Little Steps Pediatric Therapy News

August 2018


Thank you to all of your support during the Fourth of July parade. We WON best business float! :)

We are excited to be a sponsor for the upcoming OLPHun Run 5K on 9/30/2018 at 8:00am in Glenview, IL.

To Register:

Bike Camp Testimonial

Dear Little Steps team,

Thank you so much! Jack is stronger physically and mentally because of

you! Your team is energetic, loving, and creative. As an 11 year old boy with Down Syndrome and ADHD, to name only 2 of many challenging diagnoses, his PT Jaime N. never doubted he could do it. She worked all year on core strength, coordination, and visual attention. When Bike camp approached she encouraged us to do it. Guess what? Jack is riding!!!!!

We can’t thank you all enough for BELIEVING in Jack!


The Milligans

Visual Schedule for Return to School

By: Quinn Goodwin, M.A., CF-SLP

It’s that time of the year again – back to school! With the freedom of summer coming to an end, it can be difficult for children to return to the routine of a school schedule.

A helpful way to support children with this transition is the use of a visual schedule. Visual schedules use pictures and words in order to provide children with a layout of the tasks they need to accomplish. Make a schedule more fun by letting your child draw a star, smiley face, or put a sticker by a task after it has been finished!

Visual supports can be especially effective for children on the autism spectrum. Research has shown that the use of visual aids in children with ASD has resulted in decreased time transitioning between activities and increased spontaneous language (Dettmer, Simpson, Myles, & Ganz, 2000).

Mornings before school can be an especially hectic time. We have provided an example of a “Morning Routine” visual schedule. Print this off to use, or make your own! Be as creative as you want and use visual schedules in a variety of different settings to help your children transition between activities!

How to wear a Backpack Correctly

End of Summer Activities

By Heather Milligan OTR/L

  1. Draw with chalk on the sidewalk or driveway then fill empty spray bottles with water to spray clean
  2. Window crayons and paints to draw. use sponges in water buckets to clean the windows
  3. Hang a clothes line low enough for your kids to use clothes pins to hang clothes to dry
  4. Sand boxes/beach to dig and explore
  5. Water tables: dumping and pouring and water toys you squeeze to suck up water and then squeeze to spray
  6. Spray bottles: water plants, spray sidewalks, and fences to make designs
  7. Paint brushes in water to paint sidewalks and fences.
  8. Legos and Duplos to push and pull together, make simple designs and ask your kiddo to create the same. Then have them make a design for you to copy
  9. Ball games: baseball/t-ball, catch, keep it up with balloon or balls of different sizes, and parachutes/large sheet with balls on it to keep u
  10. Practice dressing and fasteners without a time restraint
  11. Create your own obstacle course using tape balance beams, animal walks, blankets, pillows, tunnels out of chairs, etc
  12. Have races as different animals: crab, inchworm, bear, frog, snake, elephant, etc
  13. Make a bird feeder: string cheerios on a string and hang in a tree
  14. Use chalk to draw a track and ride your scooter, bike, and tricycle
  15. Play Simon Says
  16. Plant flowers in yard or planters: dig with shovels or hands
  17. Play and catch water balloons
  18. Try new summer recipes and have the kids help you prepare the meals: Fruit Kabobs, tearing lettuce, cutting fruits with a child safe knife
  19. Draw shapes and letters on your child’s palm or back and have them draw it with chalk on the sidewalk
  20. Wheelbarrow walk races

Speech fun with Sidewalk Chalk

Use a variety of different colors to create pictures and encourage your children to label the pictures.

For example, draw a sun, a tree, or a bird and help your child name each picture. You can also trace your child with sidewalk chalk and draw and label body parts together. Help them draw their eyes, nose, mouth, and hair and get as creative as they want!

Catching and Throwing a Ball

By: Julie Hesch, PT, DPT


Requires upper body strength, hand eye coordination, motor planning, and body/spatial awareness.

