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Back To School Tips

Back To School Tips

As we were growing up, school was often associated with the excitement of getting a new outfit or backpack and catching up with friends. Many children experiencing learning and/or developmental delays do not share the same excitement about starting a new school year.

A new school year means new teachers, new expectations, and for some a new school. This time of year can be very stressful, so in order to help you and your child be successful, we’ve put together a few back-to-school tips!

1. Relieve Back-to-School Nerves using Positive Talk with Your Child

*The goal is to create a relationship that will allow them to come to you throughout the school year with problems and to share their victories.

2.   Organize Paperwork and Start a Communication Log

*Try to keep a family calendar of school events, special education meetings, conferences, etc. Setup a binder to keep your child’s special education docu mentation , meeting notices, and IEPs in sequential order .

*Start a communication log using a notebook. Track, phone calls, e-mails, notes home, meetings, and conferences for easy reference.  Be sure to note the dates, times, and nature of the communications you have.

3.   Review Your Child’s IEP and Advocate for your Child

*Review your child’s IEP and be sure you have a clear understanding of the goals and supports in place. If you are questioning whether the IEP fits your child’s current needs, contact the school to schedule an IEP review meeting.

*Educate the teachers and staff about your child’s  strengths and interested, and provide them with tips and strategies that work will for your child.

4. Establish Before and After-School Routines

*Routines are key. Create an afternoon, nighttime and morning checklist.

*Establish a consistent bedtime and morning wakeup time. Start practicing 1 -2 weeks in advance of the new school year.

5. Attend School Events

*By attending school events, you will have a better understanding about events that are happening in your child’s school and this will help you talk with you child and ease their stress.

*Participating or volunteering in school events will allow you to build strong bonds with teachers and staff and this too, will help your child while they are at school.


25 Things To Do With Your Child This Summer: Free or Low-Cost Fun

25 Things To Do With Your Child This Summer: Free or Low-Cost Fun
  1. Build A Fort
  2. Make Popsicles
  3. Have a picnic
  4. Go on a Bike Ride
  5. Make Friendship Bracelets
  6. Play Hopscotch
  7. Fly a Kite
  8. Blow Bubbles
  9. Visit A Splash Park
  10. Fly Paper Airplanes
  11. Make Sand/Mud Castles
  12. Tie Dye
  13. Camp out in the Backyard
  14. Create Origami
  15. Make Lemonade
  16. Water Balloon Fight
  17. Pick Flowers
  18. Feed the Ducks
  19. Visit the Farmer’s Market
  20. Have a Family Game Night
  21. Play Mini-Golf
  22. Star Gaze
  23. Go Swimming
  24. Paint Rocks
  25. Play in the Rain …Laugh, Love, Make Memories

Caregiver-Therapist Collaboration is Key to Effective Intervention

In recent years, a positive shift has occurred from the therapist being the expert and “prescriber” to a more collaborative approach. Caregivers and therapists are working together to ensure the child is engaging in meaningful activities that are relevant to the child and family’s routines and priorities.

The shift to a therapeutic partnership acknowledges that each member of the child’s team has expertise to share. Additionally, the teaming process allows for improved caregiver engagement, inclusion of family values and perspectives, joint problem solving, and on-going reflection to ensure progress.

Recent research studies consider collaboration of caregiver and therapist as best practice with improved therapeutic outcomes documented.

Ways to improve collaboration with your child’s therapist:

  • ask questions
  • give frequent updates
  • attend child’s appointments consistently
  • follow-through with joint plan
  • provide feedback on whats working or not working
  • provide details, no matter how big or small
  • share concerns and priorities for your child

Importance of Shared Family Mealtimes

Between work, karate, swim practice, therapy, homework, late business meetings and other daily responsibilities shared mealtimes between family members is on the decline. Today, families are spending less time coming together for mealtimes and more time “on the go”.  Coming together to share a meal with family seems to have lost its value over time with the impact becoming more and more evident in our children.
It is important to acknowledge that shared family meals benefit both the children and adults in the home. Meals are a time for socializing, sharing, laughing, encouragement, commiserating, establishing routine and sense of security, not to mention responsibility and good eating habits.
Socializing during meals without the interruption of phones or televisions is vital to building relationships between family members. Making a conscious effort to disconnect from outside distractions during mealtimes allows for meaningful connections and mealtime success.

