Is There a Real Baby Sitter in the House?

Monday, March 30th, 2015


In The Face Time Baby Sitter, Jennifer Saranow Schultz touts the notion of  FaceTime as a virtual babysitter. While at first the idea of the iPad qua babysitter seems to be a tantalizing for young parents (I have 4 daughters who fit this category), at second blush it is downright alarming. First, while not nearly as passive as watching a video, FaceTime communication should not be mistaken for quality human interaction. The humans involved cannot physically connect,  and do not command eye contact or conversation outside of a very limited  (6-8 inch?) range.

Second, it provides a false sense of security.  If mom is in the laundry room, and Grandma is chatting with her grandchild or reading him a book, there is nothing to prevent that toddler or pre-schooler from putting the iPad down and wandering around the house unsupervised.  The iPad is not everywhere and cannot see everything. And third, young children are sensorimotor learners, who develop skills by physically engaging with their environments, not by watching screens.  Cooking, laundry and putting away groceries are opportunities for hands-on learning about categorizing, size, shape, weight, sequencing; experiencing a variety of textures;  and developing strength and coordination. My advice: take advantage of FaceTime to visit with far flung relatives as a parent-child team. Have Grandma read Junior a book while snuggling in Mom or Dad’s arms to foster a close warm connection that engages more of the senses.  Leave babysitting to an onsite human

This entry was posted on Monday, March 30th, 2015 and is filed under High Tech Parenting, Infants & Toddlers, News and Views, Parenting.

Invisible Disabilities: Advantage or Disadvantage?

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014


Blogger Paddy-Jo Moran’s post Autism Myths and Misconceptions … Autism is Always Visible  resonated with me on numerous levels. My waiting room is filled with children, some with Autism, Asperger’s, ADHD or Sensory Processing Disorder who look just like any group of typically developing children. However, when their behavior or speech patterns do not meet the expectations of those around them (teachers, neighbors, kids on the playground, the guy at the check-out counter) they and their parents are frequently met with castigating stares or pity, with observers eager to lay the blame on bad parenting, lack of discipline or spoiled-brat behavior. Often even the parents of those children with invisible handicaps find themselves playing the blame game, as on some level they too expect the same behavior from their child with handicaps as they do from their neuro-typical children.

I believe that exposure and education  are the most effective ways of effecting a (non-judgmental) attitude adjustment to support kids who appear to be typical, but suffer handicapping conditions.  The high profile of autism and ADHD in the media, the inclusion of children with handicapping conditions in public and private schools, daycare, after-school programs, organizations like the Friendship Circle and summer camps (kudos to Camp Morasha, for being the the first to host a Yachad program) are essential. But to be maximally effective, they need to be supplemented by explicit programming that focuses children and adults on an appreciation of the uniqueness of every individual, in a non-judgmental way.

Check out  a new musical about disability, friendship and kindness with cool Muppet-like characters, created by Nava R. Silton, the sister-in-law of someone near and dear to my heart, playing this week on Thursday night at BPY. Get your tickets here.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 and is filed under ADHD, Autism, Parenting, Sensory Processing.

Will the real “mommy” please stand up!

Friday, November 21st, 2014

 Credit: Anna Kövecses

I read with amusement, and frank belly laughs, Heather Havrilesky’s rant on the “conflicting notions of motherhood.”  Yet on reflection, it is precisely because public perception of the role of motherhood varies so vastly, that each mommy can confidently carve out her own course. She will never please all of the people all of the time, but why would a mom secure in her own role deign to consider or be intimidated by what others think and expect? She should be confident enough in her own choices to clearly articulate to her children and model for them, what her mommy-parameters are.

Check it out here



This entry was posted on Friday, November 21st, 2014 and is filed under Parenting.

App of the Week: 30/30

Thursday, July 17th, 2014


Multitasking. It is the buzzword for this generation. From adults managing their hectic work and family schedules, to children managing their homework, after-school activities and social schedules, we are constantly running, and rarely make time for a break. Some people are better organized than others, but getting organized is consistently one of the top five New Year’s resolutions.

