Erin is trained in the S.O.S. program as well as many of its sub-specialty areas. The S.O.S. approach to feeding is a program for assessing and treating children with feeding difficulties and weight/growth problems from birth to 18 years. It integrates posture, sensory, motor, behavioral/learning, medical and nutritional factors to comprehensively evaluate and manage children with feeding/growth problems. Erin has extensive experience working with both picky eaters and problem feeders up to age 12. She has specialty training in the Food Science Adaptation and practices in this area with older children.
Erin also has advanced training in Feeding the 6-16 Month Old Child which provides an adaptation of the basic program for the young infant and toddler. It begins solid foods at 6 months (baby foods, finger foods, table foods) through the transition off the bottle/breast and onto a full table foods. She has extensive training with how to feed a child at each of these stages with regards to feeding schedule, feeding techniques, positioning, types of foods offered and the role of developmental transitions in feeding at each age.
Erin has completed additional training in the Oral-motor Steps to Eating hierarchy. The new Oral-Motor Steps to Eating Hierarchy details an additional 30-32 steps that are seen in children with significant oral-motor issues that are needed to acquire during the process of learning to eat.
Helping the Picky Eater at School is another sub-specialty area. Erin can help provide simple strategies that families and school staff can use to improve a child’s eating at school.
When you think of reflexes, you might be thinking of sitting in the doctor’s office when the Dr. taps below the knee and the lower leg kicks out. The Dr. checks this reflex to make sure the central nervous system is doing its job to react to sensory stimulation. This knee jerk reaction is important because it supports standing and balancing.
Reflexes are movement patterns that are hardwired into the brain. When a reflex emerges, it serves a purpose. For example, the rooting reflex helps a newborn to feed by triggering the baby to automatically turn their head in the direction their mouth has been touched.
Some reflexes stay forever such as the knee jerk and some should recede to the background once they have done their job. For example, the rooting reflex should disappear by 4 months - imagine how hard it would be to eat and drink if your head moved every time your mouth was stroked?
During an OT evaluation, we asses reflexes to make sure each reflex was completely expressed and is now in the background ready to support a child’s development. If the reflex is lying ‘awake’ when it should be ‘asleep’ it can interfere with function.
Reflex integration plays a large role in sensory processing – especially staying calm and organized. Defensive patterns of behavior begin in utero to ensure protection and survival. When the baby is born, he must protect himself from danger. His Moro reflex triggers him to cry when new sensory information is present – bright lights, loud sounds, unexpected touches and changes in position. Over time, this reflex should recede, fall asleep and be replaced by the startle reflex. This enables the developing baby to react to new sensory stimulation but maintain a calm state. If the Moro reflex stays awake, it is hard for the child to feel safe. He can sense danger in daily situations (even when no danger is present) leading him to be sensitive, reactive and have difficulty regulating his emotions.
Other reflexes affect different aspects of function like postural control, vision skills and balance. Some of the main reflexes we asses include the Moro, tonic labyrinthine, the symmetrical tonic neck reflex, the asymmetrical tonic neck reflex and the spinal galant among others. These reflexes are responsible for setting the stage for the body and brain to develop an equilibrium – both emotionally and physically.
Once we assess your child, we will review what reflexes are present and awake and begin a treatment plan to help these reflexes mature into the background.
Both Erin and Sophie have extensive coursework in reflex integration including Rhythmic Movement Training, MNRI, and Vital Links. During an assessment we look at all the reflexes that could be impeding function as well as causing emotional and behavioral challenges.
As OT’s we get many calls about kids who are struggling in school with their handwriting. When a child is referred for handwriting there is usually something else going on too. Kinetic Kids Occupational Therapy, PLLC, is trained at getting to the bottom of what's going on. We evaluate the underlying components that support a child’s handwriting including strength, endurance, primitive reflexes, coordination, motor and postural control, and eye-hand coordination. These areas of development can provide clues as to why a child is struggling. We will give you answers about why your child is struggling with their handwriting!
How Can We Help Your Child?
Work on posture to support the proper use of the arms, hands, head, and eyes.
Work on strength and endurance.
Work on fine motor control, grasp, and ability to hold a writing utensil focusing on reflexes including hands grasping, hands pulling, and Babkin.
Work on visual and perceptual skills that help a child's ability to form letter and shapes using a writing utensil.
Work on integrating primitive reflexes that assist with body and hand coordination.
Collaborate with teachers on effective strategies that work for your child.
Suggest home activities that promote the development of skills needed in good handwriting.
Erin and Sophie are certified providers of the SIZE MATTERS HANDWRITING PROGRAM. The Size Matters Handwriting Program is the first handwriting instructional program that is fully embeddable, measurable and proven. In addition, Handwriting Without Tears is another approach used in the practice.
Erin has extensive experience working with the birth-12 month old population. Erin provides Occupational therapy assessments for Infants. She is a level A DMI trained practitioner (Dynamic Movement Intervention).
She has both experience with full-term and premature infants. If your baby is not meeting their motor milestones, has difficulty taking a bottle or learning how to eat, has a difficult personality, had difficulty with sleeping and playing, these can be red flags that something larger is going on. Many times these things can be the result of an under-developed or stressed nervous system. Erin can assess these underlying causes and help develop a plan that works to get your baby back on track.
Working with babies who have had traumatic birth experiences and premature births is a personal passion for Erin. She truly understands the connection between an under developed nervous system and how it relates to the baby's ability to function in his/her occupations (eat, sleep, play!).
Erin is trained in the Tummy Time! Method as well.
· Occupational Therapy provided 3-5 times per week in a private sensory gym setting
· All sessions are 1:1 with no other individuals in the treatment space
· Sessions can be 30, 45 or 60 minutes
· Treatments are customized to each child and can target sensory processing, gross motor, fine motor and/or handwriting skills
· An OT evaluation is required to analyze current functioning and set goals. If your child has had an OT evaluation within the last 6 months we are happy to accept that. If not, we can provide an OT assessment or a comprehensive evaluation.
What Treatment Looks Like:
· Treatments are always focused on improving your child’s self-esteem and skills. We build a strong and trusting relationship with your child, which allows us to challenge your child while supporting his or her ability to regulate his or her body and emotions. We use a sensory integrative model; meaning, we provide sensory inputs and help your child make adaptive responses to solve problems using his or her brain and body. Kids have fun and feel empowered during and after play.
Benefits of an Intensive Therapy Model:
· Increasing the intensity and frequency of treatment strengthens the central nervous system, allowing the brain to make new and more effective connections
· Research suggests this model can effectively remediate motor, social-emotional, and adaptive behavior problems for children struggling with sensory processing challenges
Is a Summer Intensive a Good Option for Your Family?
· Has it been difficult to complete home programming between sessions?
· Would your child benefit from a booster before re-entering school?
· Are you concerned your child may regress without his or her daily programming?
Read what a parent has to say about her 8 year boy old after 2 months of an Intensive:
He is getting better with self-care. I have noticed a lot of progress with the night time routine since he started OT. I can tell him to take his shower with minimal prompts and he goes off on his own and takes all these steps independently: take clothing off, put clothing into laundry basket, place bathmat, turn on shower, wash hair and body, turn off shower, dry off, hang up towels, get in PJs and brush teeth. MAJOR PROGRESS! I used to feel so nervous that he was going to dart away impulsively and get lost or hurt. I realized now that he really doesn’t do that any more. I still observe that when there is a loud sound outside or when watching a movie, he will cover his ears. Usually he runs around screaming so this is huge progress. He also isn’t as sensitive to the lighting outside. There is also major progress with car sickness.