Questions about TEFRA, Medicaid or the Affordable Care Act? Join us March 19th for Challenger Club!

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head shot 1Join us for our next Challenger Club Meeting scheduled on Thursday, March 19 at 6:30 pm.

Are you curious what questions to ask, or how to best access the healthcare needed for a special needs child? Shannon Staley, LMSW, is the Healthcare Connection Coordinator at Family Connection of South Carolina, and she will be focusing on these topics at the next meeting. She has created a network where families with similar situations can exchange resources, as well as create a community that will enrich their family’s life. Families are matched to their “best fit,” in order to create a network of advocates for your child.

Shannon will also target topics such as Medicaid, TEFRA, Affordable Care Act, and privately purchased insurance. She will present a base knowledge for each of these, so you can go forward and ask the right questions and have the confidence needed to ensure the best care for your child.

This is sure to be an informative session with valuable information that you don’t want to miss. We look forward to seeing each of you there! These meetings are held at the Northwest Family YMCA and free childcare is provided! The goal of each Challenger Club Meeting is to provide information relevant to the special needs community, as well as form connections with resources and families within the community.

Teenage Boy with Autism Discovers the YMCA 5K is Fun!

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batten boys out to eat title 2

Last year Sprout Pediatrics started something new…well we started three something news! Pardon the grammar, but we are thrilled to share what last years Pumpkin Run birthed! First of all it was our first time partnering with the Northwest Family YMCA to sponsor a race.  It was fun to encourage folks to be part of our team and be active.  Our desire is to see everyone being active and ultimately healthy!  Second, it was the launch of being #Sproutfit.  Our hash tag was introduced and we intended to use it to highlight Adaptive fitness in and around the Midlands.  While we did that, something bigger is happening! We realized that being #Sproutfit is about being healthy physically, mentally, socially and emotionally.  Our organization wants encourage all aspects of healthy living so #Sproutfit is much broader than we originally intended!

Continue reading

NorthWest Family YMCA Pumkin Run 5K and Kids Fun Run

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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!

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"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!

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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.

5 Quick Facts about Developmental Stuttering!

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True Stuttering or Developmental Stuttering?

 

As Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist’s we are often met by frightful parents, grandparents and even Early Interventionist who fear a young one is stuttering! Just to be clear, stuttering or disfluency could be a repetition of a word or phrase such as “I-I-I wanna go. or “I wanna-I wanna-I wanna go.” to a prolongation “IIIIIIIIII wanna go.” or a block where a person opens their mouth to speak and and nothing comes out. Sometimes facial grimaces or body movements are associated with stammering.  This is not new! Some rather famous people are also known stutterers! Take for example Marilyn Monroe, who sang with a raspy voice, this was a technique she developed to help her maintain fluent speech.     John Stossel, a noted Fox News Journalist, has done several in depth stories on stuttering and manages his stuttering well enough to host a weekly show on air! Believe it or not Joe Biden overcame the embarrassment of stuttering as a child.

Okay but what about children who stutter? When as a parent you hear your young child struggle to get our a word or a thought, it’s painstakingly difficult and we just want it to stop! We often times, well meaningfully say, “STOP! Think about what you want to say then tell mommy.”  When is all actuality it’s frustrating and puts them under further stress to perform.  So how can we as parents know if our child is going through what’s known as developmental stuttering or if they are truly developing a stuttering problem? Here are 5 Facts about developmental stuttering you need to know and keep in the forefront of your mind if your child begins to be disfluent.

Fact 1:  Most children between the ages of 2 1/2 and 4 1/2 go through a language explosion.  During this time they are gaining understanding of words and using more words than ever before.  Because of this language explosion, their ability to talk can not keep up with their brain! Then it happens.  They stammer and repeat words or phrases over and over and they are not even aware of what they are doing.  As parents we want to say it for them or their siblings try and rescue them by telling us what they are trying to say.  This sibling interruption again only adds to their stress and frustration.

