, an indoor activity gym. Licensed therapists and volunteers will be on hand to provide care for your kiddo.

In order to spread the word about this great event, we interviewed Ebony Sheats and Yelitza Sombredero, our Patient Care Coordinators at our Bluffton, SC office, about our most recent volunteer event- Parent’s Night Out. Here is what they had to say about this respite night

Question: Ladies, can you tell us about this respite night? What is it?

Yelitza: “Parent’s Night Out is held at the Island Playground. It’s a night for parents to go out and enjoy themselves or run errands. But some of them are definitely enjoying themselves. You can tell because they walk in all dressed up and come back with smiles on their faces and you can tell they had a good time.”

Ebony: “Not only did the parent’s have fun, but then they walk in a see how excited the kids are they are even happier.”

Yelitza: “Plus, I think they are even more excited when they see how exhausted they are from the night and they know they will get some sleep.” (laughs)

Question: What should parents expect at Parents Night Out?

Ebony: “I think they should expect the kids will have fun in a safe environment so there’s not need for them to worry. And, they get fed.”

Yelitza: “Yeah- they eat a lot. There is pizza from Giuseppe’s, veggies, fruit, water and this really good organic fruit juice.”

Ebony: “Yes, the fruit juice is excellent, and I think its sugar free, don’t quote me on that.” (lots of giggling from both)

Question: Why do you volunteer to help with this event?

Ebony: “It’s nice to see that kids outside of the clinic, having fun. We actually have fun too!”

Yelitza: “The kids get out of their comfort zone. Last month, one little boy would not let go of mom, then he would not go in the bouncy house. It took a while but by the end of the night- he was bouncing everywhere.”

Ebony: “He made a friend too.”

Question: How did you two help to get him out of his comfort zone?

Ebony: “Yelitza always volunteers me to go into the bounce house with them and then never gets in herself. The kids will always go in if I go in with them, and I like the bounce house too.”

Yelitza: “There are crafts too but Ebony never seems to make it out of the bouncy house and we are usually partnered up.”

Question: What else should parents know about Parents Night Out?

Ebony: “Parents should really take the opportunity to relax and enjoy themselves and if that’s hard for them, they should let the kids relax and enjoy themselves with each other. And wear socks!”

Question: When is the next Parent’s Night Out and how can parent’s sign-up?

Date: Aug 16th from 5:00pm- 8:00pm

Location: Island Playground

1538 Fording Island Rd, Suite 104, Hilton Head, SC 29926

Register now:

Aquatic Therapy

Lowcountry Therapy began offering aquatic therapy in the Bluffton clinic this year.

What is aquatic therapy?

Aquatic therapy is an evidenced-based skilled therapy practice that is administered by a therapist in an aquatic setting. The therapist utilizes the properties of water (buoyancy, resistance, temperature, and hydrostatic pressure) to provide an alternative and fun setting for therapy. Aquatic therapy is used to improve or maintain several areas including: strength, range of motion, functional mobility, aerobic capacity/endurance, coordination, gait, balance, agility, biomechanics/posture, sensory processing, and for relaxation.

Which patients are appropriate for aquatic therapy?

  • Children who need orthopedic or post-operative therapy?
  • Children with abnormal muscle tone
  • Children with muscle weakness or poor postural control
  • Children with decreased mobility
  • Children with neurological and/or sensory motor problems
  • Children who are working to develop higher level motor skills like breath control, coordination, balance, and galt
  • Children with sensory processing problems

If you think your child could benefit from aquatic therapy contact

For more information check out the link below.

National Hunger Awareness Day 2019 is observed on Thursday, June 6, 2019

Lowcountry Therapy Center will be holding a food drive on June 6th in observance of National Hunger Awareness Day.

40 million people face hunger in the U.S. today — including more than 12 million children and nearly five million seniors. Hunger knows no boundaries — it touches every community in the U.S., including ours.

