resources

tips & recommendations


In an effort to reinforce the therapeutic approach outside of our facility, we have compiled various resources
to support you and your family.  Our lists have been curated over time with input from parents and professionals. 

 

 

at-home tips & activities

Tips for Selecting Toys for Your Child

As you select the tools of your child’s developmental work, here are some helpful questions to keep in mind:

• Will this toy sustain interest over time? If a toy has multiple uses and encourages creativity or dramatic play, the chances are better that your child will enjoy it for an extensive period.

• Does it present an appropriate level of challenge? If it’s too hard to be successful playing with a toy, your child will want to give up. If it’s too easy, your child will lose interest. Look for toys that target skills just beyond what your child has already mastered.

• Will the toy foster emotional, intellectual, physical or social development? Many toys that are naturally inviting to children help them grow in one or more of these areas and provide important opportunities for learning as well as excitement.

• Can your child play with this toy alone and with others? If both you and your child find the toy appealing, you can enjoy a special activity together or have needed alone time.

• Does the toy build an important ability while remaining fun and engaging? Maybe your child has poor fine motor skills but loves construction toys. Sometimes a toy can help your child increase essential skills without seeming like work at all!

• Will this toy appeal to your child’s specific interests, personality and learning style? If your daughter is a tomboy, resist the urge to buy her the pink dollhouse you loved as a child and choose something that will engage her own particular sense of adventure.

• Is it practical and safe? An appropriate toy should fit your budget and living space as well as ensuring safe, rewarding play opportunities for your child.

Tips for Collaborating Problem Solving in the Home

Many common behavioral problems can be improved or eliminated by following a few simple principles. In the words of child psychologist Ross Greene, “children do well if they can.” If you can identify which factors stand in the way of your child’s optimal behavior, you are more than halfway down the road to solutions.

What is the real problem? When facing a behavioral problem, consider this question: Is there a deficit of motivation or a deficit of skill? If your child lacks motivation, rewards or consequences are appropriate. If your child is motivated, but lacks the ability to follow through with an expectation, reward/punishment approaches will be useless.

There are many kinds of skill. Many times, children are motivated to please adults but lack the skills to do so. This is easy to recognize if the skill is academic or physical. But remember that flexibility, self-discipline, consistency, and emotional regulation are all skills that need to be learned and practiced, just like math and jump rope.

Make goals specific, concrete and, if possible, visual. Telling a child, “be nice to your sister” is not nearly as effective as breaking down the components and drawing a simple picture for each. For example, being nice to your sister means: gentle hands and feet, sharing toys, helpful words instead of hurtful words.

Check it off. Similarly, visual schedules or checklists can greatly enhance independent performance of self-care tasks. Break down an activity such as “getting ready for school.” Draw a picture, or better yet have your child draw a picture, for each task and have her place a check next to each completed activity. This will enhance your child’s self-esteem and sense of accomplishment as well as making your household run more smoothly!

Become an emotional role model for your child. Children, with and without special needs, need help learning to identify and manage feelings. Whenever possible and appropriate, you can verbalize your own emotional management process for your child’s benefit. For example, “I’m feeling really frustrated that we’ve been stuck in traffic for so long. I’m going to turn on some music to help myself stay calm.”

Translate difficult behaviors into their emotional causes. If a lack of emotional regulation is getting in the way of your child’s performance, put the feelings you see into words. For instance, if your child is having difficulty with a transition, you could say, “It’s really hard to stop doing something when you’re having fun. You feel upset.” Even if you don’t see an immediate response, repeated use of feeling words will eventually become internalized and your child will learn to express himself effectively.”

Activities to Develop Hand Skills

  • ANIMAL WALKS: Lumber like a bear. Scamper like a crab. Or storm like a T-’Rex to build upper extremity stability.

  • CLAPPING and FINGER SONGS: Miss Mary Mac is a favorite to build bilateral coordination, timing and sequencing skills.

  • MAKE IT VERTICAL: This position stabilizes the wrist and supports thumb opposition for developing dexterity. Utilize as many vertical work surfaces as possible during drawing and painting, creating with Lite- Brite, Colorforms, flannel boards, stickers and ink stamps. In the bath, try drawing in shaving cream spread over a tile wall.
  • TONG PLAY: Pick up marshmallows with kitchen tongs. Shape the thumb, index and middle fingers like an “O.”
  • PLAYDOH: With “your three friends”– the thumb, index and middle fingers — roll out tiny balls and make sculpture. Also try rolling out clay and using cookie cutters to make shapes and words.
  • LACING ACTIVITIES: Allows an opportunity for the hand to work with the eyes while practicing a mature tripod grasp pattern.
  • MOSAICS: Tearing construction paper with one’s “three friends,” can be a great beginning to an art project while building hand stability and using both hands together.
  • CUT, CUT, CUT: When scissors are held with the thumb in one loop, the middle finger in the other and the index finger stabilizing the scissors, cutting activities exercise the same muscles in the hand that are needed to manipulate a pencil with a mature tripod grasp pattern.

