Saturday, December 3, 2016

Free Holiday Coloring Pages: Great for Fine Motor Skills!

When a child feeds herself, cuts with scissors and colors with crayons, she is using fine motor skills.  It is important to develop fine motor skills in early childhood, so that children can be successful in school.  Research tells us that much of a child’s school day involves the use of fine motor skills. 

Coloring is a great way to develop fine motor skills!  Encourage your child to color these free holiday coloring pages, and she will have fun while developing her fine motor skills. To encourage a proper grasp, break crayons into small pieces.  This requires the use of the thumb, index, and middle fingers to hold the crayon pieces when coloring, which lays the foundation for a more mature pencil grasp in the future.  Enjoy these free holiday coloring pages!  Happy holidays!



 


Monday, November 14, 2016

Awesome DIY Holiday Wreath!

Here are the instructions to make this awesome DIY Holiday Wreath!

You will need:

Scissors
Glue Gun
Construction paper
Pen
Glue Stick
Poster board or paper plate

Cut the construction paper into squares.  For the back row, the papers should be approximately 5-inch squares. Reduce the size of the squares in each row by 1-inch. For example, the next row in should be 4-inch squares, the next will be 3-inch squares, and the interior cones are 2-inch squares.

Roll each piece of paper into a cones shape (one end rolled tighter than the other)

Use glue gun to glue the tighter ends together.

If using a poster board, cut it into a 10 to 12-inch circle.

Starting on the outside edges, glue the cones in place.

Trim the ends as needed.

Your wreath is ready!


Adapted from:
 http://frogprincepaperie.com/tutorial-paper-cone-christmas-wreath-how-to/#

Friday, October 28, 2016

Research on the Wilbarger Protocol


Therapists, teachers, and parents often ask me if there is any evidence for the Wilbarger Protocol.  The Wilbarger Protocol, also called the Wilbarger Therapressure Program is a treatment approach for sensory defensiveness that is often recommended by occupational therapists.  Unfortunately, there is a lack of quality research to support the use of the Wilbarger Protocol.  My colleagues and I recently had a study published on occupational therapy practitioners’ sources of training in the administration of Wilbarger Therapressure Program.  The study, entitled "Delivery of the Wilbarger Protocol: A survey of pediatric occupational therapy practitioners" was published in The Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools & Early Intervention in 2016.

We investigated the uniformity of administration and the diagnoses for which therapists recommend the protocol.  OTs from the United States completed an online survey investigating specifics related to training and implementation of the protocol.  Thirty-nine percent of the 153 respondents who reported using the protocol reported that they were trained by attending the workshop that the Wilbargers offer.  Slightly less than half (48%) learned how to administer the protocol through hands-on training from another occupational therapist, 7% learned through word of mouth from an OT colleague, 3% through online research, and 3% by other means.

The results suggest that practitioners utilize a variety of approaches related to the training and implementation of the Wilbarger Protocol.  All OT practitioners need to obtain the proper training before recommending and implementing program.  A standardized protocol for the protocol has not been published; therefore, therapists who wish to learn the protocol should attend the Wilbarger workshop.

Lancaster, S. L., Zachry, A. H., Duck, A., Harris, A., Page, E., Sanders, J. (2016). Delivery of the Wilbarger Protocol: A survey of pediatric occupational therapy practitioners. Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Intervention, 9(3), 2016.

Free Thanksgiving Coloring Pages!


Here are several free Thanksgiving coloring pages! Coloring is a wonderful way to improve a variety of different skills.  Fine motor skills and dexterity are required to hold and manipulate a crayon.  If the child doesn't use her thumb and fingers to hold the crayon, break the crayon into small pieces.  Coloring on a vertical surface using a small piece