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The Benefits of Contact Sports: Why Your Kids Should Participate

The football draft just completed and the season is right around the corner. And while it may not seem like it now, summer is almost here. All of this means children are and will be interested in getting out there and participating in organized contact sports. But what about the risks of a concussion or other injury? Blog-Contact Sports-Main-Portrait-01

While the risk of injury will always exist in contact sports, there are also many benefits to sports. Further, much progress has been made regarding awareness, and today, families and coaches have a better understanding of the signs and symptoms of concussions. Many experts agree that the benefits of being active and playing sports outweigh the risks of possible injury.

Benefits of organized contact sports include:

  • Respect: Children learn to listen to and respect teammates, coaches and officials. Also, children learn to follow rules and respect opponents.
  • Teamwork: Organized sports teach children to work with and help teammates in order to achieve a common goal. There is no “I” in team!
  • Discipline: Sports show children that discipline and playing by the rules are valuable assets. Penalties will only set you back!
  • Organization: Participation in organized sports teaches children how to stay organized and responsible. They have to be on time, take care of their equipment, and organize amongst themselves in order to succeed.
  • Protection: Through organized sports, children learn to protect themselves, teammates, and opponents.
  • Confidence: Organized sports improves a child’s self-image and confidence. Moreover, sports teach children that they can improve their performance through hard work and practice, a valuable lesson.

And of course, children benefit from regular exercise and activity. Organized sports increase a child’s physical health and cardiovascular conditioning and decrease the risk of childhood obesity.

Here are some ways you can keep your children safe while they participate in contact sports:

  • Be vocal about safety. Engage coaches, officials, and league organizers in conversations about safe and fair play. Discuss these topics with your children as well.
  • Ensure safe and proper equipment. Depending on the sport, make sure your child is dressed in proper equipment, such as helmets, pads, and proper footwear. Make sure all equipment fits properly in order to maximize safety! Discuss your child’s equipment with coaches and league organizers if you aren’t sure.
  • Be aware of concussion signs and symptoms. Headaches, dizziness, imbalance and nausea are the most frequent indicators of concussions. Unconsciousness is not a requirement!
  • Be aware of concussion treatment guidelines. If a concussion is suspected, stop activity immediately and have the child seen by a doctor as soon as possible. Rest, both physical and mental, are key to recovering from a concussion. That, of course, means a break from physical activity, but it also means a break from school and TV.

With awareness and proper precautions, your child can experience the many benefits of organized contact sports in a safe and fun way!

NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Deerfield, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Mequon! If you have any questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140!

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Rebecca Cohen

Rebecca Cohen

Rebecca Cohen is a licensed physical therapist (DPT) with experience and a passion for working with the pediatric population. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Touro College School of Health Sciences in New York. Before joining North Shore Pediatric Therapy, Rebecca interned at Beth Osten & Associated Pediatric Therapy and at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois, where she treated pediatric patients with a wide range needs. Most recently, Rebecca worked at Athletico Physical Therapy in Chicago. Rebecca’s passion for working with children extends back as far as she can remember. Rebecca has a niece and nephew, and many young cousins, whom she loves being around and caring for. Rebecca believes her work with the pediatric population is extremely important and rewarding because of the effect it has not only on her patients but on the child’s entire family. When she is not treating patients, Rebecca enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and rooting for the Chicago Bears, Blackhawks and Bulls!

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Keeping Fitness on Track at School

Your elementary and middle school child spends the majority of his or her week in school– 7-7.5 hours per day, 5 days per week adding up to 35-37.5 hours per week. But don’t forget the average Blog-Fitness-Main-Landscapeof 3 hours per week of homework for kindergarten-8th graders. With long days in school sitting at desks, doing homework, increased time in front of televisions, on cell phones, or in front of computers, now, more than ever, it is important to make sure your child has ways to stay active. With so much time spent in school each week, what better avenue could there be to incorporate fitness in your child’s routine than in school? Physical education classes are a great start, but is there more they could be doing?