As a group, children and adults diagnosed with ADHD have greater challenges with organization than most other people. Their minds, and sometimes bodies, are constantly racing and they have difficulty focusing for any length of time. I recently went to a conference and learned about a wonderful new tool to assist both kids and adults to stay focused and organized. It is called the 30/30 app, and it is available for free from the iTunes store for iPhone and iPad.

The premise of 30/30 is that one should work for 30 minutes on a single task without any distractions, next take a 30 minute break, and then repeat the cycle again, hence the name 30/30.

This scheduler is visually engaging, user friendly and customizable. Just by looking at the user interface you will intuitively be able to figure out how to set up a schedule. With just a couple of taps and swipes you can set up a daily schedule specific to your needs in a matter of minutes. Time on task can be set from 1 minute to 1 hour. At the very top of the screen is a visual timer that counts down the time left in the task, which is a wonderful aid in assisting someone to stay on task until it is completed. To maximize the benefits, place your device close by so you can see how long you have left. You can quickly add or subtract minutes depending on how quickly you are progressing in your work.

Features include the ability to set up as many tasks as you want, color code and add icons. You can color code each task or set up a pattern such as, all work yellow, all breaks blue. You can also assign each task an icon. The app provides a large array of icons and colors, which makes this very easy. Additional icons can be purchased in-app in the settings tab.

At the end of each task a chime will go off and the device will buzz, giving you auditory and tactile cues to move on to the next task or break. Besides keeping you on track for work, 30/30 can also be used to set up a sensory diet. Just list the tabs and times you want for each activity and the app will alert you or your child when to move on. This can be very helpful in having your child becoming increasingly independent in maintaining their own homework schedules, morning and evening routines, sensory diets schedule and more. Overall, this is a wonderful free tool that has many applications. For any comments or suggestions I can be reached at gershon@potsot.com.

Submitted By: Gershon Kravetz ,MS, OTR/L 

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This entry was posted on Thursday, July 17th, 2014 and is filed under Getting Ready for School, Parenting, Sensory Integration, Sensory Processing, The Special Needs Child.

Travel Tips: “Are We There Yet?”

Thursday, July 17th, 2014


As I begin to plan my family’s summer getaway, I am bracing myself for the frequent (and dreaded) question “Are we there yet?” Young children generally do not have a good concept of time, and telling them how many hours and minutes are left is not necessarily meaningful. Instead, tap into their visual systems to give them a sense. I just read a fabulous idea on simplykierste.com that I will definitely be trying out. Using Velcro as your road, affix a matchbox car to the ceiling of your car. To give your child/ren a visual cue of distance traveled and miles yet to be covered, move the matchbox car every so often while you travel.

Submitted By: Aviva Goldwasser, MS, OTR/L

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This entry was posted on Thursday, July 17th, 2014 and is filed under Parenting, Seasonal Tips.

Travel Tips: “My Child Needs To Move!”

Thursday, July 17th, 2014


Road trips with children are challenging. Road trips with children who seek movement can be even more challenging because they need to sit still and stay belted during the car ride. Use rest stops to your advantage. Whether you’re breaking to fill up on gas or to use the restroom, allow your child/ren to get out of the car and encourage them to move.  Here are some movement ideas:

  • Stretching
  • Jogging around the building (if there is a sidewalk)
  • Running in place to a fast-paced sound
  • Jumping jacks
  • Hop, skip or gallop back to the car

Consider making a pack of “Get up, get out and move” cards before your trip with funky movement activities, including yoga poses, animal walks, races and break dancing. Shuffle the deck of cards and let each child pick up 1 card per rest stop.

Submitted By: Aviva Goldwasser, MS, OTR/L, and Chaye Lamm Warburg, DPR, OTR/L

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This entry was posted on Thursday, July 17th, 2014 and is filed under Autism, Infants & Toddler Tips, Parenting, Seasonal Tips, Sensory Integration, Sensory Processing.

Tech Tip of the Week: Limit Your Child’s Screen Time the Easy Way!

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014



As a parent, among the many struggles we deal with is limit setting. This is especially so when it comes to electronics such as cell phones, tablets, laptops, and computers. Typically, you may allow your child a set amount of time to be on the iPad, and when that time is up there is often screaming, crying, and negotiating. Well, I was recently at a course about technology, and I wanted to share with you a small but valuable piece of information that I found very useful for limit setting with the iPhone\iPad.

Simply use the timer on the iPad or iPhone to shut it down and automatically go to the home\lock screen. If you have the screen password protected, your children won’t be able to get back into the program they just exited.

To access this feature, tap on the clock icon (Picture 1) and then tap the timer at the bottom of the screen. Then there is a space where one can choose a sound to come on when the timer goes off (Picture 2). Tap that section, scroll all the way to the bottom, and select “Stop Playing” (Picture 3).

Picture 1.

Picture 1 

Picture 3

Picture 2

Picture 2

Picture 3

Once you set the timer, your child can go into any app he/she chooses. At the end of the time you specified, the IPhone\iPad will shut down the program and revert to the lock screen.

If you don’t see this feature your software may not be up to date. I hope you find this information useful and it cuts down on some stress over use of electronics in your house.


Blog Submitted By: Gershon Kravetz, MS, OTR/L


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This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 15th, 2014 and is filed under Parenting, What's App Wednesday.

7 Reason to Climb UP the Slide

Monday, May 19th, 2014

7 Reasons to Climb UP the Slide















Climbing up the slide is right up there with other age-old controversial parenting issues. Here are seven reasons why you should encourage your child to indulge.

  1. Climbing up the slide strengthens the arms, legs and trunk
  2. The sensation of heavy work improves body awareness
  3. Figuring out how to turn around and slide down is a great motor planning activity
  4. Alternating arms to climb up improves reciprocal movement
  5. Children learn how to use their bodies and interact with the physical environment by experimenting and taking risks. The playground is the perfect (and one of the only opportunities) for this
  6. Figuring out who goes up or down the slide first is a great opportunity for negotiation and social interaction
  7. It’s so much fun to defy gravity (and the rules!)

Now, to address the danger issue: technically, climbing the ladder to the slide is more “dangerous.” It requires more balance and coordination to climb using two feet than it does to crawl on all fours. Most toddlers can climb up a slide, but not all can climb the stairs. Additionally, tumbling from the steps takes you straight down to the ground. Falling down the slope of a slide is far gentler.


This entry was posted on Monday, May 19th, 2014 and is filed under Gross Motor Activities, Infants & Toddlers, Parenting, Sensory Integration, Sensory Processing.

Dyspraxia Infographic

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Check out our new infographic: Dyspraxia

Click on the image to see it full size. Dyspraxia_infographic

This entry was posted on Friday, May 16th, 2014 and is filed under Autism, Parenting, Sensory Integration, Sensory Processing.

Sensory Friendly Dental Environments?

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014



For children with Sensory Integration challenges, going to the dentist is particularly daunting.  However, research on “Sensory Adapted Dental Environments” may help soften the experience in the future. Click here to learn more.

While it is rare to find a pediatric dentist with a sensory friendly environment who is keenly attuned to the needs of children with SPD and those on the autistic spectrum, in Bergen County we are fortunate enough to  have a dentist with an environment replete with spa music, nature sounds, smells and tactile toys to calm the senses of parents, employees and doctors. A shout out to Purnima Hernandez who has been an advocate, sensory star and recently became a BCBA. Check out her practice here: www.Bergenpediatricdentistry.com.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 and is filed under Autism, Getting Ready for School, Navigating the system, Parenting, Sensory Integration, Sensory Processing, The Special Needs Child.