Over the past few years, the video game industry has expanded exponentially, creating a variety of genres for kids of all ages including educational and movement focused games. Video games are becoming a more accepted form of therapy for children with special needs, but there is still a concern if this virtual play is truly beneficial. So we asked our team to weigh in on the debate: are video games good for my child? The list below is consolidated feedback from our experts.
Pros: One benefit to video games is that they allow children to develop their fine motor skills. Video game systems like the Nintendo Wii or XBox Kinect have dance and sports games, allowing children to work on balance, strength, and hand-eye coordination. Development of communication and understanding of social roles is another benefit of video games. Storytelling games allow children to work on conflict resolution as well as understanding language patterns. Our experts agreed that being able to practice these skills in a comfortable environment makes video games a stepping stone for improved social interaction and development.
Another advantage of video games is that they promote problem-solving, organization, reading and writing skills. The structure of levels and achievement also make video games a way to teach children skills of goal setting and task management. There are even video games that help continue education outside of the classroom.
Cons: Although video games do offer a level of social interaction and communication, they don’t allow children to practice interpersonal skills, such as making eye contact during conversation. Certain social skill development is not attainable through virtual gaming and can only be developed through face-to-face activity.
Another potential issue with children playing video games too often is their addictive nature. Obsession with video games can lead to behavioral issues, attention deficits, and even aggression when a child is forced to turn off a game. Many children who become too attached to their video games have a difficult time transitioning into other activities.
Similarly, when children are engrossed in playing video games, they may not be motivated to get outside and play. Fresh air and sunshine are essential for all children, and too much screen time can keep them cooped up in the house for too many hours during the day.
Our experts at Tiny Tots Therapy concluded that when it comes to video games and children, it seems moderation is key. If you want to give your kids a break from the screen, stop by one of our locations to enjoy our array of classes and our Fun Factory Sensory Gym!
There are many factors that can make it difficult to maintain a diet that promotes wellness for children – certain health conditions, genetics, and medications are just a few. Although finding healthy foods that kids actually want to eat can be a hefty challenge, improving your child’s diet may be more important than you think. More and more researchers have found food to be an extremely successful tool in raising the quality of life for children with special needs. Let’s take a look at some of the foods that have proven to promote mind and body wellness for these children.
Studies have shown that foods high in omega-3 fatty acids can be beneficial for symptoms related to autism, ADHD, and neurological conditions. Some foods that contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, anchovies, walnuts, flaxseeds, and spinach. According to WebMD, omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation, lower the risk of heart disease, and reduce levels of depression.
There have also been many studies looking at the effectiveness of probiotics and prebiotics in alleviating symptoms of autism. Research has shown that probiotics and prebiotics can help with gastrointestinal conditions as well as behavioral issues. Some foods high in probiotics include non-dairy yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, tempeh, and kimchi. For foods rich in prebiotics, try onions, leeks, bananas, asparagus, and peas.
Foods high in dietary fiber are another healthy choice that has been shown to help with digestion. According to the Mayo Clinic, a high-fiber diet has many benefits including slower digestion, as well as lower cholesterol and blood glucose. It’s also been proven to help with bloating and constipation. Some foods that contain high levels of fiber include black beans, pears, artichokes, broccoli, avocados, raspberries, and brussels sprouts. As for foods you should try to avoid, refined sugar and additives common in processed and refined foods can be harmful to both body and brain functioning of your child.
Diet is one essential component of your child’s overall health and wellness plan. To learn more about Tiny Tots Therapy and the ways our team can help your little ones reach their potential, visit our website or stop by one of our locations today.
With summer quickly approaching, plan to use this valuable time at home to work with your children on speech development. At Tiny Tots Therapy, our experts encourage parents to get involved in their child’s therapy with lots of practice at home and on the go. Here are some of our best tips to help promote your child’s speech, growth, and development in the comfortable setting of your home this summer.
-Yoga and Speech. One fun way to incorporate speech therapy at home is to integrate movement into your activities. Speech therapy in yoga has become a growing tool that parents can easily practice with their children. This could include having your child repeat the sound they are working on as many times as they can while holding their pose. While working on balance, concentration, and fine motor skills, this type of activity integrates sound skills, listening skills, and vocabulary skills.
