NSPT is in-network with United Health Care

North Shore Pediatric Therapy is Now In-Network with United Health Care for Speech, Occupational and Physical Therapy Services

North Shore Pediatric Therapy is now in-network with United Health Care for Speech, Occupational and Physical Therapy services in addition to our current in-network offering of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. Our goal is to make our services convenient and accessible to all Chicago area families, and this is one more step toward making that a reality.

According to our CEO, Maria Hammer, “We are excited to provide another option for insurance coverage for many of our current NSPT families and we anticipate being able to help more new families as we go in-network with United Health Care.”

Services that are covered by United Health Care:NSPT is in-network with United Health Care

NSPT also offers Neuropsychological Testing, Applied Behavior Analysis, Social Work, Dietetics, and Academic Services.

With 6 locations, North Shore Pediatric Therapy (NSPT) is the only concierge health and wellness center for children and young adults, that combines the power of multiple disciplines, first class service, and inspiring results, that has become the company’s hallmark. Deemed a Thought Leader in pediatric therapy, NSPT brings Peace of Mind to thousands of children and their families with its invigorating blend of positive environment, heroic staff, and blossoming kids.  NSPT provides the ultimate discovery that challenges can be overcome, and happiness restored.  Our team is comprised of Neuropsychology, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Social Work, Nutrition, and Academic Specialists.  Visit us at www.KidsBlossom.com.

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Physical Therapy versus Personal Training: Key Differences and What’s Best for Your Child

Let me start by explaining what a physical therapist and a personal trainer do and who they can help.

Who is a physical therapist?physical therapy or personal training for your child

A physical therapist is a board certified movement expert. They analyze abnormal movement patterns and, through tests and measures, determine what impairments are causing those patterns. Physical therapists may use a combination of manual therapy, neuromuscular re-education, modalities, and exercises to address those impairments and improve function.

Who is a personal trainer?

The American College of Sports Medicine defines a ACSM certified personal trainer as a person who “is qualified to plan and implement exercise programs for healthy individuals or those who have medical clearance to exercise.”[1] They give advice on general health and wellness tips, personalizing it to each client. Personal trainers may also help you progress your exercise routine.

Which is right for you?

Now that we know what each is and what they do, who is best suited to help you? Well, it depends. If you are a healthy individual who has been cleared for exercise, a personal trainer can help you stick to and progress an exercise plan. When you have a physical impairment that is affecting your function, head to a physical therapist to receive treatment.

While physical therapy may be what’s best for your child at one point in his life, this may change over time. I know many physical therapists that may discharge a child from their care due to completion of goals and return to function, but who recommend continued exercises to maintain those goals. A personal trainer may be helpful at this time to follow through with these recommendations.  Transitioning from physical therapy services to a personal trainer too early can result in return of impairment or injury.

Please consult with a health care professional prior to change in care.

NSPT offers physical therapy services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Resources: [1] ACSM webpage. “http://certification.acsm.org/acsm-certified-personal-trainer. “ Accessed on 2/1/2015.

snowy day

5 Great Ideas For Snowy Day Fun

Let it Snow! Let it snow! Let it Snow!

Here are 5 great ideas for snowy day fun:

  1. Build an igloo or snow castle. Most kids have built a typical snow fort before, but not many have attempted snowy day funan awesome igloo! Start by bringing out some empty boxes (cheap plastic shoe boxes work best.) Pack the boxes with snow, and then flip them upside down to create bricks. Form a circle of bricks and start stacking with an overlap. Don’t forget to leave a door! Or if your kids prefer something a bit more palatial, try digging out some of those old beach toys. Buckets and castle molds work great in snow too!

*Advanced tip: To make an even more amazing igloo fill some plastic containers with water dyed your favorite colors using food coloring. Leave the containers overnight to freeze. Now you have amazing colored bricks to use as “stained glass.” Or you can go crazy and build your whole igloo out of colored bricks, but I recommend you skip to #2 instead.

  1. Snow Art: Fill a spray bottle with water and dye it with some food coloring. Kids can spray it on the snow for instant art (or to decorate their new igloos!). **Food coloring will stain clothing so be careful!
  1. Feed the Birds: Have kids gather pine cones, and when you need a break inside the house you can work on some treats for our feathered friends. Here are two easy ideas:
    1. For older kids, use a needle and thread to create a long garland of popcorn and/or cranberries.Tie a loop of ribbon or string to the top of a pinecone.
    2. Cover the pinecone in peanut butter (get in all those nooks and crannies!) and have kids roll the pinecones in birdseed.

