Now that warm weather has finally arrived, many children and families are eagerly awaiting the end of the school year and the beginning of the summer break. Summer is the perfect time of the year to play outside with friends and to enjoy family time. It’s also an excellent opportunity to add additional therapy sessions to maintain progress made during the school year or to meet goals.
When your child is in need of counseling, speech therapy, occupational therapy, ABA or physical therapy, an individualized treatment plan is created by your therapist. Therapists build a strong rapport and a trusting relationship with children through consistent time spent together. A break in therapy disrupts their treatment plan and can delay progress. There are multiple ways to maximize your child’s time in therapy during the summer months by participating in our multidisciplinary approach. If necessary, your child can receive various therapeutic services all under one roof.
For children who have diagnoses of Autism, ADHD, or other developmental, cognitive, or mental health concerns, multiple therapeutic services are recommended to allow your child to reach their full potential. Apart from the convenience of having all of your child’s services under one roof, therapists collaborate with each other to ensure consistency for your child. Coordination of care will allow your child to grow and gain skills as rapidly as possible.
The summer months bring lots of opportunities for children to play at parks, learn to use/ride various gross motor toys such as bikes or scooters, or play at the beach. Therapy is play based so it’s fun!
Many of our clinics have a sand table where children can learn how to build sand castles, or jungle gym equipment that they can learn to navigate safely. We teach bike riding! Mastery of these skills during your child’s sessions provides confidence that they can participate in these activities safely and effectively outside of the clinic setting. One of the most important goals in therapy is to have fun while skill building.
Here are some tips on maintaining consistency and getting the most out of treatment for your child.
Since children are out of school, they have a lot more availability during the day to participate in therapy, and while camp and extracurricular activities are important, and great options for staying active, they cannot replace individualized therapy plans.
Summer can be filled with unstructured time. For kiddos who struggle with ADHD, Autism, or Anxiety, this can be exacerbate some of their symptoms. Maintaining scheduled therapy hours provides children with consistency and routine to continue to work on their treatment goals.
Rescheduling missed sessions is easier during the Summer months. (you might even be able to see a different therapist, depending on your child’s needs)
Plan ahead and schedule additional sessions if you have an upcoming vacation or break, your therapist may have extra flexibility as well.
Remember, school may be out, but kiddos who maintain their therapy schedules thrive when Autumn arrives!
**Please keep in mind cancellations should be done at least 24 to 48 hours in advance, so other families also have the chance to reschedule.
https://nspt4kids.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Blog-Therapy-Consistency-FeaturedImage-1.png186183North Shore Pediatric Therapyhttps://nspt4kids.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngNorth Shore Pediatric Therapy2018-05-15 02:00:462018-05-22 12:54:59A Small Break from Therapy - What's the Big Deal?
Many times parents leave a doctor’s office with more questions than when they came in. This is true for medical doctors as well as for clinical psychologists. After a parent is informed that his or her child has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) the next phase is to start to develop a treatment plan to help the child reach his or her potential. Treatment of ADHD should be thought of as a possible three tier system: medication, therapy, and school based accommodations.
Medication for ADHD
Research indicates that stimulant medication is one of the primary treatments of choice for ADHD. Many parents are very cautious and scared about putting their child on medication. One of my first pieces of advice for parents is to stay away from doing their own on-line literature search. Anyone who has access to a computer and the internet is capable of creating their own website. A website that I refer parents to all the time is www.chadd.org which is the national resource on ADHD. The literature this website provides is empirically supported and often times created by some of the biggest names in ADHD research. The other piece of advice I give to parents is to schedule a meeting with the child’s pediatrician and have a discussion regarding medication; from how the medication works to what possible side effects to look out for.
Therapy for ADHD
Children and families often get referred for therapy when the child is diagnosed with ADHD. I am a proponent of therapy that is done correctly. There first needs to be a focus on what the targets of the therapy are as well as what specific goals will be worked on in the sessions. The therapy goals need to be specific and measureable. There needs to be some metric implemented to assess for change in the child’s behavior. Finally, parents must be active participants in the therapy. There needs to be homework assignments to work on during the week as well as specific strategies that parents can implement in the moment to help modify behavior.