 

Play-Doh Activities to Develop Hand Skills

Warm up. Squeeze the Play-Doh in each hand.

Roll, Roll, Roll A Ball. With the child’s “three friends”– the thumb, index and middle fingers – she or he rolls out small balls of clay. The child can use the balls to create art; bird’s nests, clusters of grapes and snowmen are classics. Or she may line up the balls to form letters and numbers. When creating the balls, make sure the child’s last two fingers are curled into his or her palm. If not, have the child hold a cotton ball or sponge (cut the size of a sugar cube) down with the ring and pinky fingers.

Stack ‘em Up. Ask the child to pinch the balls made above into disks using his or her thumb, index and middle fingers.

Topsy-Turvy. Again using the child’s “three friends,” instruct him or her to push a penny or Lite Brite peg into each of the small balls.

Play Hide and Seek. Both you and your partner make large balls of putty by rolling it between two hands. Then push 5 pennies into the clay—hiding each of them well. Reshape the clay back into a ball. Trade with your partner and dig out the pennies. Be sure that you and your partner use your fingers rather than flattening the ball with your whole hand.

Artist at Work. Roll out clay and use cookie cutters to make shapes. Play-Doh squeezed through a hand held spaghetti press might be used to create decorations and STRENGTHEN hands! OR flatten the clay into a pancake using your fingers. Cut it into shapes with scissors or a plastic knife. Draw details on the clay using a chopstick.

Roll with Imaginative Play. Roll the clay into two long snakes or coils using the palms and fingers of both hands. Form the Play-Doh coils into a pot or a cinnamon bun. When a child picks up a ball of Play-Doh, he or she is accepting an invitation to explore all kinds of possibilities.

 

health professionals

All providers listed in our resource list work with children with special needs. Always call to confirm that they can meet any specific concerns you may have for your child. 

Assistive Technology Specialists

Westchester Institute for Human Development 

The Westchester Institute for Human Development (WIHD) has a dedicated Assistive Technology Program Team. According to WIHD: “they conduct evaluations for individuals across the lifespan for the following: reading and writing, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), computer access, academic support as well as positioning of equipment.”

Additionally a loan program for parents who may need help funding Assistive Technology for their loved ones.


Assistive Technology Program Team

Cedarwood Hall

20 Hospital Oval W, Valhalla, NY 10595
914-492-8150

https://www.wihd.org/what-we-do/assistive-technology/

Dentists

Dorit Herman, D.D.S.
Anne Chaly, D.D.S

Pediatric Dentist
238 N Main St
New City, New York 10956
845-634-8900

 

Vrsha Reddy, D.D.S.
8 Independence Ave.
Tappan, New York 10983
845-359-8080

 

Purnima Hernandez, DDS, MA
specializing in children with special needs; sensory-enriched office
23-00 Rte 208, Suite 2-5
Fair Lawn, NJ 07410
201-796-4111

 

Andrea Mattia, D.D.S.
Anushia Sivendran, D.M.D
Katerina Mlejnkova, D.D.S.

Pediatric Dentistry / Orthodontics
175 Old Tappan Road
Old Tappan, NJ 07675
201-746-5102

 

Developmental Optometrists

Phyllis Weingarten


4 Medical Park Drive
Pomona, NY 10970
845-354-6225

Jeffery Rubin

Sharon Ng-Yow

Family Optometrists
55 Old Turnpike Road – Suite 201
Nanuet, NY 10954

Marilyn Mann, OD

612 Corporate Way
Valley Cottage, NY 10989
845-268-0045

Leonard Press, OD 

17-10 Fair Lawn Avenue
Fair Lawn, NJ 07410
201-794-7977

Neurologists

Diane DiGiacomo, M.D
Pediatric Psychiatrist that does ADHD evaluations
120 North Main Street
New City, NY 10956
845-708-6025

Neurological Professional Association
211 Essex Street, Suite 202
Hackensack, NJ
201-488-1515

Pediatric Neurological Association
Ronald Jacobson M.D.
125 S Broadway
White Plains, NY 10605
914- 997-1692

Ann Maurine Packard, M.D.
Pediatric Neurology
525 East 68th Street, HT-605
New York, NY 10021

