Bond With Your Child Through An Amelia Bedelia Book!

Do you need some time to bond with a child? “Amelia Bedelia Bakes Off” can help! Amelia not only is a great book to read and teach kids that being an Out of Sync Sensory Integration guru of a child can be oh so cool, but this book is a great way to spend quality time baking with your child as well!

Amelia Bedelia  Amelia Bedelia Ingredients

In the book, Amelia bakes a bed cake with pillows and a blanket! This is so exciting! Teachers can use this book to read and bake with the class!

So, now you have taught the child a lesson, bonded, and worked on fine motor skills with the stirring, math skills with the measuring, reading skills (click here tto learn about Orton Gillingham Reading)with the recipe and the book, tolerance for any child, and more! MMM..smells good!

daughter baking

My daughter and I baking the bed cake together!

Daughter with Cake

Finished product with my happy daughter!












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How To Tie A Shoe Part 1 | Pediatric Therapy TV

In today’s webisode, a Pediatric Occupational Therapist shows us the first steps in teaching a child “How To Tie Their Shoes”.   Click here to read a blog with how to steps on shoe tying:

Click Here For Part 2 Of Shoe Tying

In this Video You Will Learn:

  • When your child is ready to tie shoes
  • What materials you need to prepare your child for shoe tying
  • What story you should use when teaching your child to tie shoes

Video Transcription:

Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide
audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV, where we provide experience and
innovation to maximize your child’s potential. Now your host, here’s Robyn.

Robyn: Hello and welcome to Pediatric Therapy TV. I’m your host, Robyn
Ackerman. In today’s segment, Marissa Edwards, Pediatric
Occupational Therapist, will be showing us how to teach tying a
shoe. Marissa?

Marissa: Hi. The first part of today’s how-to, which is shoelace tying,
is how to prepare your child to be able to accomplish this
skill. First of all, shoelace tying is an expected skill for a
child to achieve by the age of 7 years old. So just keep that in
mind. Kids a lot younger than that can also tie their shoes, but
it is expected by 7.

Kids are going to need a lot of repetition in order to learn how
to do this skill. All kids are different. Some kids may need six
months or more of repetition in order to get it. Some kids may
need just a few weeks. It’s all based on their own abilities.

A strategy I use to help kids start to learn this skill is I
teach them how to make friendship bracelets. Just by doing that
initial knot over and over and over, they get that skill down
and mastered. Another strategy that I will use sometimes is
using two different colored laces because that will help the
child to remember which lace does what.

Then the way that I teach kids is I use a pirate story, which
was actually published in the Advanced Magazine for Occupational
Therapists. In the next part of this segment I am going to
actually show you the story.

Robyn: Thank you, Marissa, and thank you to our viewers. And remember,
keep on blossoming.

Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of
mind to your family with the best in educational programming. To
subscribe to our broadcast, read our blogs, or learn more, visit
our website at That’s

Encouraging Language Development While Reading To Your Child: Part 2

Parents often ask which books to purchase for their toddler. We want kids to be engaged, we want them to enjoy books, and we want to develop their literacy skills. So which books work best when reading to toddlers? In Part 1 of this blog, we discussed 10 ways to encourage language development while reading to your toddler. In part 2, we’ll review 9 principles to consider when choosing books for your child.

Principles to consider when choosing books for your toddler:

1. Consider the illustrations. For young children, pictures play a huge part in their literacy experience. Choose books boys readingwith exciting pictures that are not too visually overwhelming.

2. Consider your child’s vocabulary level. Don’t be afraid to try books with unfamiliar words; this is an excellent way to introduce new vocabulary. However, try to avoid books that contain high volumes of unfamiliar words, which may lose your child’s interest.

3. Incorporate rhyming and repetition. Young children often love books with repetitive patterns or rhyming (e.g. Brown Bear Brown Bear, 5 Little Monkeys, Llama Mama, etc). These books provide excellent opportunities to enhance phonological awareness and learn language structures.

4. Consider the length. Young children may have difficulty attending to books for long periods of time. Avoid books that are extremely lengthy in pages or text. While reading, follow your child’s lead and look for signs that they might be losing interest. It’s okay to not finish a book. Instead, try to create a positive experience and avoid forcing your child to attend to books beyond their threshold.

5. Incorporate your child’s interests. Introduce books that incorporate your child’s interests. It might be about a favorite animal, a sport your child likes, or a place your child loves to visit.

6. Incorporate upcoming events. In addition to your child’s interests, also look for books about events or experiences in your child’s life. For example, you might choose a book about the first day of school, moving to a new house, or an upcoming holiday.

7. Involve your child in choosing. Give your child a say-so in choosing books they’d like to read. You might provide a few age-appropriate choices, and let them pick one.

8. Utilize your resources. Libraries and bookstores often categorize their books by age-level. For example, the Chicago Public Library website link includes a “For Kids” section with helpful information about developmental milestones and recommended books for various ages.

