DC Phone: 202-544-5439 VA Phone: 703-243-4601
Fax: 202-379-1797 Email: info@skillsonthehill.com

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone! Welcome to our January 2018 Newsletter! We are so thrilled to share relevant topics about occupational therapy and activity ideas for families, teachers, and colleagues.

This month, we will highlight another motor reflex known as the Moro Reflex, which is very important to body regulation and movement. This primitive reflex impacts coordination and a protective response. Also, we continue with the series on "myths" about feeding and discuss the hierarchy of eating.

Lastly, as we embark on a new year, we suggest a very simple activity that you can do with kids.

We appreciate any feedback, comments, or suggestions from you regarding this newsletter. Send us a note!

Enjoy reading!


Kristen Masci and the SOTH Staff

Newsletter January 2018 Issue
As we explained in December’s newsletter, a reflex is an  involuntary  or automatic movement in response to a particular stimulus or combination of stimuli.
Featured reflex of the month: 
The MORO Reflex (aka Startle Reflex)
A reflex that is present in infants that should be integrated as we grow, is the Moro reflex. In newborns, the Moro reflex response occurs when we hear loud, unexpected sounds. The hands and arms go out, the back arches slightly and the head tilts back, as seen here. The Moro reflex aids us in protection as infants. This reflex should also integrate and be the foundation for the Startle reflex as we grow. If the Moro is retained, this can significantly impact performance Imagine a person with a retained Moro reflex and how they would respond when driving a car---then someone honks a horn at them or an ambulance siren is suddenly heard. Throwing your hands in the air may save you as an infant, but endanger you as an adult.
Do you have a new year's resolution? Some people make a list of things they want to improve or change in their lifestyles and work on it throughout the year. It usually includes personal goals and plans to achieve those goals. Now is a good time to encourage your kids to set their own objectives too. Just make sure you help them set realistic goals and expectations. Use the template below to create one!
(You may click on this LINK to print)
Source: ToolsToGrow.OT
"Starting a Conversation with your OT"
Myth #3: Eating is easy.

TRUTH: Eating is the MOST complex physical task that human beings engage in. It is the ONLY human task which requires every one of your organ systems, and requires that all of those systems work correctly. In addition, EVERY muscle in the body is involved (one swallow for example, takes 26 muscles and 6 cranial nerves to coordinate). Plus, eating is the ONLY task children do which requires simultaneous coordination of all 8 of our sensory systems. Learning, development, nutrition and the environment also have to be integrated in to make sure a child eats correctly.
Myth #4: Eating is a two step process; 1 = you sit down, 2 = you eat.

TRUTH: There are actually about 25 steps for typically developing children and 32 steps or more for children with feeding problems in the process of learning to eat (see the Steps To Eating).
(By Dr. Kay Toomey, PhD)
  • being in the same room
  • being at the table with food on the other side of the table
  • being at the table with food 1/2 way across the table
  • being at the table with the food approximately in front of the child
  • looks at food when directly in front of child
  • assists in preparation/set up with food
  • uses utensils or a container to stir or pour food/drink
  • uses utensils or container to serve self

Step 3: SMELLS
  • odor in room
  • odor at table
  • odor directly in front of child
  • leans down or picks up to smell
Step 4: TOUCH
  • fingertips, finger pads
  • whole hand
  • chest, shoulder
  • top of head
  • chin, cheek
  • nose, underneath nose
  • lips
  • teeth
  • tip of tongue, full tongue
Step 5: TASTE
  •  licks lips, tongue licks food
  •  bites off piece & spits out immediately
  •  bites piece, holds in mouth for “X”
seconds & spits out
  •  bites, chews “X” times & spits out
  •  chews, partially swallows
  •  chews, swallows with drink
  •  chews and swallows independently
Finally: EATING
SOTH gives back to the community
Skills on the Hill is a proud sponsor of the Angelman Syndrome Foundation. ASF raises awareness and treatment of Angelman syndrome through education and information, research, and support for individuals with Angelman syndrome, their families.

Click HERE to learn how you can help!

* Please arrive on time for scheduled sessions. Contact the therapist or the office ahead of time should there be any changes.

* Check our website  BLOG! Please "LIKE" us on  Facebook and Pinterest   pages for more updates and the latest news. 

*Feel free to write a review in YELP
Thank you parents and families! We appreciate your support.

Kristen Masci 
(202) 544 5439 / (703) 243 4601
Capitol Hill Office
405 8th St, NE
Washington, DC 20002

Arlington Office
3508 Lee Hwy
Arlington, VA 22207