Children

Therapists at Schreiber Went Above and Beyond to Help My Son Thrive: A Personal Testimonial

Written by: Schreiber Client Brayden’s Mom, Alicia Earnesty

Brayden has been attending therapy at Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development for over 5 years now. As a medically complex child, Brayden has many diagnosis and challenges including intractable epilepsy(LGS) and cortical visual impairment. He first began receiving PT, OT, Speech, Feeding and Aqua therapy as we desperately searched for ways to help. He was unable to hold his head up, bare weight, sit up, functional use his hands or share any form of communication. 

Brayden and PT Libby

The amazing therapist at Schreiber immediately began to create a plan. His team has went above and beyond to research, learn other strategies and implement accommodations to help him thrive. The begin years were a true struggle to make progress in the midst of survival mode between hospitalizations and seizures. Covid hit which forced us to pivot to virtual therapy for 2 years working remotely from our basement therapy room. The amazing therapist never gave up and little by little we celebrated Brayden’s inch stones. We celebrated sitting on his own, sit to stand, learning to crawl, standing with support, utilizing both hands, grabbing/holding objects, pointing, saying his first words, making choices and using a communication device. Brayden underwent several brain surgeries over the years and the therapist never skipped a beat to help him rehab, bounce back and make leaps of progress. 

Looking back upon all the years of intensive therapy, it brings joyful tears to our eyes as to how far Brayden has come. Today, Brayden is a walking talking miracle and true representation to never give up hope. Brayden can voice, sign and use his adapted communication device to share what he is thinking, needing and even what he doesn’t want. Brayden can now eat foods by mouth and working so hard on independent fine motor skills. Brayden can now independently walk, go up/down stairs, squat to pick up items, and even run! 

Brayden & PT Libby on Stairs

Brayden waves and squeals with excitement on therapy days. We love calling “the duck duck place” (as Brayden calls it) home as Schreiber has become family and we are forever grateful for the staff and therapists. Thank you to Lisa, Maddy, Rebecca, Libby, Deanna, Meghan, Sarah, Christen, Adrian and so many more for your impact on his journey. To other families looking for the supports your child needs, Schreiber is the BEST in the area hands down. Partnering with them and continuing to implement at home, the sky is the limit! 


Help Schreiber Clients like Brayden receive the care they need, consider donating in support of our Kids’ Care Fund, a long and short term savings account used to cover the costs of uncompensated care.


As a nationally recognized pediatric facility, the Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development provides family-centered education and therapy programs for infants, children and adolescents with disabilities, developmental delays, and acquired injuries. Our goal-oriented approach maximizes each child’s ability to function independently within the community.


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The Myth and Reality of In-Toeing and Out-Toeing

Have you ever found yourself marveling at your little one’s unique walking style? Those adorable little toes of theirs pointing inward or outward might seem like a quirky phase they’ll grow out of, but that’s a common misconception. Let’s dive into the myth and reality of in-toeing and out-toeing in kids and why pediatric physical therapy might be just what the doctor ordered.

When little ones initially start walking, it is common to see some bowing (bending outwards) at the knees, while maintaining knee and foot alignment. At two years-old, we expect our tiny tots to conquer walking, stairs, and climbing with their feet pointing forward. By three years-old, those little piggies should ideally be in line, meaning their feet should be in line with their knees and tibias. But what happens when the journey takes a zigzag detour?

The easiest way to tell if your child is in-toeing or out-toeing is to watch their feet while they walk. If their feet are not facing forward in a straight line, they may need professional intervention. Another way to determine if they may be exhibiting signs of this is if their legs look like they’re making the letter W while they’re sitting and playing on the floor, or if they’re falling over or losing their balance more often than what seems normal for their age. In all these cases you should ask your pediatrician or primary care provider to make a referral to have their stance and gait reviewed by a pediatric physical therapist to determine if they would benefit from ongoing physical therapist at the Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development to retrain their gait and posture. 

Toddler playing in w-sitting position

Ignoring in- and out-toeing can lead to several more serious complications. These rotational deviations can cause muscle imbalances, gait inefficiencies, and even osteoarthritis of the knee. While muscle imbalances and gait inefficiencies can be worked on and improved in physical therapy as your child ages, once osteoarthritis of the knee begins, there is no way to reverse it, which is why pediatric physical therapy for in- and out-toeing is so important. Another common issue seen with in-toeing and out-toeing is foot overpronation, which can cause the arches of their tiny feet to flatten more than they normally would, which increases their risk of foot and leg injury. It is critical to address any rotational issues as soon as possible because as children age, it is hard to make changes to their bony structure. 

