Little Steps Pediatric Threapy News

April 2019


Upcoming Classes and Events at Little Steps

Social Skills Spring Camp @ Chicago Clinic (1945 W Wilson Ave, Chicago, IL)

WHAT: Social skills camp focusing on social communication and interaction with children of varying ages


In order to develop self-confidence, improve social emotional skills, enhance functional communication skills, strengthen problem-solving skills and build peer relationships


Group of 3-4 year olds and Group of 5-7 year old


April 16-18, 2019

9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. for 3-4 year olds

11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. for 5-7 year olds


Christine Mendoza, Speech-Language Pathologist

Vanesa Corado, Lead Teacher & Spanish Interpreter/Translator

Cost: $175

Preschool Readiness Group

WHAT: 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

WHEN & WHERE: Fridays, Glenview Clinic - April 12-June 21

  • 9:30-10:30 - younger 2's
  • 10:30-12:00 - older 2's and 3's

HELD BY: Vanesa Corado, Lead Teacher & Spanish Interpreter/Translator


WHAT: To teach your kiddo how to ride a two-wheeled bike by themselves!

  • Bike safety
  • Balance and coordination of pedaling
  • GAMES and prizes!


  • June 10-14 - two sessions: 3:30-4:30pm AND 4:30-5:30pm
  • July 15-19 - 3:30-4:30pm
  • August 12-16 - 3:30-4:30pm

WHERE: Glenview clinic - parking lot behind the clinic/Marianos

HELD BY: Little Steps Team


If interested in any of these groups please contact Steve at or call 847-707-6744

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April is Occupational Therapy Month!!

What exactly is Pediatric Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapists work with people to help them be independent and functional in their daily lives. For children, their lives consist of playing, learning, growing, eating, and participating in self-care routines. Occupational therapy can help children that experience dysfunction in any of these areas due to sensory processing difficulties, fine motor and visual motor delays, decreased strength, or disability and illness. Occupational therapists look at the person as a whole and create unique treatment plans to help children reach their individual goals.

A large focus of occupational therapy is sensory integration. A child’s sensory system needs to be regulated in order for them to function properly throughout the day. The next section is a brief explanation of sensory systems, vestibular and proprioceptive, as well as some activities to try at home with your kids.

Sensory Activities to do at Home

Vestibular – the vestibular system regulates movement, especially head movement. It is important for maintaining balance, spatial orientation, and a stable visual image. Vestibular input is very important for maintaining a calm, alert state. Slow, repetitive movements such as rocking in a rocking chair, tend to be calming. Fast, jerky movements, especially with starts and stops and changes in direction, such a spinning, tend to be alerting. Vestibular input is the most powerful and longest, affecting the nervous system for 4-8 hours. Always use adult supervision during these activities.

Vestibular Activities:

  • Rocking side to side on an exercise ball
  • Swinging side to side while laying in a blanket
  • Pulling laundry basket or wagon with child sitting inside
  • Pulling child in a blanket on the floor
  • Jumping on a trampoline or jumping on the floor (lay out spots to jump between and pretend the floor is lava) (trampoline supervised by parent, jump 10-15 times then stop)
  • Swinging in a swing
  • Pulling child on scooter board
  • Holding child in your arms and dipping head backwards

Proprioception – the proprioceptive system allows our body to know where it is in space. We know where our body is because of the receptors in our muscles and joints. Anytime we squeeze through a tight space, hug someone, or jump up and down we are getting proprioceptive input. Proprioception is a big deal with kids that have sensory needs because it’s the sense that calms and helps improve focus, when used the right way. The vast majority of kids like proprioceptive input, and many seek it out. And, even if your child doesn’t have specific “sensory needs”, proprioceptive activities can still be beneficial to help them calm down when they get upset or to relax before bedtime. Use these activities in an organized and purposeful way before mealtime, structured activities, and before bed.

