I'm not just a PT, I'm also a parent!

I'm not just a PT, I'm also a parent!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Us Too Center needs your help!

Us Too Gymnastics Inc. is dedicated to providing a warm environment for children with developmental delays and disabilities and their families to receive a range of therapeutic and recreational activities to meet their individual needs all in one location.

Unfortunately, Us Too is struggling to keep its doors open.  With the current state of the economy, donations and grants have slowed to a trickle.  And it doesn't help that a competing pediatric therapy clinic opened literally around the corner from them, to much media fanfare.

With your help, the Us Too Center can take home a $10,000 donation from Toyota!  Please cast a vote for them every day, then tune in to Sunday Night Football to find out the winner!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Soccer and Brain Injury

Concussions have gotten a lot of media coverage in recent years, with the epidemic of the brain injury in the NFL and other contact sports.  Studies indicate that frequent "heading" of a soccer ball may damage children's brains: Heading Ball 'could lead to brain damage.'  However, soccer is an excellent recreational activity, as it helps with cardiovascular fitness, dynamic balance, gross motor development (mostly in younger players), teamwork, following rules, and learning sportsmanship.  If your child plays soccer, I would discourage intentionally heading the ball too frequently and recommend that you discuss this with your child's pediatrician.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Renee Bondi -- A True Inspiration

I was just informed that Renee Bondi will be giving a concert at St. John Neumann Church in Irvine on Saturday, December 10 at 9:30.  She is a true inspiration and I encourage you to attend.  I hope to be there, as well!

From her website http://www.reneebondi.com/:

At age 29, Renée Bondi was engaged to be married and had a beautiful singing voice, a thriving career as a music teacher, and a loving family. But then one night a bizarre accident shattered her spine and left her quadriplegic. Her life changed forever. Renée lost not only all use of her hands and legs, but also her singing voice — she could barely speak above a whisper. Unwilling to accept that her life was over, Renée searched her heart and sought the Lord for direction. Although there were many dark days, Renée continued to persevere.

Against all odds and all physicians prognosis, Renée’s voice was miraculously restored with a crystal clear, angelic sound. Renée harnessed her talents to inspire and give hope to others.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

One of Those Parents

You know that you've felt like "one of those parents" yourself.  I know that I do on a nearly daily basis and I struggle to ignore what others think of me so that I can focus on my children.  Here's a powerful testimony from a father of children with special needs: One of Those Parents

Are Kids with Down Syndrome on the Road to Extinction?

I saw this article yesterday and couldn't help thinking of all the people with Down Syndrome whom I have been blessed to know, including my cousin.  I personally believe that every life has purpose and merit and that every single person has inherent dignity.  It saddens me to think that this type of discrimination exists in our world.

Are Kids with Down Syndrome on the Road to Extinction?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

iPads Giving a Voice to Children with Special Needs

I am obviously not a Speech-Language Pathologist, but I thought this article was fascinating.  I've worked with my share of nonverbal children and know how frustrated they can become when they can't communicate their desires, leading to tantrums and physical outbursts.  Sadly, I've also known many therapists who become frustrated as well and give up trying to work with them.  This technology will bring hope to so many families!

How an iPad can give a voice to special needs children

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hazards of Inactivity

It is still common thought that resting when one is ill or infirm is the best way to recover.  However, research has shown that activity is a better way to recover because people will be at less risk for comorbidities and will return to their prior level of function more quickly since they do not become so debilitated.

Here are some risks of prolonged inactivity:
  • emotional and behavioral changes1
  • decreased intellectual capacity2
  • altered sensation, vision, pain perception, and coordination3
  • decreased bowel action, leading to constipation and diarrhea from fecal impaction4
  • decreased ability to cough, leading to a greater risk of pneumonia5
  • orthostatic hypotension6
  • venous stasis7
  • deep vein thrombosis7
  • muscle atrophy8
  • osteopenia9
  • kidney stones10
  • contractures11
  • pressure ulcers (AKA bed sores)12
While someone who is recovering from illness or surgery may not feel like getting up due to fatigue, pain, or general deconditioning, it is best to get them up, change their position, and get moving!  If they are unable to do so on their own, obtain a prescription for Physical Therapy so that the therapist can help them improve their level of physical functioning and provide education to family members and caregivers.

