February Vacation: Quality Time for Kids and Families

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Looking for something fun to do this February vacation? Check out some of these fun family events in and around Boston! Vacations often come with lots of fun activities, but they can also come with changes in routine, crowds, and increased amounts of unstructured time. Wondering how you can best set your child up for success amidst these possible challenges? BAC clinicians are always here to help! 

Celebrate National Engineers Week at the Boston Children’s Museum.

Get out of the house for some family-friendly outdoor activities at the Boston Children’s Winter Festival, sponsored by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department.

While you’ve got your coat on, check out one of the many FREE places to take your kids ice skating around Boston.

Have a little dancer in the family? The Boston Ballet has partnered with Boston Public Libraries and Boston Children’s Hospital to host FREE 1 hour dance themed storytime and movement workshops to children ages 2+.

Head into the city for “Movies at the Marketplace,” a free PG movie series hosted at Faneuil Hall running all week during February vacation.

Calling all builders! Let your imaginations sail and join the LEGO Maritime Festival at the USS Constitution Museum this vacation week. Kids are invited to build their own ships, test out their creations in the water, participate in a scavenger hunt and more!

For the animal lovers – check out a temporary multi-sensory exhibit at the Museum of Science entitled “Nature’s Superheroes: Life at the Limits.”

Wishing it was summer? The Charles River YMCA in Needham is hosting an Adaptive Free Swim for individuals with special needs and their families (open to both members and non-members!)

Welcome, Eliza!

Our speech and language department is growing! Please join us in welcoming Eliza Stopa, MS CCC-SLP, to the BAC team!

If you had to be an animal, what would be it be? A dog

What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Mint chocolate chip

What is your favorite children’s book? The Very Hungry Caterpillar

What is your favorite kid’s board game? Candyland

Do you have any special talents? I’m a certified adult and children’s yoga instructor!

What is your favorite place you have visited? Costa Rica

If given a superhero power what would you choose? Flying!

Eliza earned her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Rhode Island. Eliza’s clinical experience includes both early intervention and school-based settings where she has worked with children of all ages with various diagnoses and abilities. She has experience evaluating and treating children with receptive/expressive language disorders, articulation/phonology disorders, social pragmatic disorders, childhood apraxia of speech, autism spectrum disorder, and children who use augmentative and alternative communication. Eliza is excited to work with children and their families as a member of the Boston Ability Center team! In her spare time, she enjoys reading, running, skiing, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

DC Day 3: Toe Walking and Technology

 

Mr. Brian’s third day in DC began with insight into an upcoming review of toe walking. While there is no proven treatment for idiopathic toe walking, the presenters had found promising results with serial casting until appropriate ankle motion was achieved. They then used ankle foot orthotic bracing or carbon fiber plates to maintain this motion with ambulation. These casting and bracing techniques in combination with stretching, strengthening, and balance training programs have been shown to reduce or eliminate toe walking.

The next session of the day looked at the use of sensor technology to track infant and child movement when not in the clinic setting. There is a growing movement in physical therapy to reassess how we track patient progress and increase the variety of information we can get about our patients’ quality of movement. Using standardized tests is great for tracking patients’ improvements, but provides little insight into how these improvements are carried over at home, at school, and in the community after being discharged from physical therapy services.

Tomorrow will be the last day of the Combined Sections Meeting. Looking forward to seeing everyone back at the BAC!

Washington DC: Day 2!

Day Two kicked off with a session on infant and child development and the role physical therapists play in improving a parent’s ability to interact with their child. Six ideas to keep in mind when engaging in play with your child range from simple things like ensuring toys are within reach, turn taking, and limiting restrictions on the child’s movements, to more challenging pointers like sharing mutual attention and pausing to let the child explore and play on their own, all while remaining engaged in play with them. The next time you bring your child for an appointment, ask if you can observe a part of their next session and be sure to ask for tips on how to get the most out of the time you share playing with your kids.

The second course on the menu reviewed the evidence on the importance of physical therapy treatment for children with an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. Children with an ASD diagnosis present with a slower rate of development and low tone (or limited resting muscle strength), and often present with increased muscle tightness to compensate. This results in significant decreases in their range of motion. Activities like aquatics, yoga, and horseback riding have all proved helpful in combination with a stretching and strengthening program.

Finally, I attended a study review on the impact that an aerobic activity like cycling can have on stroke recovery and motor learning following a neurological insult. It was demonstrated that when individuals recovering from a stroke participated in a cycling program for 45 minutes three times a week, they showed improvement in practiced functional skills. 5-60 minutes after vigorous aerobic exercise, the brain even showed an improved ability to relearn tasks that had been made more difficult following a stroke.

If you have any questions or would like more information on the above information you can reach me at brian@bostonabilitycenter.com and I would be happy to help.

Greetings From Our Nation’s Capital!

Greetings from our nation’s capital where I am attending this year’s physical therapy 2019 Combined Sections Meeting! In today’s program I had the opportunity to refresh my knowledge on the vestibular system, with a particular focus on deficits and pathologies that can affect the children we treat at the BAC. The vestibular system is located in and around the inner ear and receives input from our surroundings, keeping us from falling or getting nauseous when riding in a car. Physical therapists who are well versed in the treatment of vestibular disorders are able to work with kids who have lost function due to congenital issues, drug treatments for cancer, or concussions. Treatment often involves desensitizing dizziness, balance training, and visual stabilization that can be achieved in a variety of creative ways. At the BAC,  treatment can be made more fun for children with the use of physioballs, swings, balance beams, and zip lines. Keep checking this feed for resources on the vestibular system as well as signs and symptoms that a child can present with. More info coming soon from Washington DC!

