Early Intervention Services Enhance Brain Development
An infant’s experiences have long-lasting effects on their ability to learn, regulate their emotions, connect socially, and sequentially develop for optimal neurological function. When there is an absence of appropriate experiences and learning opportunities in a child’s environment, the brain’s development can be stunted.
However, if ample learning opportunities are provided, brain development is facilitated and enhanced. Once born, a child’s brain develops through safe attachment, rich sensory experiences and the formation of implicit memories. The earlier and the more often “correct” learning experiences occur, the stronger those behaviors and skills are secured in a child’s brain.
The Earlier The Intervention, The Better
Studies in early childhood development have shown that young brains have an incredible potential for change. Children with developmental delays often experience the wiring of neurons together in a manner that is “unhelpful,” causing them to struggle with communication, social skills and other activities essential for daily life. These “unhelpful” connections need to be corrected and changed.
Amazingly, with intensive stimulation, the brain has the capacity to forge new pathways and build circuits that are more helpful and functional, but timing is crucial. The earlier the brain is exposed to “helpful” experiences, the better those connections will be, and the stronger and more available those behaviors will be to the child. Research indicates that helping children with special needs in early developmental stages improves their outcomes and future life skills yielding a tremendous amount of progress in children by the time they enter kindergarten. This often reduces the need for intensive supports and decreases healthcare expense later in life.
Three Ways Early Intervention Can Help
Early Intervention services improve and enhance the neurological
development of a child with delays, special needs, or developmental concerns. Early therapeutic interventions have shown to
be beneficial well beyond their developmental years and helps keep these
children on a path to making the most of their abilities to develop skills they
will need to function to their fullest potential.
Early Intervention helps build a nurturing and supportive environment for the entire family. It provides professional assistance and support for parents and siblings of children with special needs, decreasing frustration, stress, disappointment, helplessness, and caregiver burnout.
Early Intervention also helps to set a firm foundation for key developmental progression that will set the pace for later skills, offer greater opportunities for the child, and aid in later academic success. If we correctly understand a child’s skill deficits and design a program that appropriately stimulates neural circuits and targeted areas of their development, we can exercise and strengthen key areas of the brain to develop language, social skills etc.
“We can say without a doubt Yrma has changed the trajectory of our son’s life. After starting the reflex integration work we are seeing concrete, visible changes in our son’s hand eye coordination, ability to cross midline, success in crawling, catching a ball & much more. But more importantly, the filling of these gaps in his development has given our son the confidence & mental ability to regulate his body, make friends, & thrive at school. Thank you Yrma.” – Sara P., Boulder, CO
Skills 4 Life Now Offers Early Intervention Services
Skills 4 Life now offers early intervention services with Yrma Perdomo, MS OTR/L. Yrma is a gifted therapist who specializes in neurodevelopmental intervention strategies for children from birth to 4 years old.
Yrma provides the following specific services at Skills 4 Life:
- Tummy Time Method Certified
- Sensory Integration Trained
- SSP + iLS Certified (sound intervention therapy)
- Reflex integration (INPP, Masgutova)
- Hand In Hand Parenting Advocate
Contact our office at 303.351.1828 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more today!
About Yrma Perdomo:
Yrma Perdomo is a registered & licensed Occupational Therapist (MS OTR/L) with a specialty in neurodevelopmental intervention strategies for children from birth to 4 years old. Her mission is to educate parents in the use & application of an easy eight-phase process of Tummy Time as a preventive treatment intervention & give parents evidence-based tools that further support their child’s neurological development through their lifespan.
About Skills 4 Life:
Skills 4 Life Pediatric Occupational Therapy offers a broad range of pediatric occupational therapy services in the Boulder & Denver area to help your child master age-appropriate developmental skills, become more independent, increase academic success & develop confidence. The experts at Skills 4 Life specialize in handwriting, keyboarding & executive function coaching, but also work with children on social & emotional learning, motor skills, self-regulation strategies & activities of daily living. Skills 4 Life Pediatric Occupational Therapy offers your child a safe, compassionate environment to learn the critical skills they need to be successful. Learn more about our team & services at www.skills4lifeot.com, or you can contact our office by email at email@example.com or by phone at 303.351.1828.
