Health & Day Care

Health & Daily Care

From mealtimes to vaccines and everything in between, this information will help you establish routines for the day to day needs of your child.

My Community


Special considerations when buying toys for children with special needs.

Establishing Services

Establishing Services

Don't know where to start? Overwhelmed by all the acronyms? Learn how to navigate the system of care and tips on preparing for IEPs.

Meet Our Experts

Meet Our Experts

Our panel of experts combine medical and therapeutic perspectives with years of experience working passionately alongside famiiles and children with special needs.

Tools & Resources

Tools & Resources

A library of resources, reference links and easy to print guidelines for you to post on the fridge and share with others!

Love, Laugh & Live


This section is devoted to our amazing moms. It's ok, in fact we encourage you to laugh and develop goals for YOURSELF! Share your secrets of sanity and be encouraged to take time for you!

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Applied Behavioral Analysis(ABA) Is a commonly used autism treatment based on behaviorist theories stating that behaviors can be taught through a system of rewards and consequences. Different methods of ABA are used to help your child learn to respond with appropriate behaviors. Dr. Barbara Firestone Ph.D., Vice Chair of the CA Legislative Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism defined ABA as, “behavioral intervention strategy to help children use or distinguish certain behavior.”
Adenotonsillar hypertrophy Excessive development or thickening of the adenoids and/or tonsils.
Amblyopia Called “lazy eye” a permanent weakening of vision in an eye with strabismus
Aspirating his food (Aspiration) Accidental sucking in of food particles or fluids into the lungs, may lead to aspiration pneumonia
Ataxia A lack of muscle coordination.
Attachment relationship A relationship that develops between an infant and the parent or primary caregiver
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) An impaired ability to regulate activity level (hyperactivity), attend to tasks (inattention), and control behavior (impulsivity).
Attention span The duration of  time a person can stay focused on an object or activity
Audiologists A professional trained in assessing a child's hearing. In a developmental assessment of an infant or young child, an audiologist would look for signs of whether or not there are any hearing impairments or loss, usually by placing earphones on a child through which sounds are transmitted at various frequencies
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) A neurological disorder that impairs social interaction and communication and causes restricted and repetitive behavior, generally starting before a child is 3 years old
Blind Lacking visual perception due to physiological or neurological factors
Cause-and-Effect Relationships The ability to understand the relationships between actions and reactions, ex: If I push the button, the toy will light up. If I dump the blocks out of the bin, I will have to pick them up.
Cerebral Palsy A condition caused by brain damage around the time of birth, and marked by lack of muscle control.
Children with intellectual disabilities Significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills
Clubfoot (talipes equinovarus) corrections In severe cases, surgical intervention is necessary to realign bones and to adjust ligaments and tendons to bring the foot into a weight-bearing position
Complaint A violation of rights under the law, such as the school’s failure to provide adequate assessments, timelines, or services.
Conductive Education A very intensive educational approach to therapy with direct manual guidance of movement; specific verbal input about activities; and fixed scheduling of movement, socialization, and cognitive training throughout the day
Congenital hypotonia Decreased muscle tone or decreased muscle contraction present when the person is at rest
Conjunctiva The transparent mucous membrane that lines the inner surfaces of the eyelids and covers most of the dense outer coating of the eye
Cooperative play (social interaction with a peer)
Cortical (Cerebral) Vision Impairment (CVI) A temporary or permanent visual impairment caused by the disturbance of the posterior visual pathways and/or the occipital lobes of the brain
Craniosacral therapy (CST) A method of bodywork involving gently working with the spine, skull, and other structures to ease restrictions in nerve passages, realign bones, and optimize movement of cerebrospinal fluid
Developmentally delayed the physical and or mental impairments which impact activities such as language, mobility, learning, self-help and independent living. Examples include autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and other neurological conditions
Developmental disability The physical and or mental impairments which impact activities such as language, mobility, learning, self-help and independent living. Examples include autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and other neurological conditions.
Dietary supplements Consult a registered dietitian to see if nutritional supplements are needed. Children with CP may have trouble chewing and swallowing food, which can result in low calorie intake. Older children with CP may become overweight because of limited activity
Down syndrome A congenital birth defect that results in mental retardation and a variety of other features
Due process issue A disagreement over what the school is offering for the IEP; a belief that the IEP is insufficient for the child to make progress
Early Childhood Special Educators A professional trained in young children's typical and atypical development. An early childhood special educator would assist with developing plans and implementing intervention services based on the outcomes of the evaluation/assessment
Early intervention Services given to very young children with special needs, generally from birth until the child turns three.
Edwards’ syndrome An abnormality that causes structural malformations in the fetus
