Christmas Parade Information

It is that time of year again! The Christmas Parades are right around the corner. Below is all the information for the parades. We can’t wait to see everyone out there!

Bluffton Christmas Parade

  • Saturday December 2nd at 10:00 am
  • Streets to begin closing at 8:00 am
  • Parade Route =

Beaufort Christmas Parade

  • Sunday December 3rd at 3:00 pm
  • The parade will go thru the streets of downtown Beaufort

This year’s float theme is about therapy being a team sport. We will all be wearing jerseys for our favorite football team! If you and your child wish to walk with us in the parade please see Krista Flack at the Port Royal clinic or Matthew D’Antonio at the Bluffton clinic for more information!

-Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist

PT Recommended Toy

Christmas is approaching fast! In this week’s blog I am going to highlight some great toy ideas that are not only fun to play with, but also help your child improve their gross motor skills, strength, increase activity levels, and much more.

1. Toys to promote standing
Getting your child to stand can be a difficult task. Most kids once they stand to get the toy want to sit back down to play with it. Play tables such as a water tables, art tables, or train tables are a great way to get your child standing and keep them standing. This will not only work on LE strength, but it will also help balance as children become more confident they will begin playing with two hands instead of worrying about holding on. Here is a link for some different standing toys

2. Balance Beams
Balance beams are a lot of fun for children of all ages. They can be used to work on standing and moving balance. One of my favorite balance beams is the Curve-A-Beam set. The pieces can be taken apart and arranged in many different ways to keep games fun and entertaining. Check out this blog for some specific activities relating to the Curve-A-Beam set and other balance beams

3. Tummy Time Toys
Tummy time can be a daunting task for children, and most kids can only handle a little bit of time tummy before crying. Mirrors are often a great toy to lay on the ground to help keep a child’s attention. I also use a piece of cardboard that is wrapped in metallic wrapping paper. The shimmer and crinkle of the paper help to keep the child’s attention for much longer. Here is a list of great tummy time toys from Dinosaur Physical Therapy

4. Active Play
Getting kids up and moving around is so important for physical development and to improve gross motor skills. Plasma cars and roller racers are great toy ideas to promote activity. Not only do they get kids out of the house, but they also work on endurance, core strength, upper body strength, and coordination. Other great active toys are bikes, scooters, and trampolines.

Here is a link from Dinosaur Physical Therapy with tons of toy recommendations for all different ages and goals.

Also, be sure to check out Krista’s blog for some toys that are recommend from an occupational therapy perspective.

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

GERD Awareness Week

GERD Awareness Week is November 19-25, 2017. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a very common disorder. Each year around the week of Thanksgiving, IFFGD encourages people experiencing the symptoms, which may be GERD-related, to consult their physicians and to contact us to receive information and support regarding the condition.

Gastroesophageal reflux is the backflow of stomach contents into the esophagus. Under normal circumstances, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) acts like a valve to prevent backflow.

During the first year, "spitting up" is a normal phenomena in infants. It generally takes about a year for the LES to mature. If reflux persists beyond the first year, it can lead to a failure to gain weight adequately, irritation of the esophagus, and aspiration with respiratory difficulties.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) refers to symptoms or tissue damage caused by gastroesophageal reflux.

If you suspect your child may be suffering from reflux, the first step is to consult a physician and obtain an accurate diagnosis. The diagnosis of GERD can often be made based upon symptoms and may be confirmed by one or more tests.

Some dietary and lifestyle changes can reduce GERD-related symptoms.   No single diet can prevent all symptoms of GERD, and food triggers are different for everyone.  To identify your individual triggers, keep a food diary and track the following:

  • what foods you eat
  • what time of day you eat
  • what symptoms you experience

Keep the diary for at least a week. It’s helpful to track your foods for a longer period if your diet varies. You can use the diary to identify specific foods and drinks that affect your GERD.  Below are some general guidelines that can be used in conjunction with your food journal and recommendations from your doctor. The goal is to minimize and control your symptoms.

