Articles by Month: October 2021
FOCUS Therapy families are invited to join us TONIGHT for the 2nd annual FOCUS POCUS Trunk-or-Treat event! We’ll be in the parking lot at our Colonial Boulevard location (4997 Royal Gulf Circle, Fort Myers) from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Bring your brothers, sisters, and best buddies & see all your favorite FOCUS Therapy staffers, therapists, and friends for a frightfully fun time! We’ll have games, prizes, decked-out trunks, trick-or-treat & more! Can’t wait to see all your boo-tiful faces!
Speech and language skills are critical to a child’s ability to learn and interact in the world around them. When speech-language delays are identified and treated right away, there are exponential benefits for their social-emotional and academic growth. The early years are the most important for building strong speech and language skills. In this stage, your child’s brain is growing extremely fast in the first five years of life. During this window, kids are more open to learning than they’ll ever. To minimize the long-term negative impacts of a speech-language delay or disorder, our Fort Myers speech therapy team recommends early intervention – starting before age 3, if possible.
Communication is one of the most critical developmental tasks of early childhood development. It’s the way children start to form their understanding of the world. When a child has trouble communicating (being understood and/or understanding others), it can hinder their ability and confidence to express their ideas and observations of the world around them.
Kids who struggle with communication in earlier stages of development may struggle with:
- Low frustration tolerance.
- Emotional outbursts.
- Excessive shyness.
They may also appear less academically advanced than their peers. That’s because reading, writing, and verbal assertions are essential to the learning process. The foundation for these skills starts very early – from birth. Your child may be too young yet for school, but if you notice they aren’t on pace with their peers in terms of speech and language skills, it’s a good idea to act promptly. The sooner you can address it, the less chance they’ll fall too far behind academically.
Also by the time kids get to school, their speech and language delays or difficulties may become markedly obvious, sometimes even to them. This realization can be a blow to their confidence, leading to lower class participation and performance. The earlier they can start working on it with a licensed speech-language pathologist (SLP), the less the deficit is going to impact them later on.
A child’s inability to express themselves or understand what’s being expressed to them has an undeniable negative impact on their ability to fully enjoy and participate in daily life. The earlier we can intervene with speech therapy, the less difficulty they’ll have as they get older.
As the weather cools in Southwest Florida, it’s the perfect time to get outside and play with your child! It’s not just about enjoying the day and making some memories (though these are worth it in itself). Our speech, occupational, physical, and ABA therapists know that spending time outdoors is great way to boost child development.
Being in nature has been proven to boost kids’ academic achievement, physical health, mental health, and overall well-being. One analysis of hundreds of studies on the subject found that nature boosts learning in eight distinct ways. Those include:
- Improves attention.
- Relieves stress.
- Boosts self-discipline.
- Increases physical activity and fitness.
- Promotes self-motivation.
- Increases enjoyment.
- Improves engagement.
As pediatric therapists dedicated to helping disabilities and delays make strides, we have found that nature provides a calmer, quieter, and safer setting for learning. It can also help with:
- Motor skills
- Social-emotional skills
- Speech and language skills
- Executive function
- Sensory integration
- Relaxation and emotional regulation
Spending time outdoors creates opportunity for more creative, exploratory forms of play – and play is how children learn best!
Our Fort Myers speech therapy team has many strategies to help children learn important speech and language skills.
So much of it is creating opportunities and encouraging practice in a fun, play-based atmosphere. Some examples include:
- Putting things just out of reach, to encourage the child to ask for it.
- Provide only part of a game to play with, and encourage them to ask for other pieces.
- Pretend to be forgetful. Let the child “catch us” being forgetful or getting an answer wrong – the love to be helpful so we can get it right!
- Pause during an activity that is predictable. It could be singing a favorite song or game and just pause. This encourages them to retrieve and use their vocabulary.
Join us! Thursday, Oct. 28th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at our Colonial Boulevard location for our 2nd Annual FOCUS POCUS Trunk-or-Treat! Wear your most spook-tacular costumes and see all your favorite FOCUS Therapy staffers and therapists for games, prizes, and trick-or-treat! We can’t wait to see all your boo-tiful faces!
Learning to get dressed is an essential function of independence. But none of us is born learning to tie, button, or zip. For kids with developmental delays and disabilities, these skills can take longer. Our FOCUS Fort Myers occupational therapy team can help.
Developmental Progression of Buttoning and Zipping
Every child develops at a different pace, so there are no hard-and-fast rules for when a child should be able to master buttoning and zipping. That said, some general milestone guidelines are:
- Can unzip zippers with large tabs.
- Can pull a large zipper tab up if an adult holds the bottom of it tight.
- Can unbutton large buttons (1 inch or more).
- Can button 3 large buttons, though they may not do so in the right order.
- Can unzip and unsnap clothing while wearing it.
- Is able to close the front snap on clothing.
- Can button and unbutton while wearing front-opening clothing.
- Opens all the fasteners on any piece of clothing.
- Can hook and zip up on their own.
5 to 6 years:
- Can hook and zip up on their own while wearing the clothing.