Shana Spiegel, Pediatric OT

I specialize in treating children who have Sensory Processing Disorder. Many kids have other issues

Operating as usual


Come by Thursday, Friday and Saturday to browse a thoughtful collection of children’s books, toys, swings, games and furniture! Pediatric Occupational Therapist of 40+ years retiring and closing private practice. Preview of larger items available here:

5 shoppers permitted at a time. Please wear a mask. Questions and RSVPs: 703.863.2300

[07/23/20]   Moving sale today!

[07/23/20]   Come by my office today for a moving sale from 10-2. I have lots of equipment, toys, games and books that I am letting go of as I retire. 1035 Sterling Rd. #104 in Herndon. Please use the courtyard entrance. If you cannot make it today but are interested, we can set up an appointment.


Here is a great opportunity with a special therapist!

Attention parents of little ones!! The next sessions of ONLINE Me and My Grownup start next Tuesday and Thursday at 10:30. Please message me to get more information and to sign up!!!


Learning through movement

Check this out:


Toddlers use both hands and feet equally. Becoming aware that you have a left and right develops during kindergarten.

To make automatic movements you develop a preference side with your hands, feet, eyes, ears and brain. Both sides will also learn to work together.

You not only have left and right side but also a bottom / top and front / back. Babies start with this skill by crawling. Laterality is the pioneer in developing sense of direction.

✅Play like in this video is really important.

For complex skills, such as maths, reading and writing, this development is very important. This development is completed around 8 years old. It is an enormous challenge to start reading, writing and arithmetic as the body is not yet fully developed.


Middlebranch-Avondale PE

Great idea!

PAPER PLATE TENNIS! A fun and easy activity for all ages! Grab a balloon & create some paper plate rackets! A great way to stay active at home! 🏠🎾


Kelly Dorfman

From a trusted source:

3 Odd Things About COVID-19 that You Should Know
By Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND

Disclaimer: This article is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Contact your health care provider for any questions concerning your health.

When making a COVID-19 survival plan, it helps to know your virus. Your last cold could have been thanks to a coronavirus because COVID-19 comes from an old, distinguished family of viruses (that probably came over on the Mayflower). Unlike its milder cousins, COVID-19 is a more troublesome and annoying relative you can’t get rid of fast enough.

How Viruses Behave

Let’s start with the basics. Viruses are little pieces of genetic material. This means they are either a string of DNA or RNA. COVID-19 is the RNA type. That’s it. No uterus to grow more little viruses. No eggs to incubate their young’uns, just little DNA or RNA strands of genetic code with a protective fat cover. They are so small that some scientists argue that they are not even technically organisms.

Without a way to reproduce themselves, viruses need a host. When a virus finds an organism that can reproduce itself, it inserts itself into the nucleus of one of their cells and takes over that cell. Usually the infected cell will be lining the gut, nose, va**na or lung since these are main the entrance points into the host though the eyes and skin sometimes work.

Once a virus inserts itself into a cell, that cell no longer functions for the host and is permanently a viral replicating machine. Think of the movie, Alien on a microscopic scale and you get the picture. The virus starts churning out new baby viruses that infect neighboring tissue. Viruses try to keep a low profile, so the immune system does not notice and evict them. Unfortunately, they replicate like crazy so to fool the immune police, they have to change a little each generation. They are one crime family with many different fingerprints.

COVID-19 is a particularly adept mutator. It shifts quickly and jumps from animal to animal efficiently. We think it hopped from bats to pangolins to humans in a matter of weeks. High adaptability means the virus is trickier for the immune system to catch. Nonetheless, it eventually corrupts so many cells that the immune system notices and kicks them out.

Odd Characteristic #1-Children Seem Less Susceptible

Remember, infected cells are ruined and must be removed. The elimination process is a cold or other viral illness. The reason there will never be a cure for the common cold is because the common cold IS the cure for the virus. There is not a cure for the cure. The symptoms can be reduced but the common cold can only be prevented.

The severity of a viral illness is usually related to how long it took your surveillance system to notice the problem and the size of the mess it has to clean up. Coughing, sneezing and/or diarrhea, is how the immune system tosses out the corrupted cells while inadvertently helping the homeless viruses find new hosts. A healthy, on-the-ball immune system clears out the virus before it does much damage. The result is a mild or no noticeable illness. People with Covid-19 seem to be most contagious when they are not symptomatic and are chucking out the viruses early. And oddly, children can carry the virus but are less likely to get sick.

There are very few infections that children resist but adults don’t. In fact, kids get coxsackie, Fifth Disease, Molluscum and any number of viral illnesses that adults avoid. Their immature, less experienced immune systems somehow protect them. We don’t know why they are safer in this case, but we do know mature immune systems are stronger and therefore more capable of aggressive and inappropriate reactions. The danger with this coronavirus is the possibility of a cytokine storm.