Fact 2:  Most developmental stuttering only lasts between 3-6 months sometimes even less! If your child is experiencing repetitions or prolongations, make a note of when you began to notice them experiencing trouble.  Then move 3 months forward in your calendar and write your self a note “Still Stuttering?” and then move to 6 months forward in your calendar and write yourself another note.  If you hit these milestones and the stuttering is still present or your child began stuttering after they turned 4, seek professional help from your pediatrician or a licensed Speech Language Pathologist.

Fact 3:   Developmental stuttering is almost always worse when the child is tired, excited, upset or being rushed to speak.  When a child is stressed or pressured, their anxiety goes up and more disfluencies will occur.  Try and have time set aside daily in which your child can talk to you uninterrupted by the phone or siblings.  Use this time to read to them so they hear you model slow easy speech.  Try to evaluate your families schedule and look at what could be eliminated for a season to give them time to mature through the developmental stuttering.  You possibly could allow your spouse to attend an older siblings game and stay home and have a calm evening with the child experiencing developmental stuttering.

Fact 4:  A child with developmental stuttering typically does not have another speech disorder or a family history of stuttering.  If your child has another speech and language disorder, such as a phonological disorder or Apraxia, make sure you don’t delay sharing the disfluency your child is experiencing with his/her Speech Language Pathologist.  If you child is not being seen or is being seen infrequently, call your pediatrician to ask for a referral to a speech language pathologist who specializes in stuttering.  The Stuttering Foundation has a chart that is useful in determining the risk factors of children developing true stuttering. Click here to see the chart.

Fact 5:  A child with developmental stuttering will independently grow out of this phase and not need speech therapy.  If a child is truly experiencing an explosion of language development, they will grow out of it generally by 6 months.  Some boys may stutter a little longer to 9 months but it is rare.  Document on a family calendar when you noticed the onset and wait for a few months to see if you begin noticing them do it less or if it’s increasing.  If it is increasing, talk to your pediatrician or a friend who may know a speech language pathologist that could give you some direction as to what your next steps should include.  Different states have different laws about how they are served and when to hire a private therapist, so ask around.

 

Finally, you may want to print the handout below and post the cards around the house to help remind you of some easy things to do to help your child through this developmental phase.

Stuttering Tips

Top 4 Evaluations a Baby with Down Syndrome Needs!

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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.

 

Columbia Pediatric Therapy group Welcomes New Speech Language Pathologist – Ashley Hipp

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Ashley Hipp, MSP, CCC-SLP

Ashley Hipp, MSP, CCC-SLP

As a leading pediatric therapy company in the midlands of South Carolina, we take seriously the need to hire highly qualified individuals who will work well with our families.  We believe every child can make progress and we greatly appreciate the trust our families have in our team approach for service delivery! Sprout Pediatrics continues to grow and here is our latest team member to join the family! Here’s Ashley’s biographical information.

I am a speech-language pathologist who loves working with children. I started off my career as a speech-language pathologist in a nursing home, and it did not take long before I transitioned back. Serving children and their families is my passion.

Currently, I work in a local private practice serving children age birth-15, and I am very excited to begin working with Sprout on Fridays. My main interests with speech therapy include: expressive/receptive language disorders, speech/articulation disorders, and pragmatic deficits. I have experience working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, articulation disorders, voice disorders, apraxia, feeding difficulties, and expressive/receptive language disorders. I love to help children reach their full potential and provide parents/caregivers with the information and tools needed to do so.

Originally from Florence, SC, I attended undergraduate school at Clemson University, where I studied Early Childhood Education. From there, I attended graduate school at the University of South Carolina where I received my Master’s degree in Speech Therapy. My husband, Derek, and I got married in August 2012 and currently live in Lexington, SC. I enjoy spending time with my family, walking my dog (Tucker), and going to Clemson football games.

I am so excited to have the privilege to work with the staff at Sprout Pediatrics and strive to be a great addition to their wonderful team of therapists!