Advanced Pediatric Therapies


Messy Play at APT

Like it or not, goopy things are fun.

Like it or not, goopy things are fun.

There has always been lots of messy play at APT (witness shaving cream day during summer intensives) but lately it has seen a resurgence with our fun and dynamic therapist Mandy.  “It’s so good for kids to get messy and have fun!” she says.

You may ask why it is so good for your kiddos to engage in some really gloppy, messy play.  Here are a few reasons, developmentally, why messy play is such a great tool to get your kids to learn and have fun:

Cognition:  It takes some problem solving “muscle” to figure out things like:  Will this goop run off the table and onto the floor, how hard can I squeeze this, what happens when I lift my hands and pour and how can I make it change colors?  Building cognitive skills involved with sorting, classifying (soft, mushy, squishy), matching and identifying colors is very easily achieved with some slimy goo.

Social and Emotional:  Through sensory play, children can learn to establish confidence in making choices (how much mud do I need for a mud pie?).  When paired with other children, they learn to negotiate problems together (how can we make a fort for the dinosaurs?) and deal with frustration (squeezing, pounding and pulling are ways to appropriately express feelings when monitored by peers and adults).   Kids feel proud when they can try and predict how the messiness is going to turn out (will it run off the table or stick to our fingers?).

Fine Motor:  All that pinching, pulling, pouring, stirring and shaking is of great benefit to fine intrinsic muscles in the hands.  Heavy work is also necessary with more resistive substance such as play-doh.  Kids have to use their stabilizing muscles (in shoulders and trunk) to help keep movements accurate and coordinated.

Language:   It’ fun to think of new words to describe the materials.  We like when kids use sing-songy words to name the media they are working with such as ooshy, bubbly, sticky, stringy, squidgy etc.

Creativity:  With messy play, it’s fun because it’s more about the process than the product.  It’s all about getting gushy and less about creating a masterpiece.  Thus, all kids can participate and have fun without  the stress of making something perfectly.

For all you parents who are thinking, “My kid would never touch that stuff,”  fear not! There are many different materials to choose from.  Everything from dried rice and beans to styrofoam peanuts to homemade goop are fair game.  Ask your therapist for ideas.  Easing your child from friendly to feared materials takes some time but it is a safe way to introduce new textures to your tactile-fearful child.  Also known as tactile defensiveness, some kids have a negative reaction to certain textures.  We can help you decide where to start.

Here’s a fun recipe for “Gooey Gunk”  from the book The Ultimate Book of Kid Concoctions by John E. Thomas:




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SPD Foundation Responds to Adam Lanza and Newtown Tragedy

The following comments are from the SPD Foundation, a great resource for parents and therapists alike:

Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation Comments on Adam Lanza and the Newtown Tragedy

Reports that Adam Lanza did not feel pain indicates he likely experienced Sensory Under-Responsivity, one of the six forms of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), found in virtually all children with an autism spectrum disorder. SPD often goes undiagnosed, but affects at least 1 in 20 children.

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Quote startOur hearts go out to the families impacted by the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.Quote end

Denver, CO (PRWEB) December 20, 2012

Dr. Lucy Jane Miller, Ph.D., founder and research director of the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation, comments on how the reported symptoms in the shooter, Adam Lanza, are a classic indicator of a form of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).

“Our hearts go out to the families impacted by the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. Reports that Adam Lanza did not feel pain indicates he likely experienced Sensory Under-Responsivity, one of the six forms of SPD, found in virtually all children with an autism spectrum disorder. The suggestion that Lanza suffered a rare and exotic condition reflects the widespread unawareness of SPD. In reality, SPD is a common neurological condition that affects at least 1 in 20 children.

“SPD is not included in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV), published in 1994, which is typically used by health care providers to diagnose and prescribe treatment options. Unless identified in a diagnostic manual, like the DSM, children rarely get the help they need.

“When diagnosed and treated early, children with SPD are able to function well in society. Typically, treatment for SPD involves occupational therapy with a sensory approach. Unfortunately, lack of a diagnostic code means that treatment is not covered by insurance.

“Without treatment, children with SPD are at high risk for many emotional, social, and educational problems, including the inability to make friends or be a part of a group, poor self-concept, academic failure, and being labeled clumsy, uncooperative, belligerent, disruptive, or out of control. Anxiety, depression, aggression, or other behavior problems can follow.

“Earlier this month, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) announced changes being made for the upcoming fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5). Despite an overwhelming amount of rigorous data, the APA did not include SPD in DSM-5. There was no explanation given for the decision. The next edition of the DSM is not scheduled until 2025 at the earliest.”

The SPD Foundation, in addition to forty-nine scientists from Harvard, Yale, Duke, and many other institutions, has been conducting and publishing research on the prevalence, etiology, phenotypes, treatment, and diagnostic markers of SPD.

For symptoms, treatment options, and recent research, visit

Dr. Miller is available for media interviews. To schedule an interview, contact Caraly at (303) 865-7636 or caraly (at) SPDFoundation (dot) net.

The Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) Foundation, a Colorado 501(c)(3), offers educational programs, conducts SPD research, and provides resources for parents worldwide. Dr. Lucy Jane Miller, widely recognized as a leader in SPD research worldwide, founded the SPD Foundation in 1979. For more information, visit or call (303) 794-1182.

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Meet Anthony Miriello of Spectrumshare

We are pleased to introduce Anthony Miriello, a Child Therapist and Developmental Disabilities Mental Health Specialist in the Portland metro area who specializes in working with children and teens on the autism spectrum. Anthony has a special interest in integrating physical fitness into social and emotional health.  Anthony is partnering with APT to provide counseling services and eventually therapeutic groups and classes.

Anthony received his masters degree in Child Development from Sarah Lawrence College in New York and his bachelors from the University of Oregon in Psychology. Anthony has been working with children and families as a counselor, consultant, and educator for over 6 years.
Anthony recently became Certified as a Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

Anthony Miriello can be reached for consultation at or by calling (503) 432-9631.

Additionally, go to Anthony’s blog at  Most recently, his posts have concentrated on the benefits (yes benefits) of anxiety and reminders for parents and professionals.  Lots of great information, check it out!

Please see the attached SpectrumShare Flyer for additional information.  Welcome spectrumshare!

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Welcome Baby David!

Please join us in welcoming the newest member of the APT family, baby David born to mom Erin and dad Brent.  David was born on 12-23-2012 weighing in at 6 pounds, 7 oz.  We are thrilled for them and hope you enjoy the gorgeous photos.

Proud parents Erin and Brent hold David.

Proud parents Erin and Brent hold David.

4574 In striped hat 5X7 3 for web

4653 In bowl close 5X7 2 for web

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