Little Steps Pediatric Therapy News

October 2018


Happy Fall and Halloween!

Chicago Clinic - NOW OPEN!!!

1945 W Wilson Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

Little Steps will be volunteering on Friday, October 5,2018 at The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival 2018 4:00-7:00.

Come out and decorate pumpkins for a fun evening with the kiddos.

Our wonderfully talented Heidi Hansfield (Speech Therapist) is in an amazing play called "Kiss me Kate" at Big Noise Theatre in Des Plaines. Runs until October 7. CHECK IT OUT!!!

September 12 - Wilmette ribbon cutting ceremony

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October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month!

By: Brittney Ferrone, PT, DPT

Down Syndrome Awareness Month (DSAM) is an opportunity to spread awareness, inclusion, and advocacy throughout the community. It’s time we celebrate individuals with Down Syndrome and all of the joy and happiness they provide us!

Below is a variety of resources related to Down Syndrome and how to spread awareness, get involved, and help out especially in the Chicagoland area.

The National Association for Down Syndrome (NADS) is a great gateway to a host of different resources. The main website is:

Additional resources through NADS include:

· General facts about Down Syndrome:

· Publications for expectant parents:

· Publications on development for kids with Down Syndrome:

· As a family of a child with Down Syndrome you are entitled to a welcome basket at the time the baby is born sent to you by NADS. Attached is the link to refer/send a welcome basket to a newborn baby diagnosed with Down Syndrome:

Strategies to Expand Your Child’s Vocabulary

By: Quinn Goodwin

The changing weather brings about a variety of new vocabulary you can introduce your child to. Using techniques such expansion and extension while talking with your child can help them produce multi-word phrases and communicate more effectively.

Expansion techniques may be used to facilitate more complex sentence structures.

Example: While going for a walk outside the child may notice and label an object in their environment.

Child: “two doggies”

Dad: “I see two doggies.”

Extension techniques may be used to facilitate new vocabulary.

Example: While reading a book and the child is pointing out familiar pictures.

Child: “I see a flower!”

Mom: “I see the flower too. We call it a rose.”

Life Cycle of a Pumpkin

By: Quinn Goodwin

It’s hard to think of October without thinking of pumpkins and Halloween!

A great activity to do with your little ones is introducing them to the “Life Cycle of a Pumpkin.” This is a fun way to help your child learn about sequencing.

Help them cut out pictures of seeds, flowers, vines, and a pumpkin to put in order. Use language such as “first, second, third, and last” to practice sequencing events in the right order. Discuss the colors of the stages (brown seed, yellow flower, green vine, and orange pumpkin) and compare sizes between the small seed and large pumpkin.

Below you will find an example of a worksheet with this activity. Feel free to make your own or use one of the attached sheets. You can even use objects around your house instead of the pictures! For example, a small dried bean could represent a seed, yellow tissue paper may look like a flower, green pipe cleaners can become vines, and an orange pom pom can signify a pumpkin!

Halloween Gross Motor Activities

Activity #1: Pumpkin Smash!

  • Paper
  • Markers (or something to color with)


Draw pumpkins on 6-7 pieces of paper to use as stepping stones to jump on. You can lay out pumpkins in a 1-2-1 hopscotch pattern, or mix it up and spread them all around your room in order to smash the pumpkins! Modify activity by providing music and playing musical chairs with the pumpkins. Take away one pumpkin at a time and anyone who isn’t standing on a pumpkin when the music stops are out!

Activity #2: Ghost Toss!


  • Paper
  • Markers (to draw face on Ghost)
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • A ball or bean bag to toss with


Cut out paper ghosts to use as targets. Tape ghosts at various heights on a wall and create a spot several feet away to throw from. Use a small ball or beam bag to help scare away the ghosts! Modify activity by moving throwing from different spots and distances from the ghosts
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Strengthening little hands while having loads of fun is the number one goal here. Play dough is awesome for hand and finger strengthening.

What you need:

· googly eyes (smaller=harder, bigger=easier), baking pan (dollar store

· tweezers

· play dough (fresh or store bought, whatever you have)

· a bottle with small opening

Quick set up: Have child push the play dough into the pan. Next have them push the eyes in everywhere. Bury them, stick them in half way, flat, however you like

How to play: Take the tweezers and model the first one if your child is unsure how to hold them. Have them deposit each eye into the bottle without dropping it! When you are done, feel free to play around with the eyes and dough. Bring out play dough tools and other things to create a nice bit of free play!

Additional Activity: Roll 5-10 balls out of the play dough. Call out a number and have your child put that many eyes on the monster. When you are done put them in numerical order!