occupational therapists yoga for kids

Yoga for Kids: Why Our Fort Myers Occupational Therapists Love It!

Yoga and occupational therapy go hand-in-hand. The word “yoga” literally means “to yoke” or “unite.” As pediatric occupational therapists, we’re often seeking to “unite” children’s physical, cognitive and emotional selves – always treating the whole child, rather than their compartmentalized sets of eyes, ears, legs and hands.

Occupational therapy focuses on the development of:

  • Gross motor skills
  • Fine motor skills
  • Sensory processing
  • Behavior regulation
  • Attention
  • Social skills

Yoga uses breathing techniques, mindfulness and poses to help a person’s body become calm and energized. It helps to develop:

  • Strength
  • Flexibility
  • Bilateral coordination
  • Processing of sensory information

Yoga is also great for helping teach focus, self-regulation and calming the mind and body. It helps foster imagination too. Of course, kids don’t know they’re working on all of this – especially when we’re using fun games and poses and tools like Cosmic Kids Yoga. That’s why our Fort Myers occupational therapists LOVE using yoga in sessions, and encourage parents to do so at home too. Get down on the floor with your child and turn it into family fun time!

Fort Myers ABA therapy

FOCUS ABA Therapy Tips to Tackle Problem Behaviors

All parents struggle with problem behaviors with their children at some point. This is especially true for families with children diagnosed with Autism, ADHD, behavior challenges or related disorders. FOCUS ABA therapy promotes “expected behaviors” (and discourages “unexpected behaviors”) through consistent, positive reinforcement over a period of months or years. These methods are most effective when we have consistent parent carryover of our strategies.

We understand that lack of compliance, transition trouble and meltdowns can be incredibly frustrating for parents. Although we work on self-regulation and other skills in behavior sessions, our Fort Myers ABA therapy team have some helpful tips for how to handle these situations at home to reduce unexpected behaviors and increase positive behaviors.

Fort Myers physical therapists

FOCUS Physical Therapists Can Help Kids With Down Syndrome Stay Fit, Active & Healthy

Our FOCUS physical therapists have been closely watching and cheering the historic story of 21-year-old Chris Nikic in Panama City, Florida, who recently became the first person with Down syndrome to compete in and finish an Ironman competition. It’s not a feat for the faint of heart, requiring a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a 26.2 mile run – all within 17 hours.

“I am going to make history by crushing it,” the Maitland man said before the competition.

And crush it, he did.

“You have shattered barriers while proving without a doubt that Anything is Possible!” Ironman Florida posted on its Facebook page.

physic
Nikic family photo, published by The Today Show

Nikic later attributed his accomplishment to waking up every morning and committing himself to be 1 percent better than he was the day before.

“I have to work hard and give my best every day,” he said. 

Our FOCUS physical therapists believe in this message 100 percent! We also believe that reaching this level of fitness is much more likely for individuals with Down syndrome with early intervention, address the most common physical health challenges and concerns in early childhood. The sooner we start, the less they have to catch up and the healthier they’ll be.

FOCUS Therapy

FOCUS Therapy Closed Monday, Nov. 9th Due to Tropical Storm ETA

Attention Parents: FOCUS Therapy will be CLOSED on Monday, Nov. 9th, following the lead of the Lee County School District to close all district offices, schools and virtual schools out of an abundance of caution for Tropical Storm ETA. Lee County is under a Tropical Storm Warning and Hurricane Watch, as our area is in the cone of concern.
The storm is expected to bring heavy rain and winds that are higher than what is safe for buses.
If your child receives TELETHERAPY (SLT & OT) at FOCUS Therapy on Monday, your child’s individual therapist should contact you about whether you can still expect to keep your appointment. In general, we expect virtual therapy appointments can be kept unless there are internet interruptions.
If you have any questions, please DM us here or contact your therapist directly.
Thank you & stay safe, everyone!
-FOCUS Therapy
speech therapy games

5 Free, Easy Speech Therapy Games to Play With Your Child

Children are born to learn through play. Playing speech therapy games at home with your child gives them a chance to practice the speech and language skills we’re working to help them develop in therapy, while also giving you a chance to bond with them.

Chances are, you’ve already played them together before, but there are a few ways you can tweak the games so that they’re still fun but even more effective at targeting certain skills like vocabulary, attention, memory, articulation, phonics, observation, deduction and expressive/receptive language.

We like these games in particular too because not only are they free, you can introduce them almost anywhere: On a road trip, at a restaurant while you wait for food, a rainy day at home or a sunny day at the park. And siblings can join in too!

FOCUS POCUS Trunk-Or-Treat Pics!