  1.  Carek PJ, Laibstain SE, Carek SM (2011). Exercise for the treatment of depression and anxiety. Int J Psychiatry Med, 41(1): 15-28.
  2. Ratey JJ, Loehr JE (2011). The positive impact of physical activity on cognition during adulthood: a review of underlying mechanisms, evidence and recommendations. Rev Neurosci, 22(2): 171-85.
  3. Positioning in a Wheelchair: A Guide for Professional Caregivers of the Disabled Adult by Mayall and Desharnais. Slack, 1990.
  4. Simren M (2002). Physical activity and the gastrointestinal tract. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol, 14(10): 1053-6.
  5. Arora S, Flower O, Murray NP, Lee BB (2012). Respiratory care of patients with cervical spinal cord injury: a review. Crit Care Resusc, 14(1): 64-73. 
  6.  Convertino VA (1992). Effects of exercise and inactivity on intravascular volume and cardiovascular control mechanisms. Acta Astronaut, 27: 123-9.
  7.  Broderick BJ, O’Briain DE, Breen PP, Kearns SR, Olaighin G (2010). A pilot evaluation of a neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) based methodology for the prevention of venous stasis during bed rest. Med Eng Phys, 32(4): 349-55.
  8.  Coker RH, Wolfe RR (2012). Bedrest and sarcopenia. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care, 15(1): 7-11.
  9.  Krolner B, Toft B (1983). Vertebral bone loss: an unheeded side effect of therapeutic bed rest. Clin Sci (Lond), 64(5): 537-40.
  10.  Hwang TI, Hill K, Schneider V, Pak CY (1988). Effect of prolonged bedrest on the propensity for renal stone formation.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 66(1): 109-12.
  11.  Brower RG (2009). Consequences of bed rest. Crit Care Med, 37(10 Suppl): S422-8.
  12. McKinley WO, Jackson AB, Cardenas DD, DeVivo MJ (1999). Long-term medical complications after traumatic spinal cord injury: a regional model systems analysis. Arch Phys Med Rehabil, 80(11): 1402-10.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Melissa and Doug Giveaway!

I'm not huge on all those blog giveaways because they take so much time to enter!  But this one is easy to enter and you could win great toys from Melissa and Doug.  They're great learning toys and are pretty indestructible, considering my boys have had some of their trucks and puzzles for a few years now and haven't destroyed them yet.  So whether or not you enter the sweepstakes, check out their toys to find fun ways to work on fine motor skills, imaginative play, role-playing games, problem-solving...

All you need to do is go to their Facebook page, "like" it, and enter the sweepstakes!

Monday, November 21, 2011

2011 GIFT GUIDE - Gifts for Preschoolers

Preschoolers are such a fun group of kids to work with because their emerging language, cognitive, and social skills make it easier to play structured games and to teach them more advanced motor skills.  Here are some gift ideas for the special preschool-aged kids in your life who may need a little help with their gross motor skills:


A tricycle is always a milestone gift, so if you're not the child's parent, please ask if you can buy one.  Parents may be cherishing the special moment when they give their child their first tricycle and it would be a bummer to deny them that joy.

That being said, tricycles are great for strengthening, balance, coordination, and following directions.  My favorite is the Kettler.  They have many different colors and options, but all of them are very sturdily built and the push handle is very useful when teaching a kiddo how to propel the tricycle.  Kettlers cost a bit more than popular brands like Radio Flyer, but the quality is worth the price, especially if multiple kids will be using it.

