Little Steps Pediatric Therapy News

February 2019


Hi Everyone! Hope you are staying warm, safe, and healthy during this COLD winter!

Flu and cold season is in full swing!

Here are some friendly reminders prior to bringing your kiddos to the clinic:

Please cancel or reschedule with your therapist if:

* Fever (100 degrees and above) in the past 24 hours

* thick, green, mucous boogers (Yuck!)

* bad cough

* vomiting within the past 24 hours

*A good rule of thumb,

If your child did not go to school, got sent home from school, or you wouldn't send them to school then they shouldn't be coming to the clinic that day either.

Another friendly reminder about our cancellation policy

Little Steps has a 24-hour cancellation/rescheduling policy.

If an appointment is missed, canceled or changed with less than 24 hours notice, more than 2 times in a row or several cancellations within a 2-3 month period of time, the patient may be discharged from care under Little Steps.

Little Steps realizes that there are many things that come up in people’s day-to-day lives. While truly sympathetic, Little Steps and its therapists cannot absorb the financial responsibility of frequent last minute cancellations. The therapists do not double book appointment times but rather reserve specific times for each patient affording individual care. In fairness to all patients, this policy is in effect regardless of the reason for the cancellation.

If you don't cancel with your therapist within 24 hours, you will be charged a $40 late fee


  • Therapeutic and Sports Focus Group for children ages 5-7.

Our amazing physical therapist, Jaime Neidenbach, is starting a weekly afternoon group, in adjunct to their one-on-one sessions, to work on higher level balance, coordination, strength, and endurance exercises. Insurance will be billed.

When: Thursdays 4:00-5:00pm

Where: Glenview Clinic

  • Therapy and social group after aging out of Early Intervention

Jaime Neidenbach is also looking for kiddos who have recently aged out of Early Intervention, but could still benefit from a social and gross motor skills class

When and Where: TBD

*Looking for interested in families and will work with you to come up with a schedule


Little Steps is providing an in-service at Sunnyside Daycare to educate families about physical, occupational, and speech therapy.

If you are interested in private clinic services please call Steve to set up an evaluation at 847-707-6744

Address: 1945 W Wilson Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

Meet Boomer!!

Big picture
Meet Boomer - our new therapy dog!!

He is a 6 month old, minitature Australian Labradoodle.

Boomer will assist with sessions at Little Steps’ Glenview, Highland Park, and Wilmette locations. He will also possibly spend time at the Chicago clinic, although that it is to be determined. At the moment, the plan is to bring him in to help calm children during therapy sessions.

American Heart Month

By: Jay de Jesus, SPT - Student of physical therapy on his clinical at Little Steps!

When we think of February, we often think of Valentine’s day and all the heart shaped balloons, candies, and chocolates. But, we can’t forget about our own hearts! February is American Heart Month, which began in 1963 to encourage Americans to raise awareness of heart disease. Around the country, hospitals and health systems celebrate American Heart Month by wearing red and holding free health screenings. [1] Here are some tips to maintain a healthy heart:

· Practice relaxation techniques like progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, and other mindfulness techniques

· Eat a healthy diet by incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables to your meals

· Prioritize sleep to feel well-rested and improve your overall well-being

· Exercise! The American Heart Association recommends adults to perform 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week and recommends children to be physically active throughout their day [2]

Try out some of these heart-themed activities to stay active while indoors during American Heart Month!

· Musical Hearts: Write activities on heart-shaped pieces of paper and place them in a huge circle with the words faced down. Encourage your children to walk around the perimeter of the circle while playing a song. When the song ends, each child picks up a heart and performs that action written on that paper. Some ideas on what to write on each heart include hula dancing, jumping jacks, hopping on one foot, and jumping as high as you can! [3]

· Valentine’s Day Balancing Game: Create a large heart shape on the floor of your house with tape and encourage your child to walk along the tape border to challenge their balance. [4]

· Heart Hopscotch: Use pink, white, and red colored cardstock to create the hopscotch layout. Using markers, draw hearts on each piece of cardstock and write numbers in each of them. Challenge your child while playing by encouraging them to hop on one foot or jump from number to number. [5]







Language Modeling Strategies for Children Beginning to Talk

By: Lauren Siragusa, CF-SLP

When your child is beginning to talk, there are language modeling strategies that you can use in order to facilitate their language development. The strategies described below should be used in everyday routines and during play to promote verbal communication.