*When you’re all ready to go back out, use your new creations to decorate trees or bushes in your yard.

  1. Tic-Tac-Snow: Draw a giant tic-tac-toe in the snow and uses sticks (x’s) and pinecones (O’s) to play. (or play hopscotch! It’s much more challenging in the snow.)
  2. Batting range: Have kids practice swinging at snowballs for some explosive fun.

Enjoy the snow while it lasts!

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Understanding Sensory Processing Disorder: Tactile System

The tactile system, or sense of touch, refers to the information we receive though the receptors in our skin. It alerts us to pain and temperature and helps us discriminate the properties of things we come in contact with, i.e. texture, shape, size, and weight. From very early on in development this sense plays a crucial role in helping us gain awareness of our own bodies and understand everything we come in contact with. Touch is considered one of our most basic senses since body awareness, motor planning, visual perception, and social/emotional development are so dependent on it.

 The Tactile System:

There are general patterns to how different types of touch affect us. Short, light touch, like the tickle of a feather or anSPD Tactile ant crawling on your skin can cause alertness such as a quickened heart rate and an immediate need for response. On the other hand a prolonged, deep pressure, such as a hug, is generally calming and can provide a sense of security. But what happens when a person’s tactile system is over or under responsive to touch? What would happen if an affectionate caress caused irritation or panic, or if objects always seemed to drop from your hands as soon as your attention moved elsewhere? Just imagine how stressful it would be to live in a constant fight or flight state because so many day to day events caused physical discomfort. And how frustrating it must be to learn new skills when you can’t adequately feel the objects you’re using!

Red flags that your child may be experiencing difficulties with tactile processing include:

  • Becoming overly upset about having his hair washed, brushed or cut
  • Having his nails cut, or teeth brushed
  • Avoiding or overreacting to touch from others, particularly when it’s unexpected
  • Showing irritation over tags or particular types of clothing such as jerseys or jeans
  • Isolating themselves from groups or preferring to play alone
  • Over sensitivity to temperature or decreased awareness of extreme temperatures
  • Over or under reactive to pain
  • Frequently dropping objects out of his hands or using inappropriate force on objects such as squeezing his pencil too hard or crumpling his papers
  • Having difficulty with, or being frustrated by, fine motor tasks such as drawing/writing, cutting, zipping, buttoning, tying laces, etc.
  • Being a picky eater or showing a strong preference for specific textures/types of food
  • Anxiety over standing in line or being in crowds
  • Disliking socks and shoes or alternatively, avoiding walking barefoot, especially on textures such as grass or sand
  • Seeking out deep pressure rather than light touch
  • Preferring tight clothing rather than loose-fitting garments that may rub on skin
  • Insisting on pants and long sleeves even in hot weather, or very little clothing even in cold weather
  • Avoiding or overreacting to wet or messy textures
  • Not noticing a messy face or hands

A general rule of thumb for these kids is to engage in deep pressure or heavy work activities often, as this is the most organizing and grounding form of touch. If these sound like things your child is struggling with, consult with an occupational therapist to get a clearer profile of his sensory needs. Your OT can help you gain a better understanding of why your child exhibits certain behaviors and create an individualized plan to make him more comfortable in his own skin!

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Anorexia

Top Warning Signs of Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia is term that is often loosely thrown around to describe someone who is skinny or overly weight-conscious, however there are clear criteria that characterize this serious disorder. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders V, Anorexia Nervosa diagnostic requirements include:Anorexia

Restriction of energy intake leading to a significantly low body weight in the context of age, sex, developmental trajectory, and physical health

Intense fear of gaining weight or of becoming fat, or persistent behavior that interferes with weight gain even though at a significantly low weight

-Disturbance in the way in which one’s body weight or shape is experienced, undue influence on body weight or shape on self-evaluation, or persistent lack of recognition of the seriousness of the current low body weight

If you are concerned that a loved one exhibits harmful/restrictive eating habits, low body image, and obsesses about thinness check the facts outlined by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders regarding the presence of Anorexia:

-deliberate self-starvation with weight loss

-intense, persistent fear of gaining weight

-refusal to eat or engages in restrictive eating patterns

-perpetual dieting

-excessive facial/body hair due to the inadequate consumption of protein

-abnormal weight loss

-abnormal hair loss

-absent or irregular menstruation

Consult your family physician or schedule an appointment with a mental health provider if these symptoms develop or persist for effective treatment options.


