Little Steps Pediatric News

January 2019



First of all, I want to say thank you for your patience the first week of the year as we verified insurances. Please keep your therapist's updated on any future changes to insurance.

Preschool Readiness Program

New Session starting: January 11, 2019

When: Fridays

Time: 9:30-10:30 - younger 2's, 10:30-12 - older 2's and 3's

Where: Glenview clinic (41 Waukegan Rd)

By: Vanesa Corado

The Preschool Readiness Program at Little Steps promotes early learning for children who have not yet met preschool age. The program tries to teach alongside the requirements elementary schools are most currently looking for. Our PRP works with various aspects that try to engage our children socially, intellectually, physically, and emotionally.

The program focuses on hands on activities so children can explore and learn in their environment to create curiosity and promote learning. Social interaction also creates a unique peer learning environment that encourages children to reach their highest potential. Activities are created alongside the children and their needs in order to reach achievement and ultimately academic success.

Our Preschool Readiness Program Practices:

  • Social Interaction
  • Peer Learning
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Gross Motor Skills
  • Pre-writing Skills
  • Pre-language Skills
  • Pre-Reading Skills
  • Math, Science, and Reading integrated activities
  • Aid in transitioning from activity to activity
  • Creating a positive learning environment

If interested please contact Steve at or 847-707-6744

Scissor Skills

By: Kristy Getty, MOT, OTR/L

Wintertime is a great opportunity to practice scissor skills with kiddos of all ages.

Scissor work is important because it requires foundational components such as

  • Postural stability
  • Hand strength
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Bilateral integration
  • Sequencing
  • Rhythm,
  • Attention.

These are skills that are also needed for success in play and learning!

Milestones and Activities for kids 2-5

2 years old:

  • Snips with scissors
  • Use plastic scissors to snip play doh
  • Snip plastic straws and then use the pieces to make a necklace
  • If your two-year-old is not ready to snip with scissors, provide opportunities to tear paper or tissue paper (this is a great pre-cutting skill)
3 years old:
  • Snips forward along a line to cut a piece of paper in half but not in a continuous motion
  • Start small and work your way up to a full piece of paper so that they are successful from the beginning. Example would be cutting a sticker in half, then a 2 inch square, then a thin strip of paper, and then a whole piece
4 years old:
  • Cuts along a straight line, then cuts along a curved line, then cuts out a circle (6 cm in diameter) staying within ¼ inch of the line
  • Create a snowman craft by drawing 3 different sized circles for your child to cut out. Then, they can glue it to another piece of paper and decorate with markers or paint!
  • Encourage cutting in a rhythmic, continuous motion by providing verbal cues to “chomp, open, push” while cutting
5 years old:
  • Cuts out a square, then cuts out a triangle, then cuts out a picture following the general shape
  • Draw various shapes for your child to cut out and then challenge them to glue them together to make an animal of their choice

Tips for proper cutting form:

- Encourage your child to keep their thumb up while cutting.

  • Many children prefer to rotate their wrist and forearm to where their thumb is pointing down towards the ground. This makes it more difficult to cut accurately. To help facilitate proper cutting form, put a sticker or draw a smiley face on your child’s thumb as a reminder to keep their thumb pointing up
- Keep upper arm and elbow tucked into their side.
  • When children cut with their elbow out, they have decreased control of their movement and it is a sign of decreased shoulder girdle strength. Facilitate a tucked elbow by placing a folder between the child’s side and upper arm so that they have to hold the folder in place by keeping their elbow down.

- Try spring open scissors if your child is having trouble opening the scissors due to decreased hand strength.

  • This allows the child to still participate in cutting activities and learn the muscle movements that come with opening and closing scissors

Benefits of Yoga for Kids

By: Shannon Murphy PT, DPT

In the winter months, it can sometimes be a challenge to find ways to incorporate motor activity into your child’s daily routine. Yoga is not only a great way to get your child moving indoors, but it also has many additional benefits to improve both physical and emotional well-being.

1. Strengthening and stretching: Yoga poses require use of a variety of different muscle groups, and gives kids the opportunity to use their muscles in new ways. Yoga promotes physical strength and muscular endurance. Almost every position incorporates the use of the core muscles, which leads to better posture. Strengthening of muscles promotes health of additional body systems, such as the gastrointestinal system and cardiorespiratory system.

2. Balance: balancing poses promote both mental and physical composure. Balancing requires concentration and attention, encouraging stillness of the body and mind.

3. Body awareness and focus: Yoga requires paying attention to how the body moves and how breathing coordinates with those movements.

4. Relaxation: Practicing yoga helps kids relieve stress by using their breath to calm their mind and nervous system. Yoga can release tension and negative emotions.

Yoga for kids does not look like an adult class. It is about incorporating fun tools to motivate the children to be active participants. Some tools that I like to use are Cosmic Kids Yoga videos (themed yoga sequences that can be found on Youtube or, yoga-themed books, or bubbles to practice breathing in different positions.

These 10 child-friendly poses are a great place to start for your family’s yoga journey! You can find additional step-by-step directions for each pose at:

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Tips to help kids follow directions:

By Jenny Jenny Van Konynenburg, MS, CF-SLP

Does your child have trouble following directions at home? Follow these tips to promote improved understanding and following of directions.

1) Before you give a direction, get your child’s attention first and make sure they are looking at you. Avoid giving directions from across the room or while they are distracted.

2) Use visual cues to help promote understanding. For example, if you are asking them to get their shoes, point to their feet to help them understand.

3) If your child doesn’t understand the direction the first time, repeat the direction again using simplified language. Try shortening the sentence and using more simplified vocabulary.

4) If your child has trouble following multi-step directions, break the directions into smaller parts. Use words like “first” “then” “next” and “last” to help them remember the sequence.

5) If necessary, model the steps of the direction for them first, and then have them repeat what you did.

6) When your child follows a direction appropriately, give them plenty of specific praise!

Winter Discovery Bottles for Baby: Tummy Time Play

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By: Shannon Murphy, PT, DPT

What you will need:

· 4 clear plastic craft bottles (can buy on Amazon)

· Blue and silver star beads

· White snow flakes

· Fake snow

· White and blue sparkly pom-poms

1. Place items in bottles and introduce during tummy time!

2. For an older baby or toddler who may be opening up lids you will want to use hot glue on the inside of the lids so they can't open them.

3. Only give these to babies when right next to them to keep an eye on their exploration!


Making Paper Snowflakes

By Jenny Jenny Van Konynenburg, MS, CF-SLP

Paper snowflakes are the perfect wintery craft on a cold day and can be a fun activity to work on vocabulary skills.

Help your child cut paper to create a unique snowflake. On each “arm” of the snowflake, have your child write down a different word to describe snowflakes.

This activity will expose your child to new vocabulary and will develop descriptive language skills.

If you’re child needs help getting started, try asking them a few of the following questions:

1) What do snowflakes look like?

2) Where do we see snowflakes?

3) What do snowflakes feel like?

4) When do we see snowflakes?

5) What else do you know about snowflakes?

6) What can we do when it snows?