Stanley Rothman, M.D
599 W. Hartsdale Ave., Suite 203 A
White Plains, NY 10601
914-422-2796

Ariel Sherbany, M.D
55 Old Nyack Turnpike, Suite 101
Nanuet, NY 10954
845-682-0723

Steven M. Wolf, M.D.
Director of Pediatric Neurology and Pediatric Epilepsy
St. Luke’s- Roosevelt Hospital Center
Roosevelt Division
1000 Tenth Avenue
New York, NY 10019
212-523-4000

Westchester Office
141 South Central Avenue, Suite 102
Hartsdale, NY 10530
914-428-0529

 

local activities

Yoga

Westchester Institute for Human Development 

The Westchester Institute for Human Development (WIHD) has a dedicated Assistive Technology Program Team. According to WIHD: “they conduct evaluations for individuals across the lifespan for the following: reading and writing, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), computer access, academic support as well as positioning of equipment.”

Additionally a loan program for parents who may need help funding Assistive Technology for their loved ones.


Assistive Technology Program Team

Cedarwood Hall

20 Hospital Oval W, Valhalla, NY 10595
914-492-8150

https://www.wihd.org/what-we-do/assistive-technology/

Gym & PE

Dorit Herman, D.D.S.
Anne Chaly, D.D.S

Pediatric Dentist
238 N Main St
New City, New York 10956
845-634-8900

 

Vrsha Reddy, D.D.S.
8 Independence Ave.
Tappan, New York 10983
845-359-8080

 

Purnima Hernandez, DDS, MA
specializing in children with special needs; sensory-enriched office
23-00 Rte 208, Suite 2-5
Fair Lawn, NJ 07410
201-796-4111

 

Andrea Mattia, D.D.S.
Anushia Sivendran, D.M.D
Katerina Mlejnkova, D.D.S.

Pediatric Dentistry / Orthodontics
175 Old Tappan Road
Old Tappan, NJ 07675
201-746-5102

 

Dance

Phyllis Weingarten


4 Medical Park Drive
Pomona, NY 10970
845-354-6225

Jeffery Rubin

Sharon Ng-Yow

Family Optometrists
55 Old Turnpike Road – Suite 201
Nanuet, NY 10954

Marilyn Mann, OD

612 Corporate Way
Valley Cottage, NY 10989
845-268-0045

Leonard Press, OD 

17-10 Fair Lawn Avenue
Fair Lawn, NJ 07410
201-794-7977

Bowling

Diane DiGiacomo, M.D
Pediatric Psychiatrist that does ADHD evaluations
120 North Main Street
New City, NY 10956
845-708-6025

Neurological Professional Association
211 Essex Street, Suite 202
Hackensack, NJ
201-488-1515

Pediatric Neurological Association
Ronald Jacobson M.D.
125 S Broadway
White Plains, NY 10605
914- 997-1692

Ann Maurine Packard, M.D.
Pediatric Neurology
525 East 68th Street, HT-605
New York, NY 10021

Stanley Rothman, M.D
599 W. Hartsdale Ave., Suite 203 A
White Plains, NY 10601
914-422-2796

Ariel Sherbany, M.D
55 Old Nyack Turnpike, Suite 101
Nanuet, NY 10954
845-682-0723

Steven M. Wolf, M.D.
Director of Pediatric Neurology and Pediatric Epilepsy
St. Luke’s- Roosevelt Hospital Center
Roosevelt Division
1000 Tenth Avenue
New York, NY 10019
212-523-4000

Westchester Office
141 South Central Avenue, Suite 102
Hartsdale, NY 10530
914-428-0529

Art centers

Diane DiGiacomo, M.D
Pediatric Psychiatrist that does ADHD evaluations
120 North Main Street
New City, NY 10956
845-708-6025

Neurological Professional Association
211 Essex Street, Suite 202
Hackensack, NJ
201-488-1515

Pediatric Neurological Association
Ronald Jacobson M.D.
125 S Broadway
White Plains, NY 10605
914- 997-1692

Ann Maurine Packard, M.D.
Pediatric Neurology
525 East 68th Street, HT-605
New York, NY 10021

Stanley Rothman, M.D
599 W. Hartsdale Ave., Suite 203 A
White Plains, NY 10601
914-422-2796

Ariel Sherbany, M.D
55 Old Nyack Turnpike, Suite 101
Nanuet, NY 10954
845-682-0723

Steven M. Wolf, M.D.
Director of Pediatric Neurology and Pediatric Epilepsy
St. Luke’s- Roosevelt Hospital Center
Roosevelt Division
1000 Tenth Avenue
New York, NY 10019
212-523-4000

Westchester Office
141 South Central Avenue, Suite 102
Hartsdale, NY 10530
914-428-0529

Baseball

Diane DiGiacomo, M.D
Pediatric Psychiatrist that does ADHD evaluations
120 North Main Street
New City, NY 10956
845-708-6025

Neurological Professional Association
211 Essex Street, Suite 202
Hackensack, NJ
201-488-1515

Pediatric Neurological Association
Ronald Jacobson M.D.
125 S Broadway
White Plains, NY 10605
914- 997-1692

Ann Maurine Packard, M.D.
Pediatric Neurology
525 East 68th Street, HT-605
New York, NY 10021

Stanley Rothman, M.D
599 W. Hartsdale Ave., Suite 203 A
White Plains, NY 10601
914-422-2796

Ariel Sherbany, M.D
55 Old Nyack Turnpike, Suite 101
Nanuet, NY 10954
845-682-0723

Steven M. Wolf, M.D.
Director of Pediatric Neurology and Pediatric Epilepsy
St. Luke’s- Roosevelt Hospital Center
Roosevelt Division
1000 Tenth Avenue
New York, NY 10019
212-523-4000

Westchester Office
141 South Central Avenue, Suite 102
Hartsdale, NY 10530
914-428-0529

local & state agencies

NY State

Early Intervention Program
New York Division of Family Health

Empire State Plaza
Albany, New York 12237
(518) 473-7016
www.health.state.ny.us

New York Developmental Disabilities Planning Council
155 Washington Ave.
Albany, New York 12210
800-395-3372
http://ddpc.ny.gov/

New York Department of Education
1 Commerce Plaza
Albany, New York 12234
518-474-3852
www.nysed.gov

New York Office of Vocational and Education Services for Individuals with Disabilities
1 Commerce Plaza
Albany, New York 12234
800-222-5627
www.vesid.nysed.gov

Rockland County, NY

Rockland County Health Department


Dr. Robert L. Yeager Health Center
50 Sanatorium Road, Bldg J
Pomona, New York 10970
Special Needs Program 845-364-2620
Early Intervention Program 845-364-2032
Maura Donoghue, LCSW, BCD
Early Intervention Official
http://rocklandgov.com/

Rockland County CPSE Chairpersons


Clarkstown Central School District
Nancy O’Donnell-Hicks
62 Old Middletown Road
New City, New York 10956
845-639-6482
Nodonnel@ccsd.edu

East Ramapo Central School District
Marlene Slackman
105 S. Madison Avenue
Spring Valley, New York 10977
845-577-6042
Mslackman@ercsd.k12.ny.us

Nanuet Union Free School District
Catherine Leahy
101 Church Street
Nanuet, New York 10954
845-627-9815
cthleahy@nanuetsd.org

North Rockland School District
Alma Aponte
Haverstraw Annex
16 Grant Street
Haverstraw, New York 10927
845-942-3492
Aaponte@nrcsd.org

Nyack School District
Patricia Seminelli
13A Dickinson Avenue
Nyack, New York 10960
845-353-7039
PSeminelli@nyackschools.com

Pearl River School District
Ellen McCabe
664 Orangeburg Road
Pearl River, New York 10965
845-620-3939
Mccabee@pearlriver.org

Ramapo Central School District
Ellen Weiner
45 Mountain Avenue
Hillburn, New York 10931
845-357-7783 x 253
eweiner@ramapocentral.org

South Orangetown School District
Beth Jaret
140 Lester Drive
Tappan, New York 10983
845-680-1324
bjaret@socsd.org

NJ State

State Agencies, New Jersey


Early Intervention Program, ages birth through 3
Division of Family Health Services
50 East State Street
P.O Box 364
Trenton, New Jersey 08625
609-777-7734
www.state.nj.us/health/fhs/eiphome.htm

New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities
P.O Box 700
Trenton, New Jersey 08625
609-292-3745

New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities
Department of Human Services

P.O. Box 700
Trenton, New Jersey 08625
800-832-9173
http://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/ddd/home/index.html

New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Department of Labor and Workforce

P.O Box 110
Trenton, New Jersey 08625
201-996-8970
http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/index.shtml

Networks & Foundations

Alert Program
www.alertprogram.com

All Kinds of Minds — Understanding The Differences in Learning
www.allkindsofminds.org

American Camp Association—Summer Camp Enriches Children’s Lives
www.acacamps.org

American Occupational Therapy Association
www.aota.org

Apraxia Kids
www.apraxia-kids.org

Arc of Bergen and Passaic Counties
www.arcbergenpassaic.org

Arc of Rockland County
www.rocklandarc.org

Asperger Syndrome Education Network (ASPEN) Bergen County Chapter
www.aspennj.org

