Why Aquatic Therapy is a “Must-Have” in Your Child’s PT Plan of Care!

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Our Physical and Occupational Therapy staff uses water and aquatic therapy in a variety of creative ways, to work towards functional therapeutic goals at home, as well as through our community partnership with the YMCA.

Avery TitleWater can generally be introduced very early, before 6 months of age, to encourage independence in skills. These skills include: erect sitting, transitioning to and from the floor, all fours and protective reaching. The resistive and buoyancy properties of water aid in body awareness, as well as neutralize low core stability and hypotonia using our baby pool program. Children who have retracted and tactile defensive postures and delayed protective reactions, especially benefit from the hydro-static pressure of the water and often learn to crawl in this medium.

Float MatThese skills can also be developed using a float mat in a typical aquatics setting, creating a moving seat on top of the water that relaxes and promotes participation in a non-stressful environment. The CDC has extensive research supporting the use of water in promoting health and mental health!

aquatic therapyFrom a very early age (6 months), children can be independent, mobile participants in a pool system at home or in a typical pool, by employing cost-effective products made by Waterway Babies. These products allow us to develop independent skills in the child with low tone or poor head control, before he or she is even sitting up on land. By introducing the neck float and water at this age, we typically avoid the fear of water associated with 12-15 month old children. This tool also develops a sense of body and spatial awareness through independence in the water, as well as core and tone development. Because the system is practical and easy to use at home, children do not lose water skills during winter months and for many, this is their only means of independence early!

Using our Transition to Wellness program in partnership with the YMCA, we are able to create diagnosis- specific goals, that ultimately prepare children with disabilities for water independence and a lot of fun. This is a particular effective medium for the child with hemiplegia or hypotonia, as the resistive properties of water activate the core muscle groups and work muscle groups that are typically in an abnormal neurological pattern. By using a decreasing flotation process, we are able to prepare children for inclusion in swim lessons through the YMCA and a lifetime of enjoyment of water activities, with the possibility of inclusion in water sports with their peers!

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Sign Language: Top 10 Beginner Signs Every Child Should Learn!

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Using sign language can serve as an important vehicle for tapping into functional communication, before children begin talking. There are several indicators you can look for, to know if your child may be ready!

Before children sign they usually are:
  • Sitting up well
  • Using two hands to hold and play with rattles & toys
  • Looking at the speaker
While there are multiple benefits for using sign language with your child, some may include:
  • Reducing frustration
  • Facilitating language development
  • Encouraging gesturing, pointing
  • Encouraging word approximations, labeling and eventual talking

When beginning to sign with your child, it is best to start with practical, everyday words. We find when parents and caregivers use the same sign repetitively in everyday situations, toddlers begin making connections and approximating the signs demonstrated by the parents or the caregivers.  While at first it may be a groping attempt, over time it becomes more refined and precise.  As you integrate more useful signs, like the ones listed below, your baby can communicate his or her desires.  Be consistent in using the corresponding sign and the spoken word, and before long, your child will follow suit! Laura Mize is an experienced preschool Speech Language Pathologist and she regularly impresses upon professionals and parents that imitating actions precedes imitating mouth movements or words! So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started learning signs that babies use regularly and get your little one talking!

Baylee stopWe love the Signing Time Video series and love even more that there are so many free downloads available.  Check the sight here for her top 10 signs and some free reproducibles, or buy some of the videos.  As the Speech-Language Pathologists in our group provide therapy for many children with a variety of diagnoses, we have found these signs to be the most beneficial ones for late talker’s, children with Down syndrome and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

For a FREE printable of these signs, view the handout below:
Baby Signs Flyer2

These are the top 10 signs our therapist teach first for encouraging children to talk and communicate:
drinkcaption   eatcaption
morecaptionpleasecaption
gocaption downcaption
bubblescaption bookcaption
ballcaption alldonecaption

Ready to try even more signs to expand your infant/toddler’s communication? View our FREE printable of Top 10 Secondary Signs:
Secondary Signs Flyer

Meet Our Lead Pediatric Feeding & Speech-Language Pathologist: Melanie Coetsee

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Melanie Coetsee, SLP-CCC Lead Speech Language Pathologist

Melanie Coetsee, SLP-CCC
Lead Speech Language Pathologist

Melanie graduated from Erskine College with a BS in Biology in 1997 and received her Master of Speech Pathology from the University of South Carolina in 1999.  As our lead SLP Melanie has extensive experience in feeding therapy and has completed numerous oral motor and feeding conferences and is known in our area for her skills as a feeding specialist.  She is trained in The Beckman Oral Motor Assessment & Intervention, Talktools Sensory Motor Approach to Feeding, as well as the Talktools Oral Placement Therapy for Speech Clarity and Feeding.  Additionally, Melanie is gifted in working with clients with Down Syndrome, Childhood Apraxia of Speech and early language development.  She is also trained in Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets (PROMPT) as well as the Kaufman Speech to Language Protocol for children with Apraxia of speech.

