Meet the Midlands Finest Pediatric Occupational Therapist and Sensory Processing Expert: Paul Tardy

0
Paul Tardy, OTR Dir. of Development & Lead  OT paul@sproutpeds.com

Paul Tardy, OTR
Dir. of Development & Lead OT
paul@sproutpeds.com

Paul is our Director of Development and Lead Occupational Therapist.  After high school, he enlisted in the US Army. Following basic training at Ft. Dix, he was stationed at Ft. Eustis, Virginia where he became a Chinook Helicopter Mechanic.  After graduation, he hoped to be transferred to an Army post in Hawaii, but instead was sent north to Alaska! While serving in below freezing temperatures, Paul was asked to go on a ‘special duty’ assignment! He was intrigued and was told to report to the gym on post to learn how to be a lifeguard -in Alaska! He pursued on further to obtain his WSI (water safety instructor) license and taught kids how to swim as a part time job while still working on helicopters as his main duty. Paul swam daily and enjoyed working with the kids! After serving a four-year tour with the military and being honorably discharged, he was encouraged to become an occupational therapist by his brother who was studying to be a physical therapist.  After transferring his college credits from the University of Alaska, Paul earned his degree as an occupational therapist and graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of New England in 1995.

As related to Pediatrics, Paul has extensive clinical expertise in Sensory Processing Disorder, sensory assessments and treatment applications to also include: therapeutic feeding; splinting; wheelchair assessments; NDT (Neuro-developmental Treatment); PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation); Rood Technique; manual therapies; ‘Wilbarger Protocol’, Brain Gym®, assistive technologies and general occupational performance applications.

Paul is a teacher/encourager at his core and is using his education as well as his passion in the development of the staff here at Sprout Pediatrics.  Paul also is our new hire contact and is responsible for interviewing and mentoring all of our new staff.  Paul believes the employees at Sprout Pediatrics are a dynamically growing, innovative team of highly skilled and caring therapists seeking to obtain the highest potential as clinicians as well as for service delivery for the families they reach.

Paul shares,   “For the first time in my career as an occupational therapist, I feel at home at Sprout Pediatrics as I am challenged to better myself as a professional and as a person on a daily basis with the potential to grow within this company! Sprout employs a group of like-minded therapists who enjoy sharing ideas ranging from the newly graduated therapists to the most seasoned therapists. This unique ‘team’ culture encourages me to become part of a ‘bigger picture’ and empowers me to perform at my best as a pediatric early intervention OT.  Not only do I get to ‘play’ all day, I have the great opportunity to become a part of many families lives while helping children with various needs maximize their potential for function and independence. I believe the greatest reward for helping children achieve their greatest potential helps me to achieve my greatest accomplishment in life!”

Paul and his wife, Jennifer, have been married for 7 years.  He says, “It seems like just yesterday we were sitting on the dock at camp when I asked Jennifer to marry me!”   Paul brings a unique understanding and knowledge to each family that he sees as he also has two kids with special needs.  Brady is getting ready for college next year studying to be a nurse practitioner; Riley, who has Autism, just entered into the ninth grade special education program.  He thoroughly loves animals and plans to work at the zoo after high school graduation. Halley, who has ADHD, is in the fourth grade and loves gymnastics and walking the dogs in the neighborhood.  They all enjoy trips to Maine, hiking, biking, cruises, living in South Carolina and going to their local church. They have two pets: Sgt. Pepper the tiger cat, and Molly the orange dog.

Advertisements

How to Lock your Toddler’s Ipad using Guided Access!

0
Matthew Keisler weight bearing in his stander while enjoying his ipad!

Matthew Keisler weight bearing in his stander while enjoying his ipad!

Let’s face it! While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no child under two should be using any devices or viewing screens of any kind, they are! As parents we use phones, iPads and televisions to occupy these little ones daily. Children as young as two can navigate an iPhone to pull up a parents photos and scan through them like a pro! However as quickly as they learn to navigate our devices, they learn to touch the home button and exit out of apps. If this is a problem for you, follow these easy steps below to use guided access on your I devices.

Continue reading

NorthWest Family YMCA Pumkin Run 5K and Kids Fun Run

0

Pumpkin Run Title

Hi Friends of Sprout!

It is that time again when we are creating a team to participate in the NW YMCA Pumpkin Run! Sprout Pediatrics once again is a sponsor for this great race that involves the whole family and includes a 5K run/walk ($20) and a kids fun run ($10 and less than a mile long). Last year our team had 100 participants from ages 2 to 70 including adults and children with disabilities doing the kids fun run with a chaperone. Our goal was to create a buzz through our #Sproutfit campaign for more inclusion, adaptive sports and programming. Did we ever! We had a great turn out and some heartwarming stories that followed.