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NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Speech-Language Therapy

5 Tips to Make Speech-Language Therapy Successful

With what little time there is, it is important to maximize the efficiency of speech-language therapy, thereby increasing the chance of success. Life is busy, and children are involved in numerous after-school activities. Whether karate, dance, violin, or speech-language therapy, time after school is precious.

5 Tips to Make Speech-Language Therapy Successfulspeech-language therapy

Frequency: After completing an initial evaluation, speech-language pathologists will make recommendations for ongoing therapy services. In many instances, a child attending therapy more than once per week may progress faster toward goals than children who do not attend sessions as frequently. Increased exposure to direct (or even indirect) intervention can result in greater therapy success.

Carryover: Carryover, or the idea that skills learned in the clinic will be transferred or generalized out of the clinic, is an important aspect in a variety of therapies. In order to make therapy a success, children who receive increased practice, and more time spent focusing on a given skill, will improve in abilities and rate of mastery.

Prioritizing Therapy: While after school activities are important, parents also need to make time for speech-language therapy. In order to make therapy a success it needs to become a priority. Consistently attending sessions, whether weekly or more often, is crucial to ongoing progress. Breaks in therapy can result in a regression of newly acquired skills and may prolong the therapy progress.

Positive experience: When therapists create a positive environment for therapy, children are more likely to participate, leading to greater gains and progress. When children are enjoying their time, they are more motivated to work hard. Conversely, when children are struggling to participate, both parents and clinicians can help children see the “what’s in it for me” factor. This may be a compromise of children and clinicians taking turns picking activities, children being “rewarded” with free time at the end of a session, or even a special treat upon conclusion of the session.

Parent Education: Providing information to parents about why speech-language therapy is important can help to justify the reason for ongoing therapy services. When parents are incorporated into the therapy progress, they are more likely to work on therapy goals outside of the clinic environment. Educating and including parents into the therapeutic progress can help to make therapy a success.

The therapeutic process may be difficult for children and families, however following these tips for success can help children to reach their potential, keep families engaged, as well improve speech-language skills!



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NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

The Importance of Person First Language

The language we use and the labels that we place on individuals are powerful. In today’s society we rely heavily on medical diagnoses to define a person’s values, their strengths and weakness, their education, the services that people are eligible to receive and ultimately their future. Too often an individual’s diagnosis is used to define them as an individual – the retard, the autistic boy, the stutterer. Person First Language is a way to put the person before the disability, “describing what a person has, not who a person is (Snow, 2009).

The Importance of Person First Language:

In reflecting on the importance of person-first language, think for a minute how you would feel to be defined by yourPerson First Language perceived “negative” characteristics. For instance, being referred to as the heavy boy, the acne student, or the bald lady. To be known only by what society perceives as negative characteristics or “problems” would completely disregard all of the positive characteristics that make you as an individual who you are (Snow, 2009). Individuals with disabilities are more than their diagnosis. They are people first. The boy next door who has autism is more than an autistic boy, he is a brother, a son and a friend who happens to have autism. The girl who stutters in class is more than a stutterer – she is a daughter, a sister, and a best friend who has a fluency disorder.

Contrary to society’s definition, having a disability is not a problem. When defining a person by their disability, there is a negative implication that that person is broken. Especially within the health care field, it is imperative that we as professionals, co-workers and human beings begin to focus on other’s strengths. By focusing on the strengths of individuals who have disabilities, we are setting up our clients and friends for success. Using person-first language is a great first step to this change of thinking.

Use the table below to help guide your language in following person-first language recommendations:

Rather than… Please Say…
Autistic Child who has autism spectrum disorder
Stutterer Boy/Girl who has a fluency disorder
Retard A child with a cognitive defect
Slow child A child who has a learning disability
Non-verbal child She communicates with her device
Down’s kid Child who has Down’s Syndrome

This table is by no means a definite list. However, it can help build a framework for the importance of person-first language and how to implement it into your own language. When you are unsure of how person-first language applies to a situation, remember the emphasis is on the person as a whole – putting the person before his or her disability.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Snow, Kathie (2009). People First Language. Disability is Natural. Retrieved from www.disabilityisnatural.com

 

the benefits of dance therapy

Therapy That ‘Moves’ You: Dance/Movement Therapy with Children

Dance is known to some as a performing art, to others as a way to exercise, or a way to engage an active child, but what about dance as a therapy?  What about using dance as a way for children to communicate and express themselves when traditional forms of communication are hindered by behavioral or cognitive difficulties?