Mr. Brian

Introducing Mei-Li!

The Boston Ability Center is proud to have partnerships with local universities that have some of the best allied health programs in the country. We look forward to the opportunity to train graduate clinicians who show the same passion for working with kids as our own clinical staff. Please join us in welcoming Mei-Li to our team as she completes her 4th and final fieldwork experience in Speech and Language Pathology! 

Mei-Li is a graduate student from Northeastern University where she is enrolled in the Masters of Speech and Language Pathology program. She will be joining our team for 12 weeks beginning mid-January as part of her 4th and final fieldwork experience before her graduation this May. Her undergraduate studies at Smith College included Psychology as well as Education & Child Studies. In her junior year, she traveled abroad to Australia and completed an internship at an Early Intervention agency where she found her love for speech and language pathology. After graduating, she worked as an ABA clinician working alongside children ages 4-21 with a wide range of developmental disabilities and communication needs. Currently, she works in the field of Early Intervention as a developmental specialist serving the children and families of the Urban Boston Area. She is very excited to join our team and work alongside our seasoned clinicians. In her free time, Mei-Li enjoys going to the beach, playing volleyball, and traveling.

Meet Arielle!

The BAC team continues to grow, and we are so excited to introduce you to Arielle, the newest member of our OT crew! 

If you had to be an animal, what would be it be? I would be a horse. It’s my favorite animal because they are strong, intelligent, graceful and gentle.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Mint chocolate chip!

What is your favorite children’s book? Night of the Moonjellies, which I asked my parents to read to me over and over again. I love the story and the way the illustrations foster imagination.

What is your favorite kid’s board game? Clue

Do you have any special talents? Aerial Silks

What has been your favorite place to visit? I traveled around New Zealand for a month and did a lot of hiking. It is an absolutely beautiful country!

If given a superhero power what would you choose? Flying, because I would like seeing the world from a different perspective, feeling weightless and enjoying the wind in my hair.

Arielle completed her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy at Tufts University, where she was the Community Outreach Chair of the Student Occupational Therapy Association and organized two annual events for the Medford and Somerville communities. Arielle completed her pediatric fieldwork at Boston Children’s Hospital, working with children and their families on acute inpatient floors. She comes to Boston Ability Center with 4 years of experience as a Registered Behavior Technician, providing ABA services to children 1.5-18 years old with Autism and related diagnoses around the greater Boston area. She is passionate about working with children and their families and promoting participation in meaningful activities. As a Registered Yoga Teacher, she also incorporates wellness and mindful movement to help clients achieve their goals. Arielle is excited to join the Boston Ability Center team and continue to enrich the lives of the children she works with. 

Meet Bailee!

Get to know Bailee, one of the fabulous new OTs you might see around the BAC! 

If you had to be an animal, what would be it be? A dolphin! I love the water.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

What is your favorite children’s book? Corduroy

What is your favorite kid’s board game? Candyland

What has been your favorite place to visit? Ocean City, New Jersey

If given a superhero power what would you choose?  The ability to fly so I could visit my family and friends who live far away!

Bailee is a graduate of Bay Path University where she received a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy. She received her Bachelors Degree in Child Psychology from Westfield State University. Bailee’s clinical experience in Early Intervention, Outpatient, and in the Montessori schools has provided her with a wide range of expertise in the classroom, in the home, and in the community. Bailee has been a Pediatric Occupational Therapist with the Boston Public School system for the past 3 years, treating and evaluating children of all ages and abilities. Bailee has also worked in the Norwood Public schools during the summer months working with children with social-emotional disorders, and developmental and physical disabilities. Bailee is passionate about developing children’s skills while increasing their participation and performance through play, and she is very excited to join the Boston Ability Center team. In her spare time, Bailee enjoys spending time hiking with her dog Lola, snowboarding, and traveling with family and friends.

Meet Megan!

Get to know Megan, one of the fabulous new OTs you might see around the BAC! 

If you had to be an animal, what would be it be? A dolphin!

What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Chocolate

What is your favorite children’s book? Matilda

What is your favorite kid’s board game? Candyland

Do you have any special talents? I am quite the cook, if I do say so myself.

What has been your favorite place to visit? Nice, France

If given a superhero power what would you choose? Super strength

Megan is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh where she received her Master of Occupational Therapy degree. Megan’s clinical experience includes working in a variety of settings with a wide range of diagnoses. Megan has extensive experience working with children in a school-based setting as well as with medically complex children in their homes and has also worked with children in the outpatient setting. She is passionate about helping individuals of all ages gain independence and confidence in activities that make their lives meaningful. She especially enjoys promoting independence in higher level life skills with children and addressing executive functioning difficulties with her clients. In her spare time, Megan can be found at the gym weight lifting, or drawing in her sketchpad while listening to music. She is eager to continue pursuing her passion of occupational therapy here at the Boston Ability Center.

BAC 2018 Holiday Toy Guide!

Wondering how you can make the most of your child’s new (or old!) toys this holiday season? The BAC team is here to help! Click on an item below to see some quick and easy ways to target your child’s goals while having FUN! Most of these tips can be applied to lots of different toys, but comment below with your child’s favorite toy to get some additional pointers from BAC’s OTs, PTs, and SLPs!

Squigz

Playdoh/Slime

Puzzles

Blocks

Pop the Pig

Lego Tape

Snap Circuits

Creature Builder

Suspend

Hedbanz