Does Your Baby Have Healthy Hips? (Part 2)

hips

Last week, we began a two-part series that aims to educate parents about hip dysplasia, a common disorder that, if not addressed in early infancy, can lead to serious problems later in life. Our first post discussed what hip dysplasia is and the importance of early detection. This week’s will focus on treatment and prevention.

As a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, I spent 10 years of my career in Mexico City, where my practice was dedicated to hip dysplasia. I operated on about 250 kids a year, very successfully, but if the dysplasia had been detected in time, they wouldn’t have needed surgery in the first place.

Hip dysplasia is an under-diagnosed condition that, if left untreated, can lead to pain, degenerative arthritis, and the need for hip replacement early in adulthood. It occurs due to abnormal growth of the hip joint, resulting in a mismatch in the way the head, or “ball,” of the thighbone fits into the socket of the pelvic bone.

Many people with hip dysplasia are born with it, but it can also develop in babies that are frequently positioned with the legs extended and thighs pressed together, which increases pressure on the hips. Early detection—within the first few months of life—gives kids the best chance for effective and simple treatment.

Treatment for Hip Dysplasia
When looking for an orthopedic specialist to treat hip dysplasia, parents should seek someone who has specific pediatric orthopedic training in addition to orthopedic surgery training. A well-trained pediatric orthopedic surgeon should be able to diagnose and easily treat early-stage hip dysplasia.

Orthotic treatment. In babies younger than four months, treatment generally consists of a simple orthotic called a Pavlik Harness, or a similar device, which is worn for up to four months. The harness consists of two shoulder straps; a belt, which goes around the chest; and two boots that are strapped to the legs. The child can move freely within this soft brace, which positions the hip so components of its joint can develop normally. Parents may feel overwhelmed at first, but once they’ve learned how to use it, they find it very simple to employ. It takes less than a minute to put on, and you can change a diaper while the baby is wearing it.

Surgical treatment. If hip dysplasia is detected after four to six months, treatment becomes more complicated and may include either minimally invasive or open surgery to put the ball of the hip back into its socket. Following surgery, some children require a body cast to hold the hip in the corrected position while the joint heals. Surgical methods are effective, but do not produce good results as consistently as orthotic treatment applied to younger babies.

Tips for Healthy Hips
Hip dysplasia that develops before birth cannot be avoided, but hip-healthy practices can encourage normal joint development and prevent hip dysplasia in babies who were not born with it.
­– Avoid swaddling with the thighs together, a position that is harmful for the hips. They should be in the abducted position (with the legs open) and allowed to move freely.
– If you use a baby carrier, make sure it permits the hips to be wide open, and avoid any that tend to push the legs together and restrict movement. Any kind of baby carrier that allows free motion of the hips is generally considered healthy.
– Visit the International Hip Dysplasia Institute (IHDI) website (hipdysplasia.org), a valuable resource for parents to learn more about hip dysplasia, proper swaddling, and specific products that IHDI deems hip-healthy.

The Bottom Line
If your child does develop hip dysplasia, treating it early with non-surgical methods is ideal. Still, if it’s not caught in time for orthotics, surgery to correct the problem as a young child is better than no treatment at all. In Mexico City, I operated on a girl whose hip dysplasia had been missed until her grandmother noticed a slight limp when she began to walk. We fixed her hip and she has done very well. I recently received a video from the family of her tenth birthday party, and she was running and playing and jumping. She’s a thriving and healthy girl with a near-normal hip that likely will never need to be replaced.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Pablo G. Castañeda, MD, is the Division Chief of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone.

Does Your Baby Have Healthy Hips? (Part 1)

hipsThis is the first post of a two-part series that aims to educate parents about hip dysplasia, a common disorder in infants that, if not addressed early, can lead to serious problems later in life.

Many adults with hip replacements might have avoided much pain and major surgery had they simply been diagnosed with hip dysplasia as a baby. Hip dysplasia is the most common congenital anomaly, or a disorder that a child is born with. The condition usually goes unrecognized until adulthood, when people develop degenerative wear of the joint that affects their movement and quality of life. According to the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, approximately one out of six newborns will have some type of hip instability and two to 3 out of every 1,000 infants will require treatment. The good news, however, is that it can be treated easily if it is detected early in childhood.