School Accommodations for ADHD
The final domain that needs to be considered after a child was diagnosed with ADHD is accommodations in the classroom setting to help alleviate symptoms of inattention and impulse control which have a negative impact on the child’s academic performance. Many times after I diagnosis a child with ADHD, I discuss with the parents about creating a 504 Plan in the academic setting. A 504 Plan consists of a variety of classroom and testing based accommodations to help address academic symptoms of ADHD. The plan is always individually tailored based upon the specific concerns that a child exhibits.
The diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is only the first step of helping the child. Parents frequently will have to seek out outside resources such as pharmacological intervention, therapy, and school based accommodations in order for their child to reach his or her potential.
https://nspt4kids.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Blog-ADHD-Diagnosis-FeaturedImage.png186183Dr. Greg Stasihttps://nspt4kids.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngDr. Greg Stasi2017-06-07 05:30:552019-05-02 12:33:45What Comes After the ADHD Diagnosis?
Yoga was designed to keep the mind focused and relaxed. Of course, relaxing the body is much easier than relaxing the mind directly. So we work on relaxing the body with yoga poses first, before relaxing through more subtle exercises. When you imagine an advanced yoga practitioner, you might have visions of someone doing a headstand or twisting into a pretzel. In fact, advancement in yoga has nothing to do with the body’s ability to move into poses. Advancement in yoga comes from the ability to maintain the mind’s focus on the present moment, which takes consistency, concentration, and patience. This applies to kids as well. I have seen kids so focused while practicing a simple pose, they are easily more advanced than adults who look around at their neighbors in class.
For this reason, practicing “off the mat” and “on the mat” go hand-in-hand and advance a yogi’s total development. We get precious few hours per week at our favorite yoga classes or in our home practice, but there are many hours each day when we face daily stressors. Creating a consistent “Relax Routine” at home can both deepen your family’s yoga practice on the mat, as well as reinforce yogic principles off the mat. The most useful tip I can give families working to reduce stress, is for the parents to practice too. Kids should get the message that yoga is something even adults enjoy and value as a tool to calm down when stressed.
Here are 3 easy yoga activities parents can incorporate in a family “Relax Routine.” All will promote a sense of well-being while practicing, lead to lowered stress levels after practicing, and will develop self-soothing tools that children can apply on their own.
Mantra Repetition – This mindfulness exercise develops focus and calms the mind. In our classes we use simple Sanskrit mantras, which mean peace, love and light. You can choose to repeat a Sanskrit mantra, the sound “om”, a relaxing word or phrase (i.e. “love”, “calm”, “home”, “I am peaceful”, etc.), or sing a relaxing song. Repeat the mantra for one or two minutes – or even longer, if you like. Your kids can join in or you can chant to them. Most kids love this practice, since it is similar to singing. This is an important part of yoga, as it is very effective at relaxing the mind. Chanting causes us to take slower, deeper breaths, which triggers the relaxation response. When the breath is relaxed, so is the mind. Kids can be encouraged to mentally repeat their mantra when under stress at home or in school.
Breathing Exercise – Studies have found that regular practice of yogic breathing exercises improves efficiency and balance within the heart and lung system. These exercises teach practitioners what is commonly called “abdominal breathing”. Abdominal breathing has numerous benefits, including inducing the relaxation response, which calms, focuses and quiets the mind. Although we are born breathing like this, sometimes it can feel quite unnatural when first practicing these exercises. Many people are reverse-breathers – meaning their belly moves forward when they exhale, and backward when they inhale – which may cause them to experience more stress. To teach this technique, have your kids lie on their back and place a light weight on their belly (like a book, small bag of rice, etc.). Practice with them, as you breathe in through the nose slowly and deeply, allowing the belly to rise. Then, let the belly gently fall as you slowly breathe out through the nose. Practice for one or two minutes, depending on the age and attention span of your child. After practicing, remove the weight and notice how your breathing has changed. As you start to feel comfortable, you can practice this exercise without a weight. Just bring your attention to the belly as you practice abdominal breathing.