Throwing Milestones Guideline

  • Rolling Ball Forward: 8-12 months
  • Flinging Ball (throwing ball in any direction): 12-14 months
  • Throwing Ball (by extending arm at shoulder or elbow while maintaining balance): 15-18 months
  • Throwing Overhand (throwing forward at least 3 feet in air): 19-22 months
  • Throwing Underhand (throwing forward at least 3 feet in air): 23-26 months
  • Throwing Overhand with form (moving arm upward and back, 7 ft in air): 26-30 months
  • Throwing Underhand with form (moving arm down and back, 7 ft in air): 29-36 months
  • Throwing 10ft Overhand (moving arm up and back using upper trunk rotation, arms & legs in opposition): 38-42 months
  • Hitting Target Underhand (from 5 feet away): 38-42 months
  • Hitting Target Overhand (from 5 feet away): 43-46 months
  • Throwing 10 ft Underhand (moving arm down and back using upper trunk rotation, arms & legs in opposition): 45-48 months

Tips to Teach Children to Throw

Start with Rolling

  • teaches turn taking, cause and effect, helps establish understanding of ball play
  • addresses visual tracking and hand eye coordination
  • use soft ball, ball with rattles, tactile balls

Try Easy to Manipulate Ball

  • O-ball is great! It is lightweight, promotes bilateral grasp, easy manipulation with one hand, interlocking of fingers to hold and quick release
  • start with rolling back and forth, from the floor encourage child to stand and hold ball. As child gains trunk and upper body strength, they will be able to hold and release ball. First dropping the ball and eventually being able to manipulate the ball to throw

Decrease the size of the ball

  • start with a large ball. It engages full body to hold, manipulate, and promotes the use of both hand to push forward. As your child gains strength and comfort with the large ball start to decrease the size of the ball and encourage manipulating the ball with one hand.

Change Target

  • Practice accuracy and aim by rolling or throwing a ball to knock down bowling pins, cones, or block towers. Also try throwing clothes in laundry basket or bean bag toss.

Model over and underhand throwing

  • Watch adults, siblings, and older peers demonstrate skill
  • tactile cues - hand over hand cues help develop motor pattern
  • verbal cues - overhand throwing “Put it to your ear and throw!”, underhand throwing “Swing it by your side and throw”

Generalize Skills

  • practice same skill with different equipment in different settings
  • Example: throwing a ball into basketball hoops of different heights from variable distances


Requires hand eye coordination, motor planning, balance, visual acuity, and depth perception. Catching encourages reciprocal play, turn taking, and peer modeling

Catching Milestones Guideline

  • Catching Rolling Ball (in sitting child corrals rolling ball with arms and/or hands without losing balance): 6-13 months
  • Catching Ball from 5 Feet (child presents with extended arms directly in front, palms upward or facing each other; attempts to secure ball by bending arms toward chest): 20-30 months
  • Catching Ball from 5 Feet (catches ball with hands and arms extended): 30-40 months
  • Catching Ball from 5 Feet (catches ball with hands with arms bent 45-90 degrees at the elbows and palms up or facing each other): 40-50 months
  • Catching Tennis Ball from 5 Feet (catches ball on 2 of 3 trails using hands only): 50-60 months
  • Catching Bounced Tennis Ball (bounces and catches ball on 2 of 3 trials): 62-72 months

Tips to Teach Catching

Big ball Rolling

  • sit with legs open, roll ball towards child to corral ball with hands
  • practice visual tracking, cause and effect and hand eye coordination
  • progress by decreasing the size of the ball

Hand-Eye Coordination Practice

  • start with a slow moving object, like a balloon. Allows the child time to prepare body and upper extremities for catching and securing balloon to body. To progress, pass the balloon back and forth increasing speed of its trajectory.

Easy To Grab Balls

  • bean bags, beach balls, and soft balls allow small hands to catch with ease

Velcro Assist

  • catching with velcro paddles - practice act of catching without finer coordination needed to manipulate ball with hands

Cone Catch

  • use colored cones to practice hand eye coordination to catch ball in the cone. Cone offers option of two handed manipulation or one

A physical therapist can help your child obtain these goals if they are falling behind.


Dinosaur Physical Therapy