What is hip dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia occurs when the ball-and-socket hip joint grows abnormally. This produces a mismatch between the head of the femur, or thighbone, which is normally rounded, and the acetabulum, or pelvic bone, the socket into which the head fits.

The ideal time to diagnose and treat hip dysplasia is when infants are younger than four months, when treatment—wearing an orthotic harness—is simple and effective. When detected in older babies, hip dysplasia often requires more complicated treatment, which for some may include surgery.

What causes hip dysplasia?
Several factors can contribute to the development of hip dysplasia. We know there is a genetic component because it tends to run in families and affects nine times more girls than boys. Hormones may play a role, too. It can also be a “packing,” or mechanical, issue, as hip dyplasia is associated with certain womb positions like breech presentation (when a baby is situated to be delivered buttocks or feet first). Being swaddled with the thighs together in the months after birth is a proven and preventable risk factor for developing dysplasia, and therefore is not recommended.

What happens if hip dyplasia is not detected and treated?
If hip dysplasia goes untreated and the hip dislocates, it will result in a limp and leg-length discrepancy, causing pain in early adolescence or young adulthood. Untreated dysplasia is also the most common cause of early degenerative arthritis, which can lead to hip replacement in one’s 50s or earlier. Normal hip joints do not wear with use and will seldom require a hip replacement, barring damage from conditions like hip dysplasia, traumatic injury or rheumatoid arthritis (a joint disease of the immune system).

Why is hip dyplasia usually not recognized until adulthood?
Unfortunately, hip dysplasia frequently goes undiagnosed in part because it is not painful at birth or in early childhood. And the most common and mildest form, called subtle dysplasia, where the socket is just a little too shallow, produces no symptoms at first. Kids develop normally through childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood, but as they grow older, the abnormal wear across the joint develops into early degenerative arthritis.

The next level on the severity spectrum is hip instability, and the most severe form is dislocation. One in 1,000 babies are born with a dislocated hip, where the thighbone is situated completely outside of the joint. Pediatricians are generally good at detecting dislocation, but should they miss it, parents will eventually notice a limp or difference in leg length. But by then, the child is walking and it is too late for early treatment.

How is hip dysplasia detected?
Pediatricians normally screen for this condition with a physical examination. Still, minor or subtle dysplasia is very difficult to detect with just a physical exam. That is why I strongly believe all newborns should have an ultrasound test, which is the best method of identifying hip dysplasia.

Certain countries in Europe conduct universal ultrasound screening in newborns, but current U.S. guidelines do not support it due to concerns about false diagnosis and over-treatment. Ultimately, parents should have a conversation with their doctor the risks and benefits about obtaining such a test for their newborn. Ultrasound is a low-cost and no-risk exam that could save many people from a future of arthritis pain and even hip replacement.

How can I make sure hip dysplasia gets diagnosed and treated early if my baby has it?

Look for signs. Hip dysplasia is usually symptom-free, but sometimes more severe forms cause a clicking sound in the baby’s hips as they move; asymmetry in the fat rolls of the thighs; or an uneven range of motion in the hips.

Know your family history. Tell your pediatrician if your family has a history of hip dysplasia, hip dislocation, or early hip replacement. If Grandma had a hip replacement when she was 55, which is considered young, we know that she most likely had dysplasia in her hip.

Talk to your pediatrician. Ask your pediatrician if they did a complete exam of the hips. You can also ask to have an ultrasound test performed. If asked, most pediatricians will agree to ultrasound. If the pediatrician has any doubt, they should refer your baby to a pediatric orthopedic specialist for further testing.

Stay tuned for our second post on hip dysplasia, which will discuss treatment and prevention.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Pablo G. Castañeda, MD, is the Division Chief of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone.

