Little Steps Pediatric Therapy News

December 2019


Little Steps is looking to help families in need this holiday season. If you would like to donate toys, clothes, etc please contact THANK YOU!!!

GUESS WHAT?!?!....Minnie, Mickey, and Elf on the Shelf are coming to Little Steps!!!!

When: Sunday, December 9

Time: 10am-1pm

Come hang out and get your picture taken with Minnie, Mickey, and Elf on the Shelf!

Please call or email Steve ( or 847-707-6744) to make a reservation!

Spots are filling up FAST!!

Social Skills camp is coming to Little Steps!

Who: Children who would benefit from improving social skills through peer interactions with the support of a speech-language pathologist and occupational therapist.

What: Social Skills camp is a 3-day camp where children will learn various

skills related to social communication. There will be activities and games, as well as a snack, to enhance the social skills of our campers.

The 3-4 year-old group will focus on the following functional social communication skills: Greetings, asking a child’s name, asking a friend to play, sharing toys, protesting if someone takes something away, and turn-taking.

The 5-7 year-old group will focus on the following functional social communication skills: Asking a friend to play, commenting, asking questions and responding.

Where: Little Steps Wilmette

1123 Greenleaf Ave Wilmette, IL 60091

When: Jan 2-4, 2019
3-4 year-olds: 9-11 am

5-7 year-olds:11am-1 pm

Cost: $125

W Sitting

By: Maura Illing, student of physical therapy doing her clinical rotation at Little Steps

Have you ever heard the term “W-sitting” and wondered what it is and why it can be so bad for your kids? W-sitting is a position kids may sit in where their bottom is on the floor and their knees are bent so their feet are behind them, forming a W shape with their legs. Kids might use this position as a transition between other positions as they are playing and can be a normal part of development. However, if it is habitual and the only position a child plays in, it can have several negative effects. (1)

  • · Posture: W-sitting is a stable position, which is why many kids may use this position in the first place. However, this discourages the use of postural muscles and encourages slouched posture. It is also very difficult to get any trunk rotation in this position. Kids who habitually w-sit are missing out on the chance to develop core strength and balance. (1)
  • · Muscle and bone: Frequently sitting in this position can cause the muscles around the hip, knee, and ankle to become tight. In addition, this position can cause hip dislocation or rotation of one of the bones in the lower leg (1)
  • · Lack of exploration: Because this position is so stable, it is difficult to transition in and out of it. Kids will tend to stay in this position and play in one spot instead of moving around their environment. It is also difficult to rotate their trunk and cross midline with their arms in this position, two important experiences for development! (2)

If you notice your child sitting in this position frequently, here are some easy strategies to correct W-sitting:

  • Use a verbal cue such as “fix your feet” or “feet in front”
  • Move their feet into a different position for them (pair this with the verbal cue so they learn to associate the cue with moving their feet)
  • Allow your child to try out several different positions to play in

Alternative playing positions (pictures of these positions can be found at

· Criss cross sitting

· Butterfly pose

· Long sit (legs extended out in front of them)

· Side sitting

· Tall kneel

· Sitting on stool

· Laying on tummy




Tips for A Healthy Voice During the Holidays

By: Jenny Van Konynenburg, CF-SLP

A child’s voice is the sound produced by the vibration of their vocal folds. Pediatric voice disorders are defined as an abnormal change in the pitch, loudness, or quality of the voice. Pediatric voice disorders most often result from injury to the vocal folds over time, usually due to excessive or harmful voice use.

Between holiday parties, caroling, school performances, and all around merriment, the holidays are filled with lots of opportunities for your little one to use their voice. Help keep their voices healthy by following these tips:

1) Hydration is important! Encourage your child to drink plenty of water, particularly before caroling, performing, or other voice related activities.

2) Consider using a humidifier at night. Our vocal cords like moisture, particularly during cold, dry nights.

3) Teach your child about appropriate volume levels. When you’re doing quiet activities, encourage your child to use “their quiet mouse voice.” If you’re outside playing, tell them it’s okay to use their “fun outdoor voice.” Try to minimize excessive screaming or yelling, as this behavior can be harmful to the voice over time.

4) Encourage family “quiet time” to take breaks from talking, particularly after events or situations that require lots of voice use. Dedicate 20-30 minutes to do “quiet” activities all together, such as reading or coloring.

5) If your child’s voice sounds hoarse or raspy for more than a few weeks, check in with your pediatrician.

Sledding Safety

By: Katie Knaapen, Student of Physical Therapy doing her clinical rotation at Little Steps

Sledding can be a fun way to get the whole family outside during a snowy winter! Taking these simple precautions can help keep your whole family safe on the sledding hill!

Choose the right hill:

· Look for hills that are snowy, not icy — ice makes for hard landings

  • Avoid overly crowded hills with too many sledders

· Find a hill that is not too steep and has a long flat area at the end for gliding to a stop

· Avoid hills that end near streets, parking lots, ponds, trees, fences, or any other hazards

· Make sure the hill is free of obstacles such as bumps, jumps, rocks, and trees before you start sledding

Simple safety tips:

  • Dress for the weather — warm layers can protect your children from the cold while adding an extra layer of protection from injury

· Talk to your children about the importance of watching out for other sledders while on the hill, and not running in front of other sledders

· Remind your children to walk up the sides of the hill, making sure not to walk through the path of other sledders

· Children under the age of 5 should always sled with an adult and sit facing forward on the sled

· Children under the age of 12 should wear a helmet at all times while sledding to help prevent head and neck injury

· Teach your children what to do if they lose control of their sled – roll off of the side of the sled and move to the side of the hill to avoid being hit by other sledders

· Only allow children to sled with appropriate supervision by a responsible adult who can administer first aid and get a child to a doctor if necessary — call 911 if there is a serious injury

A special thanks to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and for the above information!

Holiday Activities!

Holiday Decorating Using Prepositions

By Jenny Van Konynenburg, CF-SLP

It’s time to pull out your holiday decorations! As you start decorating this holiday season, consider using this time to practice prepositions with your little one.

While you set out your decorations, emphasize relevant prepositions such as “in” and “out,” “off” and “on,” “under” and “over,” “behind” and “in front.” Model these prepositions while setting gifts “under” the tree, hiding the elf “on” the shelf, or placing the candles “in” the menorah. Give your kids simple directions to follow, such as, “put the snowman next to the nutcracker.” You can also ask your child “where” questions to encourage them to respond using prepositions. For example, try asking your child, “Where should we put the gingerbread houses this year?” Happy decorating!

Let's play "Santa Says"

By Katie Knaapen, student of physical therapy doing her clinical rotation at Little Steps.

A holiday version of Simon Says...check it out!

Reindeer Bootcamp


  • Balance beam (or tape on the floor works as well!)
  • Cones
  • Scooter
  • Rope


  • Have your kids pretend to be reindeer in training! Participate in a variety of activities to practice skills needed to become one of Santa’s reindeers.

  • Activity 1: Rooftop Training: Practice walking around on a roof like reindeer by setting up balance beams. Try to walk across the balance beams without falling off. Modify activity by walking sideways, heel-to-toe, and bear crawling!

  • Activity 2: Obstacle Course: Practice flying through the forest like a reindeer while avoiding the trees. Set up cones in a line or a curved pattern and skip, run, hop, or gallop to practice flying like a reindeer!