Here are Some Options You Can Present to Your PTA for Additional Fitness Programming:

  1. Apex Fun Run

Instead of using the old-school chocolate bar or wrapping paper sales, Apex is a company that utilizes fitness as a means of fund raising. Their goal is to encourage fitness and healthy lifestyles among elementary school-aged children while also helping schools raise money. Apex team members spend 2 weeks at a school teaching a curriculum about healthy lifestyle choices, ways to stay active, and assistance in getting the kids sponsors, culminating in the fun run!

https://www.apexfunrun.com/

  1. NFL Play 60 – School

Play 60 school is a program sponsored by the NFL to encourage 60 minutes of play every day. The NFL has partnered with the National Dairy Counsel, American Heart Association, and Brax Fundraising to create different programs for incorporating fitness in schools. This includes a focus on healthy food choices, implementing activity breaks during daily curriculums, and fundraising by selling various sports team SpiritCups.

http://www.nflrush.com/play60/school

  1. Presidential Fitness Testing

Most schools already implement Presidential Fitness Testing in their regular physical education curriculum. However, if your school does not or if you are interested in more information about the programming, take a look at the website. The Presidential Youth Fitness Programming allows students to individually track their fitness progress and achievements.

https://www.presidentschallenge.org/challenge/pyfp.shtml

Sources:

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/02/27/students-spend-more-time-on-homework-but-teachers-say-its-worth-it

https://apexfunrun.com/Home/PlayfForApex

NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Milwaukee. 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!

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Jamie Katz

Jamie Katz

Jamie Katz is a physical therapist with an enthusiasm for working with the pediatric population and has both personal and clinical experience in the field. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH and her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. Jamie’s younger brother has Autism and was the inspiration for her journey to become a pediatric physical therapist. She completed a majority of her clinical rotations in the pediatric field including acute care PT at VCU Children’s Hospital and outpatient PT at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Virginia Beach, VA. Upon graduation in May 2014, Jamie worked for 7 months at Rehabilitation Associates in Virginia Beach, VA where she treated children in the outpatient and early intervention settings. She began working for North Shore Pediatric Therapy in January 2015. Throughout her pediatric career she has had experience with a wide range of diagnoses, including but not limited to: Torticollis, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Dravet’s Syndrome, Aicardi Syndrome and lack of normal physiological development such as poor core strength, balance, motor planning or coordination.

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Video Games That Get You Moving

Getting your child off the couch and active can be challenging. With video games and iPads, it can be hard to pry your child away from the screens. But what if the screens can work for you? There are many video games on various systems that get your body moving, heart rate up, and can be a lot of fun!

Here are a few games on different systems that will surely make your child break a sweat while having a great time!Blog-Video-Games-Main-Portrait

  1. Xbox – Kinect Sports

Kinect Sports uses a sensor to track your body movements while playing fun sports games including soccer, volleyball, baseball and more. Unlike other systems that only track your upper body, Kinect Sports also tracks your legs for a full body workout!

If you are looking for more intense activities, try Track and Field. Go for the gold in sprints, hurdles, the long jump, and discus – you’ll feel like you’re in the Olympics!

  1. Wii Sports

Wii Sports uses a wand controller to simulate the real game. This systems features games like baseball, golf, tennis, boxing and bowling. The greatest part: you can play against a friend!

  1. PlayStation Move + Eye

The PlayStation Move is a wand controller that works with the PlayStation Eye camera to track the player’s movements. Because some of the games use both the wand and the Eye, you will be put into the game, literally! The PlayStation Move features games such as soccer, tennis, bowling, golf, dancing, and more.

  1. Just Dance – Xbox 360, Wii and PlayStation

Just Dance is compatible with many systems that use a camera to track your movements. You can dance with three of your friends to today’s top hits and yesterday’s classics. This is my personal favorite to have fun and exercise in a creative way.

Now that you have a list of some awesome, fun games for your home system, it’s time to get active and move your body!