Deep Relaxation – The culminating exercise in a yoga class is deep relaxation, or Yoga Nidra. Yoga Nidra has been found to produce effects similar to REM sleep, which promotes healing and deep rest. Yogis say a final relaxation is a must, because it assimilates the benefits of the yoga practices within the body. You can find guided relaxations all over YouTube (we even have a few on our blog), but you can lead a guided relaxation yourself. Yoga Nidra can also be practiced separate from yoga, such as before bed or when your child is feeling stressed. Have everyone lie down and close their eyes. You may use blankets to keep warm or something like a scarf to cover your eyes, if desired. Tell everyone to stretch their toes wider and wider. Then tell them to slowly relax their toes. Instruct them to imagine the relaxation making its way up their body, part by part. You can mention a few key body parts they can relax (i.e. relax your legs, your belly, your eyes). A foot massage is a nice treat to add in while practicing this progressive relaxation. Finally, remain as silent and still as possible, relaxing for a few moments or up to five minutes. After this silence, ask your child to take a deep breath and stretch a little. Slowly make your way back to sitting and end with a final short message, like a mantra, poem, prayer, or simply say “thanks for relaxing with me.”
Developing a Relax Routine as a family can be incredibly rewarding for both kids and parents. Children appreciate the ability to see their parents relaxed and having fun, and parents are amazed at their kids’ focus and engagement. Not to mention, it can be a powerful bonding experience. Aim to practice your “Relax Routine” at least twice a week. If you can practice once a day, even better! It doesn’t have to take long. In fact, it is much better to be consistent about a short routine, than practice a long routine only once in awhile. Most importantly, make it work for your family. Yoga is supposed to feel good!
Erin is E-RYT 200, RYT 500, RCYT with Yoga Alliance. She completed her 200 hour teacher training with the creator of the Yoga for the Special Child® (YSC) method, Sonia Sumar and has taught the YSC method since 2010. She is a certified Stress Management Specialist, and also holds certifications in Adaptive Yoga, the YSC method, and Yoga for Teens.
At Five Keys Yoga, we provide yoga classes and mindfulness resources just for kids! We are also the Chicago home of the Yoga for the Special Child® method, specializing in teaching yoga to kids with special needs. If you would like to learn more about the YSC method or how your child can deepen their yoga practice, please visit our website.
The way children take in and respond to sensory input from the environment may vary from child-to-child and day-to-day. It’s important to take into consideration that how children’s senses pick up information from the environment may influence their reactions and behaviors. Children might have a harder time taking in and processing sensory input to respond appropriately within the environment.
Below are several ways you can explain these sensory input reactions and behaviors to family, friends, and community members:
Auditory Input: Some children are sensitive to sounds (e.g. hand dryers; toilet flush; alarms). You might see these children cover their ears to certain sounds. Other children may not be as aware to sounds. You might see these children not respond to their name being called.
Visual Input: There are children who may demonstrate sensitivity to light by covering their eyes from bright sunlight or they may express discomfort by florescent lights. Other children might seek visual input by being visually attracted to TV/computer screens with fast-paced and/or flashy visual effects.
Tactile Input: Children may demonstrate sensitivity to certain textured clothing and resist/avoid wearing them (e.g. jeans; cotton materials; tags on clothing; tight socks). There are children who have a difficult time being in close proximity to other people. These children may feel overwhelmed and demonstrate over reactive behaviors when touched/bumped into (e.g. in crowded places; in line).
Oral Input: Some children might present sensitivity to specific textures or taste of food and avoid eating them (e.g. mushy/crunchy/chewy foods; sweet/sour foods; foods mixed together). Others might seek oral input to the mouth and put everything in their mouth (e.g. toys; finger; clothing).