What is Dance/Movement Therapy?

Dance/movement therapy (DMT), according to the American Dance Therapy Association, is the “psychotherapeuticthe benefits of dance therapy use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical, social, and spiritual integration of the individual.”  DMT supports that mind, body, and spirit are connected and that individuals should be treated in such a way that supports integration of these three entities.

DMT focuses on movement behavior as it emerges in the therapeutic relationship allowing the child to develop a positive and realistic self-image.  Dance/movement therapy has been effective in stimulating social interaction, enhancing mood, reducing anxiety, and increasing self-awareness and self-expression.  The focus of communication is on non-verbal attunement and mindfulness, both of which support acquisition and maintenance of language and cognitive skills.

Movement interventions can help set limits whereby children can learn to control impulsive behavior and to increase their ability to maintain focus and attention.  Movement serves as a catalyst for contact and paves the way for communication between the therapist and the individual.

What does a dance/movement therapist do?

Dance/movement therapists use body movement, as the core component of dance, to provide the means of assessment and the mode of intervention for therapy.  Dance/movement therapists’ unique abilities allow for better understanding which aid in reflecting and expanding nonverbal expressions.  This can help individuals improve socialization and communication as well as build body awareness which can directly affect motor deficits.    The therapist helps to enhance communication skills, creating pathways from the nonverbal to verbal.  As a result, awareness of self and others, coping skills, and the ability to form relationships can all be improved.  Verbalizing movement is another means of positively reflecting the child’s appearance, improving body image as well as helping the child organize and structure experiences in the brain. Integration of the child’s own body parts and awareness of others’, builds the child’s movement vocabulary.  This in turn increases their ability to communicate their wants and needs.

In a dance/movement therapy session, music and props are often incorporated to encourage extension of movement, self expression, and socialization.  Many movement styles and approaches can be used to attain interaction and authentic expression including, but not limited to, creative dance, expressive movement, relaxation techniques, role-playing, improvisation, and interactive games.

Who are dance/movement therapists?

Dance/movement therapists have completed graduate degrees at programs approved by the American Dance Therapy Association.  The course work includes biological, social, psychological and behavioral sciences, research methodology, movement assessment and observation, history, theory, and techniques of dance/movement therapy.  Entry level dance/movement therapists have completed 750+ hours of supervised clinical practice.  Board certification is earned upon completion of 4000 hours of supervised clinical work, 48 hours of clinical supervision, and acceptance of a theoretical framework by the Dance/Movement Therapy Certification Board.  The National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) has recognized dance/movement therapy as a specialty of counseling since 1998.

Where can I find Dance/Movement Therapy?

DMT with children is often used in the home environment, in schools, day programs, hospitals, and residential facilities.  It is provided in individual, group, and family sessions, in order to best support the development of the child.

For more information:

Contact Erica Hornthal at (847) 848-0697 or visit www.northshoredancetherapy.com.

Bingo

BINGO! New Twists on a Classic Game

BINGO! What’s the first image that comes to mind when you hear the word? Senior night at the community center? What if I told you the images that come to my mind are all from my childhood? That’s right. Bingo is also for kids. There are lots of great options out there for playing Bingo as a family, and I’ve even got a few new ideas to put a new twist on this old favorite. But hey, while I’m at it, let’s re-invent some other classics too!

Fun Ways to Play Bingo:Bingo! Fun twists on a classic game

Travel Bingo: Going on a family road trip or long flight? Use a handy template to create your own travel Bingo game. Come up with a random list of things you’ll see along the way (stop signs, a certain letter, a license plate from another state, etc.) and use it to create your own Bingo cards. This is a great game that the whole family can play together (except the driver! Keep your eyes on the road!) and will enhance your kids’ observation skills.

            *Insider Tip – You can also use pictures to make Bingo exciting for younger kids too!

