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Massapequa, NY, 11758
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Sensational Development Occupational Therapy of Massapequa, NY provides skilled, child-centered individual and group intervention for children ages birth through 21 who may be experiencing difficulty with daily activities such as self-care, academics, play, social skills, organization, coordination, and behavior. We have teamed up with some of the most dynamic and passionate instructors and we are thrilled to now be offering Yoga! Please call for scheduling and reservations.


Blog posts by the staff at sensational development. We post information and topics of interest for our clients.


Filtering by Tag: nutrition

Back to School Tips

Sara Rutledge

Photo by RomoloTavani/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by RomoloTavani/iStock / Getty Images

It’s hard to believe that Summer is already coming to an end! The transition from summer back to school can be challenging for any child and even parents! Transitions in general can be anxiety provoking, especially a child who has difficulty processing sensory information. Let’s make sure your child is ready for that first day by following some of these back to school tips!

  • Get your child back on a routine! Summer can be a fun time to go with the flow; staying up late, sleeping in, more activities or maybe less activities than typical. It is important to be sure your child is prepared and well rested for school by making sure they get enough sleep! According to the American Academy of Pediatrics it is recommended a school-aged child gets between 10-12 hours of sleep each night. Get that bed time routine back, so it is not a shock when school starts again.

  • Prepare your child for their new grade or new school by talking with them. New environments and new people can be very scary for children. Make a social story that helps your child understand the changes that will be happening when school starts again. If possible, bring your child to their new school. Validate their feelings and explain to them that it is okay to be scared or nervous, because many of their peers probably feel the same way. Point out the positives of school and help get them excited!

  • Backpack safety! According to the American Academy of Pediatrics your child’s backpack should never weigh more than 10-20% of your child’s body weight. Pack heavy items closest to the center of the back and adjust the pack so the bottom sits on your child’s waist. Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back and remind your child to use BOTH shoulder straps!

  • Diet and nutrition! According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children who eat a nutritious breakfast function better. They do better in school, have improved concentration and more energy. Be conscious of the foods, drinks and snacks you are packing for your child. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that each 12-ounce soft drink contains approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar and 150 calories. Drinking just one can of soda a day increases a child's risk of obesity by 60%. Choose healthier options (such as water and appropriately sized juice and low-fat dairy products) to send in your child's lunch.

  • Continue to move and play outside! Take advantage of the beautiful weather and get your kids outside to play! Climbing playground equipment, side walk chalk and digging in the sand are all great activities for strengthening and ways to activate your child’s sensory systems! If your child has a sensory diet given to them by their occupational therapist, be sure to continue with those activities. Understand that when school starts, these activities might have to be done before school to help organize their central nervous systems and prepare them for the day. Also understand that with a new routine your sensory diet activities may not be working for your family or child anymore. Ask your occupational therapist for new ways to help prepare your child for school so they are ready to listen and learn! We are here to help!

Kerry Gilroy, MS OTR/L

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics


You Are What You Eat: What exactly are our kids eating?

Sara Rutledge

Could artificial food dye be linked to your child’s behavior?

Food dyes- you find them in everything from candy, to potato chips, to soft drinks, and even toothpaste.  They are used to make products, particularly food, colorful and enticing. However, they add zero nutritional value.  Instead, these additives have been linked to causing hyperactivity in children. Popular food dyes include Yellow #5, Yellow #6, and Red #40.  Now guess what these dyes are made from? Petroleum and lab chemicals!  Why would any parents want their children ingesting anything made with these ingredients? Especially when we could be feeding them similar foods that are all natural.

In 2011, the U.S FDA recognized that artificial coloring can cause behavioral problems in certain children. However, they do not believe that such food dye is solely linked to hyperactivity. They did release a statement saying: “…for certain susceptible children with ADHD and other problem behaviors, the data suggest that their condition may be exacerbated by exposure to a number of substances in food, including, but not limited to, artificial food colors” but concluded that additional research must be done. The FDA voted against requiring warning labels on foods that contain these dyes.  Independent food chains, however, have taken matters into their own hands.  Grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s do not sell any products that contain synthetic dyes.

Could artificial food dye be linked to your child’s behavior?

After much research on the relationship between artificial dyes and children’s behavior, countries like the UK have decided to take control and make their own decisions on this topic.

 In 2010, the European Union required warning labels to be placed on all foods containing artificial food dyes stating that they, “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children. “ Many companies, though, are choosing to use natural dyes for coloring instead of having to use a warning label on their products.  This means that American companies such as Kraft and General Mills did away with artificial dyes overseas, but did not make the change for American consumers. For example, McDonald’s Strawberry Sundae sauce is colored with real strawberries in the UK, while in the US it is colored with Red dye #40.

 Unfortunately for Americans, it has been left up to the consumer to decide whether or not to be on the lookout for foods that contain dyes. This involves checking nutritional labels and being aware of companies that use these artificial colors.  Therefore, it is very important that we recognize what we are feeding ourselves and our families and make a conscious effort to eliminate certain products from our diets.  Once more people understand the potential consequences of consuming artificial dyes and processed foods, they can make an educated decision to rid it from their lifestyle and make healthier choices in the future.


By: Rachel Durante, OTR/L


Facts all parents should know:

   Only 7 artificial dyes are left on the FDA’s “approved list”; over 75+ dyes have been banned since 1906.

  Americans consume five times as much food dye as they did in the 1950s

  In 2007, a study done in the UK determined that 6 of the remaining dyes were linked to hyperactivity in children, thus foods containing these dyes now require a warning label.

  Red Dye #40 is banned in Denmark, Belgium, France, Switzerland, and Sweden (and being phased out in the UK)

·    Mars has removed all artificial dyes from Starburst Chews and Skittles, and has begun removing all dyes from M&M’s in the UK but not in the U.S


Evaluation of Studies on Artificial Food Colors and Behavior Disorders in Children.

United States Department of Health and Human Services Food and Drug Administration

 Smart Guide to Food Dyes: Buying foods that can help learning