  1. Avoid chewing gum and hard candy. They increase the amount of swallowed air which, in turn, leads to belching and reflux.
  2. Do not lie down immediately after eating. Avoid late evening snacks.
  3. Avoid tight clothing and bending over after eating.
  4. Eat small, frequent portions of food and snack if needed.
  5. Elevate the head of the bed six to eight inches to prevent reflux when sleeping. Extra pillows, by themselves, are not very helpful.
  6. The following foods aggravate acid reflux, and should be avoided:
  • fatty or fried foods
  • peppermint and spearmint
  • whole milk
  • oils
  • chocolate
  • creamed foods or soups
  • most fast foods

    7. The following foods irritate an inflamed lower esophagus and may need to be limited or avoided:
  • citrus fruits and juices (grapefruit, orange, pineapple, tomato)
  • coffee (regular and decaffeinated)
  • caffeinated soft drinks
  • tea
  • other caffeinated beverage

    8. Spicy or acidic foods may not be tolerated by some individuals.

By Krista Flack, MS OTR/L, Pediatric Occupational Therapist

National Epilepsy Awareness Month

Epilepsy is the 4th most common neurological disease in the nation according to the Epilepsy Foundation. 1 in 26 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy at some point in their lifetime. Seizures can happen to anyone and can occur anytime. The goal for this blog is to explain seizure first aid and what you should do if you experience someone having a seizure.

  1. Always stay with the person until the seizure is over
  • Seizures are unpredictable in nature and it is hard to tell how long they will last or what will occur during them
  • A seizure may lead to loss of consciousness or fall causing another injury
  1. Pay attention to the length of the seizure
  • Time the seizure from beginning to end
  • Time how long it takes the person to recover and return to their usual activity
  1. Stay calm
  • Most seizures only last a few minutes
  • Remaining calm will help the person stay calm as they recover from the seizure
  1. Prevent Injury
  • Move nearby objects out of the way
  • If you can’t more surrounding objects or a person is wandering or confused help steer them clear of dangerous situations
  1. Make the person as comfortable as possible
  • Help them down to a safe place
  • Support the person’s head to keep it from hitting the floor
  1. Do not put anything in the person’s mouth
  • Jaw and face muscles may tighten during a seizure causing the person to bit down
  • If there is an object in the mouth they could be at risk to swallow it or break their teeth
  • A person can’t swallow their tongue during a seizure
  1. Make sure breaking is ok
  • If they are lying down turn them on their side with their mouth pointing to the ground in order to keep saliva and vomit from blocking the airway
  • Rescue breathing or CPR is generally not needing during a seizure
  1. Do not give water, pills, or food by mouth unless the person is fully alert
  • If they are not fully alert they can swallow incorrectly causing things to go into the lungs rather than the stomach
  1. Call for emergency medical help when….
  • The person has never had a seizure before
  • A seizure lasts 5 minutes or longer
  • One seizure occurs right after another without the person gaining consciousness
  • Breathing becomes difficult or the person appears to be choking
  • Seizures occur closer together than normal
  • The seizure occurs in water
  • Injury may have occurred
  • The person asks for medical help

Here are some links for more on seizure safety

-Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist

Lowcountry SC Walk for Apraxia

While most children almost miraculously learn to speak without effort, children with apraxia struggle mightily to accurately produce sounds, syllables and words. While their understanding of language is usually much better than their ability to express it, children with apraxia have difficulty planning and programming the movements which underlie speech. At the heart of it, speech is more than knowing what you want to say. Rapid and finely graded movements of speech structures (the lips, tongue, palate and jaw, etc.) occur which allow us to clearly articulate our ideas. But for children with apraxia, ideas are often stuck inside, unspoken or not understood, because of apraxia. Childhood Apraxia of Speech is considered rare among speech disorders in children and particularly challenging to overcome.