Educational Bingo: Struggling to learn letters, math, colors, shapes, etc? There are lots of great educational Bingo sets out there, but you can always make your own too. Create your own set of cards for a game that will make learning fun.

Puzzle Piece Bingo: This alternative I discovered quickly became a favorite when I worked in a daycare. This is a great option for younger kids who may not get the whole Bingo concept yet, or who need to work on fine motor skills. Take several board style puzzles (these are the ones that have a sturdy backboard that the puzzle pieces snap into). Ask each child to select one of the puzzles, then have them dump all the pieces into the Bingo Bin or Bingo Bag (You can make this as simple or as creative as you’d like. In daycare we just dumped all the pieces into an empty box). Have each child sit with their puzzle board in front of them. Hold up one piece at a time, and tell them to raise their hand or call out a silly word if they think the piece is from their puzzle. Go through pieces one at a time until the first child finishes their puzzle. BINGO! Hooray! Great Job!

The Tray Game: Okay, so maybe this one was never a classic, but you may have played something like it at a shower once. This game is great for teaching observation and memory skills. Take a tray or flat surface, and fill it with tiny random objects (race car, tooth pick, thread, button, coin, etc.). Put the tray where everyone can look at it and set a timer (anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes depending on ages and attention spans). Then remove the tray from the room and have everyone write or say as many objects as they remember. The one who remembers the most wins! (This is also great for teams!)

Photo Scavenger Hunt: Kids love scavenger hunts, but they usually result in big bags of junk that need to be sorted and put away or just get thrown out. That’s why photo scavenger hunts are so great! Kids love the adventure and discovery, and taking pictures themselves will be the icing on the cake! To play, create a list in advance for teams to search for. Give each team a camera (disposable are the cheapest and lowest risk, but kids can’t see how their pictures turned out. For instant gratification use a digital camera or old school Polaroid camera, but ask adults to take charge of the camera when not in use). You can set points for especially tricky things to find, and get everyone involved in the pictures too. (A picture of two team members hugging, everyone jumping off a curb, etc.) At the end of the hunt display the pictures where everyone can see them. Give awards for biggest smile, Goofiest silly face, most finger-free photos, etc.

*Insider Tip: For a fun day out and an opportunity to teach kids to pay-it-forward make your list all about helping the community. Make your list all about small things they can do to help others – like picking up some trash, helping someone unload groceries, etc. (For more great ideas, check out my blog on teaching kids to pay it forward.)

I hope you and your family enjoy these new game ideas. Please comment below to let me know what your family like best, and share your other great ideas. Have Fun!

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

games to promote social language

Games That Encourage The Social Use Of Language

As the English poet John Donne once wrote, “No man is an island,” and there is perhaps no place that this is truer than in the midst of an uninhibited child. When it comes to infants, toddlers, and children, social skills may be overlooked in greater anticipation of word production, following directions, and academic success. However, engaging with peers provides children a myriad of opportunities to build receptive, expressive, and pragmatic (social) language.

The use of social language, or pragmatic language, includes the following 3 domains:

  • Using language for different purposesgames to promote social language
  • Modifying language
  • Following rules for conversation

Some purposes of language include telling, requesting, and greeting (I have a ball/I want a ball/hello). Modifying language includes being able to change the message depending on who the communication partner is and where the conversation is taking place. For example, children greet their grandparents differently than they greet their friends. Rules of conversation include maintaining eye contact, taking turns in conversation, repairing communication breakdowns, using gestures and facial expressions, and maintaining a topic.

Here are some games that encourage social language and interaction with peers:

Games for younger children:

  • Pat-a-cake
  • Singing songs that include gestures (Wheels on the Bus, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Row Row Row your Boat, etc.)
  • Peek-a-boo
  • Duck Duck Goose

Games for school-aged children:

  • Go Fish
  • Zingo
  • Candyland
  • Chutes and Ladders
  • Tag

Encourage turn taking, requesting, asking questions, repairing communication break downs, and eye contact during play of these games.

Time spent with peers gives children the opportunity to utilize language in a social way. Other children can be great models of language and social skills. Your child will receive real-world practice with skills such as sharing, being flexible, compromising, taking turns, recognizing others’ opinions and feelings, and expressing their own thoughts and ideas.

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NSPT offers speech and language services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Social Language Use (Pragmatics). Retrieved from

http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/Pragmatics/