The use of Technology in Children aged 0 – 5

Technology has undoubtedly impacted positively on many aspects of modern living. More than ever before, we are able to connect with almost anyone in the world at the touch of a button.Technology has also revolutionised the way we do business, and the Internet has created a single platform from which to communicate with a global audience. The appropriate use of technology has given us the ability to solve problems we previously thought were unsolvable. However, the key word here is “appropriate”. As with any good thing, moderation is important. This is even more crucial when considering the impact of technology on the development of young minds.

Most parents can attest to the fact that their children are more technologically savvy at a young age than what they could ever dream of being. We see 2-year-olds operating password protected iPads and taking selfies before they are even speaking in sentences. Although technology has many advantages, parents need to be aware of the potential harmful effects of overexposure to technology at a young age. It is difficult to determine the long-term effects of exposure to technology. As such, we appeal to parents to make responsible decisions regarding the use of technology in their homes. There is no substitute for human connection and interaction to stimulate learning.

The following article reviews existing research on the positive and potentially negative effects of exposure to technology in children aged 0-5. The article also highlights the use of technology as a shared parent-child activity as well as the importance of exposing children to other activities that are crucial for their development:

In addition, factors to consider when making decisions about the use of technology in your home include the fact that children are excellent mimics of adult behaviour. Parents need to model healthy screen time habits for their children to follow. For more guidelines on how to manage screen time in the home environment, consult one of the following resources:

With thanks to the American Academy of Pediatrics

November 2016, VOLUME 138 / ISSUE 5

Pediatrics Nov 2016, 138 (5) e20162591; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2016-2591

Please note that the use of technology by children as described above refers to recreational use, and not as a communication tool for children with special communication needs.



The Effects of Father Involvement

Since it is June and the month we celebrate Father’s day, we wanted to share the following interesting research regarding father involvement  with you.

This document presents an updated overview of the key trends in the father involvement literature. While the authors are unable to provide methodological detail in such a succinct summary, they endeavoured to compile as accurately as possible, reliable research results that support these trends. It is clear from the research that father involvement has enormous implications for men on their own path of adult development, for their wives and partners in the co-parenting relationship and, most importantly, for their children in terms of social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development.  When fathers function as a source of practical and emotional support for mothers, they enhance the quality of the
mother-child relationship thereby facilitating healthy developmental outcomes
for children (Lamb, 2000)

© Centre for Families, Work & Well-Being, University of Guelph 2007 Although The Effects of Father Involvement: An Updated Research Summary of the Evidence Inventory is copyright protected, the authors and sponsors encourage readers to download the document from or and to photocopy or distribute with appropriate acknowledgement of the source, and would like to be informed about uses of this material in publications, conference, policy development or classroom. This project was funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council CURA program.

To obtain additional copies of this report, please contact: FIRA-CURA Centre for Families, Work & Well-Being University of Guelph 17 University Avenue East Guelph, ON N1G 2W1 Tel: (519) 824-4120 ext 53829 Fax: (519) 823-1388

Sensory-Friendly Tips for Kids who have trouble sleeping


Sleep is such an essential (and just plain wonderful) part of life and when putting your child down is a constant struggle, it affects the whole family. Here are a few quick sensory friendly tips that may help your little one get more of the good stuff.  Whether you (and your little one) prefer deep pressure, warmth, white noise or movement, here are strategies to satisfy all shapes and sizes.

Thank you to Claire Heffron and Lauren Drobnjak from The Inspired Treehouse for their lovely website and useful articles!


Is my child’s speech age appropriate?

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Is my child’s speech developing as it should?

My child is struggling to pronounce certain speech sounds, what does this mean?

I can understand my child, but other people seem to struggle with understanding my child. Should I be concerned?


These are some of the frequently asked questions by parents when it comes to speech and speech development.  Remember it is expected that a younger child’s speech intelligibility will be poor. There are norms for the development of each individual speech sound and it might be that your child is struggling with some speech sounds that are age appropriate. However, by the age of 7 years all the speech sounds should be developed.