9. Try new things! When it comes to choosing books, there’s no right or wrong answer. Instead, use these principles to guide your decision making. Try new books as often as possible, and learn about your child’s likes and dislikes. Enjoy spending time reading to your child!

If you would like to learn more about our Orton Gillingham Reading Center Programs, click the pink button below:


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Tips on How to Get your Child to Walk

Children generally learn to walk on their own; however, some children need a little bit of assistance in order to take those first few steps. Below are some ideas on how to help encourage your little one to take those first few steps.

Tips To Encourage Your Toddler To Walk

  • Make sure that your child has plenty of ‘floor time’ so that they can use their bodies to explore their environment around them. Children that sit in bumbo seats, car seats or jumpers often are more delayed in their gross motor skills baby walkingbecause they rely on ‘containers’ to support them and their posture muscles do not have to work hard to support them. Pack-and-Plays and other play pens are great and safe place for your children to play in if you need some time to make dinner, fold laundry, etc.
  • When first assisting your child to walk, hold them higher on their trunk, like at their rib cage. As your child becomes more upright and stable, hold your child lower at their hips so they can use their core muscles to help their stability. Holding your child’s fingers above them can encourage a forward base of support and can lead to early toe-walking.
  • When a child is cruising at a coffee table, stand behind them so that they have to rotate their trunk away from the table. This will also help them lessen their support as they may take a hand off the table and stand more independently.
  • When your child is standing supported at the couch or coffee table, place a toy at their knee level and encourage them to squat down to get the toy. Repetitive squats will help strengthen their hip muscles and help them gain more stability on their feet.
  • Use a motivator, such as a puff , small snack, or favorite toy to motivate the child to walk to you. Stand just a few feet away from them on a carpeted surface so that they have plenty of support and traction.
  • When the child is inside, have the child just in a diaper when taking early steps. Bulky, winter clothing may be cumbersome and we want the hips and feet to move freely when learning a new gross motor milestone, such as walking.

Most children learn to walk independently between 10 and 15 months. If you or your pediatrician is concerned about your child’s development, feel free to contact a physical therapist at North Shore Pediatric Therapy for an evaluation.

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When A Child Should Be Able To Read | Pediatric Therapy Tv

Pediatric Neuropsychologist answers what age a child should recognize words by and be able to read by.

In This Video You Will Learn:

  • What is the first stage of Reading
  • What reading milestones a child should reach by different ages
  • When a child she have developed reading comprehension

Video Transcription:

Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide
audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV, where we provide experience and
innovation to maximize your child’s potential. Now your host, here’s Robyn.

Robyn: Hello and welcome to Pediatric Therapy TV. I’m your host, Robyn
Ackerman. I’m standing here today with Dr. Greg Stasi, a
pediatric neuropsychologist. Dr. Stasi, what age would you say a
child should be able to read by?

Dr. Stasi: Thanks, Robyn. That’s a great question. That’s a hard answer to
give and the reason behind it is we really have to think of the
different components of reading.

The first stage of reading is phonological processing and
phonological awareness, which is being able to identify letter
sounds and the letter combination sounds. For example, B-A is
‘ba’. We’d expect that around age 5, when a child is in
preschool and kindergarten.

Actual reading, being able to combine words together, about
first grade and second grade is when that skill starts to
develop. And then comprehension, where we understand what we are
actually reading, that again is going to be consistent with
first and second grade.

So to answer your question, kindergarten and preschool, we
really want to hit home with the letter awareness and the
combination of letters, so knowing the phonological processing
piece. Thank you.

Robyn: Thank you very much, Dr. Stasi, and thank you to our viewers.
And remember, keep on blossoming.

Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of
mind to your family with the best in educational programming. To
subscribe to our broadcast, read our blogs, or learn more, visit
our website at That’s

“I have no friends!”: How to Support Your Children Socially

“I have no friends.” I can only imagine how painful it must feel for parents to hear their children speak these words. It certainly breaks my heart when children confide these experiences in me during therapy. As a marriage and family therapist, I work with many children and teenagers who struggle with their peer relationships and, as a result, their emotional and behavioral functioning at home. Parents often ask me, “What can I do to help?” This blog is my attempt to explore this complicated and important question.


DO: Provide an open, nonjudgmental space in which your children can freely express their thoughts and feelings about experiences with peers. Let your children know that you are listening by periodically reflecting and checking in your sad lonely girlunderstanding with them (“So, during science class, everyone else around you found a partner and you couldn’t. Is that right?”).

DO: Empathize with your children by letting them know that you understand why they would feel a certain way even if you would feel differently.