Basketball Hoop

Basketball hoops are fun in general, but they also help kids learn to throw underhand, to throw with accuracy, and to tiptoe and jump to slam dunk.  We have the Fisher-Price Give Me Five Sports Center, which includes basketball, hockey, soccer, football, and baseball.  It may be discontinued, which is unfortunate because it's a great toy that "grows" with your child.  There are several kids' basketball hoops on the market, however, so you'll be able to find a suitable one.

Soccer Net

Soccer drills are a great way to help kids practice balance and kicking with accuracy.  You can make a goal out of something as simple as two plastic cups or cones, or you can get something like the Talk To Me Soccer Set, which gives auditory feedback when a child scores a goal.

From Head to Toe Game

Other than being just plain cute, this game is a fun way to help kids practice body awareness and balance as they stomp like elephants, wave their arms like monkeys, and bend like giraffes.

Trampoline with Support Bar

If your child is having difficulty jumping, try one of these fun trampolines!  The support bar allows children to bear some weight through their upper extremities so their lower extremities don't have to work so hard.  The bar also helps them to maintain balance.  These are also great for children who seek the sensory input from jumping and the bar will help them to remain safe and in control as they bounce.

Before shopping, don't forget to consider the trampoline's weight limits.  Some models also have removable bars.

This trampoline from Urban Rebouding is designed for adults, so it has a larger weight capacity.  The support bar is removable, but it a bit high for young children.  Another great feature is that the legs fold inward so that it stores flat.

Friday, November 18, 2011

How Children's 'Play' is Being Redefined

Here is an interesting article about how "play" is being redefined in schools:  How Children's 'Play' is Being Sneakily Redefined.  It seems as though people are forgetting that unstructured play helps children with their motor skills, communication skills, social skills, problem-solving skills, cognitive skills, emotional development...I could go on and on.  Parents, let your kids play!

A great resource is the Your Child At Play series.  This book series discusses the benefits of play, gives great ideas of how to play with your child, and reviews several different types of play. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Saturday, November 12, 2011

2011 GIFT GUIDE - Gifts for Infants and Young Toddlers

The following are gift recommendations to help infants up to age 1 with their gross motor, fine motor, and cognitive skills development.  Please keep your own child's individual abilities in mind when you make your gift purchases -- though the age listed on the box may be the same as your child's age, you know your child best and can determine which toys will be most appropriate.  If you are unsure, please ask someone at the store, ask your child's therapist, and check product reviews online. 

The Biddy Belly

I reviewed this product in October and think it would make a cute gift that is both fun for baby and may give mom and dad some peace of mind.


There are a couple of seats like this on the market, but I personally like the Prince Lionheart Bebepod;the best.  It's easy to clean and can also be used for feeding if you don't have room for a high chair.  An added bonus: on the days when baby will not let mommy shower, it's easy to pop baby in the Bebepod and take a shower together!  The seat is not as contoured as the Bumbo Baby Seat, so it encourages baby to use his/her own muscles to sit up.  Another thing to keep in mind is that these seats only come up to mid-back, so if your child needs more trunk and neck support, he or she may have a difficult time using this seat at first. 

Remember, baby should always be supervised in the Bebepod and it should NEVER be put up on a table where baby can fall.

Balls, Balls, Balls

While infants are too young to engage in traditional ball play, it's beneficial to introduce balls to them once they are a few months old.  Just make sure that the balls in your home are too large to fit through a paper towel roll, to decrease the risk of choking.  Young infants can use balls to practice visual tracking, grasping, flinging, and functional mobility.  Smaller balls help with your child's flinging/throwing skills and larger balls help with your child's early ball rolling, corraling, catching, and kicking skills.  Here is a list of different types of balls to consider:
  • Edushape Sensory Ball - These balls are great because their nubby outsides provide tactile stimulation to infants, encouraging them to grasp and explore them.  They're also great for children with visual impairments.  They also come in various sizes and shapes.

