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

Welcome to our April 2018 Newsletter! As always, we are thrilled to share interesting topics related to occupational therapy and suggest some ideas and activities for children, families, teachers, and colleagues.

April is a very significant month for the field of occupational therapy. We celebrate the great contribution of OT practice, occupational therapists, and OT assistants to the community. The field of occupational therapy has been consistently successful in promoting exemplary therapeutic intervention, advocating quality of life, and making a strong impact to individuals and families across the nation and global population.

This month, we will feature a new primitive reflex called the Palmar Reflex (PR) or sometimes called the "grasping reflex". The palmar reflex is the automatic closing of fingers to grasp an object and should integrate by five to six months. This reflex influences a child's handwriting and fine motor skills .

We will also feature another fun "DIY project" that will help strengthen fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination. Lastly, we will introduce a new series about PRAXIS (motor planning and sequencing) that is used in OT.

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 April 2018 Issue
Featured reflex of the month: 
Palmar Reflex is a primitive reflex that occurs as early as 16 weeks into the gestation period and remains visible up to five or six months after birth. If you place an object or stroke the palm of an infant's hand, the normal reflex would be closing or flexing of the fingers. The grip strength and release of grip may vary. Alternatively, the hand opens when you stroke the back or the side of a child's hand.
If the palmar reflex is retained past approximately 2-4 months, a child may have difficulty performing activities that require fine motor and manipulation skills, as well as specific movements like grasping or releasing an object. Poor handwriting is also very common. A child could also potentially develop the habit of sticking out his or her tongue while writing or drawing.
DIY Project of the month
"Tugging Box"
Build a project with your child! Try this activity that will enhance fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and problem-solving skills. Let the curious mind discover and explore!
*Cardboard box
*Various lengths of ribbon, strips of felt and/or pipe cleaners
*Sticky tape
*Paint (optional)
How to make a DIY tugging box for young toddlers
  1. Puncture holes into a box and paint
  2. Thread various lengths of ribbon through two holes and tie knots at the ends. Use a pipe cleaner to help with threading.
  3. Seal box with tape
The various ribbons, felt strips and large pipe cleaners create a wonderful sensory experience and provide time feeling the textures and the little knots on the ends.
The pipe cleaners help improve hand/eye coordination and fine motor skills. It also tests the child's strategic planning and execution, as well as focus and patience in performing a complex task.
"Starting a Conversation with your OT"
"What is PRAXIS?"
What is PRAXIS?

Execution of motor skills involves planning and ordering new actions (known as praxis). It involves first generating an idea of what you want to do (ideation), figuring out how you are going to do it and the steps required (motor planning and sequencing) and then doing or carrying out what you wanted to do (execution). Integration and processing of sensory input (e.g. touch, movement, vision, hearing) are required for adequate motor planning and sequencing. People with difficulties with motor planning and sequencing may have to think harder to complete new physical tasks due to poorly integrated information from the sensory systems.

Why is PRAXIS important?

Praxis is important to enable a child to perform many everyday tasks such as walking, running, playing on a playground and playing sports. Praxis skills are also required for everyday self care tasks such as dressing and eating, and impacts a child’s ability to organize him/herself and learn new routines. Poor praxis can also influence skills required to achieve in an academic setting such as writing, drawing and cutting.

What are the building blocks necessary to develop planning and sequencing (praxis)?

*Muscular strength: An ability to exert force against resistance.

*Motor planning: The ability to move the body with appropriate sequencing and timing to perform bodily movements with refined control.

*Motor (Physical) learning: A change in physical performance resulting from practice or past experience.

*Postural control: The ability to stabilize the trunk and neck to enable coordination of other limbs.

*Sensory processing: Accurate registration, interpretation and response to sensory stimulation in the environment and one’s own body.

*Body awareness: Knowing body parts and understanding the body’s movement in space in relation to other limbs and objects.

*Balance: The ability to maintain position whether it is static, dynamic (moving) or rotational.

*Coordination: Ability to integrate multiple movements into efficient movement.

*Executive Functioning: Higher order reasoning and thinking skills.
SOTH gives back to the community
Skills on the Hill is a proud sponsor of Arlington Food Assistance Center, Yorktown High School Junior Varsity Softball, & Arlington Girls Softball Association .
Dimensions : 83'W x 7"D x 77"H
Frame weight : 35lbs.
Weight capacity : 200 lbs. 
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. 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. 

* 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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*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