Getting active over the holidays

Another school holiday is around the corner, which often means relaxing in front of the telly, playing games on consoles/ipad/mobiles/computers and being less physically active. Though children need their holiday breaks from school and homework it is still important to make sure that they are keeping up their daily recommended physical activities of 60 minutes a day.

How will your children be meeting the recommended activity levels of 60 min per day during the dark winter days? It is as important for them to get their physical activities and fresh air during the winter as during the summer. We need to ask ourselves, are we as active as we should be? Or do parents/carers need to be more proactive to get the children out and about during the winter months? What physical activities can be done indoors?

Physical activity doesn’t need to involve organised training sessions or cost a lot of money. The most important things are to get it into a regular routine on a daily basis, have fun and move together. A sedentary lifestyle can easily be turned around if we as adults take more responsibility to find interesting ways of keeping the children physically active. For a child with special needs, who may need help to be able to move or interact socially as well as his/her peers, it can be more difficult to get involved in physical activities. It is then even more important that the adults in their close surroundings get involved to help them find ways to move and interact.

I hope reading this will give you all a few tips and ideas in how to increase each child’s (and adults) activity levels.

Physical activity will help improve everyone’s fitness level, strength, coordination, balance, endurance as well as social development, improving control over symptoms of anxiety and depression, improved appetite and often also has a positive impact on sleep.

Yes, it is cold to go to the playground during the winter, however there is a great way of keeping warm, which is moving 😊 as well as dressing in layers. If the playground environment is too busy for your child, explore other ways to be active and go out and enjoy the lovely nature Ireland has to offer. However, if you are out after the dark, make sure you are all wearing reflecting gear to stay safe!

Start with short periods of physical activities which can be spaced out through the day, it all adds up if we make it regular. Make a physical activity chart with your child that you together can tick off how much physical activity is gained over the day, week, months….. and gradually build up to be getting at least 60 min per day. Below are some general ideas about how to get started, then you will adapt and find your own activities that suits the child/children and your family life, involve everyone in making the plans as then it is more likely to be a joint happy result.

Walk to the park/school/shop, or at least part of the way, maybe park the car a block away from the school and walk the the last distance.

Include children in walking the dog, if you have one, ask them to help with the cleaning and shopping.
Turn TV advertisement into exercise break, e.g. Jumping Jacks, sit to stand repeatedly (with or without assistance depending on their level of mobility), walking with high knees on the spot, wall push up’s, crab race, rolling and more, only your imagination is the limit.

Make family trips to the playground, park, beach, forest a regular activity. Make them fun not just an ordinary walk, e.g. make up games; how many different colour objects can you find and collect, who can get up the hill in the most different ways, running, jumping, bear walking, make up stories together as you walk, play games as ‘I-spy’, Hide-and-seek, play catch…

Bring some equipment with you to the park, for example badminton can be played everywhere and you don’t need the net. A ball can be used for a number of different games, throwing, kicking, target games, bouncing, teamplay/interaction, how many different ways can you pass the ball to each other e.g. throw, roll, kick, hand it over by your hands from over your head, between your legs, to the side. Play with a frisbee, fly a kite (you can make your own kite at home before you head out) or collect sticks while out and about to make the Kite with when you get back home to fly the following day.

Get some chalk; draw hopscotch on the drive way, draw throwing targets on the ground, which can be labelled with numbers to see who can get the highest score, or label with a specific activity e.g. circle = 10 high jumps, square = hop on one leg and so on. When you are finished the activity get the kids involved to clean the chalk away, so a new game/activity can be drawn the next time.

Get their bikes and scooters out to be used also during the winter.
Go swimming

Remember that children learn from what adults do, so set a good example and join in. Also, it is ok to get dirty and wet, bring wipes in your bag so they can wipe their hands (and clothes) if needed, always make sure you have a set of dry change of clothes in the car and clothes can be thrown into the washing machine when back at home.

However, if the weather is stopping you from venturing outside, physical activities can be carried out at home. Wheelbarrow and crab races can be fun activities.
If you have stairs at home use them to add physical activity (but make sure everyone is safe going up and down, give assistance and support when required); make up games e.g. hide objects upstairs and asked them to go and find it and return down with it and give them the next object to go and find.

