Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sensory Fun: Teaching Letter Formation


Letter formation is an important skill that children in Kindergarten are typically learning.  For those students who resist paper and pencil tasks, multi-sensory instructional approaches are often effective. When a child is first learning the letters, it's a good idea to start with their name. Take some Crayola Air Dry Clay and have the child roll it into a long hotdog shape.

Put the clay on a piece of colorful construction paper and form the clay into the first letter in the child's name. This is a good activity for motor planning! Only provide the least amount of assistance that is needed for the child to successfully complete the task.

Once the child makes the letter successfully, you can use another sensory approach to form the same letter. Have the student tear tissue paper into small pieces and use the finger tips to roll each piece into a small ball. Use Elmer's glue to "write" the letter on another piece of construction paper. (Provide assistance as needed.) Then have the student use a pincer grasp to place the tissue paper balls on the "glue letter." This is a fun sensory activity that addresses letter formation!



Saturday, January 31, 2015

DIY Mini Ring Toss Game!

This mini ring toss game is simple to make and has lots of therapeutic possibilities, including working on fine motor skills, eye hand coordination, colors, and numbers.

You will need:
1 piece of foam board- (approximately 30" x 15")
Duct Tape
Different colors of pipe cleaners
A paper towel roll
A Sharpie

1. Make a "partial cut" across the middle of the foam board
2. Reinforce the side of the foam board that is still connected with Duct Tape
3. Poke holes in the foam board using a metal skewer or other sharp object (be careful!)
4. Attach a piece of tape across the bottom of the folded foam board so that it makes a triangular shape like a slant board (see photo).
5. Cut the pipe cleaners in half, fold them, and poke each one through one of the holes. Spread the ends of the pipe cleaners apart on the backside of the foam board and secure them with duct tape.
6. Cut the paper towel roll to make rings and cover each one with a different color of tape or construction paper. The colors of the rings should correspond with the colors of the pipe cleaners.
Now you are ready to have some fun with your mini ring toss game! The rings can be placed or tossed on the pipe cleaners. You can instruct the child to match the colors or to "place the red ring on the number 5."  Increase the challenge by having the child place the rings using tongs. The possibilities are limitless!!!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Pets and Children with Autism

Recent research reveals that children with autism who have pets are more assertive. Click HERE for more information.



Saturday, January 17, 2015

Motor Skill and Brain-Boosting Developmental Toys for Baby's First Year

Parents often ask me to recommend developmental toys, but I usually recommend simple household objects for play. For example, when children play with empty boxes or pots and pans, they use their imaginations which is wonderful for fostering creativity.  However, new toys at Christmas or on birthdays are always a treat! Here are several of my favorites:

Sassy Ring O' Links Rattle Developmental Toy


These rings are brightly colored which is good for visual stimulation. Babies enjoy shaking and manipulating them, which is wonderful for fine motor skills. I especially like the different textures on the rings!

Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Rock-a-Stack

This toy is also colorful and the stacking task is nice for developing eye-hand coordination. While your baby is playing with the rings, you can teach him about the concepts of big and small.

Here's another toy that's good for motor skills. Babies love to take and out of containers and put them back in, so this toy typically keeps a child occupied while also addressing eye-hand coordination.  During play, teach him the names and colors of the shapes.

The First Years Stacking Up Cups

Here's another basic stacking/nesting toy that I really love. These are super neat because they have numbers on the bottoms, so your baby can learn about counting as well as color and number recognition, and of course, stacking and placing the toys is wonderful for manipulative skills.


Handwriting with the Alphatrangle



While working with a student today, I had the opportunity to use an “Alphatrangle” from “The Size Matters Handwriting Program,” and I was very pleased with my student’s handwriting performance while using it! The product reinforces the handwriting program's concepts, and it’s lightweight, portable and fits perfectly on a desk or small table.  It allows students to have direct visual access to letter formation and size information. A bonus is that the “Alphatrangle” includes a 12-inch ruler! Check out the product here: http://realotsolutions.com/products/kit.html
Photos from: www.realotsolutions.com


Friday, January 16, 2015

Book Winner!!!

The winner of the "The Occupational Therapist's Handbook for Inclusive School Practices" is Amy Mc!  Congratulations!!!

Amy, please message me on Facebook so I can get your address:)
 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Book Give-Away: The Occupational Therapist's Handbook for Inclusive School Practices!

I was super excited when I was asked to write a review of Julie Causton's new book, "The Occupational Therapist's Handbook for Inclusive School Practices." Now I'm even more excited because she has provided a copy for me to give one of my readers!

This book is a comprehensive and informative resource for all occupational therapists who work in the school system. With a focus on inclusive practices, it includes chapters on special education, collaboration, and the use of social, environmental and academic supports. As an OT with 24 years experience working in the schools, I highly recommend this guidebook to all occupational therapy students, new graduates and seasoned therapists who strive to promote the best practice of occupational therapy in educational settings.

Any reader that lives in the continental US is eligible to win a copy of this book. For a chance to win, all you have to do is sign up on the right side of this page to follow my blog AND "like" my Facebook page. I will be announcing the winner soon!  Good luck!!!