Vestibular/Proprioceptive Input: Children might be hesitant and present distress when their feet are not on the ground or when they are spun in a circle. These children might avoid swings, climbing on the playground, riding a bike, or car rides. There are children who seek out a lot of movement and take climbing/jumping risks. You might also see children spin in circles to obtain additional vestibular input.
https://nspt4kids.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Blog-Sensory-Input-FeaturedImage.png186183Sima Rashidianfarhttps://nspt4kids.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngSima Rashidianfar2017-03-28 05:30:492017-03-24 13:40:04Explaining Your Child's Behaviors in Response to Sensory Input
Use toys or objects the child enjoys to increase the likelihood that they will pay attention.
Read the child’s cues to determine when or if the attention is waning and provide them with options of other preferred items.
It is okay to have them complete “one more turn” before having them clean up.
Create a regular clean up routine after play time. Create or use a fun clean up song!
Allow a child to take the lead in choosing toys- but this doesn’t mean you need to give them free rein all the time!
Offer acceptable choices- this is a happy medium between letting the child do what they want all the time and the adult determining what the child plays.
By providing choices, it gives an opportunity for the child to respond and communicate (and they feel like they are in control!).
If possible, choose activities that the child is able to move and does not have to sit still or at a table the whole time moving helps the child to be more attentive or focused!
Imitate a child’s actions and use specific labels to address what the child is doing or attending to at the moment.
Over time, it is hoped that the child enjoys the repetition of the words and actions, then will begin to repeat an action he sees you complete (i.e. “Jump, Jump!” “You are jumping!)- Make sure you are face-to-face with the child, so that they know that you are talking about exactly what they are doing.
Simply state an object or an event name during the child’s play (i.e. “Ball” or “You found a ball”).
Try to stay away from talking too much or narrating too much information (i.e. It looks like you found something. What are you going to do with it? Are you going to bounce or throw it?) Depending on the child’s age, this kind of narration is likely above the language-level for the child.
Try to avoid asking the child questions!
Use prompts to elicit attention with verbal visual cues (i.e. Look!)
Point to where you want the child to attend or focus.
Gaining the child’s attention is the first thing that needs to occur before they are expected to learn anything.
Reinforce attention either naturally or artificially.
Pick reinforcements that are motivating for your child!
Reinforcing a child’s communicative attempts may include allowing them to play with a toy or finish eating a snack that he/she requested.
Depending on the child, stickers or suckers may be just the perfect reinforcement as well!
Mize, L. (2011). Teach Me To Talk! Shelbyville, KY: Teachmetotalk.com
https://nspt4kids.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Blog-Play-Therapy-FeaturedImage.png186183Jaclyn Concialdihttps://nspt4kids.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngJaclyn Concialdi2016-11-02 05:30:152016-10-28 14:27:00Play Based Therapy - 5 Things to Consider When Playing at Home
The pressure on teens is very high. There are social pressures, academic pressures, family responsibilities, and more. The teen years are also a very confusing time. They are a time to break away from parents, but kids this age also need their parents. The teen years are even more complex when a child faces one of the following mental disorders:
Teens in general feel very comfortable with the virtual world. Many of their homework assignments are turned in virtually, and much of their social communication is done virtually. It makes sense that Virtual Therapy (also known as Tele Therapy) can be a comfortable and productive way to help support a teen with their many pressures. For a teen who may be resistant to regular therapy, Virtual Therapy is a great way to help him get used to the therapeutic relationship and to help him see how it could benefit him.
Through Virtual Therapy, a teen can learn how to deal with his busy life by having a safe, comfortable place to share and solve problems.
https://nspt4kids.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/teenfeatured.png186183Jonathan Levinhttps://nspt4kids.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngJonathan Levin2015-12-30 09:21:332016-01-11 08:20:07How Can Virtual Therapy Benefit Teens?
Going to college is one of the biggest changes in a young person’s life. There is excitement mixed with trepidation. There is new found independence mixed with sometimes too much independence. There is a whole different way of learning.