-Use Your Hands. Another at-home way to make speech therapy more fun is using tactile techniques. Alphabet blocks, letter puzzles, and even playdough can be used to make speech therapy a more dynamic experience. According to Speech Buddies, “tactile tools target a range of skill sets from fine and gross motor, articulation, voice and stuttering, listening and sensory skills.” Tactile strategies are also helpful with sensory integration.
-Fun and Games. Incorporating games is another great way to make at-home speech therapy fun and exciting for your children. Games such as Spot It, Headbands, or the Action Bag are some of our favorites. Your little one will look forward to speech therapy as much as any other play time!
If you are still having difficulty engaging your child in speech therapy at home, you may want to consider bringing in an expert. Tiny Tots Therapy offers home-based and center-based services to help continue your child’s growth outside of the classroom. Our expert team of speech pathologists would love to work with you and your child to find techniques for promoting growth and development at home this summer. Our team also has multilingual speech pathologists on staff. Get in touch to learn more!
As many parents know, although summer is a time for fun in the sun, finding activities to fill the days that keep your kids entertained and engaged while also supporting development can be a major challenge. We’ve compiled an ultimate guide of summer fun activities that also encourage development for your children.
Catch a Flick with the Whole Family. One activity that can be fun for the whole family includes special needs screenings at movie theaters. These events are popping up all over and can be a great experience for the entire family. This activity provides a safe space for your children to be themselves and enjoy going to the movies without the usual pressure. Beyond this, these events provide an opportunity for your children to work on their social skills and for your family to connect with other families.
Get Crafty. Another activity that can be done inside or outdoors, depending on the weather, is a weekly arts and craft day. By picking manageable projects for you and your children, at-home art activities can provide multiple benefits, including bilateral coordination, fine motor control, self-regulation, boosted self-esteem, and precious bonding time together. For some project inspiration, check out Pinterest’s board of special needs art project ideas.
Play Chef Together. Cooking simple and fun recipes with your children is another great activity for the summer. According to WeeZee, “for children with special needs, cooking can be an opportunity to increase independence, put basic academic skills to use in a functional way, and an opportunity to learn how to eat healthy.” And on top of it being a great way to bond with your children, cooking with your kids provides a multi-sensory experience where they may practice fine motor skills and work on following directions.
Another option parents may want to consider for their children’s summer activities is to enroll them in a summer program where they may work on their development while practicing social skills. Tiny Tots Therapy offers a variety of summer programs, including Balance Bonanza, Pencil Party, Catch Me if You Can, and Just Craftin’ Around, where your children can improve their motor, cognitive, and social skills in a sensory-rich environment. Call us today at 888-951-TOTS(8687).
Summer is all about time together, getting outdoors, and engaging as a family. When not engaging in outdoor fun, there is plenty of room for fun and sensory development inside. Having awesome toys your children love on hand is key, and even better if those toys can aid in your child’s growth and development. These five toys are great for promoting development and fun for children of all needs.
First on our list is Learning Resource’s Gears! Gears! Gears! Lights & Action Building Set. This creative construction goes the extra mile in sensory stimulation, with colorful pieces, glow-in-the-dark stickers, bright lights, and spinning pieces. The control over design provides an outlet for your children to express their creativity, and with over 120 pieces your children will have unlimited possibilities to create their masterpiece.
Next up is Hasbro’s Elefun and Friends firefly-chasing game. This exciting and unpredictable game is designed to improve your children’s focus and motor skills. Kids will be jumping and laughing nonstop as they race to catch the most fireflies.
Melissa & Doug’s Fruit Cutting Set makes our list as well with its fun and educational qualities. The set provides children with the outlet to practice fine motor and social skills. And, as your children enjoy preparing fruit snacks, they’re gaining early exposure to the concept of fractions.
Monster Toss by Alex Toys Active Play is next on our list. This game is a silly and fun way to develop your children’s fine motor skills. With adjustable difficulty levels, this game can be tailored to fit your child’s developmental stage.
Last but certainly not least on our list is Vtech’s Tote & Go Laptop. This learning laptop has 20 interactive activities touching on math, reading, music, and puzzle solving. The level of difficulty increases gradually, letting your children progressively build their skills. This fun and friendly toy provides a way for your children to develop their verbal skills as well as their fine motor skills by working a mouse. Best of all, its portability allows your children to bring it anywhere they go.
We believe in the power of play. Play is an amazing way to help develop sensory skills.If your child has been diagnosed with a developmental disability, they may benefit from a variety of different toys to use at home, based off diagnosis. We are always available to discuss your child’s and family’s needs. You can get in touch with a specialist by calling Tiny Tots Therapy at 888-951-TOTS(8687).
