April 29, 2008

FREE Speech and Language Screening for Preschoolers

On May 3rd, The Central Institute for the Deaf, in St. Louis, is offering a free speech and language screening for preschoolers. This PDF has all the information:


April 27, 2008

Preparing Children For an Earthquake

Children need to be prepared for an earthquake as much as adults, if not more.

Infants and Toddlers

For infants and toddlers, special emphasis should be placed on making their environment as safe as possible.

  • Cribs should be placed away from windows and tall, unsecured bookcases and shelves that could slide or topple.
  • A minimum of a 72-hour supply of extra water, formula, bottles, food, juices, clothing, disposable diapers, baby wipes and prescribed medications should be stored where it is most likely to be accessible after an earthquake. Also keep an extra diaper bag with these items in your car.
  • Store strollers, wagons, blankets and cribs with appropriate wheels to evacuate infants, if necessary.
  • Install bumper pads in cribs or bassinettes to protect babies during the shaking.
  • Install latches on all cupboards (not just those young children can reach) so that nothing can fall on your baby during a quake.

Preschool and School-age Children

By age three or so, children can understand what an earthquake is and how to get ready for one. Take the time to explain what causes earthquakes in terms they'll understand. Include your children in family discussions and planning for earthquake safety. Conduct drills and review safety procedures every six months.

  • Show children the safest places to be in each room when an earthquake hits. Also show them all possible exits from each room.
  • Use sturdy tables to teach children to Duck, Cover & Hold.
  • Teach children what to do wherever they are during an earthquake (at school, in a tall building, outdoors).
  • Make sure children's emergency cards at school are up-to-date.
  • Although children should not turn off any utility valves, it's important that they know what gas smells like. Advise children to tell an adult if they smell gas after an earthquake.

April 24, 2008

When Does A Child Need Therapy?

Therapy can be beneficial to children who are dealing with death, abandonment, or abuse. Children who are experiencing difficulty adjusting to moving, starting school or divorce can find emotional support in therapy.

All children, from time to time, exhibit what adults may call “abnormal behavior.” When a child exhibits the same abnormal behaviors over a long period of time or when a child exhibits several abnormal behaviors at once, it’s wise to seek help. The first step would be to have the child evaluated for a physical cause to the abnormal behavior. If there’s no indication of a physical cause or if medical treatment does not eliminate the abnormal behaviors, therapy should be the next step.

April 23, 2008

What is the Family's Role in the Play Therapy Process?

Effective work with a child depends on parental support and participation. Sessions for parents only will be held periodically to monitor the progress of treatment. The play therapist may also make suggestions about how and when to involve some or all family members in play therapy.

April 22, 2008

What Is Play Therapy?

Play is the language of children and play therapy is a treatment
approach that uses a child’s natural tendency to “play out” their
reactions to life situations. It can help children understand their
feelings and find solutions to problems. Toys in a play therapy room
include games, puppets, art supplies, and sand trays. All toys are
carefully selected to facilitate creative and emotional expression from

The role of the play therapist is to provide an environment where a
child feels safe to play out his or her concerns. As a result, the
therapist can assess the child’s play and make recommendations to
parents concerning plans for resolving problems.

April 5, 2008

Children and Divorce

We all know families who have been touched by divorce. Divorce can be extremely challenging for parents. They are forced to make adjustments in their lifestyle and they find themselves struggling to raise their children with a co-parent they are no longer married to.

Parents can be so caught up in dealing with the aftermath of the divorce that they unintentionally forget to notice how the divorce is effecting their children. Children usually feel many of the same emotions felt by their parents; sadness, anger, shame, guilt, self-blame, etc. If not addressed, these emotions can manifest themselves in a child experiencing physical illnesses, depression, anxiety or displaying challenging behaviors.

Being sensitive to what your child may be feeling after a divorce and addressing his or her concerns can alleviate some of the stress for your child. There are numerous children's book that address divorce. Counselors, who specialize in working with children, can offer emotional support to the child and give parents suggestions on how to make the divorce transition smoother. Support groups for children teach coping skills and show children that they are not the only ones with divorced parents.

If you are dealing with separation or divorce don't overlook the impact it's having on your children.