Make puzzles on the floor, place some of the pieces to the puzzle on the table so they have to get up and down of the floor to finish it.
Obstacle courses (a good activity for outdoors as well) , don’t touch the ground and so on
Hide-and-seek
Dancing
Play musical statues

Typically developing children generally start off with good postures in life, however this can be altered over the years by bad habits and inactivity which can lead to future back/neck and joint pain. Let’s try to prevent this if we can.

Remember, exercise should be enjoyable for anyone. If you or your child are experiencing pain or discomfort during activities please stop and get advice from a healthcare professional.

References and helpful links to look up
https://www.csp.org.uk/system/files/fit_for_the_future_kids_leaflet_northern_ireland_1_0.pdf
https://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/publications/recommendations5_17years/en/
https://iswim.ie/en/offer/halliwick-swimming-group-lessons/

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Contacts:

Clare Salley, Therapy Tree, Unit F18, The Pottery Business Centre, Pottery Road, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. 01 2788877  

 

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Physiotherapy job opportunity

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Therapy Tree is a private multidisciplinary service, exclusively working with children under the age of 18. We strive to provide the highest standard of care to children and families with a wide range of conditions.

We are currently recruiting:  physiotherapist 2 days per week (16 hours) based in our Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin clinic (hours may be negotiable)

Closing Date: Friday 16th February 2018

Salary: depending on experience

We can offer a rewarding career to a professional who is dedicated to working with children and families and providing high quality, evidence based intervention.

 

Job description

We have an exciting opportunity for a Physiotherapist based in our Dun Laoghaire clinic 16 hours per week (worked over 2 days)

The Role:  The purpose of the role is to provide a high quality physiotherapy service to the children and families within our service both in the clinic and in clients homes.

The successful candidate will have:

Essential Criteria:

  • A recognised validated University Degree or Diploma or an equivalent qualification in Physiotherapy.
  • Be a member of or be eligible to be a member of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists
  • Eligible for CORU registration
  • A minimum of 2 years full time experience working in paediatrics.
  • Full clean drivers licence and own car

 

Desirable Criteria: 

  • Experience of Interdisciplinary team working.
  • Relevant post graduate training specific to paediatrics
  • Experience working with children with complex disabilities

We would love to hear from you if you have a passion for working with our organisation and have the relevant experience/skills required for the role.

 

The successful candidate will be working as part of a multidisciplinary team, providing physiotherapy both in the clinic and in client’s homes as required. Liaison with other services, assessment and report writing will also form a significant part of the role.

Training: The successful candidate will be expected to take part in in-house training, A yearly CPD allowance will also be provided

Reporting structure: The successful candidate will report directly to the lead physiotherapist and indirectly to the directors of Therapy Tree MDT services ltd

Supervision: The successful candidate will be provided with regular clinical supervision, however will be expected to be able to manage their own caseload independently

Probation period: 6 months

Annual leave: 24 days per annum pro rata

Pension: access to a pension scheme will be provided

 

 

We’re Hiring

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Therapy Tree is a private multidisciplinary service, exclusively working with children under the age of 18. We strive to provide the highest standard of care to children and families with a wide range of conditions.

Job description

We have an exciting opportunity for a Speech and Language Therapist based in our Dun Laoghaire clinic. Flexible part-time hours available (minimum of 2.5 days up to 4 days). Potential for full time hours as the company grows.

The Role:  You will be required to work in partnership with other members of the multidisciplinary team to provide a high quality speech and language therapy service to the children and families within our service.

Essential Criteria:

  • A Speech and Language Therapy qualification recognised by the IASLT
  • Membership with or eligibility to be a member of the IASLT
  • Registration with CORU
  • Permission to work in Ireland
  • Ability to manage own caseload and organise time effectively
  • Ability to contribute positively to service development
  • A minimum of 2 years full time experience working in paediatrics.
  • Evidence of a commitment to CPD
  • Excellent communication, initiative, time management and teamwork skills

 

Desirable Criteria: 

  • Experience of interdisciplinary team working
  • A recognised postgraduate qualification in dysphagia
  • Practice in the area of  paediatric dysphagia
  • Experience working with children with complex disabilities

We would love to hear from you if you have a passion for working with children and their families and have the relevant experience/skills required for the role.

