Gross Motor Play

Chris Angel Foundation

Chris Angel Foundation One of the patient populations that I encounter is those fighting cancer. It is heart wrenching to watch these children try to live normal lives in the midst of all they must endure. Through the years, I have donated to St. Jude’s, which I strongly believe in. I would encourage you to continue to donate to them; but I became aware of another foundation this week that you might be interested in. Chris Angel, known as The Mind Freak, is a master magician. He has been around for several years and has been named the top magician many times over. His story doesn’t end there. He has a two-year-old son that is battling cancer and he began a foundation. This foundation gives 100% of its profits to help kids battling cancer. I would encourage you to look at the link below and consider donating even if it’s just a dollar.   Chris Angel Foundation-click Here  

Side Lying Soapbox

Side lying After being a physical therapist for over 26 years, I’ve seen a large increase in the number of problems with development that might have been avoided if more emphasis were given to positioning a baby in side lying. This position is important for a myriad of reasons. –First of all it helps shape the head and may avoid helmet use later. –Second, this position gives the infant a way to stabilize and look at a toy when placed between their hands. –Another reason this position is wonderful is that it helps a child bring a toy into their visual field, even when they have very little use of their arms. –Maybe the child will pull the toy or rattle to their mouth to begin exploring, which is another wonderful activity and important for feeding and speech development. –This position also brings a child’s hands together at midline. This is the magical place where good things happen in the brain. The two sides of the brain can begin to talk to each other and help the child understand the world much better as well as learn to use her hands together to accomplish a task. If a child uses one arm more than the other (NEVER OKAY BEFORE AGE 4), you can position them with their favorite arm on the bottom and tucked in where they cannot “cheat” and allow them to use the less favorite arm that is on top. Many children resist this position but they must be taught how to stay in this position and learn to play here, even if only for a short time period. Use a toy to bat at or reach for OR put a soft toy […]

Tummy Time, Back To Sleep, and Container Babies

As a pediatric physical therapist that works almost exclusively in the 0 to 3-year-old population, I see a lot of delay that has no underlying reason. Of course delay is always something to be concerned about and should be monitored to see if there is an underlying reason; but I’m speaking to the undetermined undiagnosed delay today. Much of this delay I believe can be attributed to the Back To Sleep program. Although I do not wish to see this program discontinued because it is saving lives from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), I do feel that there needs to be some clarification and some emphasis given to parents. Most people understand the importance of tummy time. The problem is, children are almost always on their backs. We put them on their back in a bouncy seat, a swing, a car seat, etc. We have a catch phrase for this: “Container Babies” because they are always in some kind of container. Besides all the container time, now we put them to sleep on their back. That is a majority of their day and night! Now the little ones are used to being on their backs and when we try tummy time, many will cry because they may not be able to lift their head or push up enough to feel comfortable. This makes most parents or daycare workers not want to continue this position because the child is upset. There are a lot of different ways to accomplish this without direct tummy time. See the posts under the Gross Motor Skills for creative tummy time play.By the way, did you know that the current recommendation for accumulative tummy time is one hour a day? Not […]

Does my child need therapy?

If you are asking this question, you probably need a professional to tell you the answer. Most of the time, go with your gut. Have your child evaluated by a pediatric PT. Therapy is much easier when it is done sooner. A child left with any type of muscle imbalance or movement problem for a long time will end up with a list of problems later. Scooting to crawl is not cute, a “good baby” who never cries or tries to move is not normal, I could go on and on and on…So many times I hear the woes from parents who thought that their baby would just “grow out of it”. Your child will likely increase his or her skills but the way in which your child performs a skill can greatly affect his or her entire life, including cognitive development and later test scores. I don’t have the research pulled here to reference; but this has been well documented. Please look through my website for additional information or email me at I will gladly answer basic questions and help you know what to do next. Don’t wait until that crack in the dam is a raging flood…seek help now to give your child the best chance that you can.

Discharge from Physical Therapy

Discharge Day The smell of flowers blooming filled the air, as I walked to my car. I knew the day that I walked into their home for the first time that this day would come; but that doesn’t make it any easier. For the next several minutes, tears roll down my cheeks, as I try to pull myself together before I reach my next home. That family  needs me too. The child I just discharged was dear to my heart. I have been going to that house for over two years…laughed with them…cried with them…rejoiced with them. I am a pediatric PT and I work in the early intervention system, where I see the patients in their own homes. They all work their way into my heart and then the rules say that at age three…it all ends. I feel great about what we have accomplished together. Every milestone was celebrated and enjoyed to the fullest; but the child still needs so much more and I am no longer the one who will be there to help her learn. Thank goodness for the wonderful clinics that I have referred them to; but I don’t want to stop. There are so many joys in this job; but the sorrows are there too. As I arrived at the next house, I saw a small child peering out the front door, watching for me–it’s my next patient. The smile on her face makes the sorrow in my heart dim just a little…    