Electroencephalogram EEG a painless procedure that uses small flat metal discs (electrodes) attached to your scalp to detect electrical activity in your brain
Expressive vocabulary Words the child can communicate himself
Failure to thrive children whose current weight or rate of weight gain is significantly below that of other children of similar age and sex
Feldenkrais Method A system of movement used to increase self-awareness and reduce pain or limitations in movement
Fine motor Use of hands to manipulate objects
Food aversions or food jags When a child will only eat an extremely limited variety of foods meal after meal
Gastroenterologists Physicians who treat infants and children with diseases of the digestive system
General education teachers Staff with an Early Childhood teaching certificate or its equivalent
Gross motor Use of large muscles to move
Hand-over-hand techniques Placing your hands over a child's hands, so your child is the one who is touching the materials and your hands guide her as she manipulates the materials to complete the activity
Hand-under-hand techniques Placing your hands under your child’s hands to complete an activity
Hemophilia A hereditary genetic disorder where the blood fails to clot
Hippotherapy Use of a horse’s movement to help children with CP improve balance, posture, and upright movement
Hypertonic High, or stiff, muscle tone, resulting in movements that are jerky and not smooth.
Hypotheses Proposed explanations based on what is observed
Hypotonic Low, or 'floppy', muscle tone, requiring more effort to maintain posture against gravity
Hypotonicity (low muscle tone) Decreased muscle tone or decreased muscle contraction present when the person is at rest
Infantile cataracts A clouding of the eye’s lens, present at birth
Intellectual Disabilities Significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills
Joint Hypermobility Greater than normal range of motion in a joint
Karyotype The chromosomal characteristics of a cell; also: the chromosomes themselves or a representation of them which shows the number and character of the chromosomes
Learn incidentally Learn naturally without assistance
Low vision Vision impairment that is not corrected by standard eyeglasses, contact lenses, medication, or surgery and that interferes with the ability to perform everyday activities
Ligament laxity Tissues that connect bones to each other have decreased tension and joint instability may result
Macroglossia A congenital disorder where the tongue is larger than normal due to an increase in the amount of tissue.), their underlying hypotonia
Magnetic resonance imaging An imaging technique that uses electromagnetic radiation to obtain images of the body’s soft tissues
Mature rotary chew A smooth, circular motion while the jaw opens and closes to chew
Mediation Where parents and a representative from the school district meet again to negotiate further
Mental representation Ability to mentally “see” ideas or images
Milestones Steps children take as they grown and learn
Modified Barium Swallow Study (MBSS) Moving X-rays are used to take pictures of a child’s swallow. The child sits in a special support chair. He or she is given food that is mixed with barium, a substance that outlines the structures inside the mouth and throat, so a specialist can view them by X-ray.
Motor skills Using muscles to move a part of the body
Muscular Dystrophy A hereditary disease of the muscular system, marked by weakness and wasting of skeletal muscles
Myelotomy Selective cutting of nerve fibers in the spinal cord to decrease spasticity in muscles and chronic pain
Neurodevelopmental disorder A disorder that impairs the growth and development of the brain and central nervous system and may affect an individual’s emotional development, learning, and memory
Neurectomy Removal of all or part of a nerve to spastic muscles to increase mobility
Neurologist A physician skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of disease of the nervous system
Nocturnal oximetry Measurement of the blood's oxygen saturation by means of an oximeter while the child is asleep.
Nutritionists Professionals with specialized training in the dietary needs of infants to support growth and development, including changes in organ function and body composition
Object Permanence An understanding that objects that are not visible still exist
Obsessive compulsion disorder (OCD) An anxiety disorder characterized by unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead one to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions).
Occupational Therapists A professional who has specialized training in helping an individual develop mental or physical skills that aid in daily living activities, with careful attention to enhancing fine motor skills (hand and finger skills, eye-hand coordination and sensory integration)
One-to-one correspondence The ability to match numbers to objects such as accurately counting five blocks or matching one sock to one shoe
Oral-motor tone Ongoing contraction and state of the muscle at rest and sensitivity and increasing the strength of the oral-facial muscles 
Oral structures Lips, tongue, breathing and swallowing
Orthopedist A physician concerned with the correction or prevention of skeletal deformities
Orthotist A person who designs, fits, or services orthoses, devices designed to help correct a disability or support someone with a disability
Osteotomy Cutting a bone to realign, shorten, lengthen, or reshape it to improve function and decrease pain
Paraprofessionals Non-certificated trained staff who support the learning of preschool students and are supervised by a certified teacher
Parallel Play Playing side-by-side with a peer
Pathologist A professional who is trained in assessing and treating problems in communication including: articulation (pronunciation of sounds), receptive language (understanding and processing what is communicated by others), expressive language (the ability to communicate to others), fluency (including stuttering) and voice problems (including pitch and intonation.) A speech and language pathologist also is trained to work with oral/motor problems such as swallowing and other feeding difficulties
Patau’s syndrome