The successful candidate will be working as part of a multidisciplinary team, providing speech and language therapy both in the clinic and occasionally in client’s homes as required. Liaison with other services, assessment and report writing will also form a significant part of the role.

Training: The successful candidate will be expected to take part in in-house training.  A yearly CPD allowance will also be provided

Reporting structure: The successful candidate will report directly to the lead speech and language therapist and indirectly to the directors of Therapy Tree MDT services Ltd.

Supervision: The successful candidate will be provided with regular clinical supervision, however will be expected to be able to manage their own caseload independently

Probation period: 6 months

Annual leave: 24 days per annum pro rata

Pension: access to a pension scheme will be provided

 

 

Closing date for applications: 16th of February

 

 

 

Suitable toys for young speech and language learners (ages 0-6 years)

Suitable toys for young speech and language learners (ages 0-6 years)

Christmas is coming and letters to Santa will be written soon. I have collated a list of toys that I think are really good to buy for your little ones who are developing their language skills. This list is most suitable for children from 0-6 years. You will notice that they may not be the ‘best-selling’ toys but the following list of goodies should allow your child to develop their imagination and learn lots of language while having fun. I have included examples of some of the toys but any toy similar to the description will suffice.

To make the most out of the toys it is really important that you play with your toddler/child, remember you are your child’s best role model and teacher and children learn through play!

Stacking cups are a wonderful toy for any toddler. You can use them to teach your child early language skills such as object permanence; hide a small toy under a stacking cup and get them to find it.  Other early skills that you can practice with stacking cups include turn taking, imitation, cause and effect. These cups are also great for teaching your child, size and shape concepts: (big, small, biggest, round etc), prepositions, (in out, on top), vocabulary (empty, full, colours).

Blocks are another basic toy that every child will enjoy. Playing with simple blocks will encourage your child to use their imagination and provide you with an opportunity to teach them lots of different vocabulary depending on what you ‘build’. Blocks also create a meaningful play experience between you and your child, you can build things together and take turns. Keep the blocks you choose simple. I like these: http://www.toysonline.ie/products/50-wooden-blocks-in-a-box?variant=1046156889

Simple soft balls will  present lots of fun for you and your toddler. Simply rolling a ball back and forth teaches your toddler lots of skills essential for communication development such as the development of eye contact, initiation, joint attention and turn taking. This activity also provides a vocabulary building opportunity (e.g. soft, hard, big, small, colours). You can also use the ball activities to teach your child verb words (e.g. throw, catch, kick). This simple soft ball has a rattle in it which will help engage and increase your child’s attention. https://www.toysandgames.ie/product/soft-rattle-ball/

Music toys: For young babies and toddlers use toys that make music, bells, shakers, xylophones. Children learn language through music. These toys can also be used to encourage turn-taking, teach cause and effect and many other early language skills. An example:  https://www.toysandgames.ie/product/early-melodies-rainbow-xylophone/

Books: You probably already know that books help children learn words. They also create precious opportunities for interaction between you and your child. Talk about the pictures as well as reading the words. Ask ‘what if’ questions to get your child to develop flexible thinking and inferencing skills.

For younger children books are a great way to teach vocabulary, build interaction skills and develop attention. Have your toddler turn the page. Look at pictures together and make comments about what you see. React to the part of the book/picture that your toddler is interested in. Always chose books with fewer words and more pictures for younger children. I really like “Usbourne touchy feely” books. They have a lovely selection of ‘that’s not my’ books. They are available in most book stores for children.

Colouring/painting/playdough: toys or activities that keep children in the same place completing a task that they are interested in are great for building attention. As always, use this opportunity to talk to your child about what they are doing and teach them new vocabulary.

