So, why is the loss of unstructured play so important?
Written by: Emily Swogger, OTR, MS
At Therapy Center of Buda we feel strongly about outdoor free play and providing our kiddos with a safe outdoor play space. Why are we so passionate about play? Because a child’s main occupation is to play. Play is how they learn new information in the most efficient manner. Yet in a world where children can spend up to 1200 per year on average in front of a screen, play time is rapidly being replaced with screen time. Time spent outside for children, research has shown, can be as little as 7 minutes per day! Time spent in play in general can be as low as 30 minutes per day. Play-based activities are being decreased for a variety of reasons. On the early education front, a societal emphasis on increasing test scores or meeting Common Core requirements has shifted the focus of early learning and preschool from social emotional skills to building math and reading skills. After-school the amount of play time is decreased due to lack of time to engage in play between longer work hours and the nightly routines of dinner, homework, and bath time. For some, lack of a safe place to play in neighborhood playgrounds and parks is also contributing factor to a decrease in outside play time.
So, why is the loss of unstructured play so important?
Diversity. We all know the obvious forms of diversity; race, nationality, gender, socioeconomic status, general background, etc. But, lately I find myself discussing a lesser known type of diversity; neurodiversity. Neurodiversity is the concept that neurological differences (e.g., Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyscalculia, Autistic Spectrum Disorders, etc.) are respected as any other human variation. Therapy Center of Buda has always embraced diversity and we celebrate the diversity of our families. We don’t believe in “cures” and we don’t preach “looking normal.” In fact, suppressing the communicative efforts, including stims and non-verbal forms of communication have long been proven to be counterproductive to overall communicative and daily living success. Rather, listening to each individual and their wants, desires, requests, and rejections is a way to honor their communication styles.
Therapy Center of Buda started out as just a shared dream between a mother and daughter to help others; with compassion and respect. We supplied the shell of TCOB, but you all filled it with us. Together we filled it with love, understanding, compassion, support, acceptance, hard work, knowledge, tears, hugs, and empowering each other. Today we are honored and humble to celebrate 9 years of TCOB. Thank you for being a part of our journey and allowing us to be a part of yours. We are so excited to see what the future holds as we are always evolving and becoming a better version of TCOB with the support of our community. Stay tuned...we have so many more years ahead of us!
Amy and Deborah
BY LAUREN DROBNJAK
This Sensory Halloween Scavenger Hunt is the perfect way to keep kids calm if they’re nervous or overwhelmed by Trick or Treating.
For some kids, Halloween is the best holiday of the year — candy, anyone? For others, it’s a night of complete sensory overload. From itchy costumes to strange new sounds, this spooky October evening can be a nightmare for kids with sensory processing concerns or even for kids who just get overwhelmed easily.
We thought it would be fun to take our popular Sensory Motor Scavenger Hunt and twist it up…Halloween style!
Whether your kiddo just needs a little distraction from the scary chainsaw house in the cul-de-sac or she needs a way to take it all in from a distance, we think this Halloween scavenger hunt will fit the bill.
Original source: https://theinspiredtreehouse.com/sensory-halloween-scavenger-hunt/
I played the video game Fortnite the other day with my teen grandson. As an educator, I’ve worked with thousands of kids with ADHD, social skills issues and similar challenges. And I wanted to know more about how Fortnite might affect them.
Fortnite is an online, multiplayer shooter video game. It’s free and can be played on a computer, on a gaming system like the Xbox, or on a mobile device. The most popular game mode is Battle Royale, where 100 players drop onto an island, try to find construction materials and weapons, and fight each other to be the last person (or team of people) standing. Players can talk to one another, and each game lasts 20 minutes. To get a sense of what it’s like, imagine an arcade version of the film The Hunger Games.
Fortnite has taken the world by storm. An estimated 50 million people play. There are news reports of kids playing at all hours of the day, late at night, and even under their desks at school. And many experts have weighed in on whether the game is good for kids.
by Bonnie Landau | Advocacy, IEP, Infographic, Special Ed Law
The IEP Team is suppose to help support your child, but sometimes their approach can be misleading. Knowing the law is key when advocating for your child. In my book, Special Ed Mom Survival Guide, I spend considerable time helping you learn about the law and how to apply it. In attending many IEP meetings as a special education advocate, I realized that the schools don’t quote the law when the deny services. Their information is hidden in messages that sound legitimate.
Here are 12 phrases I often hear that are really the IEP Team’s way of skirting around their obligation to provide services.
Having a child with special needs can be an emotionally, physically, mentally, and financially draining on a family. When diagnosed with a significant impairment like a genetic syndrome (e.g., Down Syndrome, Trisomy 13, XXX Syndrome, Marfan Syndrome), a congenital anomaly (e.g., Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cleft Lip/Palate, Encephalopathy, Spina Bifida, Encephalopathy), or an acquired syndrome (e.g., Traumatic Brain Injury, Cerebral Palsy, Aphasia) parents are inundated with doctor appointments and recommendations for therapies, medications, follow-ups, etc. In a perfect world, insurance would pay for everything recommended by a medical professional and we wouldn’t worry about the rising costs of said care. But, unfortunately that isn’t our reality.
