Contact Us Make a payment Check In

Not Your Average Toy!

Not Your Average Toy offers a transformative approach to pediatric therapy, catering to the different needs of our pediatric patients in occupational, speech, and physical therapy within our clinic. These specialized toys aren’t just playthings; they motivate children to develop essential skills like fine motor control, visual perceptual abilities, grasping techniques, following multistep directions, stimulating ‘what’ questions, fostering color and shape recognition, encouraging problem-solving, and refining hand-eye coordination. What makes these toys exceptional is their unique ability to grasp the children’s attention while integrating therapeutic goals into engaging activities tailored to each child’s journey toward progress and achievement. Check out some of our favorite “Not average toys!” 

Examples of Not Your Average Toy:

Water Beads: 

What sets water beads apart? Water beads stand out for their fun way of developmental skills. They offer an enjoyable sensory and messy play while enhancing color recognition and sorting abilities. These beads serve as a tool for reaching milestones. Children can play by using a spoon for scooping into a cup, counting exercises, and even hiding items like toy fish or other objects within the beads to engage both hands in a tactile search. These toys facilitate various developmental goals, from color recognition and sorting to refining fine motor skills, in-hand manipulation, bilateral coordination, and sensory play. They also stimulate counting skills and engage in figure-ground activities.


Building Blocks: 

Building blocks are known for making a tower and watching it fall, but did you know that they offer various developmental opportunities? These square toys build structures with two hands, allowing a child to work towards bilateral coordination, midline crossing, and fine motor skills. Playing with blocks can also help with color recognition, shape learning, spatial orientation, and teaching concepts through block positions. 

Building blocks can also help with emotional regulation. If a task is challenging or the tower does not stay quite the way intended, this is an excellent opportunity to discuss the feelings raised and allow your child to have a voice.   



Puzzles are a fun, versatile learning tool for children. They can help children learn about shapes and colors, expand their vocabulary, and identify different types of animals. Puzzles also help children learn to act like put in and take out. You can add a multi-step direction to make a puzzle more challenging, like putting the cow and horse puzzle pieces together in their correct spot. For more engaging questions, ask your child, “What does a cow say?” or “Where is the cow?” Puzzle helps achieve milestones that involve enhancing visual perceptual skills, grasping technique, mastering multi-step directions, and developing problem-solving abilities. 


How can Carolina Therapy Connection Help? 

At CTC, we are committed to supporting our families and the child’s developmental journey and helping them achieve these goals at home. Please explore our website ( or our Amazon Storefront ( These are not your average toys; they are carefully innovative toys that can help foster growth and development. To further understand these toys’ impact, ask your therapist if you can sit in during a session. By watching the interaction between the child playing and the therapist, parents can gain insights into how effective these tools can be and bring these Not Your Average Toys into their home.


By: Lauren Hodges, COTA/L, and Allison Hicks

Tutoring Vs. Virtual Learning Support

The Differences Between Tutoring and Virtual Learning Support

With Covid-19, we are in uncertain waters and these waters are not always smooth sailing. In addition to the responsibilities of day-to-day parenting, roles have shifted.  Parents are expected to teach and manage their child’s learning during days/weeks out of school.  Virtual learning can create new situations in the home. Some of the situations may have a positive impact, while others may create barriers for your child. For these reasons, parents often seek academic support for their child to be successful with the virtual learning model. This is why it is important to understand the difference between Tutoring and Virtual Learning Support. 

With personalized tutoring, students are administered an educational assessment to identify their basic academic levels of functioning needed to create an education plan.  Tutors address skills to help students achieve more at various levels of performance. Tutors provide direct instruction with the child and focus on their specific needs. They also utilize specific techniques, strategies, materials and resources to accomplish their academic goals.  Tutors often provide homework support for students functioning on grade level but needing additional instruction to reinforce understanding.  Tutoring is personalized to meet the needs of each student.

Virtual Learning Support is similar to homework support, but actually provides a more generic approach to instruction. 

Classroom teachers will create the assignments, and the academic coaches will focus on:

  • Keeping students organized and motivated
  • Building confidence and independence
  • Providing clarity and understanding of assigned material
  • Reinforcing academic skills
  • Providing structure and consistency
  • Helping with motivation to complete all work

A strong Virtual Learning Support program eliminates much of the stress parents and children experience. Parents can expect their child’s academic coach to:

  • Assume responsibility for assignments to be thoroughly and accurately completed
  • Provide full reports after every session describing what has been accomplished and any concerns noted
  • Communicate with the child’s classroom teacher as needed for clarification and collaboration
tutoring vs virtual learning Support

Are You and Your Child Frustrated With Homework?

How Can an Educational Assessment be Beneficial to You and Your Child?

It is officially fall – that means football, costumes, hayrides, pumpkin spiced lattes (and everything else pumpkin flavored you can dream up) and HOMEWORK. (Wait, homework?).

Yes, if your evenings are like many other parents, it consists of long, grueling nights of frustration, confusion, and nagging.

Chances are your child has been “back to school” long enough for you to begin to see patterns. How much homework is the teacher giving? When is it due? You should know the teacher’s expectations and how your child is responding. Are they frustrated? Do you hear things like…I’m not good at reading? Math is stupid…why do I have to do this dumb stuff anyway?

Many parents accept this conflict with their children as an unavoidable consequence of responsible parenting. Arguing, punishing, and refusing to help rarely result in improved performance in school – and certainly no progress toward what should be our ultimate goal: helping children enjoy learning and have a positive school experience.

The solution to the problem of homework always begins with an accurate diagnosis and a recognition of the demands placed on your child. Parents should never assume that a child who resists doing homework is “lazy.” Your child may be anxious, frustrated, discouraged, distracted, and even angry- but this is not laziness.

To provide the best environment for your child, it is beneficial to create a homework plan. Our Educational Specialist recommends:

  • Breakdown homework by task: Pick one small task that your child can do to get started.
  • During the homework hour, all electronics are turned off, for the entire family.
  • Most elementary school children are able to work more effectively in a common area, with a parent nearby. Parents may work on other projects during this time, but should be available to help, to offer encouragement, and to answer children’s questions. Parents: avoid engaging in phone conversations during this time and be available if your child needs help.
  • Set aside a specified (and limited) time for homework. Set a time after school, after dinner, or a time that works best with your family’s schedule.
  • Be positive and encouraging. Make note of every improvement, not every mistake.
  • Avoid nagging and punishments. Give your child time to adjust and do not assume their lack of desire to complete a task is because they are unmotivated.

If you are already doing many of these recommendations with no real improvement in behavior, it is time to sit down with our Educational Specialist for an assessment of how our Educational Services can help!

Our Educational Specialist, Becky Taylor has over 40 years of experience helping children have a successful learning experience. For more information on pricing and what this process looks like visit our website: Educational Services

Q: Who would benefit from an Educational Assessment of Academic Achievement?

A: Reaching a decision to have an educational assessment typically comes after a period of struggle, distress, and various strategies to help improve the educational process. This assessment is an important step to help a student achieve success and for a parent to better understand how to address areas of concern. Results of this testing will address:

  • Academic achievement
  • Academic levels of functioning in:
  • Math
  • Written expression
  • Language
  • Reading
  • Academic readiness
  • Academic potential
  • Learning style
  • Attention difficulties
  • Communication skills

Results from this comprehensive assessment will provide important information in developing a plan of remediation.

Q: What is involved in an Educational Assessment?

A: Educational evaluations are comprised of informal assessments, standardized tests, evaluator observation, criteria-referenced tests, checklists and interviews. Test scores are analyzed to better understand the student’s areas of learning strengths and needs. The evaluation will include specific recommendations to address what is going on with the student.

Q: What happens after the Educational Assessment?

A: Once the comprehensive Educational Assessment is completed, an appointment will be scheduled with the parent to meet with our Educational Specialist. This follow-up conference will include a summary of the results and recommendations going forward to help the student achieve their greatest potential.

Q: What information can I gain from an Educational Consultation?

A: Consultation and review can be very useful in determining the next best step to address educational problems. Oftentimes, there is a complexity of learning challenges (attention, behavior, speech/language, social interactions, academic) that need to be addressed. Often, a parent has questions about response and services provided by the school; needing to accurately know the areas of academic strengths and weaknesses; or the implementation of services.

Q: How do I get started with the Educational Assessment process?

A: Getting started is easy! Contact us on our website or call our clinic at 252-341-9944 to connect with our staff. We will schedule an appointment to meet with our Educational Specialist.