Monday, July 21, 2014

Spelling and Strengthening!!!

Do you know of a student who has finger/hand weakness, poor eye-hand coordination and weak spelling skills? If so, you may want to try this "clothespin-spelling" activity. 

You'll need:

Plastic clothespins (these require more strength than the wooden ones)
Sticker/Label Paper
Paint stick or ruler
 Print all of the letters needed for the spelling words using 26 - 28 font size on sticky-back label paper. Cut out each letter and stick it on a clothespin. I like to put the same letter on both sides of the clothespin.
Call out a spelling word and instruct the child to spell the word correctly by placing each letter/clothespin in order. Once she spells the word correctly, have her "sound out" the word.  This activity is good for visual scanning, spelling, finger strengthening and eye-hand coordination. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Motor Planning Balloon Games: Have Some Fun!!!

Suspend a balloon from the ceiling or a doorframe using a long piece of string. Have your child hit the ball while having her say or sing the A-B-C’s or while counting. For example, A- hit the balloon, B- hit the balloon, etc. You can also make this more difficult by removing the string, and having her keep the balloon in the air as long a possible by hitting it while saying the A-B-C’s. Can she get all the way through the alphabet and keep the balloon in the air? This is also a fun activity for practicing spelling words!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Building Blocks Make a Wonderful Therapy Tool!

Are you looking for inexpensive items to include in your therapy "bag of goodies?"  Are you a parent that is tired of spending the BIG bucks on therapy equipment and supplies for your child? Well, if you have $20.00 to spend, I have a recommendation for you!  This 100-piece wooden block set is available on Amazon for $18.95, and it is one of my favorite therapy "tools."

Basic building blocks are a dream come true to an occupational therapist! Here is a list of block activities and the skills each activity addresses:
  • Copy the Design- Build a block design that is a "just right challenge" for your child to copy. This activity addresses grasp and release skills, eye-hand coordination, and visual perceptual skills. It's also a wonderful way to learn about colors and shapes.
  • Build a Tower- Stacking block to make the tallest tower possible is a fun activity for all children. This task addresses eye-hand coordination, skilled release and placement, and visual motor skills.
  • Count Down- When stacking the blocks, be sure to count each one as it's placed to work on those math skills!
  • Race Time- Time your child while stacking the blocks or building a particular structure. He'll have fun racing to beat "his time." Working against the clock will address your child's motor planning skills and coordination.
  • Tunnel Time- Make several tunnels using the blocks, then practice rolling a marble through the tunnels without "bumping" the blocks. This activity is also good for motor control and planning, and it's will challenge her spatial skills.
So click HERE to order your set of blocks and start having fun!!!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Activity for Bilateral Skills and Visual Perception!

As a therapist, I frequently work with children on bilateral upper extremity skills. It’s important for a child to learn to stabilize an object or container while performing an activity with the opposite hand. This is a simple, inexpensive activity that addresses bilateral skills and visual perception. When the child is required to copy a pattern, this addresses design copy and color discrimination.

All that is needed for this activity are 2 dowels (found at a hardware or craft store) and mini-terry cloth covered ponytail holders (These can be purchased HERE on Amazon). For the child who has difficulty with the task, the activity can be adapted by using a paper towel or toilet paper roll and larger ponytail holders or scrunchies.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Retro Baby Wins Award!!!!

My parenting book, "Retro Baby" wins a gold!!!!

"The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards, which include fifty-five categories recognizing excellence in book editorial and design, are regarded as one of the highest national honors for independent publishers.

The Awards are administered by IBPA, with help from over 160 book publishing professionals including librarians, bookstore owners, reviewers, designers, publicity managers, and editors. The Benjamin Franklin Awards are unique in that the entrants receive direct feedback on their titles. The actual judging forms are returned to all participating publishers.

Prestige as a publisher is one of the many benefits of being named as a winner of this distinguished award. In addition, Gold winners receive an engraved crystal trophy."

Monday, May 26, 2014

Cursive Handwriting: The Debate Continues

The state of Tennessee recently passed HOUSE BILL 1697, by Butt requiring all public schools in the state to include cursive handwriting instruction before the end of 3rd grade.

AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49, Chapter 6, Part 10 - relative to curriculum.

Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49, Chapter 6, Part 10, is amended by adding the following language as a new section: 49-6-10.

The course of instruction in all public schools shall include cursive writing so that
students will be able to create readable documents through legible cursive handwriting
by the end of the third grade.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law, the public welfare requiring

-Please click on comments and share your thoughts and opinions on this topic!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Size Matters Handwriting Program

In the Size Matters Handwriting Program, the intangible is personified and the invisible is rendered in color.

We’re talking Meatball Man and his recipe for spacing.

Uniform spacing is especially difficult for students to master because by its very name… it’s amorphous.  It’s not there.

Instead, make it come to life by coloring your children’s empty spaces as though they had just served you a fine platter of Spaghetti and Meatballs.

In between each of the letters in a word, draw a straight strand of Spaghetti.   Ideally, there should be room for only one.   Use a yellow colored pencil to distinguish your spaghetti lines from the child’s printing.  If there is still empty space between the letters, draw another.  And another.  And another.  From above the Top Line to Below the Bottom.

These are the INSIDE spaces.  In other words, Spaghetti lines are drawn inside of a word.

To score Inside spaces, count all the potential Spaghetti spaces.  There should be one less than the number of letters in the word.  That’s your denominator.  Star above the places where only one strand of Spaghetti fits.  Count the stars.  That number is your numerator.

OUTSIDE SPACES are home to Meatballs.  Nice, evenly sized meatballs.  To start, identify an outside space that appears just right between two words.  Or one that is the width of 1-3 letters.  That’s your model meatball space.   Using a red colored pencil, draw equal sized meatballs in between each word.

Next, count all the potential meatballs.  There should be one less than the number of words.  If children do not crowd the right margin, or… if their writing continues on the next line but the letters do not trail up or down on the right side…  give them a free meatball.   That is your denominator.

Star the meatballs that are the same size.  The meatballs cannot overlap the letters nor have extra space on either side.  In other words, if it looks like a meatloaf would fill the space, do NOT give it a star.  The star total is your numerator.

Easy peasy.

Need more information.  Maybe all the ingredients to help your children become neat printers?  Go to:  www.realOTsolutions.

And write, please:  bev[at]
 I'm happy to answer your questions.

Let’s print together.  Mangia!!