The season of giving is here and toy shopping is at the top of the list for most parents, grandparents and other relatives. Here at Play for Real we love using play to help children grow and develop. Children learn best when they are actively engaged and having fun, and the choice of toys can directly affect their play and learning experience. Choosing what to buy is not always easy and AOTA (the American Occupational Therapy Association) offers a checklist to help pick appropriate toys for play. It is easy to be enticed by fancy packaging, the latest fads and advertising, especially when you are in a hurry to get your holiday shopping done. Occupational therapy practitioners are experts in play as it relates to development and using the AOTA toy shopping tips can help you find toys that are fun and engaging while also supporting a child’s development.
Some questions from the AOTA Toy Shopping Tips:
Is the toy safe and age appropriate? If the suggested age range is too young for the child, he or she may get bored quickly. If the range is too old, the child may get frustrated and give up, or be exposed to small parts that could pose a safety risk. Be mindful of your own child’s development in terms of his or her strengths, interests, and abilities.
Can the toy be played with in more than one way? Toys that offer unlimited possibilities can tap into the child’s creativity. Blocks can be stacked, knocked down, lined up, crashed into, and even substituted for play food in a pretend kitchen.
Does the toy appeal to several senses? Children’s attention is captured by exciting colors, sounds, lights, and textures. Toys that encourage them to push buttons, move parts, open doors, or sort shapes will often lengthen play time.
Can the toy be used in more than one place or position? Toys that are easy to carry or can be used while sitting, standing, or even lying down make play possible anywhere. Crayons, markers, sidewalk chalk, a baby gym, and plastic rings can be used in a variety of locations.
Does the toy involve the use of both hands? Moving parts, buttons, and gears encourage activity and movement. Construction toys, craft kits, puzzles, balls, riding toys, and toss-and-catch sets all promote motor skill development at different ages.
Does the toy encourage thinking or solving problems? Board games and science kits offer older kids the chance to use thinking skills in a new way, while shape sorters, puzzles, or a Jack-in-the box are great for babies and toddlers.
Does the toy encourage communication and interaction? Dress-up clothes, costumes, playhouses, kitchen sets, and tools can all be used with more than one child to teach cooperation and negotiation and foster imagination.
Is the toy worth the cost? Consider the appeal, durability and cost of the toy. Will the toy engage the child in a way that he/she is an active participant, rather than a passive observer? Can the family engage in play together?
You can download the full guide by clicking on this link: AOTA – How To Pick A Toy. We hope you find the AOTA Toy Shopping Tips helpful for selecting toys that will help the children in your life to learn and develop while having fun, allowing you all to Play for Real!
Play for Real Therapy welcomes Lisa Timrick, COTA/L, pediatric occupational therapy assistant to our team!
It is with great pleasure that we welcome Lisa Timrick, COTA/L, pediatric occupational therapy assistant to our team! Lisa is very excited to be joining us at Play for Real Therapy Services. In 2006, she began working with children as an orthopedic technologist at Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Chicago. During this time, she developed a passion for assisting children with a variety of disabilities. This experience inspired her to become an occupational therapy assistant.
Wanting to deepen her relationships with children and families, Lisa recently completed course work to become a Basic DIRFLoortime Practitioner. In turn, this led her to become part of our team at Play for Real Therapy Services.
During her time at Shriners, Lisa enjoyed working closely with other professionals in a multidisciplinary team. This approach is something she continues to value. While training as an occupational therapy assistant, she was fortunate to work at Mt. Sinai and Stogers hospitals in Chicago. Here Lisa developed her pediatric experience in neonatal care and outpatient therapy. After graduating, Cum Laude, in 2010, she gained experience in a pediatric unit specializing in trauma. At this time, Lisa also developed an interest in using play to work on pre-handwriting skills in children.
2014 brought Lisa on an amazing journey to Florida where she initially worked with medically fragile children and their families. Through this experience, she discovered the effects of nurturing touch and its benefits to both the child and parents. Consequently, Lisa went on to become certified as a pediatric massage therapist.
In her free time, Lisa spends time cooking and creating new dishes for her family and friends. She enjoys researching and learning about Florida’s reptiles and spiders of all kinds. Lisa’s other interests include travel, swimming, reading, yoga and watching football.