Each year a growing number of families, friends and supporters of children with apraxia come together at towns and cities throughout North America to participate in the Walk for Apraxia. While the walk is a tremendous avenue to raise awareness about apraxia and raise critical funds for programs and research, it is also so much more. At its heart, the Walk for Apraxia is about the children. Walk day is a chance to celebrate the efforts, persistence, and resilience of children with apraxia. On their special day, children with apraxia get a chance to shine brightly - our shining stars. Many of them do not have the opportunity in other activities to be held up for their accomplishments, but on their Walk for Apraxia day? Well, these children are proudly front and center! Finally, the Walk for Apraxia is a reminder to not only the kids, but also to their families, that they are not alone. At the walk, relatives, friends, neighbors, co-workers and community members surround them, creating connection and a web of support.

Come support and raise awareness for apraxia this Saturday, November 4, 2017 at Pigeon Point Park in Beaufort!  Register here:


By Krista Flack, MS OTR/L, Pediatric Occupational Therapist

Jack's Roast

Progressive Behavior Consulting and the Corner Perk have teamed up to raise money for Lowcountry Autism Foundation. The Corner Perk has created a special blend of coffee called Jack's Roast. By purchasing a bag of Jack's Roast you are helping families obtain diagnostic evaluations for their child, parent support groups, community events, and ongoing support services! Check out this video about Jack's Roast 

Lowcountry Autism Foundation (LAF) is located on Hilton Head Island and helps to provide resources for children with autism and their families. All programs and resources are FREE and covered by LAF. Click here ( to sign up and receive free programs and resources. Below is a list of the different resources and programs offered by LAF.

Family Support Services

This program provides families with multiple resources based on the specific diagnosis a child receives. The program features a one on one relationship with you and a LAF representative. LAF provides information, service coordination, and direct assistance to families affected by autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities. The group meets on the 4th Tuesday of every month from 6-8 in Summerville, SC, and childcare and refreshments are provided. For more information on this program click here

Art Therapy

Art therapy is a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of individuals. The Art Therapy Program integrates the fields of human development, visual art, and the creative process with models of counseling and psychotherapy. Art therapy is provided with a standard of 10 hours. After the 10 hours the therapist will re-evaluate the child to see if additional sessions are necessary. For more information on this program click here

These are just a few of the programs and resources available thru the Lowcountry Autism Foundation. For more information on LAF and the programs they offer click here

Matthew D'Antonio, PT, DPT

Safe and Sensory-Friendly Trick-or-Treating

Halloween is a week away, and while it can be a fun holiday enjoyed by many, it can also be stressful or overwhelming for family members with special needs.  Set yourself, and your child, up for success by planning and setting realistic expectations for the day.  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 just as much as receiving it.  Staying at home means that your child still gets to see other children in costumes, but can also stay comfortable. 

By Krista Flack, MS OTR/L, Pediatric Occupational Therapist

Feeding Therapy

If you've ever watch a feeding therapy session at Lowcountry Therapy Center, you might have observed a child poking, smelling, licking, kissing, and smooshing foods before eating them.  While it may look like play, it's learning - and it's an important part of eating.

When an adult is given a new food to try, we automatically start analyzing it with as many senses as we can. We notice its odor. We look at the color, and what we can tell about the texture based on appearance. We might even see or hear someone else eating it, giving us valuable information about the consistency, so we begin to prepare what our teeth and tongue will do once it gets in our mouth. We may poke our fork into the food, or pick it up with our fingers. Depending on how the food responds to that touch, we get more information about how hard our teeth are going to have to work while eating.  Descriptive words like bitter, sour, and spicy, or comparing/contrasting to other foods we’ve tried before, are meaningful to an adult, and further prepare us for what to expect. 