It may be surprising to learn that research shows that sharing meals together can improve academic performance in children of all ages, improves overall healthy eating habits, and decreases the chances that your child will become involved with drugs or alcohol.

Families learn to work together and depend on one another as they plan the meal, prepare the foods, set/clear the table and assist one another with washing the dishes. Children learn responsibility when they are assigned a job that contributes to the preparation and/or serving of the meal. Additionally, they learn to listen, initiate conversations, speak politely, establish their own thoughts and feelings, problem solve, and become a contributing member of the family which brings them a sense of value and self-confidence. As families come together during the mealtime process, parents can instill values and provide encouragement to their children which builds strong character in their children.
Even the busiest of families can find time to come together to share a meal when the shared meal is set as a priority. Set small, realistic goals such as setting aside one or two nights each week. These shared family meals should become a routine, this may be done by scheduling it on the same day and at the same time each week. The family meal should be an event that is honored and respected by all family members.
The benefits that arise from simply being together and sharing about the day will not only feed each person physically but also feed social and emotional connections among families.

Therapy Practice Expands

Integration Station, located in the University area of North Charlotte, would like to announce the addition of therapists Ashley Stevens and Alexa Hughes. Ashley and Alexa are a great addition to the already dynamic and sought-after team of therapists specializing in child occupational therapy services at Integration Station. Welcome Ashley and Alexa!


Occupational Therapist Named Mom Approved Doc

Charlotte Parent magazine recently published the 2014 Mom Approved Docs for the Charlotte area as nominated by parents. Integration Station is excited to announce the inclusion of director and therapist Nicole Cyphert as the only occupational therapist recommended in this years edition. To read comments made by parents in recognition of Nicole’s dedication to the children and families of Integration Station go to Charlotte Parent Mom Approved Docs 2014.



Sensational Summer Camps @ IS

Sensational Summer Camps at Integration Station provide children with the opportunity to learn through fun, multi-sensory experiences under the guidance of pediatric occupational therapy practitioners.

 Through the use of the Handwriting Without Tears® curriculum, children will enhance letter recognition, letter formation, and improve fine motor abilities to support successful writing.

 Our camps are designed for Rising Kindergarteners, First and Second graders who are struggling with handwriting or just need that extra boost to set them soaring from A to Z.

Learning Letters the “Write” Way-  July 21st -August 1st

Children will learn to form their uppercase letters and their name. Recommended for most 4-5 year olds.


Diving into Lowercase Letters-  August 4th-August 15th

Children will review accurate formation for uppercase letters, learn to form lowercase letters and properly form their name. Recommended for most 6-7 year olds.


Cost: $225 for 2 weeks including supplies

Monday-Friday, 1:00 pm- 2:30 pm

A $50 non-refundable deposit is required at registration.  All fees are due prior to the first date of class.


Calming Strategies for Children over the Holidays

Control and Choices can promote calmness in a changing environment i.e. allowing your child to help rearrange furniture to place the Christmas tree, pick out holiday decorations, and holiday songs.

Decrease sensory information.  Flashing lights maybe to over-stimulating for your child.  White lights are a less distracting alternative.

Quiet spots and breaks can help your child calm when visiting friends and family or when family visits.   After your child has had a break, encourage your child to rejoin with friends and family.  Include pillows, fidget toys, and books in the quiet spot and practice going to the quiet spot to ensure the child this is a safe place.

Develop a plan. Providing predictability and preparing for the holiday changes prior to the event can be helpful! Going over the schedule for the following day at nighttime can add structure to the holidays.  Simple, practiced plans are the best plans!

Routines are important to maintain over the holidays.

Environment: When decorating for the holidays try to respect the child’s favorite space or toy and see if the Christmas decorations impede their view of their favorite space or toy.

Sleep: Changes in routine can affect sleep patterns.  Try to maintain sleep schedules over the busy holidays.

Food Routines: Incorporate familiar foods with holiday meals.