Carrying too many heavy books in to school may not be smart. When your child uses an overweight backpack or doesn’t carry it correctly, it can cause damage to their back and shoulders, and create long-term health issues.
Transitioning to middle school can be an exciting, yet stressful and scary time for both you and your child. Be sure to put these 10 tips on your to-do list to help your student make the transition successfully.
1. Visit your child’s new school once or twice before school starts to help them navigate the grounds and building. Have them locate the hallways where their classes will be held as well as the bathrooms.
2. Review the school’s website with your child, or if they want to do this independently give them six things to find on the website. (more…)
Wondering what to do this summer to prepare your child for kindergarten?
Here are 10 ways to boost kindergarten readiness skills as presented in a Handwriting Without Tears webinar:
1. Let the Music Begin. Music encourages social-emotional, sensorimotor, and cognitive development. Songs can teach body awareness, positional concepts, sorting skills, and the ability to classify by attributes and connect numbers to the quantities they represent. (Handwriting Without Tears has some great Pre-K CD’s. Check out the Get Set for School CD and Sing, Sound, and Count With Me CD.)
2. Step Up Social-Emotional Development. Promote listening, sharing, turn-taking, using manners, role-playing, and imitating during playtime.
3. Promote Sensorimotor Development. Do activities to develop fine motor coordination and hand strength. Use little tools for little hands. Breaking crayons in half and using golf-sized pencils help to promote proper grasp.
Crossing midline is an important developmental skill that is typically mastered when a child is 3 or 4 years old. Crossing midline is the ability to reach across the middle of the body to the other side. It creates connections in the brain by requiring the left and right sides of the brain to “talk” to each other in order to coordinate movement and learning.
Children who have difficulty crossing midline can have difficulty with handwriting, reading, and gross and fine motor skills. (more…)
Letter recognition is the ability to visually recognize letters, differentiate one letter from another, and name the letters of the alphabet. It is a foundational precursor towards learning letter sounds, spelling, reading, and writing. In fact, early skills in letter knowledge are a strong predictor of reading success.
At Skills 4 Life, we work with many children on beginning writing skills. A child cannot be expected to independently write a letter that they don’t have a clear mental image of. Writing letters is a great way to reinforce letter recognition.
There are many fun letter activities you can do at home- it’s important to keep it FUN! Do a variety of activities to keep your child engaged and help your child learn the letters in different ways. Have your child participate in a letter recognition activity for a minimum of 10 minutes a day to help build these skills.
Before you get started, here a few tips: (more…)
The new year is a great time to assess opportunities to get organized and kick off the year in a positive and efficient way. Being organized can positively affect almost every other aspect of your and your child’s life, in addition to making daily living less stressful. Eliminating clutter makes life more manageable, creates space for pursuing goals and dreams, and allows you to spend more time with those you love. Tackle the below tips all at once, or perhaps just one every month. Either will ensure you are making strides to a more organized and efficient New Year!
Start the year strong with these top 12 organizing tips for parents and families:
The Two-Minute Rule for Organizing
If it takes two minutes or less, just do it! It’s not worth the time or mental energy to write it on your To Do List and track it.
Make A Home for Everything
Group related items together, find appropriate containers to hold the items, and place the things you use most frequently in the most accessible spaces. Store items close to their place of use. Label where everything goes so everyone in the family can return things to the places they belong. Teach your kids to do this also so that they know that all of their belongings have a home.
Establish the 10-Minute Pick-Up
Set a timer for 10 minutes every night, or choose 10 minutes’ worth of songs to play, and make it part of your family’s nightly routine to clean up together by putting objects back where they belong. When everyone works together, organizing can be fast and fun!
Employ the One In, One Out Rule
For every new object (e.g., a toy or piece of clothing) that is brought into the house, choose one to go out. We tend to use 20% of what we have 80% of the time, so find something that is no longer useful, loved, or enriching to your life, and give it to someone who can use it.
Designate a Space for Outgoing Items
Have family members place items that need to be returned or dropped off in an accessible place that is designated specifically for that purpose. A bin in the mudroom or a basket by the front door both work well. Every time you go out, take as many items as you can to drop off.
Have Kids Help with Household Chores
Create a chart or list of each child’s responsibilities along with when each task needs to be done. Remember, your child’s idea of a clean room may be different from yours, so be specific with your expectations.