Fa-BOO-lous times at our 1st Annual FOCUS POCUS Trunk-or-Treat yesterday! 🎃👻🎃👻 Thank you SO much to all our FOCUS therapists & staffers for going all out to make it wicked awesome and all of the FOCUS patients & families who joined us in their eerie-sistible costumes! If you took your own pics/videos, we’d love for you to share them with us on our FOCUS Facebook page! Have a Happy Halloween, everyone! 🎃👻🦇
FOCUS FOCUS Therapy FOCUS Therapy FOCUS Therapy FOCUS Therapy
FOCUS Therapy offers pediatric occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy & ABA therapy in Fort Myers and throughout Southwest Florida. Call (239) 313.5049 or Contact Us online.
FOCUS Therapy

Join FOCUS Therapy for FOCUS POCUS Trunk-or-Treat!

FOCUS Therapy in Fort Myers is hosting its first ever FOCUS POCUS Trunk-or-Treat event of socially-distanced Halloween fun for all our patients & families!

We’re welcoming everyone to dress up, bring a treat bag and join us for games, candy, prizes and more!

Our Southwest Florida speech, occupational, physical and ABA therapists are committed to providing enriching experiences for our young patients while encouraging the kind of inclusion we want to see at all events. That’s why we’re opening our FOCUS POCUS Trunk-or-Treat fun to our patients as well as their siblings and family.

From 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29th, FOCUS Therapy staffers and therapists will park their decorated vehicles a full vehicle-length apart in the parking lot outside our clinic, 4997 Royal Gulf Circle, Fort Myers, FL 33996. Parents will be encouraged to park to the west end of the office plaza, and we’ll have a carefully directed flow of trunk-or-treaters, with only one family allowed in front of a vehicle at a time.

FOCUS Therapy Fort Myers
One family per trunk: Map of foot traffic flow for safe social distancing at FOCUS POCUS Trunk-or-Treat.

“Halloween and trick-or-treat are such special events that kids look forward to all year long,” said FOCUS Therapy owner/founder Jennifer Voltz-Ronco. “We know a lot of families this year may be wary of the traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, but we don’t want anyone to miss out on the fun. It’s also great for our kiddos with disabilities and delays who could use some practice before venturing out door-to-door over the weekend.”

Some of our therapists will have fun, engaging activities and games at their “trunk stop” for children to play and engage, while still remaining socially-distanced.

“For many of our patients, traditional trick-or-treat can be tough anyway, whether because of sensory issues, language deficits or physical challenges,” Voltz-Ronco explained. “Trunk-or-treat events in general have sort of always been the perfect opportunity to allow for both tradition and accessibility. And now this year, as families with children of all abilities in our community are expressing concern about safe trick-or-treating, our team is excited to be involved in making that happen for them.”

For more information, contact FOCUS Therapy at (239) 313-5049 or e-mail Jennifer.Voltz@FOCUSFlorida.com. 

Fort Myers OT

Fort Myers OT Tips: When Your Child HATES Haircuts

One of the most important things we do as pediatric occupational therapists is help educate, support and strategize with parents to give kids all the tools they need to be more fully involved in the activities of daily living. Haircuts are a part of that – but a lot of kids extremely dislike them. There is ample research to support what many parents of children with autism already know: More than 96 percent of kids with ASD report hyper- and hypo-sensitivities to certain stimuli. That can make something seemingly simple like getting a haircut an overwhelming experience. Our Fort Myers OT team has tips to help you before your child’s next trip to the clippers.

Fort Myers occupational therapist

Choosing the Right Occupational Therapist for Your Child

If your child’s pediatrician has referred your child to occupational therapy, probably one of the first things you’ll do is hop on Google and search “Fort Myers occupational therapist.” FOCUS is often one of the first search results you’ll see, but we know you have dozens of choices.

So how do you choose the occupational therapist who is right for your child? Our OT team has some tips.

Fort Myers speech therapists

Stuttering: What It Is, When to Seek Help and How Our Fort Myers Speech Therapists Treat It

Many children, when they are young and learning to talk, develop a stutter. Their brains are processing thousands of new sounds and words in the first years of their lives (aptly named a “language explosion”). As our Fort Myers speech therapists can explain, their vocabulary “explodes,” but the brain’s neural pathways are still catching up, and may have difficulty coordinating. This can be a factor in stuttering.

Sometimes, kids struggle with repetition of syllables, sounds and words. Others’ sounds are prolonged and some have so-called “blocks,” or speech interruptions. Some speculate there is a genetic component involved. No matter the specific type of stutter or the underlying reason, our Fort Myers speech therapists can help treat it.

Different Types of Stuttering

Stuttering is what’s known as a “fluency disorder.” As noted by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA), someone who has a fluency disorder knows what they want to say, but has difficulty speaking in a way that is flowing, or fluid. They might say parts of the word or a whole word repeatedly. There might be an awkward pause between words. That’s stuttering, which is only one type of fluency disorder. There’s also “cluttering,” where one speaks rapidly and their words run together. Or they might say “um” with great frequency.