  • Light Up Balls -If your child does not show interest in ball play, try a ball that lights up to attract his or her attention!  Since the balls light up upon impact, they provide visual feedback which makes flinging them fun.

  • Balls with a Combination of Textures and Lights - These work well with children who have little to no interest in balls, have visual impairments, or have difficulties with textures.  The lights are often intriguing to children and though the texture may be aversive, they may be more apt to touch and feel this type of ball.

  • Suction Cup Balls - These are fun to use when infants and young children are learning to throw.  Tape a target like a hula hoop or use dry erase markers to draw a target on a window or mirror and have your toddler practice throwing for accuracy.  They're light, so you shouldn't be in danger of breaking the glass.

Ring Stacker

I'm sure you wonder how a ring stacker can help a child with gross motor skills and I will get to that.  First, ring stackers help children develop fine motor skills as they try to place the rings onto the toy.  They also help with cognitive development as they problem-solve, sort by size, and identify colors.  I use ring stackers to help children practice walking.  I put the base on one side of the room and the rings on the other side of the room and have the child walk across the room to take the rings to the stacker.  I also use ring stackers to help children practice pulling to stand and squatting to putting the base on a table and the rings on the floor.  The child has to squat down or lower him/herself to pick up a ring, then stand back up again to place it on the stacker base.  My favorite ring stacker is the Fisher-Price Little Superstar Classical Stacker because it plays music and flashes lights when rings are stacked onto the base, which provides children with excellent positive reinforcement.

Convertible Push Toy

Convertible push toys are great because they're multifunctional and can be used for a relatively long period of time.  I really like the Playskool Walk N Ride because it can entertain children from infancy up until 2-3 years of age.  Infants can play with the spinners, roll it back and forth, and open and close the door on the front.  Older babies can use it as a push toy to practice walking with support.  Young toddlers can use it as a ride-on toy to help with balance and lower extremity strengthening.  Both my 9-month-old and 3-year old enjoy playing with it.  Ours stays indoors and has survived 3 very active boys.

Play Table

Though they can take up a bit of space, play tables are great because not only are they fun, but they help with pre-walking.  As your child plays with the various toys on the top, he or she will have to weight shift and cruise around the table.  The toys on top also help with fine motor and cognitive development.  If you purchase one similar to Alex Jr.'s My Busy Town, younger infants can enjoy it and practice upright sitting posture and trunk control as they play with the features on each side.

I hope that this installment of my 2011 Gift Guide comes in handy for you!  Next week, look for my guide on gifts for toddlers and preschoolers.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

PE and Extracurricular Activities for Children with Disabilities

Here's an interesting blog post about Children with Disabilities' Participation in PE and Extracurricular Activities from another pediatric therapy blog.

Some local resources for Special Needs PE and athletic activities are:
If anyone knows of any other programs that offer recreational activities for those with special needs, please add them in the comments.

Monday, November 7, 2011

2011 GIFT GUIDE - Gifts for New and Expectant Parents

As a parent, I want to start off by encouraging people to buy off the expectant parents' registry!  You never know what people already own and they typically register for things that they truly want and need.  That being said, if you need an idea for a gift, or want to know which registry item to buy, here are some ideas:

The Biddy Belly

I reviewed this product in October and think it would make a cute gift that is both fun for baby and may give mom and dad some peace of mind.


There are a couple of seats like this on the market, but I personally like the Prince Lionheart Bebepod;the best.  It's easy to clean and can also be used for feeding if you don't have room for a high chair.  An added bonus: on the days when baby will not let mommy shower, it's easy to pop baby in the Bebepod and take a shower together!  (I do this frequently with my very attached 8-month-old)  The seat is not as contoured as the Bumbo Baby Seat, so it encourages baby to use his/her own muscles to sit up.  Remember, baby should always be supervised in the Bebepod and it should NEVER be put up on a table where baby can fall.