Throughout this past year, we have met with the NW YMCA branch to develop plans and are very close to making some big announcements that will focus on serving families with special needs in our community with intentional programming! We have initiated a pilot program this fall that allows four children with special needs to participate in a regular soccer league with the aid of a volunteer called a Buddy!

Your participation in the race will help us move towards our goal to birth this program that will be funded by donors and events such as the Pumpkin Run.

Our goal for this year’s race is a team with 200 members made up by children and adults able and challenged. Sprout Pediatrics is committing additional funds that will be earmarked for this programming! Will you help us?

THE DEADLINE TO SIGN UP IS OCTOBER 10TH
We are creating Team Sprout stickers for race day to designate our team this year.  Hope to see you all there!!

Instructions to sign up with Team Sprout for the 2014 Pumpkin Run:
-Go to: http://www.strictlyrunning.com/gpscrlgnReg-9f.asp
-Click on YMCA Northwest Pumpkin Run, first, last name and date of birth
-Click on Group Registration and add to an existing group/team
-Click on Team Sprout and enter Captain name/email “rhyno77@gmail.com”
-Fill out your personal information and choose 5k run, 5k walk or kid fun run (if you are doing this with your young child as a helper you only need to register the child), T-shirt size
-Go to the next screen and pay to check out.

Thanks again for your support in this endeavor!

Sprout Pediatrics: On a mission!

0
"Cultivating hope in children & families for a full life experience!"

“Cultivating hope in children & families for a full life experience!”

Sprout Pediatrics exists to cultivate hope in children and their families for a full life experience by surrounding them with  innovative therapy, education and connection within their community.

 

 It has been said that necessity is the mother of all invention and this is very true for an organization such as ours. For this reason we press the refresh button every once in a while to evaluate our purpose and path to successfully help children and their families with complex challenges.

For some time we have been trying to refine our mission statement as a reflection of our vision in an attempt to shape our organizational identity.

Starting with the end in mind, we strive towards a full life experience for our clients and their families to meet their full potential not just in therapy outcomes, but in living life to its fullest purpose and pleasure despite a possible disability.

In this endeavor it is easy to recognize that we are in a marathon and not a sprint. We often see families get tired, give up, become isolated and feel hopeless. If we are going to be successful, the tools we use must cultivate hope by using a more comprehensive approach through a variety of tools including innovative therapy, education and community connection.

As we continue to grow and develop our conventional therapy skills in the natural setting we are looking for new ways to innovate and educate our staff to achieve better outcomes. We believe by adding wellness opportunities through our relationship with organizations such as the YMCA we can transition children from a “staged” setting of activity into a more organic setting of activity that will create healthy habits for a lifetime. Additional benefits include socialization and community connection for child and family that will be supplemented through parent support groups that we are creating in partnership with the YMCA. Future plans will involve inclusion of children in regular activities through a “buddy” volunteer system wherever possible before delving into creating programs specially designed for people with developmental disabilities into early adulthood.

By investing time and effort in our social media outlets we hope to develop opportunities to educate and connect parents with each other and our staff in a way that does more than just disseminate information. We hope to be a vehicle for the exchange of ideas between families and amongst clinicians as we develop our clinical think tanks as well as screening services to the general public.

As we conclude our assessment, we feel affirmed in our plans that we must pursue a multi-tool approach for the best outcomes possible. Some of these tools are billable and some must be benevolent with the help of our community in order to make them cost effective. In the end, we believe that a full life is to be experienced by child, family and our organization alike and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out!

 

Will you join us?

Rhyno Coetsee PT, CEO

 

 

South Carolina Families with Special Needs Children May Qualify for Property Tax Exemption!

0
Hunter is all boy! His limited vision isn't holding him back.

Hunter is all boy! His limited vision isn’t holding him back.

 

Gotta a great little piece of information for all you parents out there! If you live in the state of South Carolina and have a child with special needs, you may qualify for property tax exemption on the vehicle you use to transport your child.  Specifically this exemption applies to parents who own or lease a car and whose child is legally blind or uses a wheelchair.  Click here for the direct link to the South Carolina Department of Revenue’s website.  This section answers many specific ways others may qualify for exemption as well.

 

A detailed instructions sheet is provided here and will tell you specifically how to fill out the application and what you will need from your child’s primary physician.  This exemption only applies to one family vehicle and cannot be applied to step parents or foster parents.  Click here for the two page application you will need to complete and take to the tax assessor’s office in your county.  If your child would qualify for these benefits in previous years, you may also want to appeal past property tax bills by having your physician provide documentation of the date of diagnosis on his or her letter head and take that with you to the assessor’s office to determine if there is any refund available to your family.

