Special thanks to Brooke! A new addition to our PTS Brandon lobby


We have a wonderful edition to the PTS Brandon clinic’s lobby! Special thanks to one of our parents, Brooke Elkins, who painted our new PTS logo on our main wall. Brooke is a talented artist who took time out of her busy day to make our lobby a happy and welcoming place for our patients and their families. See her work in progress and the wonderful final result in these pictures. Thank you, Brooke!

PTS in Guatemala

Blog post by Kaitlin Mulcahey, CCC-SLP

In August of 2016, I was given the opportunity to attend a mission trip through Orphan’s Heart at a malnutrition center in San Juan, Guatemala. When I heard about the trip through my church in Lakeland and knew it would involve working with the pediatric and special needs population I knew it would be a great opportunity. I attended this trip with a previous PTS employee and physical therapist, Miss. Gia. The trip started off by the plane having to make an emergency landing in El Salvador due to an issue with the brakes and the runway in Guatemala being wet, it was too risky. Where we arrived, there were thousands of people lined up outside the airport to greet their loved ones. After we made it through customs, we were sent to a hotel on a bus where we spent the night.

We headed to Guatemala in the morning. Our first stop was a coffee plantation where we were able to either go on a coffee tour or go zip lining. The next morning, we headed to the malnutrition center. The children at the center essentially live there because their families do not have the financial means and resources to feed them and provide them with a healthy childhood; the average income in San Juan is between 1,200-2,000 US dollars per year. These children live at the center and their parents and family have the opportunity to visit them weekly. The children are followed by a pediatrician, social worker and nutritionist and are sent home when all three professionals feel they are ready and once their families show they have the means to care for them.

While we were at the center, we worked to lead the children in daily activity time such as crafts, time outdoors, free-play and music time. It was essential that we spent time 1:1 with each child because many of these children were severely delayed in all motor skills. Some of the main things that stood out to me during this trip were the drastic differences between being a therapist in the clinic and being a volunteer at the center. As a therapist, the focus is often on age-appropriate skills and making improvements toward goals involving language, gross motor and fine motor tasks. At the center, the focus is on nutrition. It is not important if the children are feeding themselves and holding utensils properly, it is more important that they meet caloric needs. The nannies, who spend each day with the children, feed them as quickly as possible during each meal.  There is often only one nanny assigned to each room of 10 – 15 children at a time.

The children are often required to entertain themselves, so they love when teams go out and visit them because they are given more 1:1 time. It was admirable to see that even though these children have close to nothing they were still so happy. I am looking forward to going back and learning even more from these little ones.

Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapists Discuss Best Gifts for Sensory Development

It’s that time of year again, when we get to celebrate all our blessings throughout the year. Holiday season is a fun time to enjoy and show love to our family and friends. This time can be so stressful to find the JUST RIGHT gift for our little blessings with varying talents.

We have developed a list of fun games and toys to match your little blessings’ wishes and talents:


Gross Motor or Movement Toys

toys-for-gross-motor-movement-physical-therapy-brandon-flPush toys or kid shopping carts: These are motivating for children learning to walk or children who seek heavy work through pushing objects. Developmental age 12 months and up.

Radio Flyer Cyclone Cruiser: Great for children at the developmental age of 3 years or higher, who have full sitting balance and can play without stabilizing their hands on the floor, who may not be ready balance wise for a bike. 75lbs weight limit

Sensory Toys

Kinetic sand: This is perfect for kids who love messy play. Developmental age 2 years and up. This sand-like material molds and sticks together similar to playdough but feels like sand.

Tents or Cranium Super Fort Building set: A great, fun escape for a child who is overstimulated by their environment. Developmental age 3 years and older.



Fine Motor Toys

Perler beads: Small beads that you can place on boards to form different art projects, shapes, or patterns. Appropriate for children with a developmental age of at least 5 years old, who do not place objects in their mouth.

Scratch N’ Color: A great way to incorporate drawing and tool use without having to do writing. Kids can draw pictures on black paper using a small wooden dowel that scratches off to reveal colors underneath. Appropriate for developmental ages 5 years and older.

Bath time squeeze toys or cups: Practice pouring and squeezing during bath time. Developmental age 2 years and older. Be sure your child can sit upright or is fully supported when incorporating fine motor play during bath time.

ball-drop-game-for-babies-develops-sensory-skillsBusy Ball Drop: Working on grasp/ release with your child? Get a toy that is visually fun when a child releases the ball into it. Add a toy hammer, and you just included tool use in the fun.

Legos or building blocks: They make all sizes and types depending upon your child’s developmental age and if they place objects in their mouths. You can start your child with Mega blocks around the developmental age of 11 months.

Oral Motor

Include bubbles and all kinds of whistles as stocking stuffers. These are great to improve your child’s breath control, work on deep breathing, blowing, and possibly decrease oral sensitivities.


Dress up medical kits: Your children have so many medical appointments; allow playtime to include doctor play and dress up to help decrease anxiety during these times as they begin to understand more about what doctors/nurses do.

Spot It!BlokusRush Hour JrHead BandzTappleMouse MatchScatterpillar ScrabbleDiggity DogDon’t Break the Ice: All games for children with a developmental age of at least 4 years. Some rules may have to be adapted depending upon your child’s level. All of these games are easily adaptable.


The Physical Therapy Services team would love to discuss these and other ideas with you as the shopping season comes upon us. Also, see our Gift Giving Guide located in the lobby of both of our clinics for more ideas.

Our hope is for this season of giving and love to be full of enjoyment and peace