Holly Schifsky is Presenting in Houston, TX on July 15 and 16

Don’t miss this exciting opportunity in Texas!

Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn in-person with ERI faculty and neonatal expert Holly Schifsky, OTR/L, CNT, NTMTC, CBIS. Holly will be presenting her popular course, Baby Beats and Breaths: Therapeutic Interventions for the Premature Infant with Cardiopulmonary Compromise, at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus in Houston. 

This hands-on intermediate-advanced course will focus on the cardiopulmonary implications for the premature or medically-complex infant as related to physiological stability, evolving motor control, sensory stability, and transition to oral motor skills that support feeding. It will focus on advancing the critical reasoning skills of the neonatal therapist to support the infant’s ability to obtain foundational motor and sensory skills.

This course is recommended for intermediate to advanced neonatal therapists, PTs, PTAs, OTs, OTAs, and SLPs working with infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Participants of this course will earn 15 contact hours upon completion (1.5 CEUs). 

Registration is now open! Questions? Contact our office at info@educationresourcesinc.com or call 800-487-6530. 

Continue learning with Holly with these additional courses:

School may be out, but the learning continues! Check out all of the courses Holly Schifsky will be teaching this summer and fall. Registration is now open so be sure to get the dates on your calendar:

Breathe, Baby Breathe: Developmental Interventions for Infants with Tracheostomy Tubes
July 28 and 29, 2023
Live Webinar 
8.5 contact hours


Babies’ Bodies and Brains: Multi-System Assessment and Treatment of the Premature/Medically Complex Infant for the Rehabilitation Professional
August 3 – 5, 2023
Live Webinar
15 contact hours

Breathe, Baby Breathe: Developmental Interventions for Infants with Tracheostomy Tubes
September 8, 2023
Live Webinar
8.5 contact hours

Babies’ Bodies and Brains: Multi-System Assessment and Treatment of the Premature/Medically Complex Infant for the Rehabilitation Professional
September 23 and 24, 2023
Location: Louisville, KY
Norton Healthcare Learning Center – Hurstbourne Green
15 contact hours

Baby Beats and Breaths: Therapeutic Interventions for the Premature Infant with Cardiopulmonary Compromise
October 7 and 8, 2023
Live Webinar
15 contact hours


Babies’ Bodies and Brains: Multi-System Assessment and Treatment of the Premature/Medically Complex Infant for the Rehabilitation Professional
November 11 and 12, 2023
Live Webinar
15 contact hours

Person-First vs. Identity-First Language

person first vs identity first language

As a speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist or physical therapist, you likely work with children and adults with a wide range of disabilities, diagnoses and conditions. If so, it’s normal to feel unsure about using person-first or identity-first language and maintaining a respectful environment.

What Is Person-First Language?   

Person-first language refers to emphasizing a person instead of their disability when speaking to or about them. For example, instead of saying “a disabled person,” person-first language encourages us to say “a person living with a disability.” 

While the distinction may seem minor, it helps us understand that someone’s disability is not their defining characteristic and does not impact their value. With person-first language, the speaker automatically categorizes the disability as a secondary attribute rather than referring to someone in terms of their condition or diagnosis.

What Is Identity-First Language?

Identity-first language refers to speaking about people with disabilities by putting their disability first, such as saying “she is disabled” or “he is autistic.” Identity-first language is the opposite of person-first language because it names the disability as an adjective, rather than emphasizing their personhood. 

While person-first language seems more widely adopted in recent years for therapists and special educators to prevent stereotyping and stigmatizing disabilities, many self-advocates prefer identity-first language because they feel it better respects neurodiversity.

Person-First Language vs. Identity-First Language Examples 

Person-first language examples include:

  • Person who is blind
  • Person who is visually impaired
  • Person with a disability
  • Wheelchair user
  • Person with cerebral palsy
  • Person who has muscular dystrophy
  • Person with epilepsy
  • Person on the autism spectrum
  • Person with an intellectual, cognitive or developmental disability
  • Person who has multiple sclerosis
  • Person with a mental health condition
  • Person who has a learning disability

Identity-first language examples:

  • Blind person
  • Handicapped
  • Wheelchair-bound
  • Epileptic
  • Autistic 
  • Suffers hearing loss
  • A Deaf person
  • A disabled person
  • Afflicted by multiple sclerosis
  • A mentally ill person
  • Learning disabled