No, I don’t mean Normandy and WWII. I am talking about Diagnosis Day. As a therapist, I usually see the event coming and try to work with a family to help them understand what to expect as they go to each doctor’s visit. I am a “glass half full” kind of person, so I look at the beauty of each child I work with and the potential for what we can accomplish together. To me, it is not about what the piece of paper says, it is about working toward the goals set before us. I have said for years that a course in grief counseling for all therapists would be extremely beneficial. The stages of grief are not any different for a parent, as they accept the diagnosis of their child. They are in effect seeing the image of what they wished for their child be extinguished in one simple statement from a physician. Sometimes, the diagnosis may be something minor or mild; but even those parents are grieving too. For many parents, to protect and “take a bullet” for their child is as natural as breathing. When D-Day hits, the words strike the parent right through their heart; and there are very few ways that that can heal right away. Time and understanding, especially of the grieving process, is very valuable in learning how to handle these situations. I am a physical therapist; but I am also a mother. I fully understand the pain of watching a child struggle and not being able to help. The incredible resiliency of a child is remarkable and inspiring. When D-Day hits, remember that the child is the same child the day before, the day of, and […]

Playing with your baby

You have read all the baby books, talked to other mothers, and scoured the internet. How many times do you do this and then sit down, exhausted at the end of the day and realize that you didn’t have time to do any of it?   Let’s rethink it all. First, you can use every time you interact with your baby, whether you are carrying her, feeding her, bathing her, etc, to help her achieve her best. It doesn’t matter if you have all day with your baby or snippets of time around the family schedule and work, you have the ability to give her things she needs through simple interactions. As a pediatric physical therapist, I spend much of my day helping parents understand this simple principle: Every single thing you and your baby do together is a valuable learning experience. Thinking purely from a gross motor perspective, I can spout off something for every interaction to address a skill your baby needs. I can also give you suggestions for the other areas of development. Let’s look at an example: Head control: this is a very valuable skill that a baby needs in order to advance through to all the stages and finally walk. Here are ways to work on this during the day: Morning: you pick up your baby in a diagonal pattern by rolling her up on her elbow and into sitting and finally pick her up. By doing this, you are helping her learn to pick her head up and reduce any head lag (head “lags” behind if you pull her to sit). As she starts to participate with this, you can bring her  more in a straight pattern to sit […]

Early Intervention Course Available

NEW COURSE OFFERING Register now for the Louisville course to be held Feb 20, 2014 Click HERE to register  

Healthy Baby and Winter

Winter is really here…and so are all the nasty bugs (we will call them NB’s). Normally, I suggest getting out and keeping active; but I am telling all of my families to stay in as much as possible until the weather breaks enough to go outside. Avoiding the indoor play areas for awhile will significantly reduce your exposure to the nasty bugs that are seemingly everywhere this year.   Apparently, even the flu vaccination cannot protect you well this winter. Some of the strains that are more prevalent are not included in this year’s vaccination. There are so many other NB’s around as well, that I have really stressed keeping the kids home instead of in a public indoor play area.   If you must get out and cannot take it anymore, I totally understand. Just keep your little ones wiped down well–especially hands and faces. Wash your own hands a little more as well. Let’s not give the NB’s a chance to get your sweet little one sick.   Stay warm and stay healthy!   As always, send your questions to    

New Year’s Diet: The Toddler Diet

The Toddler Diet   People are always on the lookout for a new diet. The trouble with most diets is that you don’t get enough to eat (the starvation diet), you don’t get enough variation (the liquid diet) or you go broke (the all-meat diet). Consequently, people tend to cheat of their diets, or quit after 3 days. Well, now there’s the new Toddler Miracle Diet. Over the years you may have noticed that most two year olds are trim. Now the formula to their success is available to all in this new diet. You may want to consult your doctor before embarking on this diet, otherwise, you may be seeing him afterwards. Good Luck! !! DAY ONE Breakfast: One scrambled egg, one piece of toast with grape jelly. Eat 2 bites of egg, using your fingers; dump the rest on the floor. Take 1 bite of toast, then smear the jelly over your face and clothes. Lunch: Four crayons (any color), a handful of potato chips, and a glass of milk (3 sips only, then spill the rest). Dinner: A dry stick, two pennies and a nickel, 4 sips of flat Sprite. Bedtime snack: Throw a piece of toast on the kitchen floor. DAY TWO Breakfast: Pick up stale toast from kitchen floor and eat it. Drink half bottle of vanilla extract or one vial of vegetable dye. Lunch: Half tube of “Pulsating Pink” lipstick and a handful of Purina Dog Chow (any flavor). One ice cube, if desired. Afternoon snack: Lick an all-day sucker until sticky, take outside, drop in dirt. Retrieve and continue slurping until it is clean again. Then bring inside and drop on rug. Dinner: A rock or an uncooked […]