Do you ever wonder what happens inside your mouth when you speak or swallow? While we all take for granted that we have the ability to speak (and swallow) A LOT of work happens behind the curtain. Our mouth (aka oral cavity) is where the sounds we hear are fine tuned using numerous muscles and other anatomy of the oral and nasal cavities. For kiddos sometimes these muscles and articulators simply do not want to cooperate which is usually why adults are unable to understand them or why they have difficulty efficiently chewing and swallowing their food. Speech-language pathologists evaluate the functioning of the mechanisms needed to produce intelligible (clear) speech sounds and ensure safe chewing/swallowing. They also are highly trained to provide treatment when these mechanisms are not efficient. Check out this video to see what our mouth looks like while we speak, sing, playing instruments, and swallow!
Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder. CAS is a relatively uncommon disorder (1-2 children per 1,000= 0.1-0.2%) and one of the lesser known disorders treated by Speech-Language Pathologists. There are some identified causes of CAS (e.g., stroke, trauma, chromosomal abnormalities) but we are not truly sure of all of the causes.
In a nutshell:
The child knows what he/she wants to say and the brain sends the message to the mouth (lips, jaw, and tongue) for appropriate placement to produce sounds, but the mouth doesn't cooperate.
Keep Reading for information on Symptoms, Testing, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Resources
Teaching our kiddos to use a zipper can be a difficult task. The truth is, it’s a very complex skill that encompasses many developmental areas! To zip a zipper up/down you must be able to motor plan, have bilateral coordination, display finger isolation, separate the two sides of the hand, have eye-hand coordination, have a strong pinch, and master the pincer and tripod grasps.
Looking for zipper tools? Try a zipper board, a clothing fastener vest, or a fun cargo vest with zippers for creative play and zipper practice.
Questions? Ask one of our awesome occupational therapists or contact us to schedule an evaluation!
Have you heard that we are EXEMPT from the mandated Superior/COFK program?!
Siblings of children with special needs have their own challenges. People who grow up with a sibling with special needs are often equipped with amazing qualities like patience, kindness, empathy for others, and loyalty, all amazing traits for anyone to have. Here are some terrific books to check out if you love a sibling of a child with special needs.
*Click on the desired book cover for more information*
TRUTH. Our words matter; chose them wisely.
April is Occupational Therapy month! We want to take this opportunity to express our gratitude for our amazing occupational therapists and commend them for all they do! We also think this is a wonderful time to explain… What is Occupational Therapy?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is combined array (a.k.a. spectrum) of disorders which were formally diagnosed separately as Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder, not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).
People with ASD may have difficulty in the areas of social skills, communication, self-care, sensory integration, fine/gross motor skills, and behavior. These difficulties can range from mild to severe A person on the spectrum might be non-verbal and unresponsive to their name or speak eloquently and possess an extensive vocabulary and early literacy. Knowing the signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the first step to early identification.
Some of the most noticeable symptoms of ASD, according to the CDC are:
Well, friends...it's about that time of year...to start planning for the summer months! We all know what that means...SUMMER CAMPS! It's often a challenge to find reliable and vetted summer programs for our special little ones...fortunately for us, our friends at AISD did the leg work for us! Click the photo below to download your copy. As always, if you have ANY questions feel free to email, call, or visit with me.
All of us at TCOB are heartbroken to hear of the ongoing events in Austin (and Schertz) with the explosive devices. We have a safety protocol that was established prior to these events and we will continue to honor those safeguards. There is no direct threat to our facility; however, we ask our families and our community to remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings. Please report any suspicious activity or packages/items to authorities immediately by calling 911. As these events continue to occur it is important that we educate our children and also find ways to talk to them about what is happening while not traumatizing them and making them fearful to step outside of their home. Our friends at The National Child Traumatic Stress Network published the following (unedited) document on how to talk to children about bombings. We though it was a good time to share with our families and those beyond our walls. Sending love to all those victimized.
Guess how many jelly beans are in the jar and WIN this awesome Easter basket! The person that gets closest to the actual number will WIN!
We will announce the winner on our Facebook page 03/27/2018.
This basket is packed full of classic books, sidewalk chalk, bunny popper ball, Easter straw, bubbles, egg dye kit, and much more (NO CANDY)! To enter: Like us on FB, Share the post, and post your guess on the original post!
What are you waiting for???...Get guessing!
Amy Grant is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist, Certified Autism Specialist and Clinic Director of Therapy Center of Buda.
Family Corner Blog
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