Little Steps Pediatric Therapy News

March 2019



Hopefully this winter is ending soon, but in the mean time we can get excited for Spring Break coming up in a few weeks. If you are going out of town, PLEASE let your therapist know ahead of time. Also, if your therapist is going out of town, they will try to provide coverage for the missed week. Thanks!!

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

Therapeutic and Sports Focus Group for Children Ages 5-7 @ Glenview Clinic

WHAT: weekly afternoon group, in adjunct to their one-on-one sessions, to work on higher level balance, coordination, strength, and endurance exercises. Billable by insurance!

WHEN: Thursdays 4:00-5:00pm

HELD BY: Jaime Neidenbach, PT, DPT

Therapy and social group after aging out of Early Intervention

WHAT 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

HELD BY: Jaime Neidenbach, PT, DPT

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 - TBD April 2019 (after Spring Break) *call for updates

  • 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

Back by popular demand....BIKE CAMP 2019!!!!

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

SIGN UP EARLY! spots are filling up fast!

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

Social Language Skills

By: Shelby Coran, MS, CCC-SLP

Many children have difficulty with social language skills.

Examples of social language skills include

  • greetings
  • asking others for help
  • joining a group to play
  • getting someone’s attention.
Children can learn by watching their peers. They are presented with many opportunities for peer interactions such as at the park, the library or at school. However, many do not know how to properly communicate with their peers in these settings.

One way to improve a child’s social language skills is through demonstration. Showing a child how to properly use social language skills can teach them the significance of these skills.

  • Instructing a child to protest or to ask a friend to play may be difficult for some children to follow. Instead, provide demonstrations on how to properly ask a friend to play or to greet others.
  • For example, you can ask the child to play to show them appropriate language to use in those situations.

Activities to Facilitate Social Language Skills

  • Providing children with exposure to peers at the library, park, or outings in the community
  • Arranging play dates with other children who are on similar developmental levels
  • Participating in weekly classes such as music or gym classes
  • Playing games that include turn-taking or joint attention such as “Go Fish” or playing catch
  • “All about me” worksheets for children to write facts about themselves, and to then share with other members in the group

Exersaucers, Jumpers, and Baby Walkers

by: Jonathan Burdett, PT, DPT

Are exersaucers, jumpers, or baby walkers ok for me to use with my child?

This is a common question we as physical therapists talk about with our patient’s families. Here are some tips for these devices!

Baby walkers can be very dangerous for your little one. In fall of 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended that they be banned from sale in the US, similar to how they have been banned in Canada since 2004.

Baby walkers have been linked to a variety of severe injuries due to babies falling down stairs or being in an environment that is not baby-proofed. According to a study published in the journal Pediatrics in September 2018, about 90% of the children they studied had hurt their head or neck with 74% having fallen down the stairs.

These walkers do not help the child develop their walking or any other motor skills faster. (1-2) Because of all this, I recommend that parents don’t use baby walkers with their children.

Exersaucers and jumpers can be ok for kids to use, but time limits are very important when you use them. We recommend that you don’t use them for more than 10-15 minutes per day at the most, if you use them at all! It can be a great place to put them if you need to run to the bathroom quickly or grab something in the kitchen, but you want to make sure they are not in them for extended periods of time.

When kids are in these devices for extended periods of time, they are positioned in a way where they lean forward onto their tip toes, which can add stress to their ankles, calf muscles, and possibly lead to future toe walking. Additionally, the more time that kids are in these devices, the less time they are on the floor exploring their environment developing their core muscles and other motor skills!

*Remember, tummy time is very important!*

Lastly, being in these devices can put their hips in an unhealthy position possibly increasing the risk of hip dysplasia especially when you use them for extended periods of time.

Overall, overuse of these devices can lead to delays in gross motor skills and other development, so make sure to use them in moderation, if at all! (3)

Suggestions for other ways to keep a child safe while completing chores:

· A portable crib

· Play pen

· Gates in a small room

All of these options allow your child to explore their environment in a healthy and beneficial way while still being safe.





Infant/Toddler Massage – How can it benefit my child?

By: Corrie Lukkes, OTD, OTR/L, CEIM/CIMI

(Therapist is a certified educator infant massage through Infant Massage USA)

Touch has been an important part of human interaction and development for thousands of years, with ancient civilizations believing that touch could promote health and prevent disease. Touch/massage enhances myelination of the nervous system, which help send signals from the body to the brain. It can reduce muscle stiffness, and can help to relieve tension by balancing the autonomic nervous system (the part of the brain that controls body functions that aren’t consciously controlled such as the heartbeat and breathing).


· Develop caregiver/child bond

· Provides one-on-one time for caregiver/child

· Develop attachment

· Assists with sensory regulation

· Increased body awareness

· Reduce sensitivity to touch

· Releases hormones - oxytocin (the cuddle hormone), prolactin (the mothering hormone), and endorphins

· Relaxation

· Social interactions and imitation

· Can increase/decrease tone

Sample massage for constipation:

1. Rest hands on stomach

2. Keeping hands flat (pinky towards chest, thumb towards legs), alternate moving hands down stomach – 6 times

3. Move knees up and down – 6 times

4. Using the pads of fingers, massage in slow circles in clockwise motion

5. Move knees up and down – 6 times

6. Rest hands on stomach

7. Repeat cycle 3 times, twice daily

St. Patrick Day Themed Activities

St. Patrick’s Day Clover Hop Game!

1. Lay clovers out on the floor with movement words written on the clovers.

  • Here are some suggestions: spin, balance on one leg, jumping jacks, jump in the air, hop like a frog, or anything else you think of! It may be a good idea to laminate the papers, so you can reuse them!

2. Have music available and turn it on.

  • Have the kids hop or walk in between each clover and then when the music stops, they have to perform the action written on their clover!

3. Start the music again and keep playing! You can also play it like musical chairs if you have enough kids to play.

Homemade St. Patrick’s Day Painting Fun!

Kid friendly paint:

1. Mix 1 cup salt, 1 cup flour, and 1 cup water in blender. Add more water if needed. Add desired food coloring.

2. Print shamrock picture, cut out.

3. Tape shamrock to paper in 3-5 locations to keep the edges down.

4. Use hands, marshmallow, paintbrush, q-tips, etc. to paint the outline of the shamrock.

5. Remove shamrock picture, add glitter if desired, allow to dry.