This change alone can cause many emotional issues and stress for a young adult. Many times, a child enters college with identified social emotional issues as well, and must somehow face all of the above stressors out of the comfort of his own home.
The college years are also a time when many questions arise. Kids being to think about the following:
Where should I live?
Should I continue in school?
Am I ready to settle on a career?
Should I get married?
If these stressors are too much for a college student, Virutal Therapy (also know as Tele Therapy) can help. Virtual therapy can help a person during and after college deal with some very tough choices and stressors in their life. By providing therapy virtually, it is easier to fit in one’s schedule and helps to take away from the stigma of “going” to therapy.
https://nspt4kids.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/collegefeatured.png186183Jonathan Levinhttps://nspt4kids.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngJonathan Levin2015-12-30 09:05:302015-12-30 09:05:30How Can Virtual Therapy Benefit a Child Going to College?
As with any diagnosis, there are no two cases alike. People can have the same “label” or diagnosis, but this label can be exhibited in very different ways. This is also true for the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). An ASD diagnosis has a spectrum of variables and intensity of behaviors. The patterns of behavior that are affected are common for all diagnosed, and these common variables include the following:
Common Variables for All Autism Spectrum Diagnoses:
Problems with communication
Problems with social interaction
Repetitive thoughts, interests and / or physical behaviors
Virtual therapy (also known as Tele Therapy) can also help. Through virtual therapy, a child, adolescent, or adult with ASD can learn what is needed to manage a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Social interaction can be improved by specific guidance and strategy. Helping a person with ASD tell their story through virtual therapy can be empowering and vital to their growth as well and can be administered in the comfort of the patient’s own home.
Virtual therapy is one tool that can help a person with ASD grow and meet his potential.
https://nspt4kids.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Autismteletherapyfeatured.png186183Jonathan Levinhttps://nspt4kids.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngJonathan Levin2015-12-30 08:14:122015-12-30 08:14:12How Can Virtual Therapy Benefit a Child With Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Trying to decide which treatments would provide the best outcomes for your child can be a difficult and overwhelming process. You want your child to receive the most effective treatment option but what determines whether or not a treatment is effective? If it worked for other children with similar problems, will it work for your child? Is there research or evidence to support the effectiveness of this treatment? All of these questions are important and relevant questions to ask yourself when it comes to finding the right treatment for your child. Although it is strongly recommended to address these questions and concerns with your child’s clinician, one way to learn more about effective treatments is by familiarizing yourself with Evidence-Based Practices (EBP).
What are Evidence-Based Practices?
Evidence-Based Practices (EBP) are well-established treatments because they are strongly supported by evidence from research studies that are designed to evaluate their effectiveness. Specifically, when a treatment is identified as an EBP it means that the treatment has been studied in a community or academic setting and has been proven to show positive treatment outcomes in multiple studies conducted by multiple research teams. Additionally, EBPs are client-centered because they are treatments that are designed to integrate research evidence, clinical expertise, and client/patient/family values, preferences, culture, and environment.
What Are Current Evidence-Based Practices?
The table below provides a brief list of EBPs for specific child and adolescent disorders:
Ages 9-18 Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
Ages 3-17 Exposure Therapy
Ages 3-13 Modeling Therapy
Ages 3-12 Behavior Therapy (in home and in school)
Ages 3-16 Parent Management Training
*The combination of behavior therapy and medication is often most effective in treating ADHD
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Ages 3-13 Behavior Therapy
Ages 3-13 Individual and family therapies that target communication skills, interaction skills, and behavior modification
No controlled studies of psychosocial interventions for youth with bipolar disorder have been done. However, behavior therapy, family education, and support benefit youth and families and improve relationships, communication, and coping skills.
Ages 3-15 Parent Training
Ages 9-15 Anger Coping Therapy
Ages 6-17 Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT)
Ages 13-16 Functional Family Therapy (FFT)
Ages 9-18 Treatment Foster Care (TFC)
Ages 12-17 Multisystemic Therapy (MST)
Ages 12-17 Mentoring
Ages 9-18 CBT
Ages 9-18 CBT
Ages 11-18 Relaxation Therapy
Ages 12-18 Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
Ages 12-18 Family Education and Support
No controlled studies of psychosocial interventions for youth with schizophrenia have been done. However, behavior therapy, family education, and support benefit youth and families and improve relationships, communication, and coping skills.
