Entries by Mary Kate Mulry

Why Crossing Midline is Important for Development

As babies grow and develop certain milestones are often celebrated, such as rolling, sitting, crawling, and walking. As a pediatric occupational therapist, one of the milestones I always celebrate might not be visible to the untrained eye. Crossing midline, defined as the ability to reach across the body’s invisible midline with your arms or legs […]

Biting, Hitting and Pushing: Bad Behavior or Sensory Processing Disorder?

As a pediatric occupational therapist, I often have teachers and parents ask me if a child’s sensory processing is causing them to behave badly in school. In kindergarten especially, we often see “bad behavior” manifest in many ways: kicking or hitting peers, biting friends, spitting, or yelling at others. In some cases, the child’s sensory […]

Evaluating Effective Pencil Grasps

As a pediatric occupational therapist, I receive a lot of questions inquiring about children’s pencil grasps from parents, teachers, and other professionals. According to Tseng (1998)[1], pencil grip development follows a predictable progression of skill that evolves as the child ages and matures. However, this does not always occur, as some children experience great difficulty […]

Find the Right Halloween Costume for a Child with Tactile Sensitivities

Halloween can be a parent’s worst nightmare when attempting to find the right costume for a child with tactile overresponsivity (which occurs when the nervous system experiences touch sensations at a higher, more intense rate than others)[1]. Children with tactile hypersensitivities often reject the feeling of unfamiliar touch that comes with many Halloween costumes, such […]

Surviving Halloween With Sensory Issues

 When I think of Halloween, my mind races back to colorful memories of bright and lively costumes, overly sweet and delicious fun-sized bars of chocolate, and children of all ages screaming “trick or treat”! As most parents know, children who are especially oversensitive to auditory, visual, and tactile stimuli may experience a spark in meltdowns […]

How to Help Your Child With Handwriting

According to the American Occupational Therapy Association[1], handwriting is, “a complex process of managing written language by coordinating the eyes, arms, hands, pencil grip, letter formation, and body posture. The development of a child’s handwriting can provide clues to developmental problems that could hinder a child’s learning because teachers depend on written work to measure […]

Play Date Tips for Children With Sensory Needs

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) recognizes play as one of the most fundamentally important occupations in a child’s life. Through play, children are able to make better sense of their world, learn how to adapt to new and unfamiliar situations, and interact and socialize with their peers appropriately. As adults, it is important to […]

Sensory Strategies for School

Preparing your child to go back to school can be both exciting and challenging. Research suggests that approximately 1 in 6 children experience sensory symptoms that are significant enough to interfere with everyday life functions occurring at home and in the school.[1] Targeting the body’s sensory systems of oral, vestibular (movement), proprioceptive (body position), tactile […]