This year, Bluffton Self Help will distribute more than 50 tons of food to the hungry in Bluffton and the immediate surrounding area. That amount will provide approximately 2,500 meals for our neighbors in need.

According to Bluffton Self Help, they are "in dire need of several items including canned meats (Chicken, Tuna), Rice, Pasta Sauce and Canned Fruits" and Help of Beaufort said "Because we are a Wellness Pantry we highly encourage nonperishable fruits and vegetables, canned protein like tuna, chicken, and salmon. Also, low sugar cereals, oatmeal, grits. We would not want any candy or cakes."









Kid Healthy Week annual observance

Every Kid Healthy Week is an annual observance created to celebrate school health and wellness achievements. This year the week is April 22nd - April 26th. this special week shines a spotlight on the great efforts schools are making to improve the health and wellness of their students and the link between nutrition, physical activity, and learning – because healthy kids are better prepared to learn! 

Start off the week by encouraging physical activity! Get away from screens and plan activities outside such as an obstacle course or a scavenger hunt. Packing a picnic basket and spending the day at the pool is one of my favorite activities.

Every Kid Healthy week isn't just about physical activity. It's also about proper nutrition. Choose my plate is a great resource to learn about proper nutrition and portion sizes. For this week I challenge you to try some new healthy foods/snacks and to drink less sugary drinks. 

Check out the links below for more resources!

Practicing Wellness

We are practicing Wellness at Lowcountry Therapy. Various Wellness models exist to make up a basic concept, which is; your overall health is more than what you do for your body physically, but rather a more holistic approach is needed for you to be healthy and happy. While some concepts may apply more deeply to adults, kids need to have a sound focus on wellness too. 

It’s never too early to begin practicing healthy habits for overall wellness. A wellness plan that focuses on a variety of key factors can help your child feel emotionally stable, calm their hyperactive behavior, and maintain mental concentration and clarity. Creating a wellness plan for your child can lead to better physical, emotional, and mental health.

This month, we are focusing on “Environmental” Wellness.

To be “Environmentally Attuned” includes interacting positively with the environment on a local, community and global level. Improving your personal imprint and understanding how your surroundings impact your personal wellness. This involves having clean air to breath, obtaining adequate sunlight, optimizing nature’s resources and engaging with blue and green spaces for rejuvenation. Avoiding toxic substances and noise pollution is also important to achieving environmental wellness. Finally, taking personal responsibility for creating sustainable communities, encouraging purchases and conveniences, based on their environmental impacts. 

Our team is participating in a photo challenge to celebrate Environmental Wellness. Tasked to “get outside” this month, the best photo out in the environment will win a $25.00 gift card. 

If you are interested in getting involved, there are multiple national events this month that may interest you and help you get on your way to focusing on your environmental wellness.

April 20th- National Pet Day- get your pouch outside for a walk!

April 22nd- Earth Day- Recycle something, Up-cycle, get outside!

April 26th- Arbor Day- Plant a tree!

April 28th- Superhero Day- Do something to help Save our World!

For tips and additional information, you can share with the whole family, check out the handouts attached below.

Want to learn more? Here is where it all started… 

The concept of Wellness emerged in the 1950’s, inspired by the World Health Organization’s 1948 constitution: “Heath is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Chief of the National Office of Vital Statistics, Halbert Dunn explained his concept of high-wellness as “an interrogated method of functioning, which oriented toward maximizing the potential of which the individual is capable,” as opposed to merely avoiding sickness. 

Tom Rath and Jim Harter, who first introduced me to Wellness, through their book Well Being, The Five Essentials Elements, Wellness or Well Being consists of 5 intertwined life elements which include the following;

  • Career Well-being- liking what you do everyday
  • Social Well-being-having strong relationships and love in your life
  • Financial Well-being- effectively managing your economic life
  • Physical Well-being- having good health and energy
  • Community Well-being-the engagement that you have in the area that you live.

In their research, Rath and Harter’s found that “66% of people are doing well in one of the essential areas and just 7% are thriving in all five.”