Head of the Class Mom: Shira Lahav

Meet our latest Head of the Class Mom, Shira Lahav—co-founder of Embodied Minds, a public speaking company that helps kids with presentation and self-esteem—and an amazing mom!shira

Why did you start Embodied Minds Public Speaking Consultants?
I am co-founder and consultant at Embodied Minds. I am also a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist, Registered Drama Therapist and a Psychoanalyst in training. During my time working in hospitals, I was leading communication and storytelling groups through drama. I recognized the power of expression and was helping my clients tell their stories in captivating ways, helping them connect with others. During these groups, I found myself guiding my clients therapeutically but also helping them deliver their stories in ways that engage and transmit the meaning to their audience in the most effective way. I enjoyed the process of directing and teaching my clients public speaking techniques. My business partner Leticia and I wanted to take this type of work beyond the hospital walls and so we did.

What is your secret to balancing work and family? Is there a balance?
My secret to balancing work and family life is to constantly remind myself the importance of both and how one feeds the other. If I dedicate enough time to my family, I feel more satisfied during the week, which helps me be more focused and fulfilled at work and vice versa.

I play various roles in my life: public speaking consultant, therapist, mother, wife, sister, daughter, etc. The key is to nurture each and every role and create equilibrium. This includes leaving room for self-care. It is necessary to take care of your own needs while taking care of others. In addition, I find that good time management helps, as well as scheduling quality time with my family between busy workdays. On a more practical note, twice per week I make time to take my daughter to her activities and on the weekends, we always find a fun activity to do together as a family. Additionally, my husband and I go out at least twice per week, whether with friends or on a date. Although babysitting is expensive, date nights are extremely important and we have to keep the romance going between stressful life responsibilities.

Share a funny story that helped you become a better parent and/or better at your job.
Not only am I a mommy to my 2-year-old daughter Lianne, but I am also a mommy to a 5-year-old Shih Tzu named Gizmo. When I first became a mom, I would walk out of the house with my brand new Uppa Baby Vista stroller and would keep getting smiles from strangers. Naïvely and faltered, I thought they were smiling at my baby, but in fact they were smiling at the fact that Gizmo was in the stroller too! Sitting below my baby, with his cute face sticking out of the basket curiously observing everyone around him, my little Shih Tzu found himself the perfect solution so he wouldn’t exert himself or his little paws.

As a result, I’ve learned the importance of multi-tasking and multi-use! Whether using the stroller for my baby and dog, or using the car seat as a spot for my daughter to sit and watch her favorite cartoons, I am always trying to find unique uses for expensive baby gear to make the most of every dollar spent. After all, we must find ways to save up for those “inexpensive” preschools! We also donate a lot, if not money then clothing or baby stuff that we are no longer using. It feels good to be able to help other families.

What has been your biggest challenge and/or greatest reward in the struggle for work-life balance?
Even though I love my job and try to maintain a healthy balance between work and family life I still at times feel guilty that I don’t spend enough time with my daughter. This is probably a result of the pressure of others and my missing my daughter during workdays. At the same time, I know how important it is to teach her that a woman can do both, be a mother and have a career.

What is one thing you wish you knew before you had kids?
That parenting is all about logistics and time management.

If you could give other moms one piece of advice what would it be?
Take other people’s advice with a grain of salt.

QUICK Q’s:

What is your favorite children’s book? “Alice in Wonderland”

What has been your favorite kids’ class?  Ballet Class at City Moves Dance Studio. [Now Midtown Movement and Dance – Ed.]

What is your favorite thing to do with your family on weekends? Go to Central Park and spend time on the lawn and children’s playground.

What is your favorite rainy day escape? The Children’s Museum of Manhattan on the Upper West Side

Learn more about Embodied Minds on Kidz Central Station and reserve your child’s spot now for their Public Speaking and Communications Skills Group, starting in the fall.

A Pediatrician’s “Back to School” Checklist

AdobeStock_52157424As your child is starting a new school year, here are some important things to think about for a smooth and healthy transition for the whole family.

Check with your pediatrician to make sure your child is all caught up on required immunizations and that he or she has had a routine check-up with your pediatrician within the past year.

Notify your school of any medical conditions or special needs that your child may have. Find out if the school requires any forms to be filled out by your pediatrician if your child does require specific accommodations for a medical condition.

Get organized and informed. Ask your child’s teachers if he or she will need any special school supplies. Find out if there are any ways for you to volunteer or get involved in school events. Children often do much better in school when their parents or caregivers get to know their teachers and are involved in school activities.