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview, Lake Bluff 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!

Rebecca Cohen

Rebecca Cohen

Rebecca Cohen is a licensed physical therapist (DPT) with experience and a passion for working with the pediatric population. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Touro College School of Health Sciences in New York. Before joining North Shore Pediatric Therapy, Rebecca interned at Beth Osten & Associated Pediatric Therapy and at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois, where she treated pediatric patients with a wide range needs. Most recently, Rebecca worked at Athletico Physical Therapy in Chicago. Rebecca’s passion for working with children extends back as far as she can remember. Rebecca has a niece and nephew, and many young cousins, whom she loves being around and caring for. Rebecca believes her work with the pediatric population is extremely important and rewarding because of the effect it has not only on her patients but on the child’s entire family. When she is not treating patients, Rebecca enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and rooting for the Chicago Bears, Blackhawks and Bulls!

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10 Simple Calm Down Strategies For Teens

 

Adolescence is a time of major development marked by significant changes.  One change that is often recognized during adolescence is an increase in emotionality.  Some teens can be negative, moody, and difficult to communicate with.  Furthermore, hormonal changes during this period of life can lead individuals to experience strong and sometimes unpredictable changes in affect.

Due to these changes in the emotional lives of adolescents, it becomes increasingly important to help your teenagers learn to appropriately cope with discomfort.  In today’s blog, I write about strategies that teenagers can employ to help themselves calm down when feeling upset.  Feeling upset can come from a variety of stressors (and teens have lots of them!).  Different individuals respond to stress in different ways.  The strategies listed here are intended to be starting points for you and your teenage son or daughter to consider.  It’s important to remember that what works well on one occasion may not be as effective the next time.  As teens continue to develop and mature, they acquire a better sense of how to take control of various emotional states.  As humans, while we can’t always change the way we feel, we can consider our typical responses to stress and engage in strategies that can help us cope with uncomfortable emotions.

10 calm-down strategies for teens:

  1. Talk it out- Unlike younger children who are still learning to use language effectively in a variety10 Calm Down Strategies for Teens of situations, teenagers have increased cognitive and language skills that help them think about their situations and explore potential solutions. If your teenager is upset, it may be helpful to give him/her the opportunity to talk it out.  This can include identifying the problem, discussing why it’s a problem, potential solutions, and other thoughts/feelings/reactions to the current situation.
  2. Draw – Drawing is a form of expression. Sometimes when individuals get very upset, talking (as suggested above) can be challenging.  Instead, it may help some teens to draw a picture of something they enjoy, or to express on paper how they are feeling at the moment.  Some research has suggested that coloring shapes (such as mandalas) can have calming effects on people.
  3. Write – Writing is yet another form of expression. Teenagers can write about whatever they’d like.  This can serve as a distraction as well as an outlet.  It may be helpful for some individuals to keep an ongoing journal or diary and write about their day to day experiences.
  4. Read – If you’re a reader, then you know that reading can be a soothing or calming activity. Some teens, on the other hand, may hate to read.  Remember, there are many things that one can read: books, magazines, comic books, graphic novels, books on tape, etc.
  5. Music – This is one of my personal favorites. The experience of music can touch the emotional side of many individuals.  Teenagers can chose to listen to a song that describes how they feel.  Or perhaps they can listen to calming, instrumental music while lying down.  Playing an instrument can serve as a great feel-better activity as well!
  6. Exercise – Regular exercise is good for us for many reasons, including mental health. This suggestion, however, speaks to exercising as a form of directing angry or upset energy.
  7. Focus on the positives– For example, make a list of things to be grateful for, or of kind acts you noticed today. During times of stress, our outlook is often clouded which makes it easy to only focus on the negatives.
  8. Change up the setting- Don’t get stuck in a rut. This suggestion is a follow-up from number 6.  It’s easy to get caught in a cycle of negative.  So, when needing to calm down, move to a different room, change the TV/music in the room, adjust the lighting, etc.
  9. Take a step back from the situation – Reflect on what is really making you mad. Often times our minds can become clouded with the many stressors of life.  It’s common for one to displace their anger/frustration on someone close to them.  (for example- A sixteen year old got in trouble at school and upon arriving at home “goes-off” on his younger brother for accidentally bumping into him.  This sixteen year old isn’t really upset at his brother, he’s upset at getting in trouble earlier in the day.)
  10. Say what you need (in a respectful yet assertive way) – Teenagers are continuing to build their self-advocacy skills. Advocating for one’s self includes speaking up when necessary and being able to appropriately request what one needs.