Lyn with Steve Silberman at the ICDL Annual DIRFloortime Conference
ICDL Annual DIRFloortime Conference a Success!
We attended the ICDL Annual DIRFloortime Conference at Gaylord Palms in Orlando on September 23 & 24 and it was a great success. It was wonderful to be able to meet and talk with DIR colleagues from the US and around the world. We were impressed with the presentations from a variety of autism and DIRFloortime experts.
The keynote speakers were particularly interesting. Steve Silberman, the author of “Neurotribes: the Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity”, discussed some of the history of autism and his positive attitude toward neurodiversity was inspiring. Lyn was lucky enough to have the opportunity to chat with him individually the day before the conference, as she was the ICDL representative to meet him at the airport!
The keynote speaker on the second day was Dr. Kingkaew Pajareya. Her presentation on how she initially learned to practice DIRFLoortime from the writings of Dr. Stanley Greenspan, and subsequently developed teams of health care professionals to bring the DIR model to Thailand was very moving. Although not confident in her English, she used video, narration and music to beautifully illustrate the work she has been doing.
In addition to attending presentations, Lyn lead the DIR 101 track, which was well attended by both professionals and parents wanting to learn about the model. This course is the prerequisite class for the professional training in DIR and Lyn is following up from this with a DIR 201 class starting in January 2017. The class will be delivered in a hybrid format comprising two Saturday onsite sessions at the Play for Real Therapy Services clinic in Rockledge (one in January and one in March), and eight Thursday evening online sessions. Details of the course, all dates, and registration are available at http://www.icdl.com/courses and please feel free to contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Play for Real closed on Friday September 23 for ICDL Conference
As we announced earlier, the ICDL Conference is at Gaylord Palms Resort and Conference Center in Orlando this year. Play for Real Therapy Services will be closed this coming Friday and Saturday, September 23 & 24, as we will be attending the conference. This event is a great opportunity for both professionals and parents/caregivers to come and hear experts in the field presenting on all aspects of DIRFloortime. It is the first time that ICDL is holding the annual conference in Florida and there is an impressive lineup of presenters.
The opening keynote speaker is Steve Silberman, the author of “NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity”. In this award-winning book, Steve gives an insightful and sensitive history of autism, and it will be a wonderful opportunity to hear him speak at the conference. If you have not yet registered for this great conference, there is still time to do so at http://www.icdl.com/2016.
Lyn is excited and looking forward to leading the DIR 101 track at the conference. This course is open to professionals and parents and is the prerequisite for the professional training in DIRFloortime. Those interested in completing DIR 101 will attend a mix of presentations by the speakers, and workshops lead by Lyn. You can register for this via the conference registration above or by going to http://www.icdl.com/courses.
If you are attending the conference and would like to know more about Play for Real Therapy and the services we offer, please feel free to come and talk to us and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Alternatively, you can contact us at email@example.com
After the conference is over, look out for our next posts as we have some exciting announcements to share with you – keep watching this space!!
Play for Real closing this week for staff training
Play for Real Therapy will be closing for the latter part of this week for staff training. We will be closed from Wednesday July 27 through Monday August 1. We will open again for business at 2:00pm on Monday afternoon, August 1. If you need to contact us during this time, please leave a voicemail or send an email and we will get back to you when we reopen.
DIRFloortime Annual International Conference in Orlando
Play for Real Therapy Services is excited that, this year, the Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning (ICDL) will be holding the DIRFloortime Annual International Conference at Gaylord Palms Resort and Conference Center in Orlando on September 23 & 24. This conference is for both professionals and parents/caregivers. It is the first time that ICDL is holding the annual conference in Florida and there will be an impressive lineup of presenters.
The opening keynote speaker is Steve Silberman, the author of “NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity”. In this award-winning book, Steve gives an insightful and sensitive history of autism, and it will be a wonderful opportunity to hear him speak at the conference. For more information about some of the other presentations, and to register for this great conference please go to http://www.icdl.com/2016. As they announce new speakers, ICDL is updating this page on a regular basis.
Lyn is pleased that ICDL have asked her to lead the DIR 101 track at the conference. This course is open to professionals and parents and is the prerequisite for the professional training in DIRFloortime. Those interested in completing DIR 101 will attend a mix of presentations by the speakers, and workshops lead by Lyn. You can register for this via the conference registration above or by going to http://www.icdl.com/courses.