Use a Family Calendar
Keep a large, centrally located calendar that lists each family member’s extracurricular activities as well as major events at school and home. Use a different color for each member of the family. Have one person be in charge of the calendar and check in with everyone each night to confirm the next day’s schedule.
Encourage Your Kids to Use a Planner
Have your kids record relevant activities from the family calendar into their planner. This is a great to-do item for Sunday evening family meetings.
Kids should use their planners for organizing all activities, not just homework. This helps them see the bigger picture and manage their time better.
Contain the Legos & Small Toys
Place Lego set contents into gallon-size Ziploc bags and label with the Lego set’s name and number. When your child is ready to build the set, pour the contents onto a tray or cookie sheet. Hang an over-the-door shoe organizer on the front or back side of a closet door to hold other small toys, stuffed animals, etc.
Make Computerized Checklists
Make a checklists for groceries and other necessities on your computer. Print them out and keep them handy so that family members can check off an item that’s needed. Take the list with you when you go shopping.
Partner with Your Child on School Work
Whether your child is in elementary, middle or high school, they can always use a guiding hand in organizing projects, papers, and tools.
Manage Your Mornings
The best time to get ready for the day is the night before. Assist your child with planned outfits, prepare for after-school activities, and pack lunches during evening hours. Organizing in advance goes a long way in making chaotic mornings more manageable.
About Skills 4 Life:
Skills 4 Life Pediatric Occupational Therapy offers a broad range of pediatric occupational therapy services in the Boulder & Denver area to help your child master age-appropriate developmental skills, become more independent, increase academic success & develop confidence. The experts at Skills 4 Life specialize in handwriting, keyboarding & executive function coaching, but also work with children on social & emotional learning, motor skills, self-regulation strategies & activities of daily living. Skills 4 Life Pediatric Occupational Therapy offers your child a safe, compassionate environment to learn the critical skills they need to be successful. Learn more about our team & services at www.skills4lifeot.com, or you can contact our office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 303.351.1828 for a free consultation.
October is Dyslexia Awareness Month, a topic near and dear to my heart since many of my students are dyslexic. Students with this hereditary language processing disorder may have difficulties isolating sounds, sounding out words (decoding), and accurately reading. Spelling can even be more of a challenge making writing a frustrating process. In addition, many children with dyslexia also have difficulty with handwriting, left/right discrimination, telling time, and organizing and translating their thoughts into verbal or written language.
Children with dyslexia may have low self-esteem, become overwhelmed with school, and may withdraw. As parents, supporting your dyslexic child can lead to a plethora of emotions. You may be frustrated because you don’t know how to help or are incredibly saddened to see your child struggling and falling behind in school.
Unfortunately, many school districts don’t have the necessary funding or resources to provide support for children with dyslexia. In speaking to clients and friends whose children have been diagnosed, it occurred to me that most parents need resources and support above anything else.
A few quick tips for parents: (more…)
Time management is a challenge for everyone; especially for middle and high school students. Between homework, school, after-school activities, family, friends, jobs and more, their time is truly NOT their own. And in this fast-paced culture, effective time-management skills are essential.
How can you help your student master basic time management strategies? Here are some helpful tools and tips.
1. Use an academic planner to help your student plan and stay on track. Whether they use a paper planner (I recommend Order Out of Chaos’ “Academic Planner: A Tool for Time Management” ) or electronic calendar, make sure their planner is set up as a grid system so they can see their week at a glance. Record all their class assignments, after-school activities, work commitments, even plans with friends. This will allow them to know what they need to do AND when they have time to PLAN to get things done. (more…)
Kids generally don’t enjoy being told what to do, especially when it comes to doing tasks. According to executive function experts, Sarah Ward, M.S., CCC/SLP and Kristen Jacobsen, M.S., CCC/SLP, the key to increasing job performance is to change tasks from a simple behavior to a personal identity label. Doing this transfers the ownership of a task, thereby increasing a child’s sense of self. When we “own” a task, we are much more likely to both complete the task and do it well.
Empower your child with task ownership by making the task into a specific job and assigning it a “job title.” To do this, simply add “er” to the end of the word that describes the desired action, like “Toothbrusher,” “Window Washer,” “Writer,” “Packer,” “Listener,” etc. (more…)