Balance beam physical therapy

There are another several reasons behind why a child might walk in a in-toe or out-toe style including: w-sitting habits, ligament laxity, pelvic instability, low muscle tone, poor trunk control or femoral rotation, and the solution to them all is pediatric physical therapy. By working with a pediatric physical therapist at the Schreiber Center, kids can work on targeted exercise to strengthen the muscles in the affected areas and learn how to use these strengthened muscles to stand and walk with correct posture promoting neutral alignment. They may also be fitted for orthotics or Togrite Strapping to support their feet and promote proper alignment while they attend physical therapy sessions to improve their balance, coordination, and flexibility.

Toddler orthotics

The most important and impactful aspect though, is making sure that in- and out-toeing is caught early, and addressed through pediatric physical therapy as soon as possible. By addressing these concerns as soon as you notice them, you are providing your child with a greater chance to develop healthy posture and gait and minimize the risks of long-term complications associated with in- and out-toeing.

Author’s Note:
The valuable insights and information shared in this article were provided by the Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development’s pediatric physical therapist Rachel D’Arcy. Rachel has a wealth of experience in pediatric physical therapy, and her expertise has been instrumental in crafting the content of this piece.


If you are interested in learning more about how Schreiber’s Pediatric Physical Therapy Services can help your child visit https://www.schreiberpediatric.org/physical-therapy/


As a nationally recognized pediatric facility, the Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development provides family-centered education and therapy programs for infants, children and adolescents with disabilities, developmental delays, and acquired injuries. Our goal-oriented approach maximizes each child’s ability to function independently within the community.


How Schreiber Transformed Our Son’s Feeding Challenges: A Personal Testimonial

Written by: Schreiber Client Finn’s Mom, Danielle Gwilt

Our son Finn was diagnosed with food allergies shortly after his first birthday, and a chronic digestive condition called Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) about a year after that. Due to allergies and discomfort due to EoE, feeding Finn was a challenge pretty quickly after he began solid foods. He was incredibly reluctant to try or even touch new foods or drinks. Finn started occupational therapy, prior to coming to Schreiber, at 18 months for these feeding aversions and sensory issues. While this initial round of OT helped us to learn about Finn’s sensory needs, we made no progress at all with his eating and decided to stop the therapy. We were then referred to a speech therapist outside of the Schreiber Center to see if they could help. After about a year of visits with them, while Finn had made minor progress, they felt we didn’t have anything new to try and we were discharged from their care. 

During a visit with his nutritionist around Finn’s third birthday we were discussing his ongoing feeding issues and she recommended that we reach out to the Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development. She recommended we try to see Sarah Terry specifically if she was available, as she had heard Sarah was especially good with strong-willed, picky eaters. We quickly realized how right she was! A few months after Finn turned 3 we had our evaluation and acceptance into Schreiber’s OT program, and were lucky enough to get a slot in Sarah’s schedule. 

Finn working with Sarah to drink from a training cup

At the time of our admission, Finn (3 years old) was drinking from a bottle only, would only drink oat milk, and refused every type of cup offered. He was only eating 8-10 foods with regularity. He was also still eating baby food purees every day as one of his main foods. Our initial goals with Schreiber were to get Finn to try new foods, add new foods into his diet as regularly accepted foods, and to drink out of anything other than a bottle. 

Initially, Finn was very reluctant to attending therapy, likely because he had been through other programs. What Schreiber offers is so different from anywhere else we had been. Schreiber allows for kids to make their own choices (toys they want to play with, a certain apparatus they may want to try, etc.) while still working toward the child’s goals and setting clear boundaries. Finn quickly warmed up to Schreiber and to Sarah due to the fun atmosphere and the incredible patience and understanding she showed while working with us. Sarah employed a wide array of play-based OT to entice Finn to try new foods. He was able to get the needed sensory input to his body by jumping and climbing in the large OT room before moving to a smaller room for therapy. Sarah would spend time playing with toys, games, painting, etc. in exchange for Finn touching, playing with, and eventually tasting the new foods. 

Finn trying new foods in OT at Schreiber

Sarah took the time to get to know Finn and his interests and form a true relationship with him. She made his appointments fun and silly, all while working towards his goals.  She was never visibly frustrated with him, even through some incredibly frustrating visits where he would flat-out refuse to cooperate. And she celebrated each win with us – no matter how small. Her positive and good-natured attitude made returning each week a pleasure, rather than the chore that therapy can often feel like. Sarah gave us suggestions on foods to try, ways to make slight alterations to foods to get him to accept new things, and a ton of tools to use at home as well.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t also mention Lisa at the front desk! She always welcomed our family with a smile and would greet Finn by name within just a few short weeks of his attending Schreiber. She truly assists in making Schreiber feel welcoming from the time you walk in the front door. 

The progress Finn made through our time at Schreiber is truly remarkable.  His willingness to try new foods, and to try foods more than once, has grown exponentially. He has a much larger catalog of widely accepted foods he’ll eat on a routine basis. He no longer drinks out of a bottle and will drink more than just one type of drink. 

Finn posing excitedly with his Schreiber OT graduation handprint

There are no words to express how much Schreiber positively impacted our lives. We are forever grateful to Sarah and the team at Schreiber for all they did for us and would highly recommend them to anyone whose child needs assistance! 


Help Schreiber Clients like Finn receive the care they need, consider donating in support of our Kids’ Care Fund, a long and short term savings account used to cover the costs of uncompensated care.


As a nationally recognized pediatric facility, the Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development provides family-centered education and therapy programs for infants, children and adolescents with disabilities, developmental delays, and acquired injuries. Our goal-oriented approach maximizes each child’s ability to function independently within the community.


Embracing the Chill: The Many Benefits of Playing in the Snow

The temperature is dropping, and those beautiful snowflakes are falling from the sky. You might be thinking that you’re stuck inside with the kids until it gets warmer, and that snow starts to melt. But our occupational therapists say it’s the perfect time to bundle up those kiddos and send them outside for some snowy adventures. Playing in the snow offers a ton of benefits for children, from physical activity to sensory awareness. So go ahead and embrace the winter wonderland while it lasts!

Snowcializing through Physical Play

From snowball fights to sledding adventures, each snowy activity becomes a way for your kiddo to connect with others and improve their socialization skills. Not to mention the fact that all that snow is the perfect backdrop for some serious fun physical activity! Whether they’re making snow angels, building igloos, or helping shovel, they’ll be getting in some exercise without even realizing it!

Frost-ivating Creativity and Imagination

Snow play is a great way to stimulate a child’s natural creativity and imagination. Building forts and snowmen are great examples of ways to let their creativity shine. Once the building is done you can even use washable paints and brushes to color and decorate their masterpieces.

Snowmazing Sensory Skills

Snowy terrain is a natural playground that can help kids improve their fine and gross motor skills and even engage their sensory awareness. Using all five senses they can see the snow falling, hear it crunch under their boots, smell the fresh air as it falls, touch it with their hands or feel it under their feet, and even taste the freshly fallen snow. Not to mention the fact that playing in the snow is a WORKOUT, providing deep pressure and heavy work/play which promotes sensory awareness.

SnowGuard: Boosting Immune Systems

Did you know that research shows that children who come into regular contact with dirt, trees, grass, and snow in an outdoor setting are less likely to develop autoimmune disorders and allergies? It’s true. So just by simply being outside in the snow their health is benefiting, not to mention that when the sun shines through those clouds they’ll be getting a much-needed dose of Vitamin D.

Frosty Fun and Positive Flurries

Outdoor snow play is a great way for kids to expend all that pent up energy they have from sitting in a classroom all day. The cold air invigorates them, and the positive interactions they have with friends while playing help to create an exciting and happy atmosphere. A bonus for mom and dad? After playing in the snow kids are more likely to enjoy a long restful night of sleep, setting them up for a happy tomorrow.

Snowpuzzling Problem Solving

Navigating the snowy landscape can be challenging for kids, but with that challenge comes the development of some pretty solid problem-solving skills. From figuring out the best way to build a sturdy snowman, to strategizing the construction of their snow fort, each adventure becomes a playful puzzle. Suddenly their fun snow adventure is a frosty classroom in nature.

Snowlective Language Development

Engaging in snowy escapades can also help improve your child’s language development. Use the new environment to teach and promote new vocabulary related to the weather and play. Whether they’re just starting to form words like cold, soft, hard, and white, or they’re working on their auditory processing skills to practice following more than one direction at a time, playing in the snow can be a tool to improvement. Allow them to build and shape their expressive communication while they work to build and shape their snowy play.