We are pleased to announce that we are now able to offer Integrated Listening System (iLs) programs here at Play for Real Therapy Services.
iLs uses filtered music and movement to improve brain function. The music is loaded on an iPod paired with special headphones, which deliver sound through both air and bone conduction (a low frequency vibration transmitted by bone to the inner ear).
iLs programs include acoustically modified classical music that provides enhanced or filtered signals in certain frequencies, as specific frequencies are believed to be correlated to certain brain functions. Simultaneous to the auditory component, the user engages in visual, vestibular and motor exercises that maximize the effect.
A growing body of research is showing positive effects of iLs programs in improving sensory processing, attention and regulation, auditory processing, reading and learning ability, and speech. You can visit the iLs website for more information, by clicking here.
Peter has recently trained as an iLs associate and can offer supervised iLs programs both here at our clinic and/or as a home program. For more information, use our contact form here, or call 321-872-8737.
We would like to wish you all a slightly belated Happy New Year, and hope that your year has got off to a good start. We have had a very busy and eventful month here at Play for Real.
Our year got off to a wonderful start with a brief visit from Peter’s mother who lives in the UK. The flight over here was a surprise Christmas gift from her daughter, Geri. She was so excited to be able to see the clinic and hear about the work we do with children and families here at Play for Real. We all had a lovely time, but it seemed all to soon that she had to return to the chilly weather in the UK.
Peter and his mother at the Play for Real Clinic
Play for Real Therapy Clinic Celebrates its First Anniversary
On January 19, we celebrated the first anniversary of opening the clinic. Our first year seems to have flown by, but it was nice to look back and see how much Play for Real has grown in that time, and to see our dream becoming a reality. We are excited at the prospect of expanding further this year and to see some of our plans and projects start to take shape.
Welcome to our New Therapist!
As part of our growth mentioned above, we are very excited to welcome Jessica Wicker, MOTR/L, who will be providing additional occupational therapy services for us. Although she is new to Play for Real, we have known Jessica for the last 14 years and are so pleased that she is making her skills and expertise available to our children and families.
Lyn began an online DIRFloortime Training for professionals this month that has attracted participants from as far away as Singapore and Australia. We are also pleased to be able to tell you that the 20th Annual International DIRFloortime Conference will be in Orlando this year, September 23 & 24 at the Gaylord Hotel. We’ll let you know more details as they become available.
To round off our January, we have just returned from the CARD Annual Conference in Orlando, where we were exhibitors for ICDL (Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning). CARD (Center for Autism and Related Disabilities), provides a lot of support and help for parents, caregivers and professionals living and working with children and adults on the Autism spectrum. Lyn and Jeff Guenzel, the CEO of ICDL, gave a short presentation on DIRFloortime and we all got to talk with lots of parents and professionals about DIRFloortime and the work we do here at Play for Real.
Lyn to conduct DIRFloortime training at Miami Children’s Hospital
Lyn is off to Miami next weekend where she will be conducting DIRFloortime training at Nicklaus (Miami) Children’s Hospital. We are excited that the hospital is pursuing DIRFloortime training for their clinical staff.
This time last year Lyn and Kathy Platzman, the Clinical Director for The Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning (ICDL), spent a weekend in Miami teaching the DIR 101 class to about 50 of the hospital staff. This year, the hospital has asked Lyn and Kathy to return. As a result, on June 13 & 14 they will be repeating the DIRFloortime 101 class for more of the staff, and then going on to start the professional DIRFloortime 201 training on Monday June 15.
DIR 101 is an introductory course that reviews the theoretical framework, scientific evidence, and scope of application of the DIR model and Floortime. This course is open to parents and self-advocates as well as professionals.
DIR 201 is an intensive theory and practicum course for professionals only, and is the first stage of a series of courses for clinicians who want to use the DIRFloortime approach in their clinical setting.
Although Nicklaus (Miami) Children’s Hospital is hosting the DIRFloortime 101 and 201 classes, the courses are not exclusive to their staff so, if you are interested in registering, please go to www.icdl.com/courses.
Please note that, because of the Miami training, the Play for Real Therapy clinic will be closed on Friday June 12 and Monday June 15. We will be open for business as usual on Tuesday June 16.