Ask the Experts: January 2020

Each month in TulsaKids Magazine, local experts answer frequently asked questions from their area of expertise. Our current experts represent HTR Pediatric Therapy, Miller Swim School, Dyslexia Center of Tulsa and On the Cusp Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics.

If you have a question you’d like to “Ask the Expert,” feel free to contact the expert directly or email your question to

Q. My kiddos are already so stressed with their current activities, why should I add swim lessons to their already crazy schedule???

A. Did you know that swimming can actually help reduce stress and anxiety in kids? Participation in physical activity releases endorphins in the brain and reduces cortisol, the stress hormone. As they get their blood pumping, their bodies naturally fend off stress and anxiety!

In addition to the happy hormones, physical activity helps improve sleep. Swimming works the body and the brain, allowing both to relax quicker for a good night’s rest.

Finally, it increases focus and relaxation. While learning the rhythmic breathing utilized in swimming, little ones have to focus intently on their inhale and exhale patterns, leaving little room for anxious or negative thoughts. Swimming works the body bilaterally, which takes a lot of coordination physically and mentally!

There are plenty of reasons why your child should learn to swim; reducing stress and anxiety are just ancillary benefits everyone can benefit from!

Miller Swim School
6415 S. Mingo Rd., Tulsa, OK, 918-254-1988

Miller Swim School Jenks
525 W. 91st St. S., Tulsa, OK, 918-254-1988

Q. My son hates going to reading tutoring and honestly isn’t making much progress, but he needs the practice. Do you have any suggestions?

A. Dyslexia is so much more than reading struggles. If it were as simple as just re-teaching how to read, long-term tutoring would not be in hte experiences of those who struggle with dyslexia. Tutoring focuses on the issue at hand. This could be current schoolwork or re-learning a concept to keep up with school assignments. Occupational and Speech Therapy delves much deeper to explore the “why” behind the struggles you see and your child experiences.

There is always an underlying reason why someone has difficulty with reading. For some, reading difficulties are due to less-than-average ability in memory, or they may be unable to accurately process what they see or hear or unable to associate sounds with letters. Understanding the “why” is the first step to reading success. Accommodations and strategies are only a piece of what is helpful. Without treating the “why,” many children go from one reading program to the next without ever making permanent change, leaving them frustrated and often on an academic or career trajectory that does not really reflect their true potential.

Dr. Penny Stack, OTD, OTR/L, CLT, Founder & Owner Dyslexia Center of Tulsa
8988 S. Sheridan Rd #D1, Tulsa, 74133

Q: My child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and I keep hearing the terms spasticity and spasticity management. What does this mean?

A: Spasticity is a form of hypertonia, or increased muscle tone. When children without cerebral palsy perform a movement, some groups of muscles turn on, and some groups of muscles turn off. In children with spastic cerebral palsy, both groups of muscles may become turned on at the same time. In some instances, the wrong muscle groups may turn on. This makes movement difficult or even impossible.

The majority of children with cerebral palsy have spasticity. With spasticity, muscles appear stiff because the messages to the muscles are sent incorrectly through the damaged part of the brain. When a muscle is affected by spasticity, the faster the limb is moved, the stiffer it seems.

Spasticity can result in functional problems with daily living activities such as gait, feeding, speech, hygiene, toileting and dressing. Over time, spasticity may also cause problems such as muscle pain or spasms, impaired ability to stand and walk, bony deformation, etc.

Spasticity management should be addressed as a team including your therapist(s) as well as your medical team. There are many forms of spasticity management, including medications, surgical options and therapeutic interventions.

Nicole DeWitt, PTA
HTR Pediatric Therapy
6715 E. 41st St., Tulsa

Q. Are baby teeth really that important for my child?

A. Baby teeth or primary teeth are very crucial for a child’s growth and development. Primary teeth help children’s speech, eating, as well as helps preserve the bone, and hold a space for adult teeth. It is vital to remember that oral health is a part of your child’s overall wellbeing. Cavities in a baby tooth can cause pain, swelling, and can be tremendously uncomfortable for your child. Cavities that are left untreated can lead to infections that could potentially enter the blood stream and lead to other serious health problems. The bacteria in a cavity can quickly spread from one part of the mouth to another, which causes the infection to grow, so it is important to get cavities taken care of as early as possible. All in all, baby teeth are just as important as adult teeth. Bringing your child to the dentist every six months starting as early as one year old is very beneficial to your child’s oral health

Dr. Ryan Roberts, DDS
On the Cusp Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics
South location: 8222 E. 103rd St.
Midtown location: 4444 S. Harvard Ave.


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