Little Steps Pediatric Therapy News

October 2019

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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

AGES: 2-3 years old


Glenview: Friday:

  • NEW SESSION: October 4-December 20 (11 weeks, OFF Thanksgiving week)
  • 9:00-10:30 (younger 2's) - 6 spots available
  • 10:30-12:00 (older 2's & 3's) - 3 spots available

Highland Park: Friday, 9-10:30am

  • Session 1: September 6 - October 25 - **1 space available**
  • Session 2: November 1 - December 20
HELD BY: Led by: Vanesa Corado (Glenview) and Andrea Brandess (Highland Park).

Speech therapists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists aid in the learning of each child.

Highland Park - Social Skills Group


Social skills camp focusing on social communication and interaction


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


Group of kids between ages 5-9 (Kindergarten - 2nd/3rd grade)


Thursday’s 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.


Little Steps (Highland Park location)

1442 Old Skokie Valley Road

Highland Park, IL 60035


Stephanie Plein, Speech-Language Pathologist

Call Kaley to register for Groups at: 847-707-6744

Early Pronoun Development

By: Sarah Vogt, MS, CF-SLP

When should pronouns be acquired?

The research varies on the exact progression of the acquisition of pronouns. However, most researchers agree that Iand Itare the first pronouns to develop followed by you. According to Owens (1996), children typically acquire pronouns at the following ages:

Big picture

How can I help my child understand and use pronouns?

Pronouns can be especially tricky to teach because they are abstract and their meaning can change depending on who is talking! Many children with receptive language delays, expressive language delays, auditory processing disorders, and echolalia can struggle with pronoun development. For example, some kids will continue to refer to themselves by their name instead of using pronouns like “I” or “my” or they will refer to themselves as “you.” So how can we support their learning?

Always use gestures

We can help make pronouns less confusing by consistently pairing them with gestures. For example, you can point to yourself when saying “I” and point to your child when saying “you”.

Give good models

You can model what you would like your child to say and pair that with a gesture. For example, you can model “I want milk” while putting your child’s hand to their chest. You can emphasize the pronoun by raising your intonation when producing the target word as this will help draw your child’s attention to the pronoun.

Focus on one at a time

While it’s natural to contrast pronouns with one another, that can sometimes be confusing for little ones when they are first learning. Try to highlight one pronoun at a time.

Fun ways to work on pronouns:

I: While playing with various toys you can ask your child, “Who wants ___?” Help them put their hand to their chest while you model “Ido! I do!”

Me: Look at family pictures together. Point to yourself in the picture and touch your own chest while emphasizing “me.” Then help your child do the same by pointing to a picture of them, placing their hand on their chest, and modeling “me.” You can get the whole family involved and make a fun game out of it! You can also have your child look in a mirror and ask, “who’s that?”

You: You can create fun scenarios where you need to ask your child for help. For example, you can put some beads or toys in putty and say “You do” white pointing at them.

My/your: Use gestures and modeling while taking turns during simple games. You can model “myturn” or “yourturn.”

Mize, Laura. “#268 Tips for Teaching Pronouns to Toddlers with Language Delays.”, 16 July 2018,

Torticollis and Plagiocephaly

By: Sarah Kappers, SPT - PT student on clinical rotation at Little Steps

What is torticollis? The most common type of torticollis is congenital muscular torticollis. It is present at birth but often noticed after children are several weeks or months old and gain more head control. The sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle is tight, causing the neck to tilt to one side and rotate to the opposite side. Children will show a preference to look, turn, and play on one side.

What causes torticollis? Common causes include abnormal positioning in utero, pregnancy with multiples, or difficult childbirth.

Signs and symptoms:

· Head tilt toward the side of the tight muscle

· Rotation toward the side opposite the tight muscle

· Palpable lump in muscle on the shortened side

· Difficulty turning the head toward one side

· Lack of response when visual or auditory stimulus applied to one side

· Favors one side while playing

· Prefers breastfeeding on one side

· Rolling in one direction only

What is plagiocephaly? Plagiocephaly is a flattening of the back of the head on one side. Babies’ heads are soft and malleable so lying in one position for too long can cause flattening.

What causes plagiocephaly? There was a large increase in plagiocephaly with the back to sleep program. It can also happen in babies who spend a large part of their day in car seats, bouncy seats, and swings. Torticollis can also lead to plagiocephaly as babies prefer to hold their head in a single position.

Quick tips to prevent and treat torticollis and plagiocephaly:

· Encourage frequent tummy time and limit time in seats and swings

· In all positions, place toys to encourage looking to limited side

· Position child in crib to encourage looking toward limited side

· Alternate sides when bottle or breast feeding

Fall sensory Bin ideas

By: Heather Milligan, MS, OTR/L

Sensory bins promote:

Texture exploration

Developing fine motor and visual motor skills

  • use different tools like tongs, bubble grab scissors

Bilateral coordination

  • string objects on pipe cleaners or strings, pouring from cup to cup

Cooperative play

Language development

  • name objects, colors


  • roll dice and count to that number



  • Fake fall leaves
  • Pieces of hay or strands of raffia
  • Small pine cones
  • Small plastic apples
  • Acorns
  • Brown pom poms
  • Mini pumpkins
  • Bird seed
  • Small plastic containers with scented cotton balls (cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, apple pie spice, cloves, nutmeg)
  • Colored rice or macaroni in red/orange/yellow: 1 cup rice, 1/2 tsp vinegar, use several drops of liquid food coloring: mix in ziplock bag

Fall Activities

Indoor Apple Picking

· What you need: painter’s tape, apples, basket

· How to play:Make a tree trunk and branches out of painter’s tape, place apples on the branches, and a basket nearby. Ask your child to walk along the branches with one foot in front of the other to collect all the apples. Try not to step off the branches.

· Make it easier: Try to just keep one foot on the branches.

· Make it harder:Try jumping, walking on heels, walking on tip toes, walking sideways, or walking backwards to collect all the apples.

Acorn Hopscotch

· What you need: sidewalk chalk, acorns

· How to play:Draw a traditional hopscotch board. Ask your child to roll or throw the acorn into the first square and complete the hopscotch pattern back to the start.

· Make it easier:Use double leg hops in all the squares.

· Make it harder:Instead of numbers in each square, write exercises to complete. Some ideas are jumping jacks, touch your toes, frog jumps, standing on one leg, and sit ups.

Ghost and Pumpkin Bowling

What you need:water bottles, rice, white spray paint, black marker, googly eyes, pumpkin

How to play:Prepare game by filling plastic water bottles with rice to weigh them down. Use paint, markers, and optional googly eyes to create ghost bowling pins. Ask your child to stand behind a line and roll the pumpkin to knock over the pins.

· Make it easier: Stand closer to pins.

· Make it harder:Try standing further away, rolling a larger pumpkin, or tossing mini pumpkins to knock down the pins.