DON’T: Minimize your children’s experiences. Well-meaning parents may try to reassure their children by saying, “That doesn’t mean no one likes you!” or “Who cares what other kids think?” But comments like these can make your children feel misunderstood and even ashamed by their feelings. Instead, simply reflect their experience (“It was really hard for you when you got picked last in gym”) and empathize (“I can see why you would feel sad.”)

DON’T: Problem solve too soon. Seeing your children upset may spark you to jump in and solve the problem. What children need first, however, is to feel heard and understood. Without this crucial step, children may feel blamed for the problem and, therefore, resistant to problem solve.


DO: Help your children consider multiple perspectives. For example, if your children think that no one likes them because no one asks them to play at recess, ask them what else it can mean. After empathizing with them (“I can see why you would think that no one likes you.”), gently challenge them (“I wonder what else it can mean. Let’s come up with a list together.”) Encourage them to take a different perspective (“If you saw someone alone on the playground, what would you think?”) You can also give examples of your own (“If I saw someone alone, I might think that he doesn’t want to play with anyone.”)

DO: Guide your children to come up with concrete solutions. Open ended questions, such as “How can you show someone that you are a good friend?” or “How can you show someone that you want to play?” are great places to start. Coming up with a list of solutions can help your children feel empowered.

DO: Practice! Practice! Practice! Use some of the items on your list of solutions by role playing specific scenarios (ex. Asking someone to play, asking someone to be partners, complimenting someone, engaging in conversation with someone, etc.)

DO: Use praise throughout problem solving. The problem solving process can be challenging, and letting your children know that you are proud of them for thinking of ways to solve their issues can encourage problem solving in the future.

DON’T: Give your children all of your answers. Lead with open ended questions, and ask them for their own solutions. While giving a few ideas is helpful, empowering your children to problem solve can be more meaningful and encouraging.

DON’T: Confuse problem solving for taking blame. Assure your children that it is not their fault for experiencing difficulties with peers and feeling upset, anxious, sad, or angry. Explain to your children that brainstorming solutions is a way to feel better and take care of ourselves, even when something is not our fault.


DO: Reach out for help. Children who have difficulties with peers may experience anxiety, depression, and/or social skills issues. Joining a social group can help your children feel belonging, build self-esteem, practice assertiveness skills, and create connections with other children who have similar experiences. North Shore Pediatric Therapy’s mental health department offers counselors, social workers, and therapists who specialize in working with children who have social struggles.

DO: Talk to your children’s school for support and guidance. Teachers, principals, and school social workers may have ideas on how to help. Or they may not be aware of your children’s experiences, and keeping them informed is important, especially is there are issues with bullying.

DO: Be creative in helping your children create connections with peers. Joining after-school programs, such as martial arts, dance, art, or music, can be a great way to meet and engage with new children. This can also be a wonderful way to boost your children’s self-esteem!

What questions do you have about helping your children with social difficulties? Please share with us.

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5 Ways to Know Your Baby is Ready for Solid Food

Since the holidays are just around the corner, you may be wondering if your child is ready to grab a plate and join you at the buffet! While there is no clear-cut age to start introducing solid foods, most young children independently begin to show signs that they’re ready to move past their typical pureed diet around the same time. You may receive the green light from your pediatrician to begin introducing solids, but also but watch for these signs, as these may indicate that your child is ready to move on.

Signs Your Baby Is Ready To Eat Solids:

1. Your child is gaining more gross motor control. When your child is able to demonstrate adequate head baby eating solidscontrol as well as stabilize their trunk when sitting, they are typically ready to tolerate a more complex repertoire of foods. While your child does not have to independently be able to sit on their own, they should be able to maintain an upright position when placed in a highchair without slouching or falling over.

2. Your child begins to show interest in what you are eating. Many young children may begin to watch others intently during meal times, any they may even attempt to grab items off of your plate! Young children may also become more interested in self-feeding, and your child may start to reach for the spoon when hungry, attempt to drink from your cup, bring a cracker or
cookie to their mouth, or place their hands on the bottle when feeding.

3. Your child demonstrates more oral-motor control. The most apparent sign that your child is ready for foods is when they lose the tongue thrust reflex. Rather than immediately pushing foods out of their mouth with their tongue, your child should be better able to manage the foods inside their mouth. Also, when your child begins to present with more tongue movement, such as back-and-forth and up-and-down when a spoon is introduced, they are indicating that they are also ready to move on.

4. Your child is on track for meeting feeding milestones. Observe your child’s behavior at play, as there are many signs to indicate that they are ready for a change in their diet. Some of these behaviors may include: an increase in hand-to-mouth play as demonstrated by orally exploring with objects, anticipation of spoon feedings, the transferring toys from one hand to another, the ability to “rake” toys and foods towards themselves, and the emergence of the pincer grasp.

5. Your child starts to not appear “satisfied” after breast or bottle feeds. During certain ages, children may insist on eating more than they typically would, but note that significant changes in their feeding patterns could also be related to a growth spurt. Some pediatricians will indicate that once children have doubled their birth weight, most children are ready to be introduced to solids.