Lastly, parents reading this blog are urged to take a close look at your own calm-down strategies and habits.  Be sure to model how to stay in control of yourself even in the face of frustration or upset.  Do you have more ideas on ways for teenagers to calm themselves?  Please share below!


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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!

 

Mike Meltzer

Mike Meltzer

Mike has been working with children and their families since graduating from Bradley University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in social work. After college, Mike spent a few years as a Head Start family service worker, and later enrolled in a dual degree program through Erickson Institute and Loyola University. Upon completing his masters' degrees in Child Development and Social Work, Mike worked as a school social worker in the Evanston public schools. In Evanston, he had the opportunity to work with both elementary and middle school students. This past August, Mike joined NSPT, and he is thrilled to be working in a clinical setting.

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Self-Care Tips From A Mental Health Practitioner

As a mental health practitioner, I strive to educate my clients and families about the art of balance. It is not to say that indulging in delicious foods is “all bad” and being organized, routinized, and ahead of the curve is “all good.” What type of professional would I be if I didn’t practice what I preach? Here are some of my self-care tips that keep me happy, keep me healthy, and most of all, keep me balanced.

Self-Care Tips:self care tips

  1. Find time to exercise. Not only does it help keep your physique, it provides for an undisturbed outlet of “me time.” I use this opportunity to release stress, challenge my strength, and be tech-free save my iPod. I am unplugged and truly get to focus in the moment.
  2. You are what you eat. I am a firm believer that diet impacts the way you think, the way you feel, and how you navigate the trial and tribulations of daily life. If I am hungry, forget it. I eat balanced, nutritious meals that provide me fuel to get me through the day and are nutrient-dense. I have recalibrated my expectations for feeding to reflect foods that provide nutritional value and taste good. The goal of eating is not to live to eat, but to eat to live. Indulging at times is essential but I feel that taking control over my food choices positively impacts my mood. I control what I eat, whether it is kale or deep dish pizza and that makes all the difference.
  3. Know your limits. If you have had a long week and would prefer to veg on the couch vs. go out to dinner with friends, do just that. I have learned that the company you keep will be in your corner regardless. We live in an age of FOMO (fear of missing out) and this can often influence us to push our boundaries and offset the things that are essential for us to feel good. If you think it would be wise to stay in, you can always reschedule. There will always be other opportunities to socialize.
  4. Know when to say NO. It’s amazing all of the things we are capable of completing, accomplishing, and doing in a day. At the end of the night, I always like to reflect and see how many tasks I have been able to squeeze into that day and it amazes me at how much can be done. But that doesn’t mean it ALWAYS has to be that jam-packed. Yes, some days are hectic and full but make sure that not every day is filled to the brim otherwise you risk burnout, cranky moods, and illness.

Click here for more self-care tips when you are a parent.

NSPT offers mental health 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!

Ali Swillinger

Alexandra Swillinger, MSW, LCSW is a Clinical Social Worker with experience providing clinical services to adolescents and children in an outpatient hospital setting. Ali believes in a holistic, systems-approach to change and values parental involvement to aid in continued child growth. Because each child is unique, she tailors her treatments to individual needs-- utilizing play, cognitive-behavioral, and solution-focused therapies to reinforce positive behaviors and healthy images of self. Blending the clinical aspects with the education necessary to the child, families and caregivers is an integral part of her treatment. Ali understands the interplay between children and their environment and strives to make the child's internal and external worlds a healthy breeding ground for an overall enhanced quality of life.