Re-establish a healthy sleep schedule. Kids often have slightly altered sleep schedules during the summer months due to vacation and other factors. If your children have gotten used to a later bedtime during the summer, gradually move bedtime up by 30 minutes every few nights for 1-2 weeks in anticipation of an earlier bedtime during the school year.

Discuss how you will handle meals during the busy school year. Decide if your child will be eating breakfast and/or lunch that is provided by the school or if you will preparing those meals from home. If your child will be eating meals at school, find out what kind of healthy foods are available. Notify your school of any food allergies that your child may have. Make a list of easy to prepare, healthy snacks that you can have on hand for a quick snack after your child returns home from a busy school day. Some examples of healthy snacks that require little preparation include carrots and hummus, sliced apples and peanut butter, popcorn (lightly salted with no butter), or low-fat cheese and cut fruit.

Make plans for after school arrangements and transportation for your child. Decide if your child will need to be in an afterschool program or look into other after school child care options if required. Plan on carpool arrangements if needed.

Plan to be active! Choose 1-2 extracurricular activities that your child will enjoy participating in during the school year. Encourage your child to find something they will look forward to and feel passionate about. Avoid overscheduling too many commitments during the year.

Help your child work out back-to-school jitters with an open conversation. Talk to your child about how they are feeling about starting the new year, what to expect, and back-to-school safety. Read about how to manage potential concerns such as bullying, stress and burnout, and peer pressure. If you have questions about how to recognize or handle any of these issues, ask your pediatrician.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Madhavi Kapoor, MD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone and a pediatrician at NYU Langone at Trinity.

 

The Top 5 Summer Emergencies and What to Do (Part 5 of 5)

bugsWarmer weather invites activities and adventures. But what happens when things go awry? In this special five-part series, the real experts at NYU Langone Medical Center provide valuable tips to serve as your guide. Part 5:

Bug Bites

When outdoors in the summer, avoid areas where insects are more likely to be present, such as areas with stagnant water, uncovered food, or flowers in bloom. Dress your children in long sleeves and pants, avoid brightly colored clothing, and use insect repellent to help prevent bites or stings. For those with severe allergies, always carry an Epipen, if one is prescribed, when traveling to places where you might be stung. Before leaving for any outdoor activities, check to make sure that it is not expired.

Bug bites and/or stings should always be cleaned to help prevent infection. Seek medical treatment if the site of the bite is warm, tender, growing in size, is getting more painful, or, if there is any red streaking, which is a warning of a serious infection.

Dress your child in long sleeves and pants when hiking to prevent ticks. If your child does get a tick bite, do not squeeze the tick to try to get it out. This could actually cause more saliva to be released and could cause an infection. The tick should be removed with tweezers by someone who has experience to ensure that the mouth parts that are attached to the skin are completely removed. After identifying a tick bite, watch for signs of a bullseye rash or fever, which could signal Lyme disease. Call your child’s doctor if you can’t remove the tick or the tick’s head, your child develops fever or rash within 2 weeks after the bite, if the bite looks infected, or if you have any other concerns.

When choosing an insect repellent, look for products such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. With regards to tick repellents, DEET products can be used, but permethrin products–a synthetic insect repellent–are applied to clothing, and are more effective against ticks compared to DEET. Most insect repellents are safe to use on children older than 2 months of age. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children younger than 3 years of age. Products containing more than 30% DEET are not recommended for children. Do not reapply insect repellents due to the risk of toxicity.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Madhavi Kapoor, MD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone and a pediatrician at NYU Langone at Trinity.

 

The Top 5 Summer Emergencies and What to Do (Part 4 of 5)

campfireWarmer weather invites activities and adventures. But what happens when things go awry? In this special five-part series, the real experts at NYU Langone Medical Center provide valuable tips to serve as your guide. Part 4:

Burns

Summer often means campfires, fireworks, and sun. So what should you do if you get burned?

If the burn is from a flame or hot object, run it under cool water to reduce the severity of the burn, clean the area with a mild soap and water, and apply an antibacterial ointment or cream. Similarly, for sunburns, you should treat it by applying a cool compress, washing the area with a mild soap and water, and apply an antibacterial ointment or cream. If symptoms do not improve after several days, or if an infection develops, seek medical attention.