One of the important factors that contribute to speech intelligibility is hearing. If your child’s hearing has not been tested recently and his/her speech intelligibility is poor, get their hearing tested as soon as possible. They might be missing out on important learning opportunities!


Here are some risk factors to help you understand what could be contributing to your child’s poor speech intelligibility:


With thanks to:

Caroline Bowen Ph.D. in Speech and Language Pathology


Your parenting style has an effect on your child’s personality and behaviour.

Feb. web foto

Did you know you have a style of parenting?!

Know your parenting style and the effect on your  child’s development and personality.

Your parenting style has an effect on your child’s personality and

A study done by the University of Cape Town in a small rural SA community
showed how parenting affects children’s behaviour in everyday life.
Parenting which include corporal punishment, stressed out parents and
parents with mental conditions, such as depression portrayed more aggression
and violent behaviour.

We need to find a balance between free range parenting and helicopter


Read more about this on the following article:


Thanks to:

Lengwodishang Ramphele



#Things to do with kids

TTDWK November_12


Dear Parents

Things to do with kids has a free online magazine that you can download at:

I was asked to write an article for them about ” Having fun with children despite their behavioral problems”.


They also have a great user-friendly app that you can download on your android phone: It has never been so easy to find a fun-filled outing close to you.


The app can give you information on any venue that is in your area with regards to the facilities that they have available. They rate each venue according to baby friendly/ toddler friendly, changing facilities and much more….also if it will be fun for dads!


I hope you may find this article in the summer edition usefull. Go to:

Hope you all have a lovely Summer filled with unforgettable memories and best wishes to your families for 2017.

Written by: M. Smit (Occupational Therapist)

ADHD and SI Workshop: 21 October 2016


ADHD& SI workshop on 21 October 2016

Thank you to all the teachers who attended Friday’s workshop.


Please follow these links for useful handouts:


Tips for the classroom:

10 TIPS for living better with ADHD:


Strengths of having ADHD:

Celebrate the Strengths of ADHD!

Healthy eating options:

Diet {Outlined}

What is Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)


Our next workshop PRACTICAL FINE MOTOR WORKSHOP will be in January 2017

Watch this space for the date and venue






Characteristics of Hypotonia (Low Tone) in Children

Low Tone in Children

Low Tone in Children:

The term hypotonia is often used to describe children with low muscle tone, yet it remains abstract and undefined.  So many children today are diagnosed with “low muscle tone “.  What is low muscle tone?  How can it be described and identified?  How does it influence a child’s development?  What are the characteristics of hypotonia?  The following research report identifies some of the characteristics of children with hypotonia.


The Abstract from the article is as follows:

The term hypotonia is often used to describe children with reduced muscle tone, yet it remains abstract and undefined. The purpose of this study was to identify characteristics of children with hypotonia to begin the process of developing an operational definition of hypotonia. Three hundred physical and occupational therapists were systematically selected from the memberships of the Pediatric Section of the American Physical Therapy Association and the Developmental Delay Section of the American Occupational Therapy Association and asked to complete an open-ended survey exploring characteristics of strength, endurance, mobility, posture, and flexibility. The response rate was 26.6%. Forty-six physical therapists and 34 occupational therapists participated. The criterion for consensus about a characteristic was being mentioned by at least 25% of respondents from each discipline. The consensus was that children with hypotonia have decreased strength, decreased activity tolerance, delayed motor skills development, rounded shoulder posture, with leaning onto supports, hypermobile joints, increased flexibility, and poor attention and motivation. An objective tool for defining and quantifying hypotonia does not exist. A preliminary characterization of children with hypotonia was established, but further research is needed to achieve objectivity and clarity.

Low Tone in Children: Typical Sitting Posture

With thanks to Kathy Martin, Jill Inman, Abby Kirschner, KatieDeming, Rachel Gumbel and Lindsey Voelker

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?