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Zumba for Kids

We all know the many benefits of exercise for people of all ages: physical fitness, endurance, strength, coordination, and zumba for kidsmotor planning.  However, making physical fitness a regular part of daily routines can be a real challenge not only for adults, but also for children.  Many children who live more sedentary lifestyles require more motivation to get moving, since it has become their habit to be still.   So what is the trick to increasing kid’s enthusiasm for fitness and getting sedentary kids off the couch?  It’s simple: FUN!  Fitness for children, just like any other children’s programming, should be fun, socially appealing and inviting!

A common activity that many families find enjoyable for all ages is Zumba!  Zumba is a dance-fitness combination that includes culturally diverse music and various elements of dance and cardio, including Hip Hop, Latin dancing, and traditional aerobics.  Zumba is a wonderfully unique fitness program that is set off by its enjoyable, party-like scene.  The bright, bold wardrobe colors, loud music, and rhythmic beats create an energetic and enticing place to get fit.  Zumba is also great for kids! Read more

Morgan Lawless

Morgan Lawless OTR/L graduated from West Virginia University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts, Human Performance and Health and a Master of Occupational Therapy. Morgan is an experienced occupational therapist, having worked in an inpatient rehabilitation hospital in West Virginia. There she was the lead occupational therapist for the pediatric and spinal cord teams, co-leader of the spinal cord team, and an involved wellness program committee member within the hospital, serving as the Zumba instructor. Morgan’s experience with pediatrics first began during a fieldwork assignment as an OT student. Her experience in a Tennessee outpatient facility inspired her desire to someday work permanently with the pediatric population. Learning to love the families, children, and treatment methods were stimulating and exciting. As the children progressed, quality of lives improved and lives were changed. As a professional, Morgan has continued to value her experience with treating the pediatric population, which has allowed her to work and play with sensory integration, including aquatic sensory integration treatments, as well as treat many neurological and orthopedic diagnoses. Her certifications in using functional electrical stimulation, including the RT300, and Saebo have greatly enhanced her experiences in treating neurological populations.

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The Power of Push-Ups

“It’s too cold, I get bored, I’m so out of shape,” or, my personal favorite, “I’d rather eat this slice of pizza.” These are all too familiar push-ups childutterances between my friends and I. Excuses of why-not to workout come in all shapes, sizes and extremes. Believe me, this winter, I have attempted to validate my sedentary lifestyle in order to avoid the hardships of physical exertion in the most creative and far-fetched of ways. As the cold winter weather looms over Chicago, I try to remind myself that sometimes, even the most basic of exercises can lead to big results. One such exercise is the infamous push-up. Push-ups vary in types and levels of complexity to those who complete them. They are an extremely advantageous exercise for adults and children alike.

Below is an outline of some of the most basic of push-ups:

  • Knee Push-Ups: Begin by kneeling on the floor. Walk your hands out in front of your body so that they are palms down, Read more
Lindsey Moyer

Lindsey Moyer

Lindsey Moyer, is a licensed pediatric occupational therapist. She graduated from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan with a Bachelors Degree in Health and Human Services. A year later, she graduated with her Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy. While a student, Lindsey gained expansive knowledge of the field by working in a variety of settings with people of varying ages and disabilities. Lindsey’s interest and compassion for working with children and their families became apparent as she completed internships and independent studies focusing on educational, social, and physical development. One such internship was completed at North Shore Pediatric Therapy (NSPT). Lindsey loves supporting kids in the acquisition of skills needed to lead fun and enriching childhoods.