An often fatal syndrome that causes severe physical and mental impairment

Pervasive developmental disorder A group of disorders causing impairment in several areas of development
Phonemic Awareness The awareness that language is composed of small sounds and the ability to manipulate these sounds
Phonics The relationship between letters and sounds
Physiatrist Rehabilitation physicians who are nerve, muscle, and bone experts treating injuries or illnesses that affect movement
Physical Therapists A professional trained in assessing and providing therapy to treat developmental delays, disease and injury using methods such as exercise
Polysomnography The technique or process of using a polygraph to make a continuous record during sleep of multiple physiological variables such as breathing, heart rate, and muscle activity.
Postural control Control of the position of the body, the attitude or carriage of the body as a whole, or the position of the limbs (the arms and legs)
Progressive metabolic disorder A disorder involving a change in the normal metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, water, or other substances.
Prone position Lying face down on the stomach
Psychologists Professionals with specialized training addressing physical, cognitive, social, and emotional functioning and development as they relate to health
Receptive vocabulary Words the child understands when others are communicating
Retinopathy of prematurity A disease of the eye that can affect infants who are born prematurely; can be mild to severe, resulting in scarring and retinal detachment, and sometimes blindness.
Rhizotomy Selective cutting of spinal nerve roots to decrease spasticity
Self-regulation An individual’s ability to identify, manage, and respond to his or her emotions, impulses, and needs)
Sense of Self A child’s internal sense of who she is; recognition that she is distinct from others
Sensory integration Taking in, organizing, and responding to a multitude of sensations, feelings, and experiences
Sight words Common words that a reader should recognize on "sight." Some examples of these important words are a, is, the, of, and, that, in, you, I, and to.
Sleep apnea A condition in which breathing stops for more than 10 seconds during sleep; a major cause of daytime sleepiness
Social Stories Developed by Carol Grey; short narratives of social situations with examples of appropriate communications
Soft tissue Muscles and tendons
Special education teachers Staff with a Special Education credential issued by the state Commission on Teacher Credentialing; typically they have a BA plus 30-60 units of graduate work and/or a MA
Speech and language pathologists Specialist who evaluates and treats communication disorders and swallowing problems. Speech pathologists usually have an MA or doctorate in their specialty, as well as a Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) earned by working under supervision. Some states in the US also require a state license.
Spina bifida A birth defect where the tissue surrounding the developing spinal cord doesn’t close the right way
Spinal fusion The procedure often requires insertion of rods or stabilization devices.
Stereoscopic vision The single perception of a slightly different image from each eye, resulting in depth perception
Strabismu A condition where eyes are not properly aligned; one or both eyes may turn in, out, up, or down
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Sudden and unexplained death of an apparently healthy infant aged one month to one year
Temperament Individual differences in emotional and behavioral processes which emerge early in development
Thalamotomy Destruction of part of the brain’s thalamus, which is used mainly for children with excessive involuntary movements or severe tremors
Therapeutic electrical stimulation (TES) Enhancement of muscle function by sending a gentle, controlled electrical stimulation through electrodes placed on the skin.) Studies do not show significant improvement. TES does not cause the muscles to contract. Often given at night, TES must be coordinated with physical or occupational therapy. Another form of electrical stimulation is neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NES). This causes actual muscle contraction. Some research indicates that it increases muscle strength.
Tourette syndrome (TS) A neurological disorder in which one displays unusual movements or make sounds over which one may have little or no control (tics). Examples include repeatedly blinking eyes, shrugging shoulders or jerking head.
Tracking Ability to follow the movement of an object with the eyes
Tripod grasp Holding a pen or crayon in a writing position
Vision The ability of the eyes to take in information and the brain to make sense of it
Visual fixation Maintaining visual gaze on a location

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