Don’t be afraid of the winter months. Learn to embrace the cold and encourage outdoor play even in the snow. By dressing appropriately and venturing outside, children gain significant sensory information that contributes to their overall well-being. From the cold wind on their faces to the visual tracking of falling snowflakes, every aspect of snow play becomes an exercise in mindfulness. Moreover, it creates common ground for bonding across generations, as everyone can participate in the joy of winter activities. So, let the kids play, explore, and revel in the magical world that snowy days bring. Just don’t forget the gloves!

Author’s Note:
The information shared in this article was provided by the Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development’s occupational therapists Angie Rice and Bernie Hershey. Their extensive knowledge and experience has been essential in shaping the content of this piece.


If you are interested in learning about how Schreiber’s Pediatric Occupational Therapy Services can benefit your child visit http://www.schreiberpediatric.org/behavioral-health/


As a nationally recognized pediatric facility, the Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development provides family-centered education and therapy programs for infants, children and adolescents with disabilities, developmental delays, and acquired injuries. Our goal-oriented approach maximizes each child’s ability to function independently within the community.


OASUS Harness System Takes Pediatric Physical Therapy to New Heights at Schreiber Center

The new physical therapy gym at the Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development is now open! This state-of-the-art facility is equipped with a range of innovative equipment and open spaces, all meticulously designed to enhance therapy sessions for all our PT patients. This environment allows for more personalized therapy in a warm and inviting atmosphere, filled with natural light, vibrant colors, and a sense of fun. It is particularly welcoming to our young patients, putting them at ease, making them more receptive to therapy, and eager to engage in their rehabilitation.

The Schreiber Center’s New PT Gym

One of the most exciting features of our new gym is the introduction of the OASUS Harness System, a cutting-edge bodyweight support system that takes pediatric physical therapy to the next level. Provided by Enliten LLC, this system offers a flexible and dynamic approach to gait training, enabling our young patients to experience a greater range of motion, including rotational and frontal plane movement. This added versatility is crucial in helping our children develop their motor skills, balance, and coordination. The OASUS system also incorporates bungee cords, encouraging active engagement and fostering independence, thus strengthening their muscles and overall physical development. Furthermore, it simplifies therapists’ work on important milestones like stair climbing.

Schreiber Client Elijah Using the OASUS System

Our new rock wall adds a fun and challenging element to physical therapy sessions for many of our clients. Climbing the rock wall helps children build strength, coordination, and self-confidence while enjoying the process. Combining engaging activities with therapeutic methods is just one way our physical therapists help children reach goals others didn’t believe possible. We’ve expanded our gym to include new exercise equipment, including stationary bikes, to further this goal.

Safety is a top priority at Schreiber, and we’ve updated our mat tables to provide a comfortable and safe surface for various therapeutic exercises and activities in the new gym. These tables offer enhanced support for our children during stretching and strengthening routines, creating a more conducive environment for their rehabilitation.

“The new gym has provided us with more space and flexibility for personalized therapy.  It is very inviting and bright and fun. The several new additions including the OASUS, rock wall, and new mat tables allow us to have even more treatment options to provide the best therapy to the kids that we serve.”

– Laurie Panther, Physical Therapist at the Schreiber Center.
Schreiber Client Lucas working with PT Laurie

Have you ever seen a tree in the middle of a PT gym? If you’ve had sessions in ours, you have. And soon, we’ll be introducing sensory boards and other vertical play areas to enhance our therapy sessions even further on this tree. These additions will provide opportunities for sensory integration and cognitive development. Just another example of how we’re making therapy not only effective but also enjoyable for our young patients.

While the main gym is complete and open to clients, we are still working on completing extra treatment rooms dedicated to casting and pelvic floor treatments, greatly enhancing the level of care we can offer. These specialized rooms will ensure that our children receive the individualized attention they deserve, with access to the specific therapies they require.

The new physical therapy gym at the Schreiber Center stands as a testament to our commitment to the children and families we serve. We are deeply grateful to our supporters, donors, and partners who have made this space possible. Stay tuned for updates as we continue our renovations throughout the center to bring our clients the most innovative and up-to-date technology and services available. The future is bright at the Schreiber Center, and we can’t wait to share it with you!

The Schreiber Center’s New PT Gym

Donate today to help us continue to update and improve our spaces so that we can provide quality care to more children in need.


As a nationally recognized pediatric facility, the Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development provides family-centered education and therapy programs for infants, children and adolescents with disabilities, developmental delays, and acquired injuries. Our goal-oriented approach maximizes each child’s ability to function independently within the community.


Small Victories Creating Big Impacts for the Morales Family

Teresa, the youngest, and fifth of the Morales children to receive pediatric therapy services here at the Schreiber Center faced hurdles with her speech and fine motor skills. Her parents, already familiar with the impact of our services, turned to Schreiber again, in the hopes that we could help Teresa savor the simple joys of childhood and build the tools necessary to succeed in adulthood.

The Morales Family

Early life for Teresa felt like a puzzle missing crucial pieces. Her toys requiring nimble fingers laid untouched, and words escaped her, leaving her frustrated and easily overwhelmed. Family outings felt more like survival missions than moments to cherish.

Following Early Intervention services, Evelyn brought Teresa to Schreiber where she embarked on a journey to unravel her potential. With each session, her therapists Maddy, Camilla, and later Sarah weren’t just guiding her through exercises, but rather sculpting experiences tailored to Teresa’s interests. Sensory integration was a cornerstone to her sessions, weaving therapy tasks with activities specifically designed to help balance her sensory needs and help her focus on her therapy tasks. It was in these moments that she found the balance she needed to thrive.

Now, Sarah and Maddy skillfully maintain Teresa’s focus during therapy by introducing captivating games and activities tailored to her interests. By aligning tasks with her current preferences, they’ve witnessed incredible strides. Teresa’s artistic abilities have flourished, delighting her mother, who proudly exclaims, “She can draw a person now!” This achievement stands as a monumental step for Teresa, considering her past aversion to crayons due to sensory issues.

Teresa drawing during OT at Schreiber

Her therapists have each provided the family with strategies to support her progress at home. As a result, the entire household now actively engages in sensory activities and verbal interactions. Evelyn shares that “I’m overstimulated” has become a familiar phrase in their home which serves as a unique tool for the family, helping them not only acknowledge their individual thresholds but also establish personal boundaries within the household.

Aside from engaging in sensory exercises at home, the family actively aids Teresa’s language development. Through guidance from Maddy, they’ve discovered that avoiding direct questions like “What color is this?” in favor of options like “Would you like to color this blue?” and allowing Teresa to express her choice by finding the specific color she prefers is a more effective learning approach for her.

Gaining confidence in her language abilities has empowered Teresa to voice her desires and needs effectively. Her newfound skills in self-advocacy have transformed her life. Now attending a mainstream preschool, she joyfully engages with friends, relishing playtime in the make-believe kitchen. Teresa has evolved from merely trailing her friends and staying silent to being an active participant, engaging in reciprocal play and conversation. She’s even developed a fondness for family outings and group activities, enhancing not only her own experience but the collective enjoyment of her entire family.

Teresa reading aloud at school

Evelyn, having navigated the therapeutic journey with five of her children at the Schreiber Center, imparts a valuable lesson for families walking a similar path. Her wisdom encapsulates the essence of patience and cherishing the seemingly small victories. In her words, “Be patient. Appreciate the small things. Sometimes parents get too caught up in the big milestones and forget to celebrate the small improvements. It’s those small things that are a big deal and celebrating them helps keep your child motivated to keep working towards reaching the big goals.”


Help Schreiber Clients like Teresa receive the care they need, consider donating in support of our Kids’ Care Fund, a long and short term savings account used to cover the costs of uncompensated care.


As a nationally recognized pediatric facility, the Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development provides family-centered education and therapy programs for infants, children and adolescents with disabilities, developmental delays, and acquired injuries. Our goal-oriented approach maximizes each child’s ability to function independently within the community.


Thank You to our 2023 Ambassadors!

As we reflect on 2023, we are filled with gratitude for the amazing kids and families who have allowed us to spotlight their journeys through our therapy services, the true champions of our mission – our 2023 Schreiber Ambassadors!

Left to Right: Lucas, Katelyn, Kalvin, Malcolm, Graeme, and Harper

It is through your tireless efforts that you’ve helped spread awareness about the vital work we do at Schreiber. Your advocacy has not only shone a spotlight on the challenges faced by those we serve but has also illuminated the pathways to hope and healing that our organization provides.

Your participation in our fundraising initiatives has been nothing short of extraordinary. By leveraging your networks and utilizing your influential voices, you’ve helped reach and exceed our goals all year so that we can continue making a meaningful difference in the lives of all #SchreiberKids. Your commitment to the betterment of our community is not only commendable, but also deeply appreciated.

As we express our gratitude, we also want to acknowledge the impact you’ve had on fostering a sense of community and belonging within the Schreiber family. Your enthusiasm has resonated with others, creating a ripple effect that strengthens the bonds of support and solidarity among those who share a connection to our organization.

In recognition of your exceptional contributions, we want to express our deepest appreciation. Your willingness to be ambassadors for Schreiber has not only elevated our mission but has also touched the hearts of those who have had the privilege of hearing your stories.

Thank you, 2023 Schreiber Ambassadors, for everything you’ve done to support our mission this year!


Support the therapy and education of our current and future Schreiber kids by donating to our Kids’ Care Fund today!


As a nationally recognized pediatric facility, the Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development provides family-centered education and therapy programs for infants, children and adolescents with disabilities, developmental delays, and acquired injuries. Our goal-oriented approach maximizes each child’s ability to function independently within the community.


Navigating New Year’s Eve with Kids on the Autism Spectrum: A Guide to Sensory-Friendly Celebrations

New Year’s Eve, a night of joy and anticipation for many, can pose unique challenges for families with kids on the autism spectrum or those with sensory processing disorders (SPD). However, with thoughtful planning and a touch of creativity, you can ensure a more comfortable and enjoyable celebration for your child. Our therapists have shared valuable insights and suggestions to help you navigate New Year’s Eve with your child on the autism spectrum or with SPD.

Celebrate at Noon or with a Different Time Zone

Consider breaking from tradition and celebrating the arrival of the New Year at noon instead of midnight. This alternative allows your child to partake in the festivities without disrupting their bedtime routine. If noon feels too early, consider celebrating with a European country’s time zone (e.g., 7 PM ET for London or 8 PM ET for Paris), allowing your child to enjoy the excitement while still maintaining a reasonable bedtime.

Explain New Year’s Eve & What They Can Expect

Take the time to explain the global celebration of New Year’s Eve and any specific traditions your family follows. Address the possibility of fireworks in the neighborhood by describing the sounds and emphasizing their safety. Watching fireworks videos on platforms like YouTube can familiarize your child with the visual and auditory experience. Consider skipping loud noise makers and opt for quieter more familiar toys if your child enjoys making noise.

If you plan to go out, discuss the event with your child and establish a “safe space” or escape plan. Prepare a sensory-friendly kit with items such as sunglasses, headphones, books, portable toys, comfort toys, and familiar foods to ease stress during celebrations at a restaurant or another location.

Host the Party at Home

Hosting the New Year’s Eve party at home provides greater control over the environment, ensuring a comfortable space for your child. Designate a quiet retreat space in advance, equipped with dimmed lighting, a sound machine, soft pillows and blankets, weighted blankets, and sensory tools your child uses for a sensory diet.

When hosting the celebration at home, engaging your kiddo in the planning process can significantly alleviate any anxiety they might feel about the event. Include them in planning the guest list, so that they know who will be there. Allow them to be a part of setting the menu, so they know there will be food that they enjoy. If they enjoy cooking, you can even encourage them to help you prepare the food.

Decorations, though essential, can overwhelm kids with ASD or SPD. Empower your child to select and hang streamers and balloons, ensuring a comfortable atmosphere. If they love arts & crafts, consider letting them make their own ball for the ball drop out of balloons, foam, play doh, cardboard, or even paper mâché. When the moment comes, drop this ball from a deck or simply throw it up into the air. 

Plan a Fun Family Night In

Create a cozy fort in the living room using old bedding, comfortable pillows, and blankets and enjoy a family movie in the fort. Consider using a weighted blanket to reduce anxiety, especially if your neighborhood gets loud during New Year’s Eve celebrations.

If your family enjoys board games or puzzles, plan a night of bonding and fun around the table. This relaxed setting allows for quality family time without the sensory challenges of larger gatherings.

Encourage your child to create a memory book of their favorite moments from the past year. This can be a creative project, incorporating drawings, colors, or even a written story. The best part? You can keep this as a keepsake to revisit every year.

Help your children write down their New Year’s resolutions. If they love arts & crafts, supervise them while they cut up old magazines or help them print out pictures from the internet for a vision board of their goals that can be hung in their room for inspiration in the upcoming year.

Keep Your Plans Flexible

Remember, flexibility is key. Be prepared to adapt plans or even leave an event early if needed. Additionally, consider using a soothing sound machine for light sleepers to ease bedtime, especially if fireworks are expected in your neighborhood. With careful planning, you can create a New Year’s Eve that is enjoyable for your child and the entire family.


If you are interested in learning more about how Schreiber’s Pediatric Behavioral Health Services and Occupational Therapy Services can help your child visit http://www.schreiberpediatric.org/behavioral-health/


As a nationally recognized pediatric facility, the Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development provides family-centered education and therapy programs for infants, children and adolescents with disabilities, developmental delays, and acquired injuries. Our goal-oriented approach maximizes each child’s ability to function independently within the community.


Kolton Conquers Sensory Struggles and Graduates Occupational Therapy Victorious

At three years old, Kolton was having difficulty within a variety of areas including attention, transitions, emotional regulation, sensory processing, using feeding utensils, and pencil grip. His mom Sam, a behavioral consultant who had a professional history with the Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development, brought him to the center for assessment. “I wanted to be sure that if there was something more we could be doing to help him struggle less, we were doing it.” Sam shares.

During his assessment, it was discovered that Kolton’s visual motor skills were in the average range. However, his fine motor skills were below average impacting his pencil and feeding utensils grasp. He was also demonstrating sensory processing differences, with a mixture of both sensory seeking and sensory sensitivity resulting in deficits in body awareness, impulse control, auditory sensitivities, and oral sensory seeking actions. Because of this, it was recommended that he begin occupational therapy sessions with Bianca to work on improving these skills.

Kolton in OT with Bianca

During OT treatment, it was determined that Kolton had retained reflexes requiring reflex integration therapy. Reflex integration is the process through which primitive reflexes that are present in infants gradually diminish and are replaced by more controlled, purposeful movements as a child’s central nervous system matures. Kolton’s retained reflexes impacted his body awareness, bilateral coordination, fine motor, and his hand-eye coordination.

When Kolton began therapy, he had a very strong ‘infantile’ grip on writing and drawing utensils, and while he could write his own name, he had almost no interest in writing or doing any sort of arts and crafts. Bianca began working with him right away on learning how to hold his markers and crayons in a tripod hold with the correct amount of pressure when tracing images and coloring in between the lines. “It was especially helpful that Bianca played to his interests of trucks, trains, and other vehicles when coming up with new therapy games and crafts to do because it kept him engaged and made him want to do the work.” says mom, Sam. Now Kolton is a pro at the tripod hold and loves showing off what he works on in preschool every day. He doesn’t even mind practicing his fine motor skills at home anymore. Kolton also generalized his fine motor skill development to holding/using feeding utensils like a fork and spoon with an appropriate grip to self-feed during mealtimes. Kolton competed against Bianca picking up cheerios with a fork in sessions to improve this skill.

Kolton working on his tripod grip

During their therapy sessions, Bianca noticed that Kolton was seeking heavy work and movement to help him process his sensory integration and began working those techniques into his therapy plan. To work on his hand-eye coordination skills and improve his bilateral coordination, Bianca worked with Kolton on midline crossing activities such as jumping jacks and cross crawls. These exercises helped Kolton learn how to move both sides of his body at the same time and allowed him to practice those skills while getting to move around. Since these activities don’t require any additional equipment, they were also perfect to practice with his parents at home.

Kolton also took his sensory work home with him to practice, and mom Sam proudly shared that he has improved with sitting still so well that “We recently took Kolton to his first movie in the theater, and he was able to stay in the theater without getting up and moving around for the entire movie.” She explained that he had never even done that at home; so for his first successful movie experience to have been in a theater was especially thrilling. Not only that, but the struggle over his daily routines has greatly diminished, and he has even recently started to brush his teeth on his own. Sam attributes these successes to the sensory work he’s been doing in OT with Bianca.

According to Sam, one of the biggest benefits to Kolton’s therapy journey at the Schreiber Center though is that he is slowly moving towards more independence. She shares her pride in the fact that he has even learned how to be an advocate for himself and tell those around him when he needs help, and even more importantly how they can best help him. His mom attributes this to the absolute perfect fit that Bianca was for him. Looking back, she remembered that he used to be a shy kid, hiding behind her until he was comfortable, but he took to Bianca almost instantly and by his second session wasn’t even turning back to wave bye to her as he walked into the OT gym. “This self-confidence has spilled over to preschool where he now goes three times a week with no struggle” mom boasts.

Kolton working on his scissor skills

At Kolton’s October assessment session to determine if he would require additional therapy, Bianca told mom “We’re still working on strengthening midline crossing, but he’s succeeded in all his other goals. We’re recommending one more care of treatment plan for an additional 13 weeks, but he will likely be ready to graduate in 6.” Now just nine months after beginning OT services with Bianca, Kolton has graduated. Watching him get his handprint on our walls at graduation was a bittersweet moment for everyone involved. Of course, we want all our kiddos to improve to the point that therapy is no longer needed, but we always miss them and hope that they’ll come back to visit even after their last appointment is complete.

Reflecting on Kolton’s therapy journey, Sam shares something that got her through the tough times was remembering that nothing gets better without putting in the work. Pediatric therapy is a journey filled with ups and downs, but the kids and parents who put in the work agree, the payoff is immense. Sam recommends to all parents who are thinking about pediatric therapies for their children “Do it! It is better to do the assessment and know for sure whether your child needs the extra help that pediatric therapy can provide to them, than to not know and wonder if there is something else you could be doing to help them. There is no need to struggle though when the assessment is simple, and the process of therapy at Schreiber is so fantastic. There is no shame in asking for and accepting help.”

Kolton & Bianca with Kolton’s Graduation Handprint

Help Schreiber Clients like Kolton receive the care they need, consider donating in support of our Kids’ Care Fund, a long and short term savings account used to cover the costs of uncompensated care.


As a nationally recognized pediatric facility, the Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development provides family-centered education and therapy programs for infants, children and adolescents with disabilities, developmental delays, and acquired injuries. Our goal-oriented approach maximizes each child’s ability to function independently within the community.


Join the Chairman’s Challenge and Become a Hero for Schreiber Kids

When you enter Schreiber, you enter a world of possibility and hope filled with stories of resilience and triumph. Here, families navigate through challenges, therapists dedicate themselves to transformative work, and children, with unwavering determination, engage in therapy sessions with radiant smiles. These are the individuals we celebrate at Schreiber, and it’s their stories that propel us forward in our mission.

As the chair of the Where HEROES are Made capital campaign and a proud father of a Schreiber graduate, Jeff Bankert is leading an exciting new initiative – the Chairman’s Challenge.

Jeff and Melissa Bankert

Having witnessed firsthand the transformative impact of Schreiber’s services on his own son, Jeff invites the community to join him in securing the future of the Kids’ Care Fund. This fund is more than just a financial initiative; it’s a promise to our community’s future generations. With your support, we can eliminate waiting lists and ensure that children, regardless of their family’s financial circumstances, receive the care they need.

On average, insurance and government assistance fall short on reimbursements by $74 per therapy session, resulting in a staggering $2.7 million in unmet costs for the Schreiber Center in fiscal year 2022. The Kids’ Care Fund addresses this gap, ensuring that families, like the Schaefer’s, whose children attend Schreiber for multiple therapies, are not burdened by the financial strain. Your contribution to the Kids’ Care Fund is an investment in the well-being of children like Katelyn and Kalvin, and it will help us carry forward the legacy of care initiated by our founder, Edna Schreiber, 87 years ago.

Katelyn and Kalvin Schaefer

“They give a lot…beyond what they’re supposed too, and we appreciate it.”

– Kevin Schaefer, dad of Katelyn and Kalvin

Participating in the Chairman’s Challenge and donating to the Kids’ Care Fund is easy and rewarding. The Schreiber Center welcomes gifts in various forms, from immediate cash donations to multi-year pledges and transfers of assets like stocks, life insurance, or qualified charitable distributions. All contributions of $10,000 or more will be recognized on our ‘Schreiber Heroes’ wall, located inside our new pavilion. For gifts of $25,000 or more, you have the opportunity to name a space within our facility, leaving a lasting mark on Schreiber’s legacy.

Jeff Bankert and his family have pledged $25,000 to match all gifts received between now and the end of 2023. By participating in the challenge, you’re not just making a financial contribution – you’re investing in the well-being and future of Schreiber kids and their families.

Visit www.schreiberpediatric.org/where-heroes-are-made-campaign to make your contribution today and be a part of this incredible initiative.


As a nationally recognized pediatric facility, the Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development provides family-centered education and therapy programs for infants, children and adolescents with disabilities, developmental delays, and acquired injuries. Our goal-oriented approach maximizes each child’s ability to function independently within the community.