Occupational Therapy

  • Teach Your Child to Fish

    If there is any advice that I give out to parents on a regular basis, it is to teach your […]

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  • Make Way for Indoor Play

    Generally parents understand the importance of both outdoor and indoor play. Outdoor play has been shown to increase attention span […]

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  • What is Smart Play?

    With the increased presence of technology in children’s products and toys, you may have come across the term smart toys. […]

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  • Treasure C.H.E.S.T.: A Smart Guide to Printing Uppercase Letters



    C.H.E.S.T.: A Smart Guide to Printing Uppercase Letters was developed to improve the handwriting of children by providing specific therapeutic techniques. One of the most common errors that occur with children’s
    handwriting is the formation and directionality of letters. This refers to the direction the child moves
    the pencil to form letters. Since all
    uppercase letters begin on the top line, it makes sense to associate letters by
    groups according to the curved or straight lines used to form them.

    The uppercase letters are separated into six groups to
    help children relate the letters to common objects. In addition, seven action word phrases are used to help a child memorize how to form individual letters. This provides a multisensory approach as the child feels the motion of the pencil, hears the words, and sees the strokes as they are being formed into letters. In addition, there is a helpful mascot cheering along as a child works his or her way through the book.  

    This workbook was created to help parents, educators, and occupational therapists.  Its concept is smart and
    effective and can be introduced as early as 4 years of age when children
    typically begin to draw simple shapes. However, it is most
    effective when started around age 5 or when a child is able to neatly and
    easily copy strokes on command and has strong foundational skills including a
    functional pencil grasp. It is meant to be completed before its companion workbook for lowercase letters. 


    The 26 uppercase letters of the alphabet are separated into six formation groups that spell out the acronym CHEST: Clocks, Hats & Hooks, Ears, Slides, & Trees.

    C is for Clocks. These 5 letters curve around like a circular clock: C G O Q S.              

    H is for Hats. These 5 letters have a line across the top like a hat: E F I T Z.

    H is also for Hooks.  These 2 letters curve up like a hook: J U.

    E is for Ears. These 4 letters have a bump on the right side like an ear: B D P R.

    S is for Slides. These 5 letters slide down to the side like a playground slide: A V W X Y.

    T is for Trees. These 5 letters zip straight down and have branches like a tree: H K L M N.


    26 uppercase letters of the alphabet can be formed using seven simple phrases called Action
    Words: Curve Around, Make an Ear, Make a Hook, Slide Down, Slide Up,
    Zip Down, and Zoom Across.



    introduce the Action Words pages. They are used to introduce the language used
    for the formation of the curved and straight lines. The Coloring Pages are then used as introductions
    to the different groups. The groups do not need to be completed in the
    order they are presented.


    Next, each letter will have a page within a group. Action words printed in bold
    should be said aloud to guide the
    child. Using a parrot voice makes it
    more fun and encourages the child to say the words as well.  


    Lastly, there are additional pages including reviews of the groups, copying words, and activity pages. The workbook also includes a visual chart and a guide with all the action words for the 26 letters on one page.


    Visit www.playapy.com to purchase the award-winning Treasure C.H.E.S.T. and its companion workbook Heads, Tummies, & Tails: A Smart Guide to Printing Lowercase Letters.


    Watch this video for an example of a child using the Action Words.

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  • S.U.P.E.R. Hero Discipline

    Disciplining young
    children can be a frustrating experience. Many parents feel like they are doing
    it wrong and seek help and suggestions. My experience as a therapist has led me
    to create a simple way to remember key elements to help parents have a positive
    and more productive experience when disciplining their children.

    It is critical that
    discipline is presented in a way that allows both the child and the parent to
    be successful. Below I have listed 5 essential components required. The acronym
    SUPER is used to simplify this concept. It is also how I hope you will feel
    when you achieve the results you are seeking, like a super hero!

    S is for Supported holistically. Your body, mind, and soul
    must support any regulation that you set. This means you must be able to follow
    through physically, meet any expectation in relation to time, and be in
    agreement with whatever you state you will implement. For example, if you say
    to your child that you will take away their iPad for a week, you should stick
    with the week timeframe you stipulated. 

    U is for Understood by child. The child must understand
    what the disciplinary action is. If the child doesn’t understand, you are
    setting your child up to fail. It helps to ask your child to repeat back to you
    what you say so that you know your child was aware of your demand and the

    P is for Presented in advance. The disciplinary action
    should be presented in advance when possible. If you have a conversation with
    your child before a situation arises, the child will understand the expectation
    and aftermath before acting. For example, before going to a store, you can say
    that you expect good behavior or the privilege to go the next time will be

    E is for Executed consistently. The most important part of
    discipline is honoring what you say. Children respond well when they sense
    consistency. If you execute authority consistently, a child will respect that
    you are sincere and can expect the consequence for his or her action.

    R is for Related to behavior. Discipline should be related
    to the behavior. If you attach penalties that have nothing to do with what the
    child is doing or not doing, it will not make sense to the child and will be
    more difficult for you to execute. For example, you should not threaten to
    prevent your child from attending a party if the party is not related to your

    I hope you find these
    tips helpful. If you have difficulty controlling the behavior of your child and
    need professional help, consider consulting with a behavioral or occupational
    therapist. Have a playful day!

    Amy Baez, OTR/L, The Smart Play

    Amy Baez is a pediatric occupational
    therapist, award-winning handwriting author, and founder of Playapy. For more
    information about Playapy services and products, visit
    www.playapy.com or email info@playapy.com.

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