“Autism”, “Aspergers Syndrome”, “Autism Spectrum Disorder”  are
becoming  well known terms these days and there seems to be an
increase in autism cases as well. But what is Autism Spectrum Disorder
(ASD) really? When a child starts showing signs of “weird” behaviour
they are often labelled too quickly as “Autistic” and labels such as
these can raise big concerns within a parent.

The following article will give you information about: What is Autism,
The causes of Autism, The prevalence of Autism and other frequently
asked questions related to Autism.

Autism is a life long journey and early diagnoses plays a tremendous
role in helping with the child’s behavioural outcome.

What Is Autism? What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. With the May 2013 publication of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual, all autism disorders were merged into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD. Previously, they were recognized as distinct subtypes, including autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome.

ASD can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Some persons with ASD excel in visual skills, music, math and art.

Autism appears to have its roots in very early brain development. However, the most obvious signs of autism and symptoms of autism tend to emerge between 2 and 3 years of age. Autism Speaks continues to fund research on effective methods for earlier diagnosis, as early intervention with proven behavioral therapies can improve outcomes. Increasing autism awareness is a key aspect of this work and one in which our families and volunteers play an invaluable role. Learn more …

How Common Is Autism?

Autism statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify around 1 in 68 American children as on the autism spectrum–a ten-fold increase in prevalence in 40 years. Careful research shows that this increase is only partly explained by improved diagnosis and awareness. Studies also show that autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls. An estimated 1 out of 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States.

ASD affects over 3 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide. Moreover, government autism statistics suggest that prevalence rates have increased 10 to 17 percent annually in recent years. There is no established explanation for this continuing increase, although improved diagnosis and environmental influences are two reasons often considered. Learn more …

What Causes Autism?

Not long ago, the answer to this question would have been “we have no idea.” Research is now delivering the answers. First and foremost, we now know that there is no one cause of autism just as there is no one type of autism. Over the last five years, scientists have identified a number of rare gene changes, or mutations, associated with autism. A small number of these are sufficient to cause autism by themselves. Most cases of autism, however, appear to be caused by a combination of autism risk genes and environmental factors influencing early brain development.

In the presence of a genetic predisposition to autism, a number of nongenetic, or “environmental,” stresses appear to further increase a child’s risk. The clearest evidence of these autism risk factors involves events before and during birth. They include advanced parental age at time of conception (both mom and dad), maternal illness during pregnancy and certain difficulties during birth, particularly those involving periods of oxygen deprivation to the baby’s brain. It is important to keep in mind that these factors, by themselves, do not cause autism. Rather, in combination with genetic risk factors, they appear to modestly increase risk.

A growing body of research suggests that a woman can reduce her risk of having a child with autism by taking prenatal vitamins containing folic acid and/or eating a diet rich in folic acid (at least 600 mcg a day) during the months before and after conception.

Increasingly, researchers are looking at the role of the immune system in autism. Autism Speaks is working to increase awareness and investigation of these and other issues, where further research has the potential to improve the lives of those who struggle with autism. Learn more …

What Does It Mean to Be “On the Spectrum”?

Each individual with autism is unique. Many of those on the autism spectrum have exceptional abilities in visual skills, music and academic skills. About 40 percent have average to above average intellectual abilities. Indeed, many persons on the spectrum take deserved pride in their distinctive abilities and “atypical” ways of viewing the world. Others with autism have significant disability and are unable to live independently. About one third of people with ASD are nonverbal but can learn to communicate using other means. Autism Speaks’ mission is to improve the lives of all those on the autism spectrum. For some, this means the development and delivery of more effective treatments that can address significant challenges in communication and physical health. For others, it means increasing acceptance, respect and support.


From website:

Photo reference:

With thanks to:
Autism Speaks Inc.

Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Bob and Suzanne Wright,
grandparents of a child with autism.