Baby Carriers

I will preface this by saying please do not buy a forward-facing baby carrier!  It is not a natural position and creates poor body mechanics for both baby and parent. 

Good carriers to try are slings and soft structured carriers.  My favorite sling is the Hotslings Designer Pouch Style Baby Carrierbecause it's made of sturdy material and has a padded rail for baby's thighs.  Hotslings come sized, so you may need mom's measurements in order to get a perfect fit!  Other slings to consider are the Peanut Shell Baby Sling;and the Peanut Shell Adjustable Sling, whose material is a bit stretchier than the Hotsling.  If you're looking for a more affordable option, you can consider a Seven Sling, though the material is thinner than the Hotsling's.


As for soft-structured carriers, I am partial to mei tais myself, but also like the Ergo Baby Carrier, Beco Baby Carrier, and Boba Classic Baby Carrier.  All of these can be used for both front- and back-carry positions.  Mei Tais are Asian-inspired carriers that are tied on.  It looks a bit tricky, but it's easy once you've done it a couple of times.  Baby rests against the parent in a natural position and because they tie on, anyone can use it without having to make adjustments to the straps.  If you're looking to save money, the Infantino Ecosash Baby Carrier is a nice alternative and it is similar to both a Mei Tai and a soft structured carrier.

Over the Shoulder Bag

I admit, this isn't really something to help with a child's development, but Mom will have better body mechanics while carrying it because its weight is distributed across the body.  Plus, it can also be a real lifesaver when struggling to carry around a baby, a baby carrier, a diaper bag, and your purse.   Thirty-One Gifts carries a cute one called the Pop Crossbody for $49, the smaller version is the Organizing Shoulder Bag for $42.  If you need to carry larger items, try their Messenger Bag for $98.  I like Thirty-One's products because they are well-made, have cute prints and patterns, and can be personalized.

Pop Crossbody Purse
Organizing Shoulder Bag
Messenger Bag

Because it can be carried hands-free and cannot slip off of my shoulder while reaching, this type of purse is the only kind I will carry when I'm out and about with my kids!


I hope that this installment of my 2011 Gift Guide comes in handy for you!  Next week, look for my guide on gifts for infants.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

2011 GIFT GUIDE - Introduction

Around this time every year, parents ask me for suggestions for gifts to buy for their children and to suggest to their relatives.  I'm hoping that my gift guide will help out and give you some fun ideas.  Please check this blog weekly during the month of November for gift guides for all ages.

  • My number one piece of advice is to start an online wish list for your child.  (I use amazon.com for my kids)  You know what your child already owns, would like, and would benefit from, so don't be afraid to make specific suggestions.  Make sure you fill out the comments section so that people know specifically why you want that gift for your child ("This would help my child with his balance"  or "My child struggles with ball play, so this would really help!")  People want to help out, so if they know that their gift will be put to good use, they will be more apt to buy it.  So if your mother-in-law asks what to buy your child for Christmas, you simply refer her to the wish list.  You can also email the wish list to your family and friends so that they won't have to ask.  If you have a friend or family member whose child participates in PT or OT, ask if they have a wish list before you buy a gift for their child. 

  • My number two piece of advice is to try to find toys and games that can serve more than one purpose.  There are several reasons for this, the most obvious being getting the most bang for your buck.  Also, it helps reduce toy clutter and will (in theory) help get more use out of the toy since your child would be less apt to get bored with it.  A toy that operates on its own with the push of a button would not be nearly as beneficial for motor and cognitive development as one that requires some sort of skill or problem-solving to play with.

  • My final piece of advice is to look beyond material gifts.  Swimming lessons are great for kids with ADHD, with low tone, with sensory processing disorder, and/or with decreased strength.  Gymnastics, karate, and dance lessons would also be great.  If your family likes the outdoors, consider an annual pass to your local Regional and State parks so that you can hike as often as you'd like.  (The OC Parks annual pass starts at $55.)  Tickets or annual passes to a children's museum would be great, too, since kids would be able to play and explore in a fun new environment.  Try Pretend City, Kidspace, or the La Habra Children's Museum.

