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

Welcome to our February 2018 Newsletter! We are excited to share relevant topics about occupational therapy and activity ideas for families, teachers, and colleagues.

This month, we will highlight two more reflexes - ATNR (Assymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex) and STNR (Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflexes) which are very important to body regulation, muscle tone, and coordinated movement. These primitive reflexes are key elements to learning, reading, and cognitive development of children. We will also continue the series on "myths" about feeding.

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 February 2018 Issue
Featured reflexes of the month: 
This primitive reflex, also known as the "Fencing Reflex", appears in newborn babies and persists up to three-six months. The baby is typically positioned with the head turned on the left or right and the limbs on that side automatically extend, while the opposite limbs flex.

ATNR is significant in developing muscle tone and an efficiently functioning vestibular system, which is relevant to limb movement. This reflex also plays a vital role in eye-hand coordination, visual tracking, and reading which are important in performing tasks especially in school.
This primitive reflex develops during the first year of an infant's life and remains until two to three years of age. Trunk and limb positions are dependent on the head position. When the head is tilted back, both arms extend while both legs flex. When the head is bowed down, both arms flex while both legs extend.

According to experts, undeveloped or an unintegrated STNR is commonly associated with learning disabilities, coordination, or postural issues that also affect other developmental skills. Some children who retain this reflex often exhibit behavioral issues that are linked to ADHD such as fidgeting and attention problems.
FEBRUARY is LOVE month! Help your kids build their motor skills with these cool Valentine activity! You might enjoy this too!
(You may also click on this LINK to get more fun Valentine ideas for your kids)
*Pompoms, *Clothes pins, *Set of paints, *Paper, *Marker
Choose a marker and draw a large heart shape on a sheet of paper. Ask your kid to pick a close pin and grasp one of the pompoms using the thumb and index finger only.
Have your kid dip the pom pom ball in some paint and dab in on the heart drawing. Use different pompom size for variety.
Remind your kid to stay within the lines of the heart in this activity.
POMPOM HEARTS is a great way to improve your kid's fine motor skills for handwriting.
"Starting a Conversation with your OT"
Myth #5: It is not appropriate to touch or play with your food.

TRUTH: Wearing your food is part of the normal developmental process of learning to eat it. You can learn a great deal about the foods, BEFORE they ever get into your mouth, by touching them and playing with them first. It is “play with a purpose” that teaches a child the “physics of the foods” before the foods ever get into their mouth. Being messy is an important part of learning to eat.
Myth #6: If a child is hungry enough, he/she will eat. They will not starve themselves..

TRUTH: This is true for about 94-96% of the pediatric population. For the other 4-6% of the pediatric population who have feeding problems, they will “starve” themselves (usually inadvertently however). For the majority of children with feeding difficulties, eating doesn’t work and/or it hurts and NO amount of hunger is going to overcome that fact. Children are organized simply; if it hurts, don’t do it. If it doesn’t work; cry and/or run away. Also, for children who have skill or medical problems with eating, their appetite often becomes suppressed over time, such that they no longer respond correctly to appetite as a cue to eat a sufficient number of calories.
DIY Project of the month
This  DIY crash mat is a great toy for kids with sensory processing disorder or autism . It is very cheap and easy to make. It does not require sewing! How cool is that?

*Duvet cover with zipper
Stuff with a combination of:
*Pillows of any size (eg. body pillow) *Scraps of upholstery foam
*Comforters, blankets, or fluffy towels
*Large stuffed animals (NO plastic or hard parts)
*Bean bag chairs

Stuff the duvet with everything soft and fluffy from the list above. Try out crashing on the mat and ensure you do not hit a hard surface under it when you land. Fill up the duvet with more soft items if necessary. Make sure duvet is zipped and secured correctly. Let the kids crash!
SOTH gives back to the community
Skills on the Hill truly appreciates families, groups, individuals, or any advocates of community giving. We are so happy to announce that one of the families we serve made a generous donation of ONE portable swing frame for kids. Please contact Kristen if you are interested.

This indoor/outdoor portable swing frame can be used in a clinic, classroom or at home! Use with any standard swing seat. The frame is made of galvanized-steel pipe and features a wide, stable base. Frame conveniently folds away for easy storage. Note: Not to be left as a permanent structure outdoors. 
Dimensions : 83'W x 7"D x 77"H
Frame weight : 35lbs.
Weight capacity : 200 lbs. 

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

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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