Please feel free to share with your friends on Facebook and Twitter!  Every little bit of savings helps and allows families to use this money in other areas of importance.

What One Thing Would you want if Going on a Trip?!

0

20140619-082208-30128062.jpg

WordPress has a prompt a day! This is it for today!

You’re embarking on a yearlong round-the-world adventure, and can take only one small object with you to remind you of home. What do you bring along for the trip?

What would you want?! Initially I’d say a picture of my family because after all, they are home. But after further consideration Id say my iPad! Then I could have multiple pictures, games, and tons of other cool things!

As I continued to think about this I’m faced with the daunting reality that our children would have said iPad first. You see, our children are addicted to screens! Televisions, iPads, phones… They all teach, babysit and let’s face it, give us time to get done all the things we parents need or shall I say want to do.

Did you know the Academy of American Pediatrics recommends no screens until after age 2! check out this article on guidelines for media use. Screens are also increasing our children’s inability to sit still. Listen. Stay focused.

Three suggestions for families as we navigate through using and allowing media in our homes:

Model Self Control Make sure you take time to put the phone, remote & iPad down to actually interact with your family members!

No screens before age 2 young brains are actively being wired most during this age span. As convenient as screens are to you, your child is creating a complex neuro map with synapses and connections that last the rest of their lives. The brain is being molded by the use of screens in a negative way as it relates to attention and focus abilities.

Limit Screen time to 2 hours a day after age 2 create a plan for tv and iPad usage. Let that sink in folks! Not 2 hours of iPad time, two hours of total screen time!! That means parents if you know you’ll need a little help from a screen later in the day, you’ll have to find alternative engagement for your toddler in the morning. A token, could be a bottle top or a poker chip, system where they are given time for tv and iPad but once they spend their morning tokens, no more until afternoon. You may also need to use a timer so they hear and have an auditory cue that iPad time is over. Be consistent and they’ll begin to learn their are lots of fun things to do other than screens!

Top 4 Evaluations a Baby with Down Syndrome Needs!

0

collage Lila collage Baylee From parks to grocery stores,these little faces are everywhere!  With 1 in every 691 babies in the United States born with Down Syndrome, chances are you come in contact with a person with Down Syndrome.  As more research is done, this 400,000 plus population is becoming more self sufficient and we are learning their possibilities are endless! So as a parent, how do you help your baby with Down Syndrome have a chance to excel and use all of their potential?  We recently had the opportunity to shadow one of our very own at the Palmetto Health Down Syndrome Clinic – Columbia.

While you may be referred by your physician to the clinic, it is important to know every child with Down Syndrome should receive three very important evaluations as soon as possible.  If your community does not have a clinic like the one described here, you can create your own team of therapists and gain the information critical for not only optimizing your baby’s development, but maintaining necessary reflexes and skills.

Here's Steven as happy as can be in his stroller!

Here’s Steven as happy as can be in his stroller!

This clinic is set up in a round robin fashion.  Each family has an opportunity with each specialist and every 20 minutes rotate to another until each family has had an opportunity to meet with each specialist for an evaluation and specific recommendations for further tests and therapy plans are created.  On this particular day, our client was happy and oh so spunky! Here’s Steven, 2 years old, waiting his turn to meet with the Geneticist from Greenwood Genetics Clinic. Steven and his family met Dr. E.J. Prijoles and were able to ask any question they had about Down Syndrome.  Gathering information from knowledgeable professionals about development and issues related to this particular population is empowering.  Since this was their second time, basic information was not necessary, but they were able to ask about current research and find out of any findings were relevant to Steven.

 

Second, Steven went to be evaluated by the Occupational Therapist, of Rehabilitative Care Center. The OT’s generally watch the child play with small toys and evaluate their fine motor skills as well as how well they sit up and use their upper body.  They may refer you to have an occupational evaluation or a sensory evaluation.  Each of these areas are very important to your baby using their hands and trunk appropriately so they begin to play with toys and puzzles and later have the muscle strength to self-feed and eventually to write! Steven already has an Occupational Therapist but mom was interested to hear what they thought of his Sensory Integration and what they would recommend additionally in this area.  Both of the OT’s confirmed he seemed to have sensory aversions to soft items, and because of his low tone probably would benefit from deep pressure for ultimate proprioceptive input.  (The body’s ability to know where it is in space.)  A sensory motor screening can be done, but they confirmed an ongoing relationship with an OT who is trained in this area is best as they are always doing diagnostic assessments through therapy sessions.  OT’s are able to make better recommendations and work with the team assembled for your child.