Dr. Bill Heltler, co-founder of the National Wellness Institute (NWI), added a 6th “Dimension” of Wellness and created what is commonly known as the “Wellness Wheel.” In addition, the NWI defined Wellness as “an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence. While the idea remained similar, the dimensions changed a bit. The NWI’s Wellness Wheel is broken down into these concepts:

  • Social- How a person contributes to their environment and community, and how to build better living spaces and social networks
  • Occupational -The enrichment of life through work, and its interconnectedness to living and playing
  • Spiritual-The development of belief system, values and creating a worldview
  • Physical- The benefits or regular physical activity, healthy eating habits, strength and vitality as well as personal responsibility, self-care and when to seek medical attention
  • Emotional- Self-esteem, self-control, and determination as a sense of direction
  • Intellectual- Creative and stimulating mental activities, sharing your gifts with others

By 2014, more than half of global employers were using health promotion strategies, while a third have invested in full-blown wellness programs (Bucks Consultants report). Medical and self-help experts who promote wellness (such as Drs. Mehmet Oz, Deepak Chopra and Andrew Weil) became household names. “Wellness,” essentially, entered the collective world psyche and vocabulary and is firmly entrenched with the media and an increasing number of medical institutions and governments.

In 2018, the Global Wellness Institute released, “Build Well to Live Well,” the first in-depth research to analyze the $143 billion global wellness real estate and communities’ sector. The report found that real estate and communities that intentionally put people’s health at the center of design, creation and redevelopment are the next frontiers in real estate. 

The model we are currently using at LTC is known as the “8 Dimensions of Wellness,” adapted by M. Swarbick, in an article called, The Wellness Approach, published in the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 2006. This approach adds both Environmental and Financial aspects of wellness.

  • Environmental- good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being.
  • Financial- Satisfaction with current and future financials situations. 

The Wellness pursuit has expanded in the 21st century and a variety of break downs of the dimensions have been changed and added. You can find as many as 12 dimensions including; Self-responsibility & love, breathing, sensing, eating, moving, feeling, thinking, playing & working, communicating, intimacy finding meaning and transcending, referred to as the “Wellness Energy System.” For more information check the Wellness Inventory at 

Wellness practices can be as simple as loving your job, learning something new, getting outside and spending time with friends. The important thing is to know the dimensions, consider which aspects you may be lacking in your life and taking the time to focus on including them in your routine.


National Institute of Health- Environmental Toolkit

10 Steps to Your Personal Environmental Wellness

Healthy Steps, Stanford Healthcare- Environmental Wellness and Assessment

Check out our yoga pics from last months Physical Wellness initiative. Thank you to Karrie Comeau at Move Fitness, for proving us with this awesome yoga session!

Autism Awareness Events

There are 2 big events happening on the same day. On April 27th both the Autism 5k Bubble run and Ales for Autism will be going on.

The Autism 5K Bubble Run is an event put on by ignite the senses. The 5k race starts and ends at Red Cedar Elementary. It is a fast-flat course thru Bluffton Park in Old Town Bluffton. The race will start promptly at 8am with the Children’s DASH followed by the 5k run. There will also be a silent auction. Shirts are guaranteed if registered by April 14th. Registrations accepted until 7:45am on race day. Register now HERE.

Ales for Autism is an event hosted by the Lowcountry Autism Foundation. It will be held at Southern Barrel Brewery on April 27th from 5:00pm – 9:00pm. There will be a 50/50 raffle and a silent auction. Southern Barrel will be donating 10% of the sales from the evening to the Lowcountry Autism Foundation.

Common Tips for Better Sleep

Lowcountry Therapy is joining the National Sleep Foundation in celebrating its annual Sleep Awareness Week, March 10 to 16, 2019. This year’s theme “Begin with Sleep” highlights the importance of good sleep health for individuals to best achieve their personal, family, and professional goals.

