Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Save the Fright for Halloween Night

I have oodles of catalogs on my kitchen counter full of Halloween Costumes.  For most kids it’s an exciting time.  For other kids with sensory issues, it’s a nightmare.  Many costumes are itchy, scratchy and even noisy.  How can we expect a child with tactile defensiveness to wear a mask?  Instead of planning a trip to the costume shop, take a look in your child’s closet and pull out some of his favorite pieces of clothing that you might be able to turn into a costume. Consider the following when choosing a costume for your sensitive dressers:
  • Wide, soft collars
  • Tagless garments
  • Flat seaming
  • No appliqu├ęs
  • Soft, elastic waists
  • Soft fabrics
  • Not too loose and not too tight
  • Seamless socks
  • Don’t plan on make up or masks

If your child has a comfy costume, it will make your Halloween parade an enjoyable time for everyone! 

Michelle Yoder, OTR/L

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

He's Cool, Two Straps and All!

Yes, I know it’s not “cool” to wear two straps on your backpack!  I also know that if you carry a lot of heavy book with only one strap it will cause back pain!  I was at the softball field two nights ago and a friend of mine was telling me how her middle school daughter’s back hurt because of the amount of books in her backpack.  Did you know that a recent study suggested that 6 out of 10 students ages 9-20 years old complained of chronic back pain related to backpacks? Knowing this, I had to give my two cents! How appropriate, given today is National School Backpack Awareness Day!

Follow their slogan, “Pack it Light and Wear it Right!”
Protect your child’s back by enforcing these guidelines:
·        Get out your tape measure and choose the appropriate size for your child’s back- many companies have various sizes to choose from.
·        Wear two well padded straps and use a waist belt if you have one
·        Wear the backpack close to your back
·        Make sure the backpack is above your bottom
·        Never carry more than 15% of your body weight (a good rule of thumb is < 15 pounds).  Fifteen pounds is heavy, that is nearly 2 gallons of milk!!!
·        Carry the largest, heaviest books closest to your back
·        If your school permits, use a book bag on wheels

Michelle Yoder, OTR/L

Monday, September 13, 2010

Thinking Inside the Box (Hot Tamales, that is!)

I am sitting here looking at my Hot Tamales box and thinking how those letters would be great for my little boy, Owen, to write in. Owen is learning his letters and some have come easier for him than others. So, to make it fun, we have found lots of different ways to recognize and write his letters. While at the beach, recently, we discovered a fun way to use the children’s menus and the free literature in the restaurants. Since many of the menus have bubble or block lettering, he first had to find a letter that maybe looked a little different to him. If it was smaller in size he circled the letter. Many advertisements within the free publications had large letters which allowed for plenty of space to write within. Since there were only a few on each page, he felt a sense of accomplishment as he completed each page and eagerly flipped to the next for his next challenge. So, don’t worry about getting flashcards and all of the fancy supplies at the teacher’s store, take a look around. There are plenty of opportunities for learning all around you!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Calm, but full of energy

Dead Bug, Butterfly, Downward Dog… These are just a few of the children’s favorite yoga poses! It is so cool to see children with such a variety of abilities make their way into these poses, and all with smiles! Really, the room is calm, but full of energy.

We are gearing up to host a Pediatric Yoga Therapy course this weekend! Taught by our own Chrys Kub, PT, ERYT and Karen Charlton, PT, RYT 200, it’s sure to be a great learning experience for physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists and other healthcare professionals who are looking to integrate yoga into their existing pediatric practice.

Go to for more details.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Tired Little Faces

I don’t know about you, but I’ve seem some tired little faces both coming off the bus at my house, as well as during the afterschool hours in the clinic. Tired leads to grumpy, and the heat certainly doesn’t help!!! This means that we, as parents, have to have greater tolerance for the meltdowns. Remember to take care of yourselves so that you can be your best when they march through your front door! Try the following stress busters while your kids are at school and especially on this holiday weekend:

• Take a walk in nature

• Practice a few yoga poses (check out for some poses and you may see Chrys Kub, one of our PTs on there!)

• Get extra rest

• Get prepared for next week; make a list of what you need to accomplish- it always feels good to check those items off!

• Allow time for one of your hobbies: painting, gardening, crafts

• Call a friend

• Get some grown up time with your friends or spouses

• Take a bath with aromatherapy (scents like vanilla, lavender, honeysuckle are calming)

• Go dancing

• Exercise

• Get out in the sunshine

• Think positively: give a compliment, do a small favor for another grown up

Happy Labor Day!

Michelle Yoder, OTR/L