The month of May is dedicated to pediatric stroke awareness. Unborn babies, newborns, infants, children and teenagers can all suffer from strokes. Often, children are misdiagnosed because individuals are unaware that infants and children can in fact have strokes and because these symptoms may mimic those related to other conditions. The International Alliance for Pediatric Stroke (IAPS) has partnered with the American Heart Association to create fact sheets for childhood strokes and infant (perinatal) strokes, alerting the public to the warning signs and medical conditions associated with pediatric strokes. Reviewing these facts can increase awareness among parents and caregivers, and assist physicians and medical professionals in making an accurate diagnosis.
Because strokes can occur at any age, it is important to look out for the signs and symptoms of pediatric strokes in both children/teenagers and infants.
In Children and Teenagers
-Weakness/numbness in face, arm, or leg on one side of body
-Loss of coordination and dizziness
-Seizures and paralysis
In Newborns and Infants
-Tendency to use only one side of body
National Pediatric Stroke Awareness Month aims to increase awareness, advance knowledge and initiate more research for children that are affected by pediatric strokes. According to the IAPS, stroke is one of the top ten causes of death in children, and more than half of victims experience permanent neurological and physical deficits. Such deficits include hemiplegia or hemiparesis, which involve total or partial paralysis on one side of the body. This is one of the most common forms of cerebral palsy in children born at term, with stroke as its leading cause. Other long-term disabilities caused by pediatric strokes include: cognitive and sensory impairments, epilepsy, communication disorders, visual impairments, and behavioral problems.
At Tiny Tots Therapy, we aim to increase awareness across our community, support caregivers, and dedicate time for pediatric therapy throughout the state of New Jersey. Children who have suffered a pediatric stroke will benefit from the home, school, and center-based services our team of dedicated therapists offer. Our locations include East Brunswick, Edison, and Scotch Plains. Learn more on our website: https://www.tinytotstherapy.com/.
Tiny Tots Therapy is excited to announce their participation at the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA’s) Annual Conference & Centennial Celebration March 30 – April 2 in Philadelphia, PA. Founded in 1917, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) represents the professional interests and concerns of more than 213,000 occupational therapists, assistants, and students nationwide.
Tiny Tots Therapy is now accepting reservations for those interested in school-based and clinic-based therapy while at the conference.
Tiny Tots Therapy, leading provider of pediatric therapy in NJ, with a multi-disciplinary team of over 80 therapists, servicing over 26 school districts and 3 outpatient clinic locations, recently celebrated 10 years of exceptional service, is exhibiting at booth #1212.
Occupational therapy experts will be gathering in Philadelphia for this event. The developmental growth and enrichment of youth is at the forefront of Tiny Tots Therapy Inc. The Tiny Tots Therapy team is dedicated to maximizing the independence of life skills in children and adolescents, supporting caregivers and professionals, and increasing awareness throughout educational communities.
The conference will include more than 1,600 educational sessions covering a variety of topics, including:
-Autism spectrum disorder
-Community mobility options
-Lifelong benefits of ongoing occupational therapy
-Animal assisted therapy
-Sex and intimacy challenges for clients with physical disabilities
-Universal Design to support visitors with physical disabilities
For more information and a full listing of presentations, visit AOTA’s conference website. All sessions and the Expo will take place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch Street, Philadelphia.
The American Occupational Therapy Association, based in Bethesda,MD, educates the public and advances the profession of occupational therapy by providing resources, setting professional and educational standards, and serving as an advocate to improve health care.
Teaching handwriting or handwriting remediation can be both one of the most rewarding and frustrating areas for occupational therapists. Most approaches tend to emphasize workbook-based rote skills, rather than any truly conceptual applications. Tiny Tots Therapy, Inc will be hosting Dr. Beverly Moskowitz, DOT, MS OTR/L, FAOTA, the author of Practical Strategies for Increasing the Effectiveness, Efficiency and Impact of your School-Based Occupational Therapy Practice, for a two-day workshop and SMHP certification course February 19-20 at the Renaissance Hotel in Woodbridge, NJ.
One of the many reasons Dr. Moskowitz is so highly sought and respected is that her method doesn’t rely on anecdotal or folk evidence, but rather on concrete statistics and data. The Size Matters Handwriting Program (SMHP) is not only suitable for professional therapists in clinical settings, but can be utilized by teachers in an inclusive classroom setting, in a remedial context, and even reinforced in the home. Dr. Moskowitz’s program is in use in every state, and outside of the US as well.