There is nothing worst then getting a poor night’s sleep and dragging through the entire next day. Especially when the average kiddo generally has a full day of school, after school activities, sports practice and homework. Sleep allows your body to rest for the next day. 

According to, “Your body and your brain need sleep. Though no one is exactly sure what work the brain does when you're sleeping, some scientists think that the brain sorts through and stores information, replaces chemicals, and solves problems while you snooze.” When your body doesn't have enough hours to rest, you may feel tired or cranky, or you may be unable to think clearly. 

Tired kids can be impulsive and distracted. According to Judith Owens, M.D., Director of Sleep Medicine at Children's National Medical Center, in Washington, D.C., “children who consistently sleep fewer than ten hours a night before age 3 are three times more likely to have hyperactivity and impulsivity problems by age 6. Symptoms of sleep-deprivation and ADHD, including impulsivity and distractibility, mirror each other almost exactly," In other words, poor sleep could lead to a misdiagnosis of ADHD. 

Aside from cranky, distracted, impulsive kids, researchers believe too little sleep can also affect Brain Development, Growth and the Immune System.  Lack of sleep can cause Depression, Anxiety and Stress.   It can lead to higher Risk of Injury and Weight issues among other things. Check out the links below for additional information on these topics.

The easiest way to improve your child’s sleep (and yours’s for that matter) is the create a solid routine. Strong routines help kids know exactly what to expect. Routines have led to increased cooperation, improved behavior, more self-confidence, security, and kids with strong routines experience less stress. It sounds easy enough, but as a parent I can attest that bedtime routines can be easier said than done. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of common tips for better sleep.

Common Tips for Better Sleep

  • Limit foods and drinks that contain caffeine. These include some sodas, candies and other common snacks especially in the afternoon or evening.
  • Try to go to bed at the same time every night (even on the weekends); this helps your body get into a routine. Wake up at the same time every morning.
  • Follow a bedtime routine that is calming, such as taking a warm bath. According to Cornell University Medical College, a nighttime drop in core temperature increases one’s chances of falling asleep and sleeping more deeply.
  • Make sure your bedroom is a comfortable place to rest. Sleep in a dark room that is not too hot or too cold. Keep it simple. Bedding and one security item (a stuffed animal or favorite blanket) are enough. Additional toys provide extra sources of distraction at a time when we don't want her to be distracted.
  • Your routine should include quiet activities that occur in the same order every night. For example, put pajamas on, brush teeth, go to the bathroom, give goodnight hugs, and read one book. It is important that this routine remains the same every night because the routine cues your child it’s time to sleep.
  • Your brain begins preparing for sleep about two hours before bed time. Give yourself time to wind-down without gadgets.
  • Spend non-sleep time out of your bedroom. Your bed is for sleeping- not for playing video games, talking on the phone, doing homework etc.
  • Don't have a TV in your room. Research shows that kids who have one in their rooms sleep less.
  • Don't watch scary TV shows or movies close to bedtime because these can sometimes make it hard to fall asleep.
  • Try essential oils for sleep. Researchers found that a blend of sleep-promoting essential oils worked effectively to improve both sleep quality and quality of life. 
  • Since Himalayan salt lamps release negative ions into the air, it encourages a relaxing atmosphere for sleep, and helps to reduce anxiety. The calming dim light from the salt lamp helps promote sleepiness. 

Not sure if your kiddo is getting enough sleep? A panel from the National Sleep Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Council revised the recommended sleep ranges for all six children and teenage groups. A summary of the new recommendations include:

  • Newborns (0-3 months): Sleep range narrowed to 14-17 hours each day (previously it was 12-18)
  • Infants (4-11 months): Sleep range widened two hours to 12-15 hours (previously it was 14-15)
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range widened by one hour to 11-14 hours (previously it was 12-14)
  • Preschoolers (3-5): Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours (previously it was 11-13)
  • School age children (6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11)
  • Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)
  • Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)
  • Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category)

In honor of Sleep Awareness Week, Lowcountry Therapy will be holding a Pajama Day, Friday, March 15th.  Wear your favorite PJ’s and let’s focus on getting some sleep!