Melanie served as a school based Speech Language Pathologist prior to joining her husband in the pediatric home based setting five years ago.  While working for ten years at C.C. Pinckney Elementary on the Fort Jackson Army base, she was named Teacher of the year 2006-2007.  Melanie is passionate about learning and started the Midlands SLP Think Tank for Speech Language Professionals to have an ongoing avenue to share ideas and new approaches to providing therapy.

Melanie says, “I love being a part of “firsts” for so many children as they learn to speak and communicate.  Seeing a child say her first word after months of hard work, or accept food from a spoon after months of oral defensiveness, pre-chaining, and food play is so rewarding!”  She also shares that she truly enjoys the sense of community we have with our staff and the families we serve.  Every therapist on the Sprout Pediatrics team brings unique experiences and gifts to the table and desires to know more.  Sharing expertise and therapy strategies within our speech therapy team helps us positively impact more kids and families.

Melanie is married to Rhyno Coetsee.  They have been married for 15 years and have three boys, Noah (10), Landon (9) and Bennett (4).  She enjoys cycling, swimming, running and watching her boys play ball!

Sprout Pediatrics Welcomes Pediatric Dysphagia & Feeding Therapist Rachael Whitaker to the Team!

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Rachael Whitaker, CCC-SLP Speech-Language Pathologist

Rachael Whitaker, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist

Rachael graduated from Furman University with a B.S. in Health and Exercise Science in 2006. She later attended the University of South Carolina and received a Master of Science degree in Motor Control and Rehabilitation in 2009, as well as a Master’s of Speech Pathology in 2013. Rachael is highly qualified, as she has most recently attended continuing education classes on Dysphagia Diagnosis and Treatment in Medically Complex Patients: NICU-Teens; The Charleston Pediatric ENT Update; Application of the Passy-Muir Swallowing and Speaking Valves; Pediatric Trauma & The Road to Recovery: Infancy Through Adolescence.

Rachael comes to Sprout Pediatrics from the Children’s Hospital of Palmetto Richland. There she saw a variety complex cases stemming from multiple etiologies. She enjoyed her work there, but looks forward to being involved in her clients treatment and seeing them progress and master goals. Rachael says, ” I love kids! I love that I can teach their families about speech and language through play. I am also humbled to have the chance to give each child the tools they need for effective and safe eating, or helping them to reduce aversions and take the stress out of mealtime for the whole family.” She shares that Sprout’s mission to consider the long term application of therapy and quality of life for each child and their family is a high value for her as well. Rachael points out, “It is so important to have goals beyond just speech, language and eating and to really focus on what those skills look like once therapy is over.”

Rachael is married to Matt (2010) and has a son named Grafton who is 17 months old. They have two
dogs, Missy and Dublin. They enjoy cooking together and playing outside. She loves to read and drink
coffee!

Palmetto Campout: Designed for Families with Special Needs!

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pic of flyerWow! Are we excited to tell you about a never before opportunity for us right here in Columbia, South Carolina!

  • Do you have a child with special needs that you have to have an enclosed space for safety and a good night’s rest?
  • Have you ever wanted to do a family camp out, but don’t even know where to begin?
  • Do you have children who would love to spend the night at a real campsite, but you can’t afford to travel and pay what it costs to be in a campground?

If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions, this years Palmetto Campout: An Outdoor Adventure is just for YOU! It will be held at Sesquicentinnial State Park and the Rangers are ready and equipped to handle all the special needs you and your family might need to throw at them. In years past, this night has been for the general public, but this year they have designed it for families with special needs in mind.  They are thrilled that so many of you have already learned that the State Parks are a great way to have inexpensive family fun and get some much needed fresh air and exercise, but they also wanted to show you how to fish, geocache (it’s like a treasure hunt!), hike, canoe and lots of other fun things!

You might be wondering why we are so pumped about this opportunity.  We at Sprout Pediatrics, have one of our missional components that we will help folks have a full life experience by connecting with places within our community.  We have seen first hand, the benefit one of our clients, Isaac Slagle, has experienced as he and his family have gone through all 47 parks not one, not two, but four times! He’s a Junior Ranger and his family is experiencing family time-even their other three children-like never before! You can check out Isaac’s Facebook page here, to see all of his many adventures. Suffice it to say, it has made Isaac #Sproutfit and we wanted in on it! The Sprout Pediatrics team has agreed to lead some of the fun stations families will get to enjoy the afternoon you arrive.  We’ll be hosting a games station and a craft station! Can you believe it? It’s gonna be like camp for everyone! Songs, crafts, hiking and much, much more!

If you think this sounds like fun and you want to take advantage of it, quickly fill out the Writable Registration PDF below and send it in because spots are limited.  They will be providing food and a tent, so they need plenty of time to make arrangements for us all. We would love to see you there and share a big chocolaty S’more with you! Won’t you please give your child the opportunity to experience life to it’s fullest?