Now imagine being asked to close your eyes, plug your nose, and open your mouth for an unknown food to be placed in.  Does that make you anxious?  For a child that doesn’t know how to analyze food using his or her senses, every bite of a new food feels like that!  They can physically see the food, but do not know how to analyze it to prepare for what to expect – that shininess can imply wetness, for example.  They can feel the food with their fingers or fork, but may not know how that translates to what their teeth and tongue will need to do with it.  Furthermore, until taught, a child may not understand descriptive words, or may not have the experiences to compare/contrast to similar foods.  On top of all of this, motor deficits, sensory-processing deficits, and past negative experiences can further influence feeding difficulties. 

So the next time you see your child poking and smooshing a food, consider helping describe what they may be feeling.  Talk about how you already knew it would be wet, because it was shiny.  Talk about how that hard cracker is going to mean that your teeth will have to bite down hard to crunch through it.  And exaggerate those bites (mouth open and all), so the child can see what YOUR tongue and teeth do with it.  If you feel silly doing it, that’s okay!  Making mealtimes fun can help your child feel calmer, and maybe even be more willing to touch, kiss, lick, and even bite that new vegetable you, put on their plate.

By Krista Flack, MS OTR/L, Pediatric Occupational Therapist

Container Baby Syndrome

Container baby syndrome is a collection of movement, behavior, and other problems caused by a baby or infant spending too much time in a container, any commonly-used piece of baby equipment that resembles a container. A “container baby” is a newborn baby or young infant who is placed in a container for an excessive amount of time in a given day. Containers include car seats, strollers, bumbo seats, bouncy swings, rockers, bouncer seats, nursing cushions, and vibrating chairs.

These forms of baby support and transportation are used to keep the baby safe from accidents, allow parents to more easily transport the baby, and give the baby play time. However, this equipment also acts as a container, immobilizing the baby in 1 position on the baby’s back. Spending a lot of time lying on the back in the container allows little to no movement of the baby's neck, spine, or body. While some parents believe that leaving the baby in the container or equipment is safer, more convenient, and enjoyable for the baby, this kind of immobilization can actually cause delayed development of common skills, like rolling, crawling, and walking. Staying in the container for a prolonged time and over days and weeks can even cause severe, possibly lifelong problems.

Container Baby Syndrome is 100% preventable! Expectant or new parents are strongly encouraged to follow these guidelines, and contact a physical therapist to learn specific preventive skills. You can protect your baby from developing CBS from day one! Here is how you can prevent container baby syndrome:

  • Limiting the baby’s time in containers, such as car seats and strollers, to only when the baby is actually being transported somewhere.
  • Increasing the time the baby lies on the tummy when awake (with adult supervision).
  • Holding the baby in their arms or a sling for short periods, instead of leaving the baby in a container.
  • Allowing the baby to play freely in a playpen.
  • Allowing the baby to frequently play on the floor on a blanket (with adult supervision).

-Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist

Older Kids Gross Motor Milestones

Kids learn and develop new gross motor skills every year. For babies these include rolling, crawling, sitting, and walking. As a parent, these are all skills you are made aware of during child classes and reading baby books. What most parents don’t know are the skills children need to develop as they grow and when they should develop them by. Below is a list of common gross motor skills and the ages at which a child should be able to complete them.

2 Years Old

  • Running without falling
  • Walking backward
  • Jumping forward with 2 foot take off 4-12 inches
  • Walking up and down the stairs without using a railing with both feet on each step
  • Standing on 1 foot 1-2 seconds

3-4 Years Old

  • Jumping forward 24-34 inches
  • Jumping over a 2 inch obstacle with a 2 foot take off
  • Walking forward on a line
  • Hop on 1 foot
  • Complete sit-ups with feet held
  • Ride a tricycle

5-6 Years Old

  • Skip
  • Gallop
  • Ride a 2 wheel bike
  • Jump over a 10 inch obstacle
  • Can complete 3-6 sit-ups without help
  • Catch a ball with hands only

If you are nervous that your child may not be meeting their milestones on time please give us a call. We can offer several types of screening free!

-Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist

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