Traditional/’Real Life’ toys: In my opinion having a selection of the following traditional toys are essential for your child’s social and language development:

  • Baby Dolls
  • Doll houses
  • Garage sets
  • Cars (ones that do not make noise, let your child make the noise!)
  • Farm sets
  • Tea sets
  • Kitchen sets
  • Tool kit

These toys all allow children to emulate real life and use imaginative and pretend play.  Real life toys will support language learning and meaningful interactions between you and your child. They will support:

Vocabulary development: animals, food, parts of the body, kitchen items

Whole/part relationships: parts of the car, parts of each toy

Verbs: washing, cooking, driving etc

Wh_ questions: ‘who is driving the car?’ ‘what are you cooking?

Social interaction: all of these toys encourage back and forth communication, you can take turns playing each role.

These real life toys are also wonderful for your child’s social development. Playing with these toys encourages them to share, initiate interactions, maintain topics, ask and answer questions.

Happy shopping!

Clare

Hand Skills in the first year

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Infant development in the first year Blog Series

The first year is a time of rapid development. It is an important opportunity to lay down good foundations of development for your baby to go on and refine their skills in all areas.  Milestone charts are helpful as a guide however they should not be used as a definitive tool to assess your baby’s development. All babies are individual and develop skills at different rates. The important thing is that you can see your baby progressing and they are showing signs of developing new skills month by month.

 

In the first year you are getting to know your baby and personality traits and characteristics (perhaps from one parent or both) become apparent at this time. Developing a secure attachment with your infant and becoming attuned to their needs will help them to become a content baby who is constantly growing, adapting and learning new skills. The role of a newborn in the first three months is learning how to self regulate outside the womb. Your role as a parent is to help them do this. By looking at your baby’s behaviours as their language you can learn what your baby is telling you and how they are feeling. For example if they are happy and content they will have a good colour, their eyes will be bright and focused or perhaps if they are overwhelmed they might look away, be red or pale in the face.

 

 

Hand skills:

 

1-4 months: Your baby will start to bring their hands to midline, picking at their clothes and putting their hands in their mouths. They can grasp objects (reflex) however they have no true release. Encourage your baby to bat for toys in their play gym. To encourage development of their hand- eye coordination skills and exploratory touch give them light rattles like O-Balls, Hallit rattle, plastic links, black and white baby books, mirrors, textured toys.

 

6 months: Your baby’s hand skills are becoming more coordinated and stronger although they are still not refined. They can transfer toys hand to hand, holds an object in each hand, hold and bang a spoon, tend to grasp with their whole hand and sometimes with fingers in a scissors like grip. Play suggestions include Duplo bricks to bang together, stacking rings and cups, and wooden blocks. Your baby maybe weaning onto some solid foods around now and food can be a very motivating way for your baby to refine their hand skills; exploring and sticking their fingers in purees or chewing on a piece of baby biscuit.

 

8-12 months: Your baby’s hand skills are more refined now. They can pick up small items using a pincer grip (between thumb and index finger), can isolate their index finger to point and poke. At around 10 months old your baby has developed a voluntary release so they will love ‘casting” picking up and throwing toys on the ground. Encourage your baby to play with toys such as shape sorters, picture books with holes and flaps, toys with buttons to press. Your baby may start to show a preference for one hand over the other by the end of their first year however hand dominance is not fully established until 5 years old.

 

Movement skills in the first 3 months, what to expect and how to encourage them:

 

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Movement skills in the first 3 months, what to expect and how to encourage them:

It is important to remember is that every baby is unique and develop movement skills in their own time. Paediatric physiotherapists use movement milestones to help us identify any infants who might need a bit of help but we also take into account how the child moves and what progress they are making.

This is a guide to what to expect with a few hints to help you promote movement skills with your baby:

 

Birth to 3 months:

By birth your baby will already have been practicing movement for months in the womb. He will already be able to kick and bring his hand to his face. He won’t have developed head control though and his head will need to be supported. Most babies will be in a curled up position, with their arms and legs flexed inwards towards the body.