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Challenger Club Meeting: Kim Conant, Special Needs Coordinator

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kim conant

We cannot begin to tell you how thrilled we are to have this great resource come share with all of you! She is an invaluable resource to us here at Sprout Pediatrics and I know you will learn so much if you choose to invest in attending our next Challenger meeting! So won’t you please join us at the next Challenger Club meeting located at the Northwest Family YMCA. The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 19 at 6:30 pm. You will have the opportunity to form connections with other special needs families, as well as acquire resources for the special needs community. Childcare will also be provided for this event.

Kim Conant (LPN), Palmetto Pediatrics’ special needs coordinator, will be discussing how to ensure your child is receiving the care that is needed, by coordinating care with your pediatrician. Kim Conant has experience working with over 1,000 special needs families at multiple offices in the area. In addition, she also has over 20 years of experience in pediatrics and the multifaceted nature of caring for families and children with special needs.

Her position allows for one person to be the primary facilitator for the care that your child receives. Kim coordinates the care of your child with the pediatrician, as well as multiple specialists within the medical community: such a therapists and physicians. She has a vast network of community resources at her disposal! Kim will also discuss the aspects of care one should expect from his or her pediatrician, in order to create the best outcome possible for your child. A family from the community will also share their experience of working with the office over the past 7 years.

Feel free to share this information with others and we look forward to seeing you there!
Challenger Club Flier

Welcome to 2015: Pediatric Therapy in Columbia, S.C.!

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We at Sprout Pediatrics are excited for a new year! A new year is a new beginning.  A time to start again.  A time to start something new.  A time to start fresh! While we at Sprout Pediatrics are always improving and expanding our company, we thought sharing out mission statement and why we chose specific words in the mission statement would help you understand our core values as a company as well as individuals!

Rhyno and Melanie co-treating with Steven!

Rhyno and Melanie co-treating with Steven!

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

Sprout Pediatrics began in April of 2012 and over the past few years, developed the mission statement above.  We choose to spend time and effort in developing those three key components: innovative therapy, engaging education and connection within the community.  You see, we don’t want to float from house to house and just deliver therapy. No! We want to deliver innovative therapy! Therapy that engages the clients we serve, as well as educate their families and other professionals we work alongside.  We also want to help families see the opportunities and places within our community that will also stretch and develop our clients.  After all, the end goal is a child who graduates from therapy and is filled with hope for a full life experience in the world around them!

So as we begin a new year, we are beginning something new! Actually, several somethings new!

  • We have a new office with a place for therapy! We’ll share more about this in the weeks to come.
  • We also are partnering with the YMCA of the Midlands to continue encouraging children to get #Sproutfit by being a part of sports team. The Challenger league is especially designed for kids who might need a “buddy coach” to help them participate with typical kids playing soccer, basketball and baseball.
  • The YMCA is also hosting a monthly meeting with speakers who will share specific information for families who have children with special needs.  We’ll post specific topics and dates soon!
  • Milestone Monday will be a blog we post monthly but highlight all through the month on Monday’s! We’ll share typical milestones, things you can do to encourage development and give you an opportunity to ask questions.

We hope you will follow us on Facebook, Linked In, Instagram and Twitter as we share success stories and educate through each of these social media outlets.  Let’s make it a great year!

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!

4 Things You Should know about the 2013 Buddy Walk for Columbia,SC!

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What?

Beginning in 1995 with only 17 Walks, the National Buddy Walk Program continues to grow and this year is set to sponsor more than 250 Walks!

When?

The Buddy Walk for the Midlands of South Carolina is in it’s 14th year of existence and is scheduled for Sunday, October 20th, 2013.  To see an actual video and schedule of the days events, click here to connect with Family Connection of South Carolina.  Event Video & Registration.

20130906-073157.jpgWhere?

Because last year’s walk was so well attended, the organizer’s have chosen to have this year’s Buddy Walk at Sequicentennial State Park just off Two Notch Road on the Northeast side of town! Plan to come from 1-5 pm and be prepared for a 1.5 walk to show your support for all the children and their families who live with Down Syndrome! Last year The University of South Carolina sent everyone’s favorite mascot “Cocky” to mill around and visit with all the children and adults who attended.

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Why?

The Buddy Walk was begun to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down Syndrome in their local communities.  Many participants will be wearing their “team” shirts to support the specific child they are walking to endorse and countless families have set up pages to raise funds to donate to the National Down Syndrome Association.  If you do not live in the Columbia area, you can find a walk near you by looking at this resource. “Buddy Walks by State.”

The resources raised by each participating family and team are used both Nationally and locally to continue research and the development of awareness to allow these children to reach their highest potential.  Come join the fun celebrating these children and their milestones.  It is a day filled with joy and love as we celebrate each of these individuals.