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Eat more Vegetables!

11 Mar

What if peas and carrots tasted like green apple and orange sherbet?!? Well the Jelly Belly versions do! Could you eat these knowing the name of them is peas and carrots? Even though they are sweet and super yummy?! Definitely think these would make a great addition to food school! What is food school? Stay tuned for a post in the near future describing the SOS Approach to Feeding, better known as food school to a few of my kiddos!

Now, go eat your peas and carrots!

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Fine Motor Friday: Playing with Sponges

11 Jan

For this Fine Motor Friday, I’d like to share a fun way to play with sponges and shaving cream. Why not use them together?! If the child is still a little resistant to touching the shaving cream then have them use a small sponge to trace, write and draw. Also great for working on tip-tip pinch! Use the sponges to trace various shapes, build structures, stamp, etc. So fun, and easy clean up! Allow the child to squeeze the sponges when washing them out for some extra strengthening. 😃 Have fun!

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Toy Tuesday: Y-Volution YFliker

13 Nov

Hi there! Happy Tuesday! 🙂 For this week, I decided to google “Top toys for 2012” in an attempt to see what toys are going to be popular for Christmas. Out of this list, my goal was to find at least 1 toy that could be used therapeutically (other than some form of an electronic tablet!) I stumbled across Toys-R-Us (too bad I can’t reverse the “R” 😉 Fabulous 15 2012 Holiday Hot Toy List with the 15 Hottest Toys for Christmas. I was shocked at some of the toys on the list, and not at all surprised by others.

Shocking: Furby…seriously?!?!?!?! A Furby??!?!?! Those things were popular when I was little! Well I guess they’re back, and better than ever. Here is the description of what the Furby does these days: “Talk to it, tickle it, play music for it, even feed it! But keep in mind – your Furby will develop its own personality based on how you treat it. Because Furby speaks both English and Furbish, a FREE downloadable App is available that will help you translate Furbish! This App is optional and works with iPod Touch, iPad, and iPhone with iOS 4.2 or later.” Furby now has his own App! Furby is ready for the 21st century. Let’s see how popular they become…

The other items did not surprise me at all: various dolls, Jake and the Neverlands Pirate toy, girly Designer Studio, LeapPad, remote control car, LEGO: Ninjago, Skylanders, Wii U, and a Tabeo tablet.

So which toy to feature?? The Y-Volution YFliker FI Scooter won the prize! It’s kind of like a roller racer, but standing not sitting. It’s awesome. I totally want to try one myself.

Click here to watch a video advertisement: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/yvolution-brings-number-one-selling-y-fliker-scooters-and-popular-european-designed-y-glider-preschool-scooters-from-the-uk-to-america-169970796.html

The YFliker Scooter is a self-propelling ‘lean to steer’ scooter that improves weight shifting, trunk disassociation, bilateral coordination, balance, motor planning, strength, and offers vestibular input. It would be appropriate for many ages! It’s slightly pricey at $79, but it gets kids up, outside, moving, interacting with peers or family members! I love that this is on the top toys of 2012 list. Don’t get me wrong, every toy on this list has a time and a place, but I just can’t pass by the one toy that requires movement!

What toy would you feature, and why?

Comes in pink too!

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Fine Motor Friday: Marshmallows and Toothpicks

9 Nov

Hello hello! Time for Fine Motor Friday! For this week I will be sharing one of my most favorite things to do with marshmallows and toothpicks! It can be used with a multitude of ages, as young as around 4 to as old at you feel appropriate (each client has different likes/skills). The oldest I’ve used this activity with was a 15 year old. 🙂

Supplies:
Bag of mini marshmallows
Box of toothpicks

Extras if desired:
Paper plates to hold supplies
Pictures/ideas to copy and construct

I came up with some ideas to have the kids I work with copy, varying from simple to more difficult on the back (including a complex 3D cube!). I placed mine in a sheet protector to keep it from getting sticky! Have the child copy the pictures, guiding, imitating, and provides cues as needed. Another fun thing to use this activity for is brainstorming new designs using higher level executive function skills.

Fun, sticky, educational, and great for developing fine motor and visual perceptual skills!

Caution: some children will want to eat them…some therapists may want to eat them too… 🙂

Enjoy!

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Blue high five, or Red? Let’s cross midline!

28 Sep

My awesome co-worker used this activity today at work, and I just had to steal it for the blog, and for my treatment bag ‘o tricks! What a great idea Beth! Items needed: red and blue gloves. Have the child put one color (for example red) on the left hand, and the other color (for this example blue) on the right hand. Therapist does the same thing. Side note: just from completing this portion of the task, the therapist can see how well the child can orient, and place fingers in appropriate finger position in order to don gloves (ADL skill), and acceptance of gloves on hands (tactile input)! Use the visual/tactile cues from the gloves to complete various bilateral activities, such as patty cake along with other hand play games and alternating hands to knees. A sequencing component can also be incorporated such as creating a pattern of the two colors and then remembering it and completing the claps. For example, have the child create a pattern: red, blue, blue, red. And then complete the task clapping each hand in order of the pattern. Increase/decrease the number of steps in the pattern depending on the needs of the child. Alternate taking to turns to help the child self-initiate. Another use of the gloves, is to also place a coordination color sticker on the child’s foot/shoe in order to incorporate scissor jumps and alternating scissor jumps coordinating the correct color sticker on the shoe with the correct glove. Can you think of any other ideas to use the these gloves?!

Thanks again Beth! You rock! 🙂

Thanks to my husband for modeling (in his Indy 500 shirt and all ;))

~Be Blessed,

Amy

How Does Your Engine Run?

23 Sep

The Alert Program is a one-of-a-kind program that allows children, teachers, parents, and therapists to choose appropriate strategies in order to change or maintain states of alertness. Children, teachers, parents, and other educators, are taught how to recognize when their nervous system is in a low or high alert state and then provides knowledge on what they can do to help regulate that nervous system to facilitate the optimal state based on the need (environment, demands, time of day, etc.)

“Leaders of the program not only learn what they can do to support self-regulation, but how to share the underlying theory so all can understand the basics of sensory integration. By reading the book or attending a conference, adults increase awareness of their own self-regulation thereby improving their ability to facilitate students’ optimal functioning. The Sensory-Motor Preference Checklist (for Adults) is a tool used to support this learning process. For example by filling out the checklist, adults may discover that before work, they may drink coffee, take a brisk walk, or listen to jazzy music to get their engine up and going for the day. Or others may find that they drink hot chocolate, rock in a rocking chair, or watch the glow of a fireplace to get their engine slowed down after a busy day. Bringing to awareness what most people do automatically in their daily routines, fosters the understanding of how important self-regulation is for students’ functioning.” 

Initially, the Alert Program was intended for children with attention and learning difficulties, ages 8-12. However, it has now been adapted for preschool through adult along with for a variety of disabilities. Due to the concepts taught in the program, if children are intellectually challenged or developmentally younger than the age of eight, the information gained can be utilized by staff to develop sensory diets (Wilbarger & Wilbarger, 1991) in order to enhance learning.

What is self-regulation? 
“Self-regulation is the ability to attain, change, or maintain an appropriate level of alertness for a task or situation” (Williams & Shellenberger, 1996). Having the ability to change how alert we feel is the foundation of every goal a parent, teacher, or therapist has for their children (or adult clients).

If we are in a low state of alertness (lethargic or “droopy”), we are not ready to learn. Likewise, if we are in a high state of alertness (hyper or overly active), learning is more difficult. Through the Alert Program,  self-regulation strategies are offered in order to attain an optimal state of alertness. The goal is to set up the nervous system for success and be ready to learn and achieve goals.

Why the engine analogy? 
The Alert Program uses an engine analogy because many children can relate and learn quickly about self-regulation when talking about their “engine” going into high, low, or just right gears. The engine analogy is just one way, but by no means the only way, to describe how alert one feels. Other descriptors might include:

  • colors (red for high, yellow for low, green or blue for just right
  • animals (maybe cheetah for high, turtle for low, and bear for just right)
  • Winnie the Pooh (Tigger for high, Eyore for low, and Pooh for just right)
  • Use the child’s special interest, especially if on the Autism Spectrum. (For example, if the child loves to talk about a certain movie then use characters from that movie.)
  • Adults might use the words, “high alert, low alert, and just right for ___ (fill in the blank for any activity)”
  • Children who are more concrete thinkers might do better with actual photos taken when they are in high, low, or just right states of alertness.

Reference: http://www.alertprogram.com

Personal thoughts: I myself have the Alert Program resources and have completed the distance learning program to earn CEUs towards my license. I think it is a fabulous program with applicable and thorough information. It provides descriptions in an easily understandable method and has great tools for teachers and parents. Have you used the Alert Program in your treatment sessions? How did it work for you?

Children’s Book Shout Out:

Images courtesy of: http://www.aapcpublishing.net/

Your First Source for Practical Solutions for ASD (Autism-Spctrum Disorder) as well as sensory processing deficits, self-regulation, behavior, academics, vocational skills, and more!

Scholarly articles supporting the use of The Alert Program for evidence-based practice

School-Based Practice Moving Beyond 1:1 Service Delivery. Edited by Yvonne Swinth and Barbara Hanft. Sept. 16, 2002. http://www.aota.org/Pubs/OTP/1997-2007/Features/2002/f-091602_1.aspx?css=print

Autism Spectrum Disorders: Integrating Methodologies and Team Efforts. Tammy Sarracino, Lynn Dell, Sherry Milchick. Jan. 14, 2002, http://www.aota.org/Pubs/OTP/1997-2007/Features/2002/f-011402_1.aspx

Neurocognitive Habilitation Therapy for Children With Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: An Adaptation of the AlertProgram. American Journal of Occupational TherapyJanuary/February 2012vol. 66 no. 1 24-34

For a list of research articles please visit: http://www.alertprogram.com/research.php and contact The Alert Program.

~Amy

Sensory!

18 Sep

Always remember… 😉

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