When You Should and Should Not Use Person-First or IdentityFirst Language 

When choosing whether to use person-first or identityfirst language, remember to respect your patients’ or students’ preference. As noted above, some people would rather use identity-first language for several reasons, like accepting their disability as part of their identity or reminding others that a disability is not a negative attribute. As a therapist, there’s no need to pick a side with person-first or identity-first language. 

remember to respect your patients' or students' preference

While many professional health care organizations, such as the American Medical Association, endorse person-first language, others prefer identity-first language. Some groups, such as the Deaf, blind and autistic communities, promote identity-first language. While these communities recognize the value of person-first language, they embrace their differences as an integral part of their identities. 

For example, the Deaf community has made it known that they feel deafness is not a disability but rather a medical condition that does not carry a negative connotation. For example, you would not usually separate the word “beautiful” from the phrase “beautiful person” and say something like “a person who is beautiful.” Some people feel person-first language makes their disability seem like a negativity that needs to be separate from their identity.

On the other hand, many people with disabilities may think identity-first language is limiting, insensitive or stigmatizing, which is why it’s crucial to ask about their preferences. Either type of language is equally appropriate depending on what your patient is comfortable with, so if you’re unsure how to address or refer to someone, ask. 

Tips for Thoughtfully Using Person-First or Identity-First Language

It can be challenging to navigate these language standards when people have different preferences. Here are some tips to help you thoughtfully and respectfully speak to and about your patients with disabilities.

  • Educate yourself: The language we use when talking to and about people with disabilities is evolving. Preferences and terminologies have changed dramatically over the last decade and continue to do so. As a therapist, keep up with word choice to the best of your abilities. Ideally, you’ll want to stay informed on your patients’ specific disabilities and adjust as needed. 
  • Be open-minded: While your intentions may be good, everyone makes mistakes. You may misspeak if you’re switching between person-first and identity-first language for various clients. Remember to have an open mind and be willing to listen. If you’re meeting a patient for the first time, try to gauge their views and adjust your terms as necessary.
  • Avoid using negative stereotypes: We want to be careful about saying anything that may unintentionally imply that a person’s disability is a negative thing. For instance, if you need to reference a person without a disability, never use terms like “normally abled” or “healthy” to describe them. These phrases make it sound as if the person with a disability is abnormal or less than. 
  • Ask each client about their preferences: Remember, language is always changing. If you aren’t sure, ask how a person wants you to describe them. While this may initially seem a bit awkward, it can set a tone that lets patient know you care and value their needs. 
  • Stay curious: Ongoing education is critical as a therapy professional. Regularly check sources like self-advocacy groups and community organizations to learn about the language they use and why. 
  • Avoid portraying people with disabilities as inspirational: According to the CDC, we want to avoid describing a person with a disability as “an inspiration” or “courageous” because of their differences. This framing shines a negative light on their disability and makes it appear as a hindrance or struggle to overcome. 

Improve Outcomes for Your Patients and Fuel Your Passion for Therapy With Education Resources, Inc. 

As a practice or school-based therapist, you’re constantly working with new patients or students and seeing the world through their eyes. The language you use during your sessions and beyond can make a significant impact and help you provide a better experience and higher standard of care to everyone you interact with. At Education Resources, Inc., it’s our goal to help therapists and speech-language pathologists rediscover their passion for patient care and learn new strategies to help improve their patients’ daily lives. 

We offer various continuing education units applicable to your practice. Whether you want to learn in a real classroom, with on-demand online courses or in a live webinar, we can meet your needs and provide high-quality content taught by passionate, engaging faculty members in your field. Contact us today to learn more about creating an inclusive, respectful environment or check out our early intervention and school-based therapy courses.

learn more about creating an inclusive, respectful envrionment

COVID’s Impact on Birth to 3-Year-Old Development

covids impact on birth to 3 year old development

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of life, with more profound impacts on young children than many parents and caregivers may realize. COVID-related stress and isolation have led to decreased socialization and language skills, increased anxiety and behavioral issues and many other challenges for developing infants and toddlers.

How Has the Pandemic Affected Child Development?

The COVID-19 pandemic caused significant amounts of stress for parents with kids of any age, particularly newborns and toddlers. Social isolation, job loss and school and child care closures exacerbated adverse childhood experiences like neglect, domestic violence and parental substance use and mental illness. ACEs cause high levels of toxic stress for young kids, which can harm their development and cause future health problems.