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5 Top Chicago and North Shore Gyms for Children After They Graduate from Physical Therapy

My Gym

my gym logo
My Gym offers programs and classes to that are designed to help children that are 6 weeks through 13 years of age to develop physically, cognitively and emotionally.  They offer structured weekly classes that incorporate music, dance, relays, games, special rides, gymnastics, sports and more. Children will gain strength, balance, coordination, agility and flexibility while developing social skills, confidence and self-esteem. Classes are separated by ages: “Little Bundles” (6 weeks- 6 months), “Tiny Tykes” (7-13 months), “Waddlers” (14-22 months), “Gymsters” (23 Months – 2.5 years) and etc. Programs include Camp, Parents’ Night Out, Fit & Fun Days, Karate/Martial Arts and Free Play.

Little Gym little gym logo

The Little Gym of Chicago takes a holistic “Three-Dimensional Learning” approach to skill development. Their philosophy is based upon three core tenets: “Get Moving” to foster flexibility, strength, balance and coordination; “Brain Boost” to nurture listening skills, concentration and decision making; and “Citizen Kid” to promote sharing, teamwork, cooperation and leadership abilities. They offer programs and classes that are categorized by age: Parent/Child Classes for 4 months-3 years, Gymnastics for 4-6 years, Gymnastics for 6-12 years, Sports Skills for 3-6 years, Karate for 4-12 years and Dance for 3-12 years. There is also a WonderKids Club for 3-4 year olds that focuses on learning and development.

Bubbles Academy bubbles academy logo

Bubbles Academy offers events, programs, classes and play opportunities for children as well as their parents. Their class curriculum focuses on Motor Skills, Language, Attention, Self Expression, Socialization, Empathy and Confidence. The Bubbles Academy offers a free trial class. Their play-based enrichment courses include music, creative movement, art, yoga, independence, imagination, swimming, cooking and dance. Our educational series is progressive, including preschool preparation, gentle separation and an alternative preschool option. Programs are categorized based upon age groups and milestones: Babies (including Newborns, Bubble Music and Aqua Bubbles), Crawlers, Walkers, 2-3 years, 3-5 years, Family, Adult Fitness, Sibling Care and various camps.

Gymboree gymboree logo

Gymboree Play & Music has been fostering creativity and confidence in children of ages 0-5 for over 30 years. The play-type activities are designed to help develop the cognitive, physical and social skills of children. The class curriculum is based on a balanced whole-child approach with activities to support what your child is mastering currently and what he or she will aspire to master later. Classes are designed in 6-month increments in order to meet a child’s unique interests and abilities. Gymboree classes include Play & Learn, Music, Art, Sports, Family Fun and Social Skills.

Little Beans Cafe little beans

At Little Beans, kids have the freedom to play, learn, imagine and create in a custom interactive indoor playground. The premise of Little Beans Café is to provide families with a place to play together. It provides parents with a café atmosphere while providing kids with an interactive indoor village to explore and socialize. Little Beans have free-play, supervised play, classes, events, parties, camps and play groups.

Judy Wang, PT, DPT

Judy attained both her Bachelor of Arts and Doctor of Physical Therapy degrees from Washington University in St. Louis. Her pediatric clinical experiences include the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, and Athens Regional Hospital outpatient pediatric clinic. Before joining the NSPT team, Judy worked at University of Chicago and Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago in a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings. Judy is especially passionate about working with children. Her interests include but are not limited to: cerebral palsy, NICU follow-up, spinal cord injury, brain injury, developmental delay, pediatric vestibular rehab, wound care, chronic pain, and adolescent orthopedic injuries. During her 8 years at Washington University, Judy took part in research across the age spectrum: from long term effects of neonatal/perinatal hypoxic brain injuries, to cognitive changes of Alzheimer’s disease on the elderly and their children, to progression of wounds/ulcers in diabetes and their effect on walking patterns.

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Recreational Activities to Promote Gross Motor Skills

It is often that parents ask me for recommendations for suitable physical extracurricular activities for their children that will also help to gymnasticsfacilitate the gross motor skills we work on in therapy. Extracurricular activities are a great way for your child to socialize with his or her peers and physical activities are the perfect way to make sure your child is getting sufficient exercise each day. I strongly recommend any activity that your child is interested in because the best results occur when your child is invested in what he or she is doing.

