Picky Eaters

Many children go through phases of food preferences.  They want to eat the same food as often as possible, even at every meal, and completely refuse other foods. Studies show that up to 50% of children become picky eaters for a while, peaking at about 2 years old. For a smaller group of children, eating does not become easier, and they do not become open to more foods.  This group includes children up to 11 years of age and older.  For up to 40% of these children, the problem lasts 2 years or more, and isn’t as simple as a phase. Scientific American[Read more...]

Soiling (encoporesis)

What is soiling, or encoporesis? Soiling, or encoporesis, happens when a child passes all or part of a bowel movement into underwear or pajamas without meaning to.  Often a child is actually not aware that soiling has happened until alerted by the smell. This can be enormously frustrating for parents and caregivers, who may struggle to understand how a child can have a bowel accident without being aware of it. And it is almost always embarrassing for a child, particularly if it continues even when a child is trying to pay attention and avoid accidents. What causes soiling? There are[Read more...]

Tongue Tie (ankyloglossia)

What do we know? The tongue is actually fused, or fully attached, to the floor of the mouth early in pregnancy.  As the fetus develops, the tongue separates from the floor of the mouth.  Only the frenulum is left.  This is the thin band of tissue attaching the bottom of the tongue to the floor of the mouth.  Its full name is lingual frenulum. Beginning at about 6 months of age, the mouth begins to develop further.  Teeth begin to break through. At this point, the frenulum usually becomes thinner and less prominent. However, for some, the frenulum remains short, or[Read more...]

Swimmer’s Ear (Otitis externa)

What do we know? Swimmer’s ear is an infection of the ear canal.  It occurs outside of the eardrum and is called otitis externa.  Most ear infections are behind the eardrum, called otitis media. It occurs when water stays in the ear canal after swimming.  This allows bacteria which are naturally in the ear canal, or bacteria from the water, to grow and multiply in the wet ear canal. Swimmer’s ear can also occur when the ear canal is scratched. This can occur from fingers in the ear, cotton-tip swabs, or ear buds. What are the symptoms of swimmer’s ear?[Read more...]

Head Lice

What do we know? Head lice are tiny parasites.  Their formal name is Pediculus humanus capitis. Their perfect living conditions are at the base of the hair shaft on the head, eyebrows and eyelashes of humans.  From there, a louse feeds on blood from the scalp several times a day. This location also provides an ideal temperature for eggs, or nits, to incubate.  A nit hatches into a nymph after about a week.  The nymph grows into an adult louse in another 9-10 days.  Adult lice then live for 3-4 weeks. Nits can be hard to remove because the female louse[Read more...]

Connecting With Your Tween

As parents, one of the things most of us want to do is connect with our kids.  Influence them.  Help them form the values we feel are important.  Parenting is more than food on the table and checking on the homework. One of the first times this becomes challenging is in the tween years, generally from 9-12 years of age.  At this stage, your children are much more socially aware, want to connect with their peers, and their attention starts to shift away from the family, towards friends. Here are some suggestions you can use to help connect with your[Read more...]

Bug Bites

Bug bites are common at all seasons of the year, but most common in spring and summer.  Most bites are caused by mosquitoes. Other bug bites are caused by flies, bees and wasps, ants and ticks. What causes the reaction? A mosquito and many other bugs do not actually bite the skin. Instead, they insert their stinger, or proboscis, into your child’s skin, like a needle. Then, the stinger probes under the skin to find a blood vessel. When the mosquito finds a blood vessel, it releases a substance that prevents your child’s blood from clotting, to allow the mosquito[Read more...]

Summer Camps, Part 2

Summer is a great time for kids and teens to learn in ways that often fit their skills, interests and learning styles better than classroom learning. If you are raising a child with special needs, finding a summer camp that fits his or her interests, skills and needs can be challenging. Special Needs Roadmaps was started by two parents in Ottawa, to help parents raising children with special needs. This year, Special Needs Roadmaps has put together a list of 53 summer camps, called the Ontario Special Needs Summer Camp Listing. For more information on these camp programs, click here.[Read more...]


What do we know? Impetigo is a highly contagious infection of the skin.  It is caused by staphylococcus (staph), and streptococcus (strep).  These are two bacteria that everyone has on their skin. Impetigo develops when these bacteria get under the skin.  This happens when the skin is broken, from bug bites, scratching, scrapes, bruises and other minor injuries. What are the symptoms of impetigo? At first, impetigo appears as red sores These sores then become filled with pus After several days, the sores can break open.  This causes a yellow or honey-coloured, bumpy crust Sores are most common around the[Read more...]

DCD: Developmental Coordination Disorder

What do we know? Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is a disorder of motor skills or coordination.  Some children and teens have both problems. These problems are often noticed in a child’s early school years.  Some children struggle with school tasks such as using scissors, or printing.  Others have difficulty with coordination in gym class or playing on the playground at recess. DCD is a developmental disorder, not simply a delay.  Motor skills can improve with therapy, but the struggle to develop skills or coordination is often lifelong. Currently, approximately 5-6% of school age children have DCD. What are the symptoms[Read more...]