These video resources provide parents with interviews conducted with experts in child and adolescent psychology. Experts provide brief discussions on specific issues such as, treating specific disorders, identifying certain behaviors (to determine whether or not your child might have a problem), as well as evidence-based treatment options. The videos also provide additional links to related videos and PDFs that offer parents more information regarding the specific topic.
https://nspt4kids.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/diagnostics-featured.png186183Chandni Singhhttps://nspt4kids.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngChandni Singh2015-12-28 05:37:042015-12-21 12:50:19Choosing the Right Treatment for Your Child: Evidence-Based Practices
Have you ever heard the saying, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change?” This is an approach that is also effective when dealing with chronic pain. Chronic pain is defined as persistent and/or recurrent pain that lasts greater than 3-6 months. In the United States, the number of pediatric patients who were admitted to a hospital as a result of chronic pain increased by 831% from 2004 to 2010.
The main reason these children are heading to the emergency room is because they are experiencing headaches, abdominal pain or musculoskeletal pain. Additional symptoms include chronic fatigue, heat/cold intolerance and may other symptoms. Some kids may be in such pain that they begin using an assistive devices as a means of mobility and start missing school. In turn, their grades can begin to slip and it may become harder to maintain their friendships.
How To Help Chronic Pain in Children:
Unfortunately, clinicians don’t always have a clear picture as to what is causing this chronic pain. As a result, these patients seek multiple opinions from various practitioners in hopes of finding a definitive answer to the cause of their pain. This can be especially frustrating for kids and their parents because without a definitive diagnosis, it may feel like the pain they are experiencing is psychological in nature or does not truly exist.
This is where a change in perspective is needed. More research is indicating that it is more beneficial to look at improving functionality by eliminating the disability associated from chronic pain than to first focus on eliminating pain. It is hypothesized that returning to function should be the first goal in treatment, and a decrease in pain will follow. This can only be done only after any potentially harmful cause of pain has been ruled out. Adolescents and children, along with their parents, should avoid seeking out further medical attention to find the root cause of their underlying chronic pain.
Treatment for Chronic Pain In Children:
Since chronic pain is a complex topic, treatment should be approached through multiple angles by a multidisciplinary team. Physical Therapists play an integral role in the management and treatment of pediatric chronic pain. When a child is experiencing chronic pain, their central nervous system is most likely experiencing central sensitization. This is when the nervous system is functioning at a high state of reactivity. Intense physical activity and an individualized exercise prescription given by a physical therapist can help desensitize these nerves and reduce hypersensitivity.
During this process, it is crucial to eliminate any pain behaviors to facilitate functionality. A pain behavior is anything that communicates that the child is experiencing pain such as grimacing, guarding and asking for unnecessary assistance. Drawing attention to a painful body part by wearing braces or utilizing an assistive device is another type of pain behavior. A licensed physical therapist can appropriately determine when it is safe to no longer use these devices.
Unfortunately, children aren’t the only ones who demonstrate pain behaviors. Parents can be guilty of showing pain behaviors by displaying overly protective responses to their child’s complaint of pain. Parents always want to do what is best for their child. Sometimes it is hard to avoid doing these behaviors.
Participating in a multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of chronic pain can help you and your child address all of these concerns. If your child is suffering from chronic pain, schedule a physical therapy evaluation at NSPT.
Odell S, Logan D. Pediatric pain management: the multidisciplinary approach. JPR. 2013;6:785. doi:10.2147/jpr.s37434.
https://nspt4kids.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/painfeatured.png186183Morgan Anzelonehttps://nspt4kids.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngMorgan Anzelone2015-11-05 12:16:092015-11-05 12:16:09How To Handle Chronic Pain In Children