To learn more, check out the National Sleep Foundation’s website, and follow #YourDayBeginsWithSleep 

Super Museum Sunday in Savannah

The Georgia History Festival‘s Super Museum Sunday will be held on Sunday, February 10, 2019, at participating sites throughout Georgia.

Georgians and visitors alike experience our state’s rich history and cultural life as historic sites, house museums, art museums, and other points of interest in Savannah and throughout Georgia open their doors to the public, providing an exceptional opportunity to experience the history in our own backyard. 

Free and open to the public. Sites offer free admission from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. unless alternate hours are noted. Below is a link for all the different museums that are participating in each county.

Here is a link to a printable map of Savannah and all the different museums.

-Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT
Pediatric Physical Therapist

Sensory Saturdays at the Sandbox

Beginning January 2019, on the last Saturday of each month, the Sandbox will open their doors an hour early exclusively for families with children who have sensory processing differences or those with Autism Spectrum Disorders (children with other developmental challenges are also welcome).

What is the Sandbox?! 

“Hilton Head Island’s premiere destination for early childhood, hands-on play and learning,” including age-appropriate, interactive activities and exhibits that enable children to play freely while exploring their creativity and discovering the world around them.

Located just off Pope Avenue on the south end of Hilton Head Island, The Sandbox is packed with 2500 square-feet of approachable activities that are just right for busy toddlers, elementary school-aged children and their families or caregivers.


January 26, 2019 (additional dates include February 23, March 30, April 27, and May 25). The museum will open at 9:00am. Regular hours begin at 10:00am.

How much?

Reduced Admission is $5/person (1 year and up), Members are free!

What does Sensory-Friendly mean?

This event includes the following modifications and supports:

  • Designated quiet spaces
  • Dimmed lighting upstairs
  • No background music
  • Fidgets, weighted vests, headphones and other sensory resources available for use while in the museum.
  • Reduced/No volume on certain exhibits (train and airplane cockpit)
  • The entire museum is open except for the Shadow Wall.
  • A therapy dog, Trapper the Wonder Dog, may visit on some Saturday’s. He will be available to visit on the porch as you enter or exit.

The website also includes a museum social story, with pictures and helpful information to help familiarize your child and yourself with the Museum and it’s exhibits before you visit.

Good to know:

If you are unable to attend on Sensory Saturday but would like to visit another day the quieter times are first thing in the mornings when we open or after 3:00pm in the afternoons. Rainy days we are very busy during the tourist season. We will have the basket of sensory support items put away but please ask the staff for any items which may be needed during regular hours.

Video Games and Physical Therapy

Technology is becoming more present in people’s everyday routine. Whether it is phones, computers, video games, or tablets people are using technology more and more every day. So how do we get kids to be more active in this day and age when technology is so prevalent? One way is to limit screen time and encourage kids to play outside, but on rainy or cold days this is not always possible. Another option is to use technology to get kids more active.

Using active video games such as Xbox Kinect or the Wii are great ways to get kids up and moving. These games can help improve your child’s gross motor skills such as jumping, balance, and coordination. They can also be used to help improve your child’s body awareness. Active video games may promote physical activity in individuals striving to improve balance, undergoing rehabilitation, who have an acute or chronic illness, or who have a physical or developmental impairment, according to a 2014 study published by the NCBI. This study found promising results for improved health outcomes related to therapy, including significantly greater or comparable effects of AVG play versus usual care. 

Another study compared active video games to exercise. Japanese researchers measured the metabolic equivalent values (a standard method of estimating energy expenditure) of 12 people ages 25 to 44 as they played Wii sports games and did Wii fitness programs. Light-intensity exercise is less than three METs, moderate-intensity exercise is three to six METs and vigorous activity is more than six METs, according to the American Heart Association. The study found that 23 activities had two to three METs; nine activities had three to four METs; and five activities had more than four METs 

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