Friday, March 10, 2017

Why Would My Baby Need Physical Therapy?


Why would my baby or toddler need to be seen by a skilled Pediatric Physical Therapist?

1. "My baby has a flat head."
Babies heads are supposed to be nice and round.  If you notice flattening of your babies head, that may be a sign that they are not getting enough tummy time or that they have torticollis.  (see below)

2. "My baby is showing early signs of a hand preference."
Babies do not show hand preference until they are 14-16 months of age.  If your baby is showing early signs of favoring a hand or leg, this may be cause for a concern regarding your babies gross motor skills.  Asymmetric (not equal on both sides) movement patterns are a clinical clue for a motor disorder.

Torticollis
3. "My baby has something called 'Torticollis'."
Torticollis or "twisted neck" is when your baby has tight muscles in their neck, which cause your baby to hold their neck in an abnormal posture.  This posture makes it hard for the baby to fully turn their neck to both sides.  It also sets babies up for developing asymmetric movement patterns and performing motor skills with poor quality.

4. "My baby is not rolling or sitting on their own yet."
If you notice your baby is not rolling or sitting when they should be, it is worth having an evaluation by a skilled Pediatric Physical Therapist who can determine the cause or reason behind a motor delay.
This website which is approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics as well as the American Physical Therapy Association can help you understand when babies should be doing certain motor milestones.

5. "My baby is late with some gross motor skills."
See reason above.

6. "My baby is not walking yet."
Babies walk on average by 14 months of age.  Some babies are simply just "late walkers" and their is no concern.  Sometimes there is a reason for late walking and this can be addressed by a skilled Pediatric Physical Therapist.

7. "My baby prefers only looking towards one direction or keeps their head tilted one way."
If you notice this, your baby may have "Torticollis," see #3 above.

8. My baby gets upset when placed on their belly for tummy time.
Supervised Tummy time is so important for your baby and should be started immediately at birth.
Listen to my radio interview to learn the importance of tummy time!

9.  "I want to ensure that my baby is on the right track."
Pediatric Physical Therapists are experts in motor development and motor milestones.  They can help you determine that your baby is on the right track.  They can also give you activities to practice with your baby that ensure your baby stays on track!

10.  "My pediatrician says we should 'wait and see'."
This is heard way too many times from patients' parents.  They were told by their pediatrician that the child may just "grow out of it" and it can just be "watched."  Often times, it becomes too late for babies, because they form habits very quickly.  Several months wait can create a "lifetime" of problems for a child later on.
*Pediatricians are strongly respected as experts in the medical field pertaining to babies.
The interesting fact is that most Pediatricians receive only very limited information and education on typical and atypical development of the baby (on average involving less than 10 hours on education.)  Whereas this is the main focus of Pediatric Physical Therapists.  They receive many, many hours of training, yearly continuing education, and countless observations of typical and atypical gross motor skills.   Why wait when you can see a trained expert who can come up with an immediate plan that will- in the end- only help your baby?

Please don't hesitate to reach out to me at Marita.Black@gmail.com for help in supporting your little one!  I am available to perform consults in both the NYC area and NJ.


*Please reach out to your pediatrician for medical advice.  This post is not a substitute for discussion with your pediatrician.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Best Way to Do Tummy Time with Your Baby!

I can never hear (or talk) too much about tummy time!

Listen to my radio interview and learn about the best ways to do tummy time with your baby.

Also, you'll find out more information on "The Container Baby Syndrome" and how to prevent this!

Check out Retro Baby for a good resource on how to cut back on all the gear and promote your baby's development.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Infant Massage Classes in Jersey City




I'm grateful to be partnered with JC Barre Fitness Studio in Downtown Jersey City, where I teach Infant Massage Techniques to Moms, Dads, and other caregivers.


Infant Massage Series Tuesday, November 10, 2015 

All Classes start at 10:00am 
It's nice to start with Class 1, but due to everyone's busy schedule, feel free to join in at anytime.

Class 1 on Tuesday, November 10:  Learn Massage Strokes for Legs and Arms

Class 2 on Tuesday, November 17:  Learn Massage Strokes for Chest and Belly
(Help digestion!)

Class 3 on Tuesday, November 24:  Learn Massage Strokes for Back and Face

Three Class Package Introductory Rate: $120
Or take an individual class for $45

Email Marita.Black@gmail.com to sign up before Monday.
Massage oil and take home guides included.
Ask me about private in-home sessions (especially if these dates/times don't work for you.)

Read more about Infant Massage here.

Monday, April 27, 2015

China Work Mission

I just arrived home from my trade mission in China.  I cannot put words to the emotions I felt leaving the orphanage after spending 5 days teaching the therapy staff how to problem solve and become better clinicians.   It was an absolutely amazing experience, one that I will never forget.  Not only did our group leave the staff with lots of new ways to treat their patients, but what I took home from them, as well as the kids, is indescribable.  My heart and family has grown bigger.
Please go here, to read my guest blog post that I wrote for the Children of China Pediatric Foundation while in Chengdu.

Here's a picture of a little boy I worked with in the orphanage.  He was unable to walk correctly and I helped modify these forearm crutches to fit him.  We had to retrofit the crutches- the orthotists sawed off the handle and glued it back on to make them shorter.   The day before we had practiced using them, so he could walk better.  The following day, when I arrived at the orphanage, he was at the door, showing off his new walking "sticks".  It literally brought tears to my eyes.

If you'd like to donate to the medical missions in Chinese Orphanages, please go to
http://chinapediatrics.org/get-involved/donate/.  You will be supporting more people like me who donate their time to help the children who are in need of more than just love and hugs.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Heading to China

I'm off to do some physical therapy volunteer work in Chengdu, China.  I'll be working at an orphanage, Chengdu Children's Welfare Institute, training the caregivers and therapists in an effort to improve their hands-on treatment for kids in need.  I'll be meeting children of all ages and I am very excited for the visit. 

Chengdu is the "Heavenly State," has a population of 15 million people, and is home to Giant Pandas.

My colleagues and I are planning a layover in Beijing where I plan to visit the Great Wall of China and learn Tai Chi from a master!

I've packed my bags, including this extra suitcase filled with teddy bears for the orphanage .  Hopefully I can close it!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Infant Massage Classes


What are the benefits of this course?
  • Enhance infant-caregiver bonding
  • Improve digestion
  • Increase deep sleep and relaxation
  • Learn the Benefits and History of Infant Massage
  • Learn to perform massage strokes on your baby
  • 5 sessions over 5 weeks

4-5 Class Series start as low as $250
Newborn to pre-crawlers welcome
Private in-home sessions available NYC/NJ
All caregivers welcome (including dads)

Dr. Marita Black, PT, PCS
Pediatric Physical Therapist
Trained by Infant Massage USA

For more information email Marita.Black@gmail.com

Friday, August 29, 2014

Kids A to Z Radio Show

In late August 2014, Marita was a guest on the "Kids A to Z" radio program (hosted by Dr. Teresa) speaking about Tummy Time and Interrupting the "Container Baby" lifestyle.

There is a link to listen to the interview below and here is the main resource that is mentioned during the show:

Pathways.org "Questions About Tummy Time"

And click here for a helpful PDF download of "Essential Tummy Time Moves"

Press the play button in the box below to listen, or visit:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/kidsatoz/2014/08/29/tummy-time-and-interruption-the-container-baby-lifestyle-with-marita-black-dpt


Listen To Family Internet Radio Stations with Dr Teresa on BlogTalkRadio