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Choosing toys that support healthy development

The American Academy of Pediatrics has put out a great position paper advising on the place of toys in a child’s life and what types of toys are best. This point is great:

Recognize that one of the most important purposes of play with toys, especially in infancy, is not educational but rather to facilitate warm, supportive interactions and relationships.

Simpler toys tend to be better for kids’ developmentally and will have more longevity than flashy, electronic toys. Look for toys that promote creativity and imagination. A toy that has one purpose will grow old quick, but something like a wooden block set can have many uses.

Some of the toys and games that are perennial favorites at Solaris include:

  • Finger putty such as Crazy Aaron’s
  • Play-doh
  • Modeling Foam
  • Kinetic sand
  • Legos / Duplo
  • Don’t break the ice
  • Giggle Wiggle
  • What’s in Ned’s Head
  • Beanie babies (great for symbolic play)
  • Balls
  • Bubbles
  • Puzzles
  • Zoom ball
  • Mini trampoline

Further reading:

Selecting Appropriate Toys for Young Children in the Digital Era

Toy Buying Tips for Babies & Young Children

How Play Connects To Learning

 

 

 

Sleep disorders & behavioral issues

An article in the Washington Post has highlighted a new theory into some diagnoses of ADHD – they may actually be an undiagnosed sleep disorder instead.

Growing evidence suggests that a segment of children with ADHD are misdiagnosed and actually suffer from insufficient sleep, insomnia, obstructed breathing or another known sleep disorder. But the most paradigm-challenging idea may be that ADHD may itself be a sleep disorder. If correct, this idea could fundamentally change the way ADHD is studied and treated.

Karen Bonuck, a professor of family and social medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, is known for her work on a 2012 study of 11,000 children published in the journal Pediatrics. It found that those with snoring, mouth breathing or apnea (in which a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep) were 40 percent to 100 percent more likely than those without the sleep issues to have behaviors resembling ADHD by age 7….“There’s a lot of evidence that sleep is a big factor in behavior in children,” Bonuck said in a recent interview.”

In a recent Yahoo article, one mom shared her story of learning that her son’s undiagnosed sleep apnea was behind his behavioral problems. An imaging done by an ENT revealed that the child’s sinuses were completely inflamed and blocked and a sleep study showed he received no amount of REM sleep and oxygen saturation in the low 80s.

Mouth breathing and the long term issues associated with it are also highlighted by pediatric dentist, Sherry Sami, formerly a clinical instructor of dentistry at UCLA. She lists bed wetting, cavities and behavior changes as sings to look for.

The take away is to consult a pediatric ENT and do a sleep study if you suspect a sleep disorder may be contributing to behavioral challenges. Other signs to look for are teeth grinding, mouth breathing, snoring, frequent nighttime wake ups and bed wetting.

Play is important for kids…and adults!

Play is so fundamental to our work here. It’s the natural way for children to learn about their world. But play is equally important for adults.

The importance of play for children is well documented. Now researchers are turning their attention to its possible benefits for adults. What they’re finding is that play isn’t just about goofing off; it can also be an important means of reducing stress and contributing to overall well-being.

“What all play has in common,” Brown says, “is that it offers a sense of engagement and pleasure, takes the player out of a sense of time and place, and the experience of doing it is more important than the outcome.”

Read more here.

Brain Gym Workshop April 6-8

Brain gym is a series of fun and energizing  exercises designed to prepare the brain and  body for a more efficient pattern of movement, learning and communication promoting whole brain processing and balance in a stress-free environment.

Learning Objectives:

Summarize whole brain integration through  whole body movement

Describe the role of the  26 brain gym exercises in relation to efficiency with immediate improvements and automaticity for skills such as memory, writing, reading,  communication, coordination, balance, stability, grounding, tracking, memory, lengthening  and concentration

Learn and perform the four step warm-up that will awaken learning potential in the brain body connection

Participate in “hands on” exercises and  describe how to implement a brain body diet for you and/or your clients

Outline the three dimensions of movement  and the correlation to the brain, learning and communication

Describe developmental pieces and brain  re-education

Understand and Implement Edu-K balances and discover a stress free learning environment and tool for reaching goals and maximizing potential

This course is beneficial for students, teachers, administrators, parents, athletes, business professionals, occupational therapists, physical therapists and speech therapists.

Click here for the registration form: brain gym 101 flyer

Handwriting & Yoga Summer Camps June 2016

Solaris Camp - Gish Pics

Our Handwriting and Yoga Camps are ideal for kids between the ages of 5-10 who need improvement in writing legibility, are having issues with letter reversals and need to work on developing cursive skills. We will be using the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum which was developed by occupational therapists. To lay the foundation for good handwriting, each day we will incorporate sensory motor activities that work on the proprioceptive, vestibular, tactile and visual systems as well as activities to improve fine motor and visual motor skills. The daily yoga practice will help your child to improve body awareness, attention, self-regulatory abilities and learn relaxation techniques (important for reducing stress and anxiety). Your child will get the most benefit if they sign up for at least 2 weeks. Camps will be led by occupational therapist Yulene Broussard and yoga instructor Annette Raj, and facilitated by volunteers. Each camp is limited to 6-8 kids.

Camp dates:

  1. June 6th – June 10th
  2. June 13th – June 17th
  3. June 20th – June 24th
  4. June 27th – July 1st

Daily schedule:

8:45 Drop off

9:00 Sensory Motor Activities

9:45 Snack (bring from home)

10:00 Fine Motor & Visual Motor

10:15 Handwriting Activities

10:50 Break

11:00 Yoga

12:00 Pick Up

Prerequisites

Your child must be able to do the following:

  • Sit at a table and attend to a task
  • Can write and identify all letters of the alphabet
  • Be able to participate in age appropriate classes
  • Follow activities without direct one on one supervision

 Cost

$400 per week.

$20 off each week if all 4 weeks are booked.

$20 sibling discount.

$100 non-refundable deposit for each camp week is required to secure a place. The balance is due by May 2nd.

Please fill out the registration form to register. Solaris Camps June 2016