It takes a team to this right!

It takes a team to do this right!

Next Steven headed over to meet Ms. Bethany Clark, the Physical Therapist with Rehabilitative Care Center.  Bethany is young but passionate about helping families with children who are challenged.  She quickly got busy evaluating Steven’s skills to determine why he isn’t doing more crawling and walking yet.  His Physical therapist has been seeing him two times a week and he has had steady progress, but before one years of age, enjoyed taking it all in and was not very actively engaged motor wise.  After looking at Steven’s skills and how he ambulates, Bethany recommended some type of trunk support system.  A Thera Tog or a Spio suit is designed to give support, stability and tactile stimulation for children who need a little boost in this area.  These suits are available online or locally at Brace & Boot.  It is our hope that with this type of steady input and stability, Physical Therapy will be more productive and Steven will begin to crawl and walk more and more over the next 6 months.  It is important to note that many toddlers with Down Syndrome learn to walk without a product of this kind.  Even still, other children who have had access to these suits have not seen any benefit through them.  Therefore it is important that the team continue to work to explore every possible strategy to encourage physical skills.

 

Finally, the last therapist to evaluate Steven was Ms. Mandi Madden who is a Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist with Rehabilitative Care Center.  Mandi specializes in feeding disorders and is a wealth of information for therapists like ourselves.  It is important that you seek an evaluation as early as possible by a SLP who specializes in feeding and oral motor skills if you have a baby who has Down Syndrome.  There are many reflexes and skills a qualified therapist can identify and help you maintain as they continue to grow and develop that first year.  While babies are not the same, the low tone, tongue protrusion, GI issues are common with toddlers who have Down Syndrome.  Steven has had several swallow studies that determined he aspirates on liquids and has reflux.  With this knowledge and a first hand knowledge of what current therapy consists of, Mandi was able to give oral motor exercises as well as feeding tips for his SLP to try for continuing to tolerate textures and begin eating table foods.

 

Last stop was with Dr. Hawn, who is a Clinical Professor with the USC School of Medicine.  He was able to look over all the results from the team of therapist’s and discuss the findings with Steven’s mother.  As a result of the team’s evaluation, he also was able to give mom a prescription for a Spio suit and to have another scope done to look at Steven’s esophagus.  Each of these recommendations was a result of the team’s evaluation.  While most families participate in something like this clinic in the first year of their babies life, Steven’s mom chose to take advantage of the clinic again because he is growing and developing and she had areas of concern she felt might could be addressed with a separate set of eyes reviewing his case.  This ongoing ability to advocate for Steven and leave no “stone un-turned,” is what every parent of a child with special needs must be encouraged to do.

 

Steven’s team welcomed the recommendations and is actively implementing new strategies for his benefit! It is our desire that you will find this information useful and seek to take advantage of the Down Syndrome Clinic here in Columbia, South Carolina or find one in your area.

 

Program note:  This clinic, beginning in June 2014, is evaluating only children who do not already have services in place.  The OT, PT and Speech Evaluations are now done at the Rehabilitative Care Center and the doctor’s evaluation is done on a separate day for billing purposes.

 

How to Make & Use Colored Rice!

0

Title 2

Our lead Occupational Therapist was getting bored with her white rice bins so she decided to spice it up a bit and add color! Below are several recipes but the last one has step by step directions for making a kaboodle full for your therapy toy library!

Easy Colored Rice:

1 pound bag of long grain rice

1 food coloring tube of your choice

Large zip top bagmadelyns rice

Place bag of uncooked rice in zip top bag.

Add 3 tablespoons to 1/2 a tube of food coloring to uncooked rice in zip top bag.

If you desire a deeper yellow or orange, add more coloring.

Seal bag and shake to evenly color your rice.

Spread colored rice on a cookie sheet over night to allow food coloring to dry.

Store in plastic boxes with lids for easy clean up and use.

Kaboodle fulls of Colored Rice!

To make large quantities of rice, you may want to follow this recipe as it disperses and sets the food coloring for pounds of rice!  We have seen recipes with vinegar in the place of the alcohol but then the vinegar smell is present in the containers.  Once the alcohol dries, the odor is gone.

Recipe:

5 lbs of rice

1 cup of rubbing alcohol (we made 10 lbs so we used 1 bottle of alcohol)

1/2 to 1 tube of food coloring (You can mix colors! We added yellow to the green to get our “Sprout” green!)

Large mix bowl or storage box with lid.

Plastic trash bag cut open or shower liner for rice to dry on over night.