On the other hand, if your child does not have any preference or is open to trying new things, there are 2 extracurricular activities that I strongly recommend families to look into:

  • Gymnastics– This is a great activity for a variety of reasons. For example, gymnastics focuses greatly on a variety of gross motor skills, such as balance and jumping in a variety of different positions and on a variety of different surfaces. This helps your child generalize these skills so he/she will perform better in our constantly changing environment. Gymnastics also helps with core, arm and leg strengthening and works on coordination between different body parts.
  • Swimming– Swimming is another great activity that targets core and arm and leg strengthening. Along with strengthening, swimming is helpful for working on your child’s bilateral coordination. A majority of swimming strokes require different movements from the arms and legs simultaneously as well as at  different times.

Regardless of what recreational activity your child chooses to participate in, they all are positive for your child’s physical and social development. On the other hand, if you have concerns about your child’s physical functioning, please contact a physical therapist at North Shore Pediatric Therapy.

Colleen Kearns

Colleen Kearns graduated from Marquette University with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. She spent many years working in pediatric physical therapy at Penfield Children’s Center in Milwaukee, serving both as a volunteer and as a student PT, serving children from low-socioeconomic areas in Milwaukee with a wide variety of physical therapy needs. During her physical therapy education at Marquette, Colleen took part in the Advanced Pediatrics elective, which provided her with opportunities to observe and work with pediatric patients at a number of local inpatient and outpatient pediatric physical therapy clinics. She was also able to complete a research project on the effects of music in pediatric physical therapy, and was given the opportunity to present her findings to a group of physical therapists that work in the Milwaukee public schools.

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Hop 2 Health : A Pediatric Weight Management Program

Obesity and being overweight are the biggest health issues facing our children today. Not only that, these issues can have serious kids exercisingeffects on kids, in both the short and the long-term.

Obese children report a lower quality of life and are at risk for developing serious health issues during childhood and adolescence, such as:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol and/or high triglycerides)
  • Asthma
  • Sleep apnea
  • Depression
  • And more

With the New Year upon us, and pediatric obesity at the forefront of our nation’s health concerns, North Shore Pediatric Therapy is offering a multidisciplinary, family-based pediatric weight management program:

Hop 2 Health

Hop 2 Health has been developed following the model that research shows to be the most effective treatment for childhood obesity. It is multi-disciplinary, which means your child will work with a registered dietitian, physical therapist and social worker to address and improve all factors that are part of this complicated issue. It is family-based, which means you, as a parent, will be informed and involved in your child’s journey to health since you are so instrumental in their success outside of the program. It is an on-going program that involves weekly group sessions where your child can engage with and lean on other kids that are struggling with the same issues. The learning experiences through which your child will gain information about making healthy choices for life are fun, engaging and totally geared towards kids. Your child will also receive individualized care through periodic one-on-one visits with our team of experts.

All of these key components of the program will give your child one of the best opportunities to make real changes to their life. Our mission is to provide a positive atmosphere, where kids will be given the tools and learn strategies to become healthier, and more importantly, build self-esteem to know that they can do it. For more information about Hop 2 Health, please go to this link on our website: www.Hop2Health.com.

Here, you can register for the program that will be starting soon. Space is limited.
As a parent, your child’s health and well-being is your number-one priority. Register now and start 2013 knowing that your child is on the path to better health.

You can also call 877-486-4140 to speak with one of our Family Child Advocates for additional information about Hop 2 Health. We are offering free screens to help determine if your child may benefit from participating in Hop 2 Health. Contact 877-486-4140 to set up a free screen.       


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Stephanie Wells

Stephanie Wells, is a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist. Stephanie comes from Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma Washington, where she worked with babies and children with many nutritional and diet needs. Stephanie is excited to bring her experience and expertise to North Shore Pediatric Therapy, and is looking forward to helping as many kids as she can.

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