Association for Hole in The Wall Camps: For Children With Serious Illnesses
www.holeinthewallcamps.org

Autism Research Institute
www.autismresearchinstitute.com

Autism Resource Network
www.autismshop.com

Autism Society of America
www.autism-society.org

Autism Today
www.autismspeaks.org

Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Birth Defects                                                                                                                      https://www.camplejeuneclaimscenter.com/water-contamination/health-issues/birth-defects/

 Canine Companions                                                                                                                                                                                                      https://canine.org/ 

Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (CHADD)
www.chaddbc.org

Closing The Gap –Assistive Technology Resources for Children With Special Needs
www.closingthegap.com

Cure Autism Now Foundation
http://www.daredealer.com/charity/5/1396/cure-autism-now-foundation

Epilepsy Foundation of New Jersey
www.efnj.com

Gluten-free Casein Free Diet
www.gfcfdiet.com

International Dyslexia Association, NJ Branch
www.nybida.org

Learning Disabilities Association, New York State
www.ldanys.org

Interactive Metronome
www.interactivemetronome.com

Mental Health Association of Rockland County
http://mharockland.org

Michelle G. Winner’s Center for Social Change
www.socialthinking.com

National Down Syndrome Society
www.ndss.org

National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities
www.nichcy.org

National Tourette Syndrome Association
www.tsa-usa.org

NJ Center for Outreach and Services for the Autism Community (COSAC)
www.njcosac.org

OASIS — Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support
www.udel.edu/bkirby/asperger

Optometrists Network
www.optometrists.org

Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Techology Society of North America
http://www.resna.org/

Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation
www.spdnetwork.org

Spina Bifida Association of Tri-state Region
http://www.spinabifidaassociation.org/site/c.liKWL7PLLrF/b.2642297/k.5F7C/Spina_Bifida_Association.htm

The Floor Time Foundation: Reaching Beyond Autism
www.floortime.org

The Gray Center For Social Learning and Understanding
www.thegraycenter.org

United Cerebral Palsy
http://www.ucpn.org/

Zero To Three — The Nation’s Leading Resource on the First Years of Life
www.zerotothree.org

publications

Books

All Kinds of Minds
Mel Levine
   
Behavioral Intervention for Young Children with Autism
Catherine Maurice
   
Biological Treatments for Autism and PDD
William Shaw
   
The Child With Special Needs
Stanley Greenspan
   
Educational Care
Mel Levine
   
Emergence: Labeled Autistic
Temple Grandin & Margaret M. Scariano
   
The Goodenoughs Get in Sync
Carol Kranowitz
   
Let Me Hear Your Voice: A Family’s Triumph Over Autism
Catherine Maurice
   
Nobody Nowhere: The Extraordinary Autobiography of an Autistic
Donna Williams
   
Raising Your Spirited Child
Mary Kurcinka
   
Raising Resilient Children
Robert Brooks & Sam Goldstein
   
Running on Ritalin
Lawrence Diller
   
Somebody Somewhere: Breaking Free from the World of Autism
Donna Williams
   
Sensory Integration and The Child
A. Jean Ayres
   
The Alert Program: How Does You Engine Run?
Williams & Shellenberger
   
The Challenging Child
Stanley Greenspan
   
The Difficult Child
Stanley Turecki
   
The Explosive Child
Ross Grenne
   
The Out of Sync Child
Carol Kranowitz
   
The Sensory-Sensitive Child: Practical Solutions for Out of Bounds Behavior
Karen A. Smith, PhD
Karen R. Gouze, PhD
   
Thinking in Pictures: And Other Reports of My Life With Autism
Temple Grandin

Magazines

Autism/ Aspergers Digest Magazine
www.autismdigest.com

Autism Spectrum Quarterly
www.asquarterly.com

Exceptional Parent Magazine
www.eparent.com

The Parent Paper
www.parentpaper.com

S.I. Focus Magazine
The International Magazine Dedicated to Improving Sensory Integration
www.sifocus.com

toys

Play is the essential work of childhood—toys are the essential tools of that work. A great toy is an invitation to explore exciting possibilities while engaging imagination, executive function, fine motor, gross motor, and social skills. Creating an experience that children want to return to again and again transforms developmental work–often really hard work–into play.

Giant Leaps OT is a very demanding proving ground for toys. We constantly purchase, test, and evaluate new products for use in the clinic and to recommend to parents.

Please click here for The Giant Leaps Toy Guide, our kid-tested, staff-recommended list of the most fun, best skills-building toys.

Notice any out of date or broken resources? Please let us know here!

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