Entries by Dana Pais

Fidget Spinners: The Bottom Line

A fidget tool is one sensory strategy used to help children achieve self-regulation. Self-regulation is the ability to maintain an optimum level of arousal in order to participate in daily activities. Self-regulation is a critical component of learning, as it can impact a student’s attention, emotional regulation and impulse control; a child’s performance in the […]

Why Are Occupational Therapy Screens Necessary for Schools?

Occupational therapists are skilled in assessing how a child’s sensory processing abilities, fine motor skills, visual motor skills and gross motor skills impact performance and function in daily life including self-care, play and academics. Proficient skills in these areas are imperative for children to be successful in the classroom environment. Sensory processing skills support a […]

Sensory Tips for Crowded Holiday Spaces

The holidays are a festive, fun and exciting time to celebrate with family and friends; however, they also bring about a plethora of sensory stimuli everywhere you go! Between the sights, sounds, smells and crowds our senses are overloaded with the spirit of the holiday season. For some people, particularly children with sensory processing difficulties, […]

What Parents Need to Know About Feeding Therapy

There are a variety of reasons why a child may need feeding therapy. To many of us, it would seem like eating should be a basic instinct. However, eating is one of the most complex activities we do, especially for the developing, young child. Eating involves several processes in the body, including sensory, oral-motor, muscular, […]

How to Use Theraputty to Develop Hand Strength

You may have seen your child’s occupational therapist (OT) using a tool that looks like a chunk of clay during your child’s therapy sessions and wondered, “What is that?!” This tool, called theraputty, is a resistant play dough that works on strengthening the small muscles of the hands and fingers. Theraputty can be used in […]

How to Handle Fireworks and Your Child’s Sensitivity to Noise

By the time the 4th of July rolls around, summer is in full swing!  Kids spend their days at camp; families spend more time relaxing, and everyone enjoys spending time outside in the sun. The 4th of July is a fun time to gather friends and family and celebrate with food, games and (of course) […]

3 Uses for a Body Sock in Pediatric Occupational Therapy

A body sock is a therapeutic modality used in many occupational therapy (OT) sessions to address a variety of skills. The thin, Lycra material covers the child’s body, except for the head, in a similar way to a sleeping bag. The Lycra material provides deep proprioceptive input to assist with self-regulation. This tool can help […]

Encourage Your Child to Try Different Swimming Techniques

Though the Chicago winter months bring cold, snow and gloomy days, swimming continues to be a great activity for the family, albeit indoors. Swimming offers many benefits for children, including enhancing sensory processing, strength, endurance and coordination. A common concern among families with whom I work with is that their child does not like dipping […]

My Child Won’t Sit Still During Dinner…Help!

Children with sensory processing difficulties may have a difficult time staying in one place for extended periods of time. Frequently, parents will witness this kind of behavior during mealtime, particularly during dinner, after their child has been seated all day in school. This behavior is the child’s way of telling parents that they need to […]

Why Is A Full Occupational Therapy Evaluation Beneficial When My Child’s Only Difficulty is Handwriting?

Handwriting is a complex task that involves many prerequisite skills, including visual skills, ocular motor control, body awareness, fine motor planning, shoulder stability, and hand and finger strength. Each prerequisite skill contributes to efficient and fluid handwriting: Visual skills are needed to accurately distinguish and interpret letters and shapes on a page, essential for writing. Ocular motor control […]