Riding a pedal car at Pretend City

The rope web at KidSpace

The "construction" area at KidSpace

The baby room at KidSpace

Digging for fossils at the La Habra Children's Museum

For convenience, all of the gifts I recommend will be available for purchase on amazon.com (yay free shipping!).  You can also purchase great stuff at Lakeshore Learning Stores, Toys R Us/Babies R Us, Target, or other toy stores.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Gross Motor Fall Fun!

Take advantage of the autumn weather and enjoy these fun fall activities with your child:
  • Have your child help you rake leaves into a pile, then have a great time jumping in the pile
  • People cook more this time of year, so have your child help you with the entire process: help push the shopping cart, help put groceries into the card, help carry groceries into the house, help put groceries away, help with child-friendly cooking tasks like stirring and pouring...
  • Run into the wind for some weather-assisted resistance training
  • Go on a walk in your community to enjoy the changing leaves, making sure you walk on sidewalks, on grass, on dirt, up and down curbs, etc.
  • Participate in fall sports like football and hockey
  • Turn on some music and have a Turkey Trot dance party
Most of all, have a great time spending quality time with your child!

Interview with Ellen Seidman

Here's a cute interview with a Mom of a child with special needs: Move Foward Monday: Ellen Seidman

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Epilepsy Resource Fair

In observance of Epilepsy Awareness Month, the Epilepsy Alliance of Orange County will be hosting an Epilepsy Resource Fair on November 12 from 10-4 at CHOC. Admission is free! For more information and to register, please go to www.epilepsyalliance.org.

Representatives from community assistance organizations will be present to provide free resources, referrals and information, as well as vendors of products and services of interest to people with epilepsy. Short presentations on various topics related to epilepsy will be given throughout the day.

Presentations on Topics Related to Epilepsy:
  • Beyond Medications: Epilepsy throughout Life (Diane Stein, M.D.) 12 pm
  • Seizure Recognition and First Aid 1 pm
  • Diastat® Training 2 pm
  • Modified Atkins Diet for Adults 2 pm

Services Offered

I currently work primarily on a contract basis so that I can stay home during the day with my children. 

I have a contract with Regional Center of Orange County, so if you or someone you know is looking for in-home or community-based Physical Therapy for a child aged 0-3 with developmental delays, I can help you out!

I also have a contract with a private PT Clinic in Laguna Hills and am able to see children there.  The clinic accepts private pay or your insurance.

I also provide private pay physical therapy and can come to your home.  As an individual PT, I have not been able to get contracts with insurance companies, but I provide you with a super bill and a blank claim form so that you can bill your insurance.  My rates are negotiable and below the going rate of $125/hour.

If your child needs orthotics, I am qualified to fit him or her with off-the-shelf products from Cascade DAFO.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask!  I am also happy to give referrals to providers in Orange County who may be closer to where you live.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Products I love -- Biddy Belly

I saw an article in Advance for Physical Therapy and Rehab Medicine that featured a terrific new product to help facilitate tummy time for infants.  I love the idea and wish that I had thought of it myself!

photo from http://www.biddybelly.com/

Why do I like the Biddy Belly so much?
  • It makes tummy time fun and we know that tummy time has many benefits, including developing the strength and motor control necessary for rolling/sitting/crawling and decreasing the risk of a child developing plagiocephaly (flat-head syndrome)
  • It encourages infants to push up using their hands, which increases strength in the shoulder girdle, upper extremities, neck, and trunk
  • Since it has side supports, it is safer than using a bolster or towel roll since baby can't roll or fall off quite so easily
  • The toy loops open so that the toys can be changed to whatever your baby is most interested in playing with.  For clinicians, this is great so that toys can either be cleaned, or you can use your patient's own toys every time to prevent the spread of germs with multiple users.
  • It's machine washable!
I will also have older infants assume an all-fours position perpendicular to the giraffe's neck so that the neck can give a bit of support at the trunk, but still allow them to bear their own weight.