  • Expectant Waiting: Place familiar, desired objects out of reach for your child. When the child points or gestures towards the item, make eye contact with them. Look at the child as though you expect them to say something. Look at the child for a few seconds, giving him or her the opportunity to name the desired object. If he or she does not name the desired object, name the object for them. Then wait a few more seconds, in order to give your child an opportunity to repeat you. If he or she does not repeat you, name the object one more time and then give the desired object to the child.
  • Parallel-Talk: Describing out loud what your child is doing using one-two word phrases. For example, if your child is playing with a baby doll you could say “Baby. Bottle. Baby drinks. Yum!”.
  • Self-Talk: Describing out loud what you are doing using one-two word phrases when your child is present. For example, when you are cooking you could say, “Carrot. Knife. Cut. Cut. Cut carrot”.
  • Expansion Cues: Expanding a child’s original word or phrase by adding on another word that is relevant to the situation. This strategy should be used when a child independently produces a word or labels an item. For example, if your child sees a dog and says “dog”, you could add expansion cues by responding “hi dog”, “big dog”, or “white dog”. If you child independently produces the word “eat”, examples of expansion cues include “you eat” or “eat goldfish”.

Following direction activity for Valentine's Day

By: Lauren Siragusa, CF-SLP

Making valentines, or Valentine’s Day inspired crafts (such as in the picture shown to the right), is a great way to give your children practice following directions.

Instead of showing your child the picture of the craft they are imitating, give them verbal directions of how to put the craft together.

While making these crafts, you can expose your child to a variety of language concepts including:

· Spatial concepts – above, below, next to, right, left, on top

· Numerical concepts – one, two, first, second

· Colors – red, pink, black, white

· Size – big, small, long, short

· Shapes – hearts, circles, squares

Describe to your child how to construct the craft using simple one-step directions:

“Place two white circles at the top of the big black piece”

If verbal directions alone are too challenging, provide your child with visual support by pointing to where the pieces should go. It may also be helpful to repeat the directions.

If your child finds this activity to be easy, you can challenge them by providing two-step directions.

“First place two long black lines at the top of the big, black piece. Then place a red heart at the top of each line”.

Visual Perceptual Skills

By: Blessy Bethel, Occupational Therapy Student at Little Steps

What is it?

Visual-perceptual is a fancy word that refers to how our brain processes information through our eyes in order to interact with the world around us. Our eyes have a bigger role than just being able to see, as it helps to take all the information to help determine:

  1. Sizes
  2. Recognizing different shapes, formations of letters
  3. Following patterns
  4. The spacing between letters and numbers
  5. Pulling important information from a busy background
  6. “Seeing” part of an object without it being completed

Visual perceptual skills are important so that we successfully complete daily tasks. As children get older, they are able to utilize these skills to participate in play, sports, school, and home activities. Without addressing these skills, your child may feel upset or frustrated, which may impact them from completing an activity effectively.

Typical visual-perceptual milestones:

At 2 ½ years - 3 ½ years, your child should be able to:

  • Match shapes that are similar to each other
  • Complete 3 piece puzzles
  • Can sort different shapes from each other
  • Recall a few things from pictures
  • Able to draw vertical, horizontal, circle

At 3 ½ -4 ½ years, your child should be able to:

  • Complete 4-5 piece puzzles
  • Recognize difference in shape sizes
  • Able to recognize the entirety of an image with only half presented
  • Identify what objects are similar or not similar to each other
  • Able to draw a cross
  • Can trace lines

At 4 ½ years -5 ½ years, your child should be able to:

  • Identify differences of shape sizes (Largest - Smallest)
  • Sort objects by shape, size, color
  • Match letters
  • Draw a square
  • Cut a circle and square out of paper
  • Connect dots with a straight line

At 5 ½ years - 6 years, your child should be able to:

  • Complete interlocking puzzles (10-12 pieces)
  • Understand the difference between upper and lower case letters
  • Color between lines

Difficulties in visual perceptual skills in children may result in:

  • Understanding the difference between letters, numbers, words
  • Cutting on the right line during school activities
  • Understanding that letters, numbers, shapes are similar to each other even when rotated.
  • Recognizing the difference between letters, numbers, symbols in different fonts
  • Knowing the difference between upper and lower case letters
  • Trouble copying shapes from pictures
  • Finding objects in spaces (toy box, bins)
  • Copying words from the board on a page
  • Difficulty remembering to follow an order of steps
  • Creating a line on a page
  • Drawing shapes
  • Writing name and words on a line
  • Understanding directional terms (up, down, across, behind, between, forward)
  • Following the formation of letters (starting at the top then bottom)
  • Reading from left to right

If you see that your child is having trouble with any of these skills listed above, feel free to contact an Occupational Therapist at Little Steps to help you further answer questions or address concerns.

Visual perceptual skills activity - Valentine's Day themed

Heart Maze Drawing:

Seek & Find & Color me – Heart Drawing:

Cupid’s Match I-spy:

Visual-Motor Activities:

Heart – Alphabet & Matching Game: