Fort Myers speech therapy lullaby

Speech Therapy Talking Points: Lullabies Boost Preemie Health

There are lullabies that promise pretty horses and twinkling stars and some over-the-rainbow places where dreams-come-true. But pediatric music and speech therapy researchers have learned that lullabies may hold another promise: Better health for premature babies.

Recent analysis shows a parent who sing to preemies still receiving treatment in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) can:

  • Soothe a child amid scary new sensations and hospital noises, bonding parent-to-child.
  • Regulate breathing and improve oxygen absorption for those who haven’t yet developed reflexive breathing.
  • Boost a baby’s nutritional intake, imperative for those with immature oral-facial muscles struggling to suck and swallow

Speech Therapy Pros: Preemies – All Babies – Need Your Voice 

At our FOCUS Fort Myers speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy clinic, we treat many children born prematurely, as they are at much higher risk of neurodevelopmental difficulties. The earlier we intervene the better, but encourage parents to start first. Even the simple act of talking regularly to your child from a young age  can do wonders.

For a premature baby, lullabies serve much the same purpose – but with power that extends beyond just speech and language development extending to objectively improved odds at survival for babies born at 37 weeks or earlier.

A 2013 study published in Pediatrics found that a parent’s lullabies or even just humming – gentle and rhythmic – played to the backdrop of low guitar strings reduced stress levels and promoted bonding, as evidenced by:

  • Regulated babies’ heartbeats;
  • Promoted longer, deeper periods of sleep;
  • Improved weight gain;
  • Shorter hospital stays;
  • Better long-term cognitive development and function.
Fort Myers ABA therapy

Fort Myers ABA Therapy – Busting Myths and Misconceptions

Effective treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) involves an early intervention, intensive therapy schedule that includes Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), also known as the “gold standard” in autism treatment. In our years of offering Fort Myers ABA therapy (and the diagnostic ADOS testing for ASD), the FOCUS team is familiar with many myths and misconceptions surrounding its effectiveness.

Because a central function of our pediatric therapy services involves parent education and participation (we need all-hands-on-deck!), it’s critical that we address concerns about our Fort Myers ABA therapy services head-on. With so many conflicting information sources out there, we don’t blame parents for being confused or even hesitant. This exact phenomenon was noted as far back as a decade, with published research in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis noting the collective detrimental impact misrepresentations has on children.

But information is power. The truth is ABA has proven time and again – in clinical studies as well as within our own anecdotal experience – to be one of our most effective tools in securing long-term successful outcomes for these kids.

Here, we’re tackling some of the most common misunderstandings about ABA therapy. Still, we encourage parents and caregivers to reach out and discuss any and all concerns regarding the ABA process and their child’s progress.

Fort Myers OT feeding therapy

Fort Myers OT Tips: When Your Child Might Need Feeding Therapy

When does picky eating become a disability? Fort Myers OT (occupational therapy) services for children may be necessary for picky eaters when severe aversions to certain foods morph into “problem feeding,” a significant hindrance to healthy growth and development.

Parents of picky eaters can easily feel consumed by mealtime battles. They aren’t alone.

An 11-year longitudinal study of 120 kids published in the journal Eating Behaviors revealed that at any given time, between 13 and 22 percent of kids were reported by parents to be “picky eaters.” (Other researchers have put the figure as high as 50 percent.) About 40 percent of picky eaters kept it up for 2 years or more. This was different from those who simply went through short-burst phases of strong dislike for one food or another.

Instead, as our Fort Myers OT providers have seen, truly picky “problem” eaters consume an extremely limited variety of foods, even requiring it to be prepared in certain ways. They tend to show much stronger dislike for most foods and throw major tantrums. Some simply refuse to eat.

“What we see is their pickiness is extremely restrictive,” said Fort Myers OT Krystle Hofstetter. “They’ll eat just two or three items – and that’s it.”

The good news is: We can help!