To prevent sunburn, provide shade and dress your child in protective clothing such as wide-brimmed hats and lightweight long-sleeved shirts and long pants to limit sun exposure. If adequate shade or protective clothing are unavailable, for babies under 6 months of age, apply sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays with at least SPF 15 to small, exposed areas (i.e. face, hands, etc). For children over 6 months of age, apply sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to exposed skin.  Remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming or sweating.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Madhavi Kapoor, MD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone and a pediatrician at NYU Langone at Trinity.

 

The Top 5 Summer Emergencies and What to Do (Part 3 of 5)

helmetWarmer weather invites activities and adventures. But what happens when things go awry? In this special five-part series, the real experts at NYU Langone Medical Center provide valuable tips to serve as your guide. Part 3:

Trauma

As the weather gets warmer, trauma incidences rise since there is typically a lot more physical activity this time of year.

The best way to treat a concussion is to prevent a concussion. Always have your children wear the right protective gear for the chosen activity, including knee pads, elbow pads, eye protection, and a helmet—every time. It’s very important to check your helmet to make sure it fits properly and there is no structural damage to it. If a head injury is sustained, monitor for headaches as this could be a sign of concussion.

When riding a bicycle, skateboard, or scooter, children should be taught to ride only as fast as they can also feel comfortable slowing down in a controlled manner. Never ride a skateboard or scooter in or near open, moving traffic.

Practice playground safety when taking your children to a park or playground. Children should be supervised by an adult when using play equipment.  Make sure to keep your child out of reach of any moving parts that could pinch or trap any body part. Plastic, metal, and rubber play equipment can become hot quickly in the summer heat, so check that slides and swing seats are cool to prevent burns. Do not allow children to play barefoot in playgrounds.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Madhavi Kapoor, MD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone and a pediatrician at NYU Langone at Trinity.

 

The Top 5 Summer Emergencies and What to Do (Part 2 of 5)

swimWarmer weather invites activities and adventures. But what happens when things go awry? In this special five-part series, the real experts at NYU Langone Medical Center provide valuable tips to serve as your guide. Part 2:

Water Related Injuries

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in five people who die from drowning are children aged 14 and younger. But for every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.

It’s important to keep children in sight at all times. It can take less than a minute to drown, especially if a child is a beginner swimmer. Children can even drown in a wading pool if there is enough water to cover the nose and mouth.

If there is a water emergency, immediately pull the individual out of the pool, and if there is no other trauma, you can roll them onto their side to help drain the water. Then call 9-1-1.

When it comes to diving, make sure your child knows to never dive into water without the permission of an adult who knows that the water is deep enough and clear of underwater objects.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Madhavi Kapoor, MD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone and a pediatrician at NYU Langone at Trinity.

 

The Top 5 Summer Emergencies and What to Do (Part 1 of 5)

hot-summerWarmer weather invites activities and adventures. But what happens when things go awry? In this special five-part series, the real experts at NYU Langone Medical Center provide valuable tips to serve as your guide. Part 1:

Exposure to Extreme Temperatures

Rising temperatures and humidity can cause a range of symptoms including dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Most are familiar with dehydration, which is a loss of body fluids through sweating and physical exertion. Signs of dehydration in infants and children can include decreased urination or wet diapers, fewer or no tears when crying, dry or parched mouth, a sunken soft spot of the head in infants or toddlers, and decreased energy.

If early signs are not heeded, dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion. This form of more severe dehydration is characterized by weakness, muscle cramps, pale skin, profuse sweating, dizziness, and nausea. If symptoms are not resolving with fluids and rest at home or become very severe (such as fainting), these children should be brought to an emergency department to get evaluated and treated.

The next progression of heat exhaustion is heat stroke, which is when the body stops being able to release its own heat. The body becomes so dehydrated it can’t sweat anymore, causing the body temperature to reach dangerous levels. This can lead to confusion, kidney damage, heart problems and, in the most extreme cases, fatality. Symptoms also include hot, flushed skin with high fever over 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Every patient with heat stroke needs to be brought to the emergency room so they can be rapidly cooled and a thorough physical examination can be performed to determine if there is any organ damage.