Step 1 Supplies

Step 2 mix

Step 3 pour

Step 4 coat

Step 5 dry

Colored rice is a great therapy tool.  Here are 10 ways we use rice on a weekly basis at Sprout Pediatrics!

1.  Let children who have busy hands and like to touch everything – dig, pour, measure and play!

2.  Children who seem uneasy or whiny often times calm down to enjoy rice.  Hide small plastic food in the rice for discovery and describing!

3.  Hide farm animals and zoo animals for them to find and as they find them have them sort into a basket for categorizing!

4.  Bury various sizes of beads in the rice and as they find the beads have them string them for fine motor skills!

5.  Create a themed rice boxes that correspond to various holidays.  Use red rice, hearts, cards, etc. for Valentine’s Day!

6.  Have the rice on top of an outside stoop.  As they practice their stepping skills they have an opportunity to play in the rice for a minute!

7.  Talk about action words like pouring, dumping, covering, sifting, hiding as they play.  Say, “You are pouring, I am hiding.” Model simple sentences with action words.

8.  Provide spoons, old medicine cups, measuring cups for practice in scooping and filling various sizes of containers.

9.  Hide marbles or glass beads of different colors for some Math fun!  Ask “How many blue marbles did you find?” “How many green ones?” “How many all together?” 

10.  Don’t forget the funnels! You will love playing with the funnels as much as your child.  Laugh and Enjoy!

Last but not least, use recycled soda bottles and create I spy bottles.  Funnel rice in and find small objects your child will enjoy finding and put them in the bottle.  Super glue the top for safety!

I spy

Wellness Opportunities Critical for Children with Special Needs

0

Cameron Sports rounded

The concept of wellness has many applications in our society but for the sake of this blog, it is defined as physical activity that results in a level of fitness that impacts immediate quality of life, health over the long term and recreational benefits.  Getting children involved in sports and exercise early in life is critical.  As the old adage goes, many life skills, such as a healthy lifestyle is likely “caught rather than taught.” In a study by Rimmer, Braddock and Marks (1995) it was noted that less than 10% of adults with developmental disabilities engage in physical activity a minimum of three days a week. So parents and caregiver’s need to get out and get moving early and often to break this mindset.  Taking family walks or biking outings are a great way to get everyone off the couch and outdoors breathing fresh air and getting much needed vitamin D! Here are a few links to local parks and trails that are fun and unique!

Palmetto Trail – Hike the entire trail or just the Peak to Prosperity trail and get to cross 11 different train trestles!

Sesquicentennial State Park – Hike or bike the trails and enjoy the slides and canoeing!

Congaree National Park – Become a junior ranger! Print this book and walk and learn about all kinds of native animals.

Just because a child has a physical disability, parents and others may feel as though the child can’t play organized soccer or baseball but what studies have shown, is that while the goals of sports participation and exercise may need to be individualized for a child with a disability it can result in equal benefits compared to the general population.  Take time to find out about leagues in your area that cater to children with developmental disabilities.  Important benefits of sports and exercise include the development of self-esteem, social integration, and the learning of social and team skills. All greatly beneficial to the child with a disability.

Click here for National Adaptive Programs 

Friendships and a sense of community are forged and developed in the process of becoming well and is an unintended benefit to exercising together with peers.  If you are struggling to find organized sports leagues, why not gather up neighbors to throw frisbee with or play some relay games with on a Sunday afternoon!

Modify these relay suggestions for a fun afternoon!

Signs of SPD in Children – from Picky Eating to Temper Tantrums

0

Because we work with many children who show signs of Sensory Processing Disorder, we thought it would be helpful to share this blog! If your child has persistent issues, an Occupational Therapist who specializes in Sensory Processing Disorder could be useful in making recommendations to help in this area. Give us a call if you feel your child may need to be seen by a professional. We’d love to help!

The Sensory Spectrum

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) affects five to ten percent of all children – an average of one child in every classroom.

Imagine having a child who finds hugs unbearable, or a child who throws temper tantrums virtually every time he or she is taken to a restaurant or store, or a child who refuses to eat. These behaviors are daily realities for more than three million children in the United States alone.

October is National Sensory Awareness Month. The Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) Foundation wants parents to know the Red Flags of SPD:

  •     Overly sensitive to touch, noises, smells, or movement
  •     Floppy or stiff body, clumsy, poor motor skills or handwriting
  •     Difficulty dressing, eating, sleeping, or toilet training
  •     Frequent or lengthy temper tantrums
  •     Easily distracted, fidgety, withdrawn, or aggressive
  •     Craves movement
  •     Easily overwhelmed

Most children with SPD are just as intelligent as their peers, and many are intellectually gifted. Not…

View original post 182 more words