Cytokines are messenger molecules that regulate immune and inflammation responses. In a storm, the pro-inflammatory cytokines go crazy. They call for more and more immune help. The immune fighters rush to the lungs, in this case, but the overzealous fighters try to clean up the infection too quickly and end up destroying the very tissue they want to save. The feedback system that usually stops the immune system from overeating breaks down. The inflammation response can clog up the airways so the cells cannot absorb oxygen and/or spill out into the blood stream and cause systemic problems (like low blood pressure and temperature dysregulation).

Odd Characteristic #2- Elderberry Extract May Increase COVID-19 Cytokine Storm

Elderberries have known immune enhancing properties and can help prevent illness. There is a report that elderberry consumption may increase the possibility of a cytokine storm in COVID-19 infections. Cytokine storms are complex biochemical overreactions. We know they involve too many messenger molecules and immune cells panicking but are fuzzy on all the details. They tend to happen when the immune system fails to notice an intruder until it is well entrenched.

If the immune system is a late responder and overwhelmed, be careful how you try to help it. This applies to odd characteristic #3 also. Ask your medical practitioner but if you take supplemental herbal immune support, like elderberry syrup consider using it for prevention and mild symptoms only. If the illness progresses, stop it unless told otherwise by your doctor. We don’t understand the myriad of phytochemical and immune modulating chemicals in many of our miracle plants. As we learn more, we can use them more tactically.

Immune supporting vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and zinc, improve immune function without stimulating an overreaction. Research suggests both vitamin C and zinc can ameliorate symptoms of the common cold, for example, so the “cure” is less uncomfortable. Mushrooms also appear to optimize immune function. We don’t know if monolaurin and some of the other herbal extracts marketed as anti-viral are a good idea once the virus has the upper hand. Love and respect them but use with caution if you become symptomatic with this virus.

Odd Characteristic #3- Ibuprofen May Make COVID-19 Symptoms Worse

The World Health Organization recommends avoiding anti-inflammation drugs for coronavirus symptoms. Ibuprofen and cortisone type drugs are singled out, but the same principle could apply to acetaminophen, too. We don’t understand the specifics yet.

What we do know is that fevers help the immune system. When body temperature goes up, the immune cells are more effective. Breaking a fever makes their job harder. But fevers, like a cytokine storm, can start to destroy healthy tissue or cause permanent damage if they climb to 104 degrees or higher. Most invading bacteria and organisms die at 104 degrees, but the host is in danger at the temperature, too. When temperatures go that high, the immune system is desperate and losing the battle. You need outside help.

Inflammation is also part of the immune response. If you curb the inflammation reaction caused by the coronavirus, the immune system appears to get more aggressive and creates more symptoms. Most people do not think twice about popping a few ibuprofens, but when it comes to COVID-19, exercise an abundance of caution and ask your medical practitioner first.

COVID-19 being the adaptive little bu**er it is, appears to have a number of tricks up its outer fat layer. A vast majority of people will survive an encounter so try not to worry too much. (As ridiculous as that sounds.) To minimize risk, it is always safe to eat an anti-inflammation diet (with lots of fruits and vegetables), exercise, stay hydrated, avoid smoking, sleep eight hours a night and think loving thoughts. I continue to load up on nutrients, mushrooms and various other supplements because they keep me healthy and happy. And I will also watch for clues so I can effectively adapt my behavior, like the viruses do. If you can’t beat them, learn from them.

Sending you virtual hugs.


Hearts at Play Move, Learn, Bloom

This is very interesting!

Research on hand-clapping songs finds a direct correlation between playing these traditional, rhythmic games and focus, penmanship, spelling, and other cognitive skills.


Hearts at Play Move, Learn, Bloom

A good reminder!

In this terrific article on movement and learning, movement educator Jeremy Frisch summarizes key reasons why active children do better in the classroom, including research on grades, testing, and behavior.


Hearts at Play Move, Learn, Bloom

It is always good to rule this out in a child who has attention issues and/or a high activity level.

In Brain Gym, we emphasize the importance of eye-teaming—of learning to cross the visual/kinesthetic midline and to read in the midfield (requiring visual convergence), where the left and right visual fields overlap. When this skill is not yet developed, it's lack is not always obvious. We give learners tools to discover eye-teaming through simple movement processes. This article describes a less process-oriented viewpoint on this topic, and notes that the causes are not known. However, we find that lack of eye-teaming often corresponds with stress, postural misalignment, and/or too early reading instruction—before near-point convergence is developed.


Hearts at Play Move, Learn, Bloom

Helpful tips!

Paul and I liked this article with tips for supporting left-handers. Paul is left-handed and struggled with dysgraphia as a child, so he appreciates the challenge left-handers face. Paul and I see lower body stability as important to the development of fine-motor skills. We teach two Brain Gym courses that address handedness and, through the years, have seen people get into some compensatory hand-body positions, as seen here, in order to avoid the midline as they write. The Brain Gym activities we most often use in teaching hand-eye coordination are Alphabet 8s and the Double Doodle. We find that these usually help students discover a comfortable and effective thumb-finger grip. We also use the Elephant to support eye-teaming and upper/lower body coordination, and Arm Activation to release shoulder tension and align the wrist.


Tuscaloosa Pediatrics


A great explanation!

Children with poor crossing the midline skills, often have trouble:

* Putting their own shoes and socks on
* Tracking words across the page during reading time without fidgeting or getting distracted
* Completing jigsaw puzzles with their dominant hand, if the puzzle is positioned on the opposite side of their body
* Climbing a-frames safely (climbing up forwards, and climbing down backwards)
* Sitting cross-legged during circle time

To be able to understand the position and movement of our own body; be able to move and turn quickly while playing; or master complex fine motor skills, we need to firstly master crossing the midline, and bilateral coordination skills.


The Recycling Occupational Therapist

Interesting research!


Patricia Polacco

Check out this great explanation and demonstration of Bal-A-Vis-X!

Love this!



Help your kids explore their world through play!


Learning Through Play


We Rock the Spectrum - Loudoun

Please support this great local business!

Hey We Rockers,

With the news of several local indoor play places in the area suddenly closing, many parents are concerned. WE are still here. However running a small business in this area can be challenging, as operating costs are quite high. We don't want to be another statistic....this is why we are asking for your support.

Many of our families have come to rely on We Rock the Spectrum as a safe haven for their kids to play. We have come to love and care for our families that visit us frequently. We have had nothing but wonderful testimonials and comments from the community. People love our service, our clean facility and the fondness we have for our local community. Our We Rockers rely on us just as much we as rely on them.

Please help us and support us by coming in for Open Play, hosting parties and events, participating in special events and workshops and referring friends and families to us. Share our business on Facebook (especially the Moms groups) and help connect us with local schools and organizations so that we can continue to sponsor, support and build community relationships. Let’s help each other build a more inclusive and supportive community.
✌~💙~🎸 #inclusion #indoorplayground #indoorplay #loudoun #fairfax #playwithapurpose #wrtsloudoun #werockloudoun


Hearts at Play Move, Learn, Bloom

Isn’t this obvious?

In this terrific article on active learning, author and educator Rae Pica relates key benefits described by move-to-learn advocates, including neurophysiologist Carla Hannaford, author of Smart Moves: Why Learning is Not All in Your Head. Let's keep ensuring that children have opportunities to build the sensory and motor skills needed for lifelong learning and wellbeing.


The Recycling Occupational Therapist

This is a very helpful description:



Some helpful suggestions:

Learn about the different ways you can help your child improve reading skills at home.


Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

Interesting! I sure wish that they had mentioned Sensory Processing Disorder.

Over-sensitive Senses in Preschoolers Predicted #Anxiety at Age 6.


We Rock the Spectrum - Loudoun

Something to think about... 06/04/2019

Teachers Withholding Recess as Punishment Does More Harm Than Good Recess is a critical component of a child’s healthy development, yet some teachers continue to withhold it as punishment for bad behavior.



This is a nice explanation of social rules that we take for granted.

Here are 5 key social rules that can be challenging for kids with learning and thinking differences. 05/27/2019

Why Kids With Executive Functioning Issues Have Trouble Starting Tasks

Interesting article: Kids with executive functioning issues and ADHD often have trouble starting tasks. Learn why your child may be putting off homework and chores.


The Pocket Occupational Therapist

I wonder whether doodling counts . . .

Drawing benefits


This looks very interesting! Patricia used to be in the DC area and is a very valuable resource for parents of special needs kids.

TOMORROW - Watch former, Epidemic Answers board member, Patricia Spear Lemer, on The Children's Health Summit talking about an often overlooked topic in the field of Autism!

"Vision Issues in Autism and ADHD: More Than Meets the Eye"


[04/22/19]   Check out this fun place for a family outing! 02/10/2019

Opinion | Let Children Get Bored Again

The positive aspects of boredom: Boredom teaches us that life isn’t a parade of amusements. More important, it spawns creativity and self-sufficiency.



1035 Sterling Rd Ste 104
Herndon, VA

Opening Hours

Monday 10:00 - 18:30
Wednesday 10:00 - 18:30
Thursday 10:00 - 18:30
Other Occupational therapists in Herndon (show all)
Ultimate Relaxation by Jade Ultimate Relaxation by Jade
Woodland Park Crossing, 12960 Highland Crossing Dr
Herndon, 20171

Highly Educated and Professional-Trained Relaxation Specialist Bodyworker (massage), for over 6 years experience, in using the art of touch.