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“What Early Intervention Has Meant to My Family”

The following is an essay that a mom of one of my soon-to-be-discharged early intervention kiddos wrote for a contest through the NJ Early Intervention program. Not only did she win the contest (yay!), but it conveys to parents the hope that early intervention can bring to a family and the difference that therapy early on can make in a child’s life.

If I had to sum up in one word what The NJ Early Intervention System has meant to our family, its hope. When our youngest son Jonathan was born prematurely and soon after found to have hypotonia and both fine and gross motor delays we were so worried. What did this mean for his future? Would he ever catch up? What could we do to help him? So many concerns ran through our minds initially and then as we began our relationship with the early intervention program we began to find some answers and more importantly we began to find some hope. Read more

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Discussion on “Does Your Baby Have Autism?” by Teitelbaum and Teitelbaum

As a pediatric physical therapist specializing in developmental disabilities, I have worked with a lot of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) over the past 10 years. After several months of physical therapy, I frequently saw how related areas of development, such as communication and social skills, would improve after addressing their motor deficits. Read more

When Therapy Is No Longer Therapeutic

As summer approaches I have been working on my summer schedule with all my families. This is always a scheduling challenge, but more importantly it brings up a lot of big questions. Read more

Happy Mother’s Day SuperMoms

Regular moms vs Special needs moms

Moms, a stranger walks among you. We look like regular moms, but we are the hybrid to your standard engine. Our child’s disability altered us, enhanced us. Many words describe us: resilient, creative, protective, emboldened, sympathetic, fierce and determined. We are special needs moms. How do our lives stand apart from your own? Take a look under the hood and see for yourself.

by Dawn Villarreal, One Place for Special Needs, May 2010

Read more

Attention Deficit Disorder?

When you think of a child with Attention Deficit Disorder you picture a child who can’t sit still, pay attention or follow directions. Maybe you picture a little boy bopping around the classroom or a little tazmanian devil running circles around his mom and dad. Read more

Is W-Sitting Really One of the 7 Deadly Sins?

W-Sitting Picasso

A few days ago a friend came up to me in music class and asked “so, what’s with the w-sitting?”

She recently read an article in a parenting magazine that said w-sitting was harmful to the hips and knees and limits trunk development.  Of her 2 year old twins one was a frequent w-sitter and now my friend was making herself NUTS trying to fix her feet all day long!  Read more

Motor Deficits in Children with Autism and Related Disorders

Joni Daichman, MSPT, Tracy Cueli-Dutil, DPT and Roberto Tuchman, M.D

Paper presented at the Geneva Centre Internal Symposium on Autism, Toronto, Canada (October 2002)

There has been an increased interest in the relationship between motor function, cognition, attention, language development and social communication disorders over the last few years.(Gillberg 1998; Landgren, Kjellman et al. 1998; Kadesjo and Gillberg 1999) The purpose of this brief report is to review the sensorimotor system as it applies to autism and related disorders. In addition we will discuss and highlight the motor clinical findings in children with autism and related disorders and provide preliminary data on our own clinical experience.  Read more

Autism Spectrum Disorders and Physical Therapy: The Motor Connection

Originally published in Autism Spectrum, Winter 2005

Movement is an integral part of our social, emotional, and physical lives. A 4-month old excitedly kicks her arms and legs in response to the funny face dad makes, so he does it again. An 8-month old will crawl to retrieve her favorite rattle, shake it to hear the sound it makes, and then look at mom to share the experience with her. An 18 month-old takes moms hand, walks her to the kitchen, and says “juice” while pointing to the refrigerator. As a child grows, the length and complexity of movement sequences become more sophisticated. Read more

Autism In Haiti

The destruction in Haiti made me think about how children with autism and other disabilities are coping and surviving.  I found the following article on a center for children in Haiti with developmental disabilities.  The work they had done is so admirable, but now they are going to be starting over again.        

via Autism in Haiti | Autism Support Network.