In the first three months your baby will start to move his arms and legs away from the body more, and with increasing control. He should start to alternate his limbs in kicking movements, but he should not be moving one side more than the other. By three months he should be able to control his head when you pick him up and hold him. He also might be starting to bat at toys and hold them if placed in his hands.

What to look out for:

For babies safety they should always be put to sleep on their backs. However babies can often have a preference for turning their head to one side more than the other. This can lead to flattening of the skull on one side (plagiocephaly). To help avoid this try putting your baby to sleep on his back but alternating the side his head is turned to every time you put him down. Also think of the position of the cot or Moses basket, is he turning his head to hear or see his parents? If so you could change his position in the room. Positioning a mobile with black and white/primary colours on his cot could also help to encourage turning his head to the other side.

Paediatric Physiotherapists love tummy time! It is a great position to help your baby develop head control, and valuable movement skills that they will need when they are older. It also helps prevent flat heads. You can also start supervised tummy time right from birth, and the earlier you start the better. Always put your baby on his tummy when he is awake and supervised (and not straight after a feed!) The Irish Society of Chartered physiotherapist have a lovely leaflet on tummy time that can be accessed here:

https://www.iscp.ie/sites/default/files/TummyTime%20with%20your%20baby.pdf

If you find your baby struggles to turn his head to one side, is needing a lot of head support at 3 months, or is moving one side more than the other you should talk to your paediatric physiotherapist, public health nurse or GP.

Judith

For more information or to book an appointment call 01 2788877 or email judith@therapytree.ie

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BABY MASSAGE & DEVELOPMENTAL GROUP FOR PRETERM BABIES

 

Are you a parent of a premature baby (born at less than 36/40 weeks?

 

If yes you might be interested in attending a five-week baby massage and developmental class in Mount Merrion, Co. Dublin run by two Paediatric Occupational Therapists. (OT)

 

Who we are?

 

Amy & Nicola are two OTs who have 18 years experience between them of working in the area of children’s occupational therapy. They are looking to further develop therapy services for Ireland’s smallest babies. From our experience we recognise the need for support for babies and parents following discharge from the acute setting.

 

What we offer?

 

This group is a closed group, which will take once a week for 90 minutes over the course of five weeks.

 

As trained Certified Infant Massage Instructors (CIMI) Amy & Nicola will teach you how to massage your baby using the International Association of Infant Massage techniques. They will also be providing information and discussion about some of the following topics:

  • Getting to know your baby and how they communicate with you
  • Your baby’s sensory world
  • Motor development

 

How much does it cost?

 

€125 for five weeks. This includes course handouts, refreshments and oil.

Up to €100 claim may be redeemable by your private health insurance company depending on your plan.

 

If you are interested in attending this group please contact us

Amy: amy@therapytree.ie or 086-1947463

Nicola: Nicola@therapytree.ie or 0867765527

 

Neuro-rehabilitation

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Neuro-rehabilitation
 
What is Neuro- Rehabilitation?
Neuro- Rehabilitation is an intensive individualised programme designed to address neurological difficulties following brain or spinal cord injuries. It aims to maximise participation in activities of daily living and minimise difficulties your child may be having as a result of their injury. The team aims to help infants and children reach their potential in all areas of development by providing a multi-disciplinary team approach to assist with physical, cognitive, behavioural, and social difficulties.
At Therapy Tree our Neuro-Rehabilitation programme involves multi-disciplinary team input. Following your child’s initial team assessment, a personalised goal focused therapy plan will be developed to best meet your child and family’s needs. 
Who we are:
The Therapy Tree team are an experienced multi-disciplinary team comprising Neuropsychology, OT, Physiotherapy & SLT who have a background in Neuro-Rehabilitation. We have extensive expertise working with infants and children with acquired brain and spinal cord injuries. 
Who can refer? 
Parents are welcome to self-refer to this programme. With your permission we will request background information (e.g. child’s medical and therapy reports) as part of the initial consultation or assessment process. We also take referrals from General Practitioners, Consultants and other healthcare professionals.
If you are interested in this programme, please contact us directly to discuss if this would be beneficial to your child. 
info@therapytree.ie