occupational therapist & child development specialist

Tag: child development (Page 1 of 5)

How to Get Ready for Kindergarten

Parents frequently ask me what their child needs to do to get ready for kindergarten. I like to share this list of 25 “readiness” skills that kindergarten teachers have told me are important for a child to be successful in the kindergarten classroom.

Kindergarten Readiness Checklist

1)    Speaks in complete sentences

2)    Listens without interrupting

3)    Follows two-step directions

4)    Begins to share with others

5)    Is able to recognize authority

6)    Understands concepts such as “top,” “bottom,” “big,” “little,” “more,” “less”

7)    Able to follow basic rules

8)    Recognizes rhyming words

9)    Identifies some alphabet letters

10) Bathrooms independently

11) Button shirts, pants, coats, and zips up zippers

12) Can sort objects that are the same shape, color, or size

13) Recognizes and names at least 5 colors

14) Recognizes own first name in print

15) Recognizes letters in own first and last name

16) Begins to write some of the letters in own first name

17) Cuts with scissors

18) Trace basic shapes

19) Draws a line, circle, X and +

20) Works simple puzzles

21) Counts from 1 to 10 in correct order

22) Identifies the beginning sound of some words (C is for cat)

23) Runs, jumps, hops, throws, catches, and bounces a ball

24) Knows first and last name of parents

25) Adjust to new situations without parents being there

So get ready for kindergarten by practicing these skills with your preschooler and your little one will have a much smoother transition into school!

The Development of Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are the way that we use our fingers and hands to manipulate small objects. They are very important when we go to school and it’s time to work with pencils, crayons, and scissors. However, fine motor skills begin to develop long before school age. At around 3 months old, babies begin to use their hands to grasp objects and their arms to swipe. Between 9 and 12 months of age, most infants can pick up a small object with the thumb and index finger, which is called a pincer grasp. 

Pincer Grasp

At two years of age, a little one can color with whole arm movement and holds a crayon in a fisted position with the thumb facing upward. By age 4, most children can imitate a cross and trace a diamond and a triangle, and by age 5 they can hold a pencil with 3 fingers, which is called a tripod grasp. This is the optimal grasp to have when writing, although there are others that are acceptable. Hand dominance is typically established by this age as well. 

Tripod Grasp

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Therapy for Congenital Muscular Torticollis

Does your baby always turns her head to the right or left side?  If so, you may want to ask your pediatrician if your child has a condition called congenital muscular torticollis (CMT). Torticollis means “twisted neck” and this condition is usually caused by tightness in one or more neck muscles. A baby with CMT often turns her head to one side with her chin pointed in the opposite direction. One shoulder is typically held in a higher position than the other. Infants with this condition are at an increased risk for developing flat spots on the head (positional plagiocephaly).

Infants are typically diagnosed with CMT sometime during the first two month of life. If not treated, CMT limits an infant’s ability to move her head freely to see and visually explore the environment, and CMT is often associated with delays in motor milestone development. Physical and occupational therapists treat torticollis through soft tissue mobilization and stretching. Educating parents about positioning and handling techniques is also an important aspect of treatment. For example, one position that therapists often recommend is holding baby in a sidle lying with the tight side of the neck down and baby’s head resting on the parent’s forearm. This gives the neck muscles a nice gentle stretch and allows the infant to visually explore the environment while remaining in close contact with the parent. For more information and a wonderful video series on infant development, please visit www.carolinakinderdevelopment.com.

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