You can also sit the Biddy Belly on its "bottom" to have infants practice reaching in sitting as they try to play with the dangling toys and the giraffe's crinkly nose and ears.  This helps them develop trunk control and balance.

You can order a Biddy Belly direct at http://www.biddybelly.com/ or click on the picture below to order from amazon.com

October is National Physical Therapy Month!

I'd like to take advantage of PT Month to spread the word about what exactly we do!

Physical Therapists are your trusted experts in restoring and improving motion, and we can improve your quality of life, helping you to keep healthy, fit, and active and avoid surgery and long-term use of prescription medications, in many cases.  We also help with injury prevention, ergonomics, motor development, wound care, cardiac rehabilitation, and more!

When it comes to health care, one size does not fit all. A PT's extensive education, clinical expertise, and "hands on" approach brings you unique, individualized care. When you are in the hands of a Physical Therapist, you will have a plan of care that is safe and appropriate and addresses your individual needs and pre-existing conditions.

Here are a few PT resources:
I also have a few books listed on this site as resources, both for family members and for PT's.

Physical Therapy - the science of healing, the art of caring!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cheap, Easy Ways to Work on Your Child's Gross Motor Development

Parents ask me all the time what they can do to help their child's gross motor development and the best answer I can give is to play!  If Mom or Dad acts like a therapist, trust me, your child will rebel!  Here are some fun, easy things that you can do with things you already have at home:

  • Use a board, curb, or low wall as a balance beam.
  • Play ball!
    • start with rolling and corraling a large ball while sitting
    • progress to tossing a small ball in standing
    • have your child extend his/her arms out in front to practice catching (start with a balloon or beach ball)
    • throw at a target
  • A piece of rope can be used as a balance beam, something to step over, or something to jump over
  • If you don't have stairs, have your child practice stepping up and down a curb or stool
  • Make obstacle courses that would make your child have to move over, under, around, and through things
  • Play Follow the Leader or Simon Says
  • Move to music
    • try fingerplay to songs like "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" or "Twinkle, Twinkle"
    • Perform actions that correspond with lyrics: march to "The Ants go Marching," skip to "Skip to My Lou," do the Hokey Pokey
    • Unstructured dancing is always fun and your child may surprise him or herself by doing something new like standing on one foot or jumping or spinning
  • Have your child bend down and pick things up from the ground then reach up to hand them to you or put them on a shelf or table.

*All activities should be performed with adult supervision.  If your child has difficulty, please help him or her -- safety is of utmost importance!*

Thursday, October 20, 2011


On October 16, my oldest son and I participated in the CHOC Walk together for the third time.  We are hoping to raise at least $1100 for Children’s Hospital of Orange County.   Proceeds from this event will support health care programs, education and research at CHOC Children's.

The reason we walk is twofold.  First, we walk to thank all the healthcare professionals at CHOC who have helped diagnose and treat my son Damien over the years.  Second, I walk to honor all the CHOC babies who I’ve worked with over the past 9 years:
·         A boy with Down syndrome who would ride the bus with his mom for over 2 hours just to get to therapy
·         A boy who contracted meningitis at 11 months old and is now blind and deaf
·         A boy born at 23 weeks who learned to walk just before his 3rd birthday
·         A girl with a chromosomal disorder who had her colostomy removed at CHOC last month
·         And many more precious children!
You can sponsor us at www.chocwalk.net/tanajimenez by October 28.
Thank you in advance for your support!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Signs Your Child May Have Developmental Delays

The following websites may be helpful to parents who may suspect that their child's motor skills aren't developing properly: 



Trust your instincts and talk to your child's pediatrician if you suspect a problem. In California, you can always refer yourself to the Regional Center and/or California Children's Services.