Even though your child may present with many of the signs, they may still not be ready to tolerate the transition. Just remember to be patient, and speak with your pediatrician about any concerns you may have about moving to solid foods.

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Holiday Giving Without Spoiling Your Child

Tis’ the season, gift giving is right around the corner! Are you concerned your child is taking gifts for granted? Sure, it is fun to tear wrapping paper off of a shiny new toy but here are some other ideas that will have a lasting effect on your child much past the holiday season!

Tips To Encourage Graciousness In Your Child:mad child with gifts

  • Sign your child up for an activity they enjoy, (dance, art class, sporting activity, karate, etc.) this will challenge them and keep them active all year round.
  • Have your child choose a charity/organization of their choice and make a donation in their name, volunteer, or ask them to donate one of their gifts to a child in need.
  • Have your child choose a day in the city; choose a fun place to have lunch and an activity of choice. This will give you some quality time together enjoying something you do not frequently do!
  • Put money into a savings account for your child or purchase a savings bond to save for their future.
  • Purchase a family pass to a museum, zoo, or Great America.
  • Whether it is near, like a fun family weekend at home with planned activities or a family vacation somewhere sunny and warm, involving your child in the planning of an activity makes them feel involved and invested!
  • Develop a coupon book that includes coupons for fun activities that are redeemable. Activities such as staying up 15 minutes later, extra Wii time, extra book at bedtime, ice cream after dinner, movie/popcorn night with JUST Mom and Dad, the list goes on and on!

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When You Don’t Like your Teen’s Friends

Sometimes, you just don’t like your teen’s friends. At this age, your teen is making more and more adult decisions every day and it is not entirely under your control who your child will befriend. Although it is not a parent’s job to decide at any age whether you like the friend or not, you do want to make sure your child is safe, not being hurt, and can make good decisions for himself.

Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover

So, your daughter has a friend with blue hair and maybe even some piercings. She may be simply seeking her own mom and teen daughterindividuality. The friend may actually be harmless and have very good moral values. Sometimes, it’s the friend that looks “normal” that encourages drug use, defiance, ditching school, and other negative behaviors. Watching how your teen is acting will help you determine if you need to step in and teach about making better choices.

Changes in your Teen: Questions to Ask

1. Behavior: Has your child’s behavior changed? Is she being more defiant? More aggressive? If so, there may be a friend who is negatively influencing her.

2. Grades: Are grades consistent with what they have been in the past, or are they falling?

3. Attitude: How is your teen treating you and other adults? How is she treating her siblings?

These signs may indicate that your teen is in a friendship that may be negatively impacting her.

Watching the Friendship More Closely

When you don’t like your teen’s friends, you want to monitor their relationships more closely, while trying hard not to be a controlling parent. Offer your home as the “hang out” house where kids can come and watch a movie, have a video game tournament, etc . In your home, you will get to know this friend better and see first-hand how he acts with others.

Forbidding a Friendship

Let’s face it, many teens want nothing more than to make their parents angry. It is their job at this developmental stage to test the waters to see how far they can get. Forbidding the friendship may even increase their desire to spend more time with that person. When parents have told me they had told their son or daughter to “just stay away from that kid”, I cringed. This strategy does not solve the problem. If there is something about that friend that draws your child to her, she will find that in another friend and will keep repeating the pattern until she learns the results are negative.

There will always be people in your child’s life that will make things more difficult, whether it be a friend, coworker, boss, client, etc. Your teen needs to start to learn how to handle difficult situations rather than avoiding them.

What to Do

– Be available to talk, so your teen can see you as someone who he can look to for help when he doesn’t know what to do. Maybe he has been struggling with the friendship as well.

– Listen. Your teen may be telling you that he is also concerned about what he is doing or how he is acting with this new friend and doesn’t know what to do.

– Be specific about what you don’t like about the friend and give reasons why.

– Tell your teen what changes you’ve noticed in his behavior since he began hanging out with this friend. This may help him make a connection between his negative behavior and the new friendship.

– Help your teen find more appropriate friends by signing up for an enjoyable activity, club, sport, etc. where his peers have similar interests.

– Wait patiently. Often your teen’s best judgment will help him make the right choice for himself.

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5 Favorite Edible Crafts for Kids and How to Encourage Language During Snack Time

Edible crafts are a favorite activity for kids. I find it a win-win situation: moms/dads love the learning opportunity, and kids love the food! From a speech and language perspective, crafts are filled with language-rich opportunities masked behind the fun. Just in time for the holidays, here are 5 favorite edible crafts to enjoy with your child, and tips to tie in language with the fun!

 5 Favorite Edible Crafts for Kids

1. Gummy Penguins  Gummy Penguins

2. Mm Moosemm moose Read more