Proprioceptive activities:

  • Squeezing/squishing between pillows (calming)
  • Laying on the floor on tummy and rolling exercise ball from shoulder to feet with pressure (calming)
  • Jumping in a trampoline (10 times then stop)
  • Wheelbarrow walks
  • Crab Walks
  • Wearing a weighted vest or laying under a weighted blanket (calming)
  • Rolling up tightly in a blanket like a burrito (calming)
  • Stomping while singing a song (ants go marching in)
  • Pushing a laundry basket, carrying a heavy item around the house (with supervision)

Celebrating Developmental Milestones

By: Jay de Jesus, SPT - Student of Physical Therapy on clinical rotation at Little Steps

Children experience numerous physical and behavioral milestones during early childhood development, ranging from their first time they smile and the first time they roll over. Each of these firsts for your child provide you with an opportunity to celebrate new accomplishments and encourage your child to continue to learn and explore their environments. The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to not only track their child’s developmental progress but also celebrate with them to promote a nurturing learning environment [1]. Tracking your child’s development can be easily documented with the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Milestone Tracker App [2]. Keeping a documented account of your child’s developmental progress can be useful during pediatrician follow-ups as well as during appointments with the speech, occupational, and physical therapists at Little Steps.

Here are some of the typical motor milestones that Little Steps therapists watch for as children grow [3]:

0-2 Months

  • Moves their arms and legs when lying on their back
  • Lifts their head up and begins to push up when lying on their tummy

3-5 Months

  • Holds their head in a steady midline position while on their back
  • Brings their hands to the center of their body
  • Brings their feet to their mouth or grabs their feet
  • Maintains balance while supported in a sitting position

6-8 Months

  • Rolls from their back to their tummy in both directions
  • Plays with toys while maintaining balance in sitting
  • Bears weight through their palms with extended arms while on their tummy

9-11 Months

  • Stands with support
  • Pulls to stand on stable surface
  • Crawls/creeps in order to explore their environment

12-18 Months

  • Transitions into a sitting position without help
  • Walks while holding onto furniture
  • Walks while holding onto someone’s hand
  • May walk without any support
  • Creeps up steps on hands and knees
  • May walk up steps with support

If you are interested in a more comprehensive checklist of developmental milestones or for additional information, feel free to take a look at the following resources:

CDC Milestone Checklist:

CDC Milestones in Action:

If you have concerns regarding your child’s gross motor development, feel free to contact a Physical Therapist at Little Steps to help answer your questions/concerns.





Fluent vs. Disfluent speech

By: Shelby Coren, MS, CCC-SLP

All of us demonstrate occasional disfluencies in our conversational speech. We may repeat ourselves, or say “um” many times in a sentence. However, there is a difference between typical disfluent speech and atypical disfluent speech. Please see below for the differences, as well as other things to look out for.

Stuttering-like speech (atypical disfluencies): These behaviors typically happen within words.

  • Sound repetitions. Example: “A-a-and then…”
  • Syllable repetitions. Example: “Coo-coo-cookie please”
  • Inaudible sound prolongations. Example: Lots of tension while producing elongated “L” in “Llllllet’s go,” without actually producing sound.
  • Audible sound prolongations. Example: Verbally elongating the “L” in “Llllllet’s go.”

Non stuttering-like speech (typical disfluencies): These behaviors typically happen between words.

  • Multi-syllabic whole word repetitions. Example: “Cookie cookie please”
  • Phrase repetitions. Example: “I want…I want more.”
  • Interjections: “Um um…I want more.”
  • Revisions: “I want—I need more.”

Other factors to consider:

  • The frequency that disfluencies occur
  • The duration of moments of disfluency
  • Secondary behaviors such as, decreased eye contact, eye blinking, or excessive head/neck movements

Ways to increase your child’s fluency skills

  • Patience. Provide your child with time to get his/her words out, rather than stopping them mid-sentence.
  • Avoid finishing sentences for them
  • Model smooth, slow speech in your daily routine

Provide positive reinforcement when your child demonstrates fluent speech. Examples include, “that was slow speech!” and “I like your smooth speech!”