During the two-day workshop, Dr. Moskowitz will be offering the SMHP certification program for educators or professionals with a minimum of a two-year degree in an education or healthcare related field. A recommendation letter is also required for entry to the 2-day certification program.
Topics covered will include:
– Handwriting research
– SMHP success data
– 8 key concepts of SMHP
– Implementation strategies in different educational settings
– Lesson plans and data collection
– Treatment planning
– Varying accommodations
– Employing SMHP in classroom games
Tiny Tots Therapy, Inc hosts this and other programs throughout the year to further our primary goal of providing evidence-based services to assist every child’s learning. We emphasize a whole-child approach that includes traditional, holistic, alternative, and advanced treatment modalities combining sensory-motor integration and ABA methodology. Every child and family we work with is treated with respect for their unique personal and cultural needs.
The Size Matters Handwriting Workshop will be held February 19-20th in Woodbridge, NJ. To register online, visit the program’s website. For more information about the other services and programs Tiny Tots Therapy, Inc. offers, check our website for the latest news.
Physical therapy (PT) has become an increasingly popular intervention for individuals with disabilities impacting motor function. For children, physical limitations can result from injuries and accidents, as well as from developmental delays and other conditions. As PT has become a more widely used treatment in recent years, there have been a number of advances in the delivery of PT interventions. Here are some of the ways PT has become better than ever before in improving patient outcomes.
Making it fun. From videogames to sensory gyms, physical therapists are now able to engage their patients in exciting and enjoyable ways. By making PT fun and stimulating, patients are more motivated to complete their prescribed routines. This is especially important for getting children excited about their therapy.
Getting app savvy. Smartphone apps make it easy for patients to keep track of their protocols and log their progress. In addition, many PT apps offer video glossaries to help patients remember how a particular exercise should be done.
Harnessing new inventions. The field of PT has benefited greatly from innovative equipment and technologies. Some recent inventions that are benefiting PT patient care are the Nintendo Wii Fit, which can be used for balance and strengthening exercises, as well as occupational and neurological rehabilitation, and the Ekso Suit, made of aluminum and titanium, that can train patients with partial paralysis to increase mobility.
These and other advances in physical therapy are allowing patients to heal at rates and levels never before seen. Physical therapy practitioners and patients should stay abreast of new inventions that can benefit their care.
Any parent knows that, when it comes to children, one size certainly doesn’t fit all. Yet, most classrooms, playgrounds, and other settings frequented by children tend to have the same basic setups, which tend not to be ideally suited to children with special needs. Sensory gyms are bright, colorful, exciting spaces that are uniquely tailored to the needs of children with sensory integration disorders and other developmental disabilities. However, all children can enjoy and benefit from a sensory gym environment.
With features like ball pits, rock walls, covered swings, and more, children are exposed to a variety of visual, tactile, and vestibular stimuli. Through purposeful play in the gym, children with sensory integration difficulties can learn to process sensory input in a supportive setting. Here are some of the major benefits a sensory gym has to offer children:
Exercise and physical activity. Getting kids to take a break from the iPad to get active can be a challenge. The exciting and unusual activities and equipment available at a sensory gym are sure to get children up and moving.
Muscle toning. For children with physical challenges, certain muscle groups may be underutilized. A physical or occupational therapist can employ a sensory gym in their treatment protocol to help children engage and strengthen those muscles.
Sensory integration. Whether children are averse to sensory input (hypersensitive) or constantly seeking it (hyposensitive), a sensory gym can help in developing appropriate responses to stimulation. Sensory integration achieved in a sensory gym can also translate into more appropriate responses at home, in the classroom, and in other settings.
Best of all, a sensory gym is a place where children can express their personalities, free of judgment, in an environment that is as unique as they are! Get in touch to learn more about ours.
This video tells about the initial diagnosis of Autism for Claudia and brings basic facts regarding the epedemic of Autism.
Short lines of text on electronic devices may help some dyslexic readers increase their reading speed and comprehension, research suggests.
Children can really benefit from sensory experiences. Read this great blog on how to incorporate them at home!… https://t.co/cJh7PiD0qK
- Friday Jul 28 - 1:01pm
Too hot to be outside? Make your own playdough and craft your favorite summer things!
- Thursday Jul 27 - 3:02pm