To protect your child from extreme heat this summer: Plan to allow your child more time to rest when playing outside. Encourage your child to drink water or a sports drink frequently while playing in the heat. Try to find a cool (ideally air-conditioned) place to take breaks from playing outside. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen when outdoors. Never leave your child in a car or other closed vehicle, even if you plan to come back soon as temperatures inside a closed vehicle can rise to dangerous levels quickly.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Madhavi Kapoor, MD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone and a pediatrician at NYU Langone at Trinity.

 

Teaching Your Child to Present with Confidence!

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By: Alexandra Laura Kavanaugh

Every parent dreams of their child growing into a successful adult. We push our children to work hard in school so they can become proficient in math, science, reading, and writing…But is that enough? To achieve success within most careers, people will also need to learn to effectively communicate through speech. However, communication strategies are not often taught explicitly alongside academic skills in U.S. classrooms. Embodied Minds Kids classes can supplement your child’s inherent strengths by increasing their confidence and communication skills!

Embodied Minds Kids was born from Embodied Minds, a private company that offers public speaking consultation and life coaching to adults. The co-founders of Embodied Minds, Leticia Warner and Shira Lahav, are both registered drama therapists who use dramatic techniques and psychotherapy to help professionals and students reduce their underlying anxiety around public speaking. In treating adults, they noticed that many of their clients had traumatic public speaking experiences during their childhood or adolescence. As they both became mothers, they realized how important it was to teach effective communication skills to children at a young age, in order to prevent struggling to present oneself effectively as an adult.

What is Drama Therapy? Drama therapy is a creative arts psychotherapy that uses many of the different techniques used in the theater, such as improvisation, storytelling, embodiment, and role play. Drama Therapy works to enhance an individual’s creativity and spontaneity, making them more adept at handling the turbulence of everyday life. Children are actually the ideal clients for drama therapy because, unlike adults, they are naturals at “play”. Typically, children don’t have the fear and insecurities that often keep adults from speaking up or performing in front of others.

How does drama help kids learn public speaking skills? Research done on drama classes in schools have proven that participating in dramatic activities significantly increases students’ confidence and self-esteem, key ingredients for a strong presenter! Working on improvisation helps your child to think on their feet. Practicing vocal skills such as projection and enunciation helps your child to be more articulate and easily understood. Working with movement and embodiment helps your child to understand non-verbal communication–Kids will learn that their bodies “tell” a lot about how they’re feeling or what they want to say verbally.

Embodied Minds Kids Classes will be separated into four age groups: 7-9 year olds, 10-11 year olds, 12-14 year olds, and 15-17 year olds. By participating in groups, children will learn how to be excellent listeners and to effectively collaborate with others.

Each group is designed to be developmentally appropriate for the children:
• The 7-9 year old group will focus on developing social skills through play and creative drama. Through the use of sound and movement, children will learn how their voices and bodies can communicate with an audience. They will learn to introduce themselves to others using eye contact and a confident tone of voice!
• The 10-11 year-old group will continue to work with sound and movement as they learn to present themselves confidently to others! They will explore improvisation and role play to help develop spontaneity in their speech and movement. As these children prepare to enter Middle School, the group will participate in drama activities that bolster self-esteem to help develop a confident speaking voice.
• The 12-14 year-old group will continue to focus on the development of self-esteem in how they present themselves, as they enter into the tumultuous world of adolescence. The students will learn about how to speak differently to various audiences through improvisation and scene work. They will practice skills such as posture, tone, subtext, and gesture as they develop the facets of their emerging identities and respond to the demands of their academic and social worlds.
• The 15-17 year old group will focus on preparing the teens for the challenges of high school, college, and a career as they develop more advanced public speaking skills such as clarity, pace, and the elimination of filler words “um” or “like”. These skills will come in handy as this age group embarks on challenges such as college or job interviews, as well as intimidating school presentations.

Our goal at Embodied Minds Kids is to help your child present themselves confidently and have a blast while they do it!

Alexandra Laura Kavanaugh is a licensed Theater Educator and Kids Coach with Embodied Minds Public Speaking Consultants, LLC.

Learn more about Embodied Minds on Kidz Central Station and reserve your child’s spot now for their Public Speaking and Communications Skills Group, starting in the fall.