During the pandemic, parental and caregiver mental wellness impacted newborns’ and toddlers’ physical, emotional and psychological development. For example, it’s challenging for a parent with depression to want to make time for and nurture a child, which can significantly impact the first few years of a child’s life. Babies need caregivers to hold them, play with them and speak to them. Without enough of these positive interactions, a child’s brain won’t develop properly.

How Has the Pandemic Affected Motor Development?

Other pandemic effects on early childhood development include lower motor skills. Compared to 6-month-olds evaluated before the pandemic, babies born during COVID scored lower on developmental screening tests for motor and social skills. At this age, infants should be able to roll from their backs to their stomachs and reach for and grasp objects with both hands. Average gross and fine motor skill scores for infants born during COVID were lower than babies at the same age before the pandemic.

How Has the Pandemic Affected Social Skills?

COVID-19’s impact on child social development is also consequential. Because the pandemic completely altered social lives, babies born during this time had fewer interactions and saw fewer faces due to masking mandates. Additionally, parents kept their infants at home due to shelter-in-place orders, closures and the fear of getting sick. As a result, pandemic babies lacked opportunities to develop valuable social skills.

For example, many places and situations like play dates, day care, preschool and playgrounds were off-limits or closed during the pandemic. These social situations are crucial for babies and toddlers to experience play-based learning. While exploring and interacting with others, young kids acquire skills like sharing, connection, conflict resolution, self-advocacy and communication, among others. Kids born during this period missed these childhood experiences.

Kindergarten Readiness and Future Success

Without the proper opportunities to develop essential social, behavioral and emotional skills and other core competencies, many kids born during the pandemic lack kindergarten readiness. Traditionally, toddlers would enter preschool or pre-K to help them prepare for school and develop the skills to succeed. During the pandemic, enrollment in these programs decreased significantly for the first time in decades. 

Many parents and caregivers kept their kids out of pre-K and kindergarten because of COVID-19 concerns. However, research has shown that when kids enter kindergarten late, they’re more likely to remain behind in their academic careers

Similarly, fewer infants and toddlers with developmental disabilities and delays have received early intervention services since the pandemic started. Under-identification of developmental issues increases the need for support once a child enters the public school system. Many pandemic kids who were eligible for these services didn’t receive support, meaning they’ll likely need more help and may always stay behind.

pandemic kids and support services

How to Address the Impact of COVID-19 on Child Development

Since children born during the pandemic are still young, more research is necessary as they grow to determine COVID’s long-term impact on them. One thing is sure, though — the unprecedented stress and hardship have marked the early years of their lives. How can we address the issues of COVID and early childhood development as these children grow? 

The best thing to do is to continue supporting families and encourage them to seek help in every way possible. From psychological, occupational, physical and speech therapy to financial assistance, families of kids with developmental delays and disabilities should take advantage of various resources.

More than ever, it is important to support and encourage parents to talk, play and positively interact with their children. Continue to stress the importance of socialization, movement and outdoor time to foster development and continued growth. Giving kids the space and resources to learn necessary skills and progress is crucial for mitigating the pandemic’s developmental impacts. 

Additionally identifying developmental issues as early as possible allows children to get the necessary help to reduce the pandemic from continuing to impact their developmental growth. For example, psychological therapy can help kids work through increased anxiety and behavioral issues due to the pandemic. Continued support through the public school system as a child ages can also be highly beneficial for getting them where they need to be.

register for child development and early intervention courses through ERI

Register for Child Development and Early Intervention Courses Through Education Resources Inc.

While there’s still more to learn about COVID’s impact on child development, staying educated on child development and early intervention helps you better serve your community and kids. Whether you work in occupational, physical or speech and language services, taking on-demand courses related to child development and early intervention through ERI helps you better prepare to serve this demographic. Find relevant on-demand courses based on your profession or a specific topic and start learning from experts in your field today.

ERI Offers Two Scholarships to Attend 2023 School Therapy Conference


Do you know of someone who deserves recognition?

A Therapist New to the Schools, or an Unsung Hero

We want to hear about their hard work, and innovative ideas.

We will be honoring two unsung heroes/teams. 

One for his/her significant contribution to therapy practice in the field of school based therapy,
and a therapist new to school based practice

Please click on the links below to find out more and send in your nominations:

Scholarship for Therapist New to School-Based Practice

Education Resources would like to provide a scholarship of free tuition to the 24th Annual Therapies in the School Conference, to a therapist who is new to practicing in the schools to help further his/her potential to significantly contribute to therapy practice in the field of school-based therapy. This nominee should have a strong potential to meet students’ needs and collaboratively engage teachers and staff within the students’ team. 

Scholarship for Excellence in Creative School Based Therapy

Education Resources would like to honor one unsung hero for his/her significant contribution to therapy practice in the field of school-based therapy during this challenging school year. This nominee has excellent assessment and intervention skills, uses those skills to meet students’ needs in unconventional and unique ways, and collaboratively engages teachers and staff within the students’ team. 

Award recipients will also demonstrate the core values of collaboration, leadership, integrity, and a passion for improving the lives of his or her students.

You may nominate yourself or colleague(s) – or both!

Deadline for Submissions is July 31 2023

The award recipients will be notified in early September and honored at the Annual Therapies in the School Conference  – November 16-17, 2023


November 16 and 17, 2023 – Live Virtual Webinar

9:30 am EST ▪ 8:30 am CST ▪ 7:30 am MST ▪ 6:30 am PST


As we continue to develop the content for the annual Therapies in the School Conference, we are asking for your input. Let us know how to focus the content to best meet your needs!

Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts in this SHORT SURVEY

New Toe Walking Course from ERI’s Internationally Renowned Faculty, Liesa M. Ritchie-Persaud!

ERI is thrilled to release a new on-demand course from our internationally renowned faculty member and toe walking expert, Liesa M. Ritchie-Persaud, PT, DPT, PCS, CKTP.

ERI’s Toe Walking: In-Depth Clinical Applications – ON-DEMAND was recorded at Liesa’s live webinar in February, 2023. Liesa developed this new course to build on Toe-Walking: Evaluation and Treatment of Pediatric Equinus Gait (new title for the course formerly called “Part A,” same exact course). 

This brand-new course, Toe Walking: In-Depth Clinical Applications-ON-DEMAND, offers the opportunity to apply the information you learned from Part A, while also expanding on this knowledge to help you become more confident in your evaluation and treatment skills.  

If you’ve already taken “Part B,” this brand-new course is still for you because, together with Liesa, you will problem-solve through cases and go deeper into the study of toe walking. As you probably know, there are different reasons for toe walking. Depending on these reasons, you’ll approach the treatment of those children differently. In this new toe walking course, Liesa discusses the different causes and spends time going in-depth on each cause.

Here’s what other therapists have said about the course:

Amazing course that helps tie together loose ends from the initial toe walking course and clinical practice. This course really helped me connect the dots and I feel empowered to use my new skills and knowledge in the clinic this week. Liesa is amazing in every way. She’s organized, a great speaker, and so knowledgeable. She speaks so well with humor as needed; the 8-hour course flew by! Alyssa I., PT, DPT

Great course, it had been years since I took her previous Toe Walking course, so this was great to reinforce what I do and to add more tools to my tool box.  Catherine S., PT

To update and expand your evaluation and treatment knowledge of toe walking with Liesa, register for Toe Walking: In-Depth Clinical Applications – ON-DEMAND today!  Your purchase will include access to the course and downloadable handouts for an entire year, allowing you to watch and re-watch the content as often as you’d like, at your convenience! Earn 7 contact hours (0.7 CEUs) for $229 per person.

Haven’t Taken Toe Walking Courses with ERI Yet?

Get started! Liesa’s brand-new toe walking course is now part of ERI’s comprehensive toe walking series: Toe Walking: In-Depth Series – ON-DEMAND.
Earn 17 contact hours (1.7 CEUs)/$399 per person
Includes both courses:

  • Toe Walking: Evaluation and Treatment of Pediatric Equinus Gait – ON-DEMAND – $279/person
  • Toe Walking: In-Depth Clinical Applications – ON-DEMAND – $229/person

SAVE $109 when you purchase the Series! Your purchase will include access to both toe walking courses and downloadable handouts for an entire year, allowing you to watch and re-watch the content as often as you’d like, at your convenience! Earn 17 contact hours (1.7 CEUs) for $399 per person.

For questions or to register a group, please contact ERI at info@educationresourcesinc.com or 800-487-6530.