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Lobby day in Austin with SHBH Leadership and Senator Brian Birdwell

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Small Hands Big Hearts’ (SHBH) Leadership Team–Betts Hoover and Melissa Gutzmer–attended the 2013 Texas Association for Home Care and Hospice Winter Legislative Conference held in Austin, TX January 23-24.

The Texas Legislature only meets every two years in Austin, so Betts and Melissa took the opportunity to join other home care and hospice advocates at the Capitol and share the story of how home care is changing lives.

The 2013 Texas Legislative Session will be underway and lawmakers need to know that home health is the most cost-effective, patient-centered solution to health care reform. Betts and Melissa spoke with representatives from both the House and the Senate.

This photo was taken when Melissa met Senator Brian Birdwell in his office in the Capitol. The Senator was burned severely when an airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, so he has personal experience with physical and occupational therapy.

We were able to share the value our services provide to the individuals we serve as well as the importance of our program to the state of Texas as a whole.  Small Hands, Big Hearts will continue to fight for the rights of children with delays and disabilities in order for them to get the services they so desperately need.

Sara, PECS and an SHBH Speech Therapy Victory

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My name is Dana H., and I am a Small Hands, Big Hearts Speech Therapist. Here is a recent success story.

I want to introduce you to Sara*. Sara has visual challenges as well as hearing and speech difficulties. She often has to use  a wheelchair.

When this precious little girl was born, she was developing typically. All of sudden, she had a series of seizures at 3 months of age. Her development slowed drastically after this event.

I met Sara when she was 18 months old. I was providing home speech therapy to her older sister. I noticed her developmental delays. Since Sara was only 18 months of age, her mom was not aware speech therapy could benefit her. I explained that speech therapy could be exactly what Sara needed to accelerate her development.

SHBH was able to get Sara quickly approved for speech therapy services and we started working together.

Keep Reading…

“Why I like working with SHBH.” Dana H., Speech Therapist

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What do you like about working for Small Hands, Big Hearts pediatric therapy management?

Culture of Service.
SHBH takes the attitude of serving us as therapists rather than us serving the company. This is seen in all kinds of practical ways. I don’t have to go into the office all the time. If I need a test kit and I am across town, many times the leadership drops one off for me at a half-way point. That is service!

SHBH offered me the option of working contract, full-time, or part-time. I chose full-time. I really like not having to deal with all the self-employment details.

They also exhibit flexibility in that they let you choose the type of client you serve best. They desire to optimize your therapeutic strengths. The SHBH leadership understands that therapists have their own families and lives, too.

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Sensory Strategies for Children

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Sensory Integration:  the neurological process that organizes sensation from one’s own body and from the environment and makes it possible to use the body.

There are several areas of sensory integration:

Oral:  Children with oral defensiveness dislike or avoid certain textures or types of food. 

They may be over or under sensitive to spicy or hot foods; avoid putting objects in their mouth; and/or intensely dislike tooth brushing or face washing.  Some have had a variety of feeding problems since infancy. Activities should be fun and may include:

  • Experiment with: fruit roll-ups, a fruit popsicle with gummy bears, Dum-Dum suckers, Cheetos, cold orange slices (sucking), a yogurt shake with straws, Cheerios, chocolate sauce, slurping noodles, pickles, Jell-O Jigglers, frozen orange slices, ice-pops, etc.
  • Experiment with Nuks and marshmallow paste, Nuks and peanut butter, Nuks and salsa, Nuks and cranberry sauce, etc.
  • Experiment with vibrators/nectar or pudding, bubbles, whistles, squiggle pens, sticky paper (licking), blowing ping-pong balls, flashlights, faces in mirror, blowing feathers, etc.

Tactile:  Children with tactile defensiveness avoid letting others touch them and would rather touch others. Keep Reading…

Improving Your Child’s Grasp

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Tripod grasp:

The most functional grasp for writing, according to teachers and occupational therapists, is the dynamic tripod grasp. The pencil rests on the first joint of the middle finger with the thumb and index finger holding the pencil in place. The wrist is slightly extended and the forearm rests on the table. The child may need encouragement to use small localized movement of finger joints rather than large arm movements.

To promote the dynamic tripod grasp, encourage the child to flex the ring and little fingers into the palm of the hand. Try giving the child a quarter, marble, small piece of paper or other item to hold with those two fingers in their palm while they write using only the thumb, index, and middle fingers.

Ask the child to make an “O” or “C” shape when they pinch the pencil.

Activities that improve grasp:

Use playdough for pinching and rolling small pieces to strengthen the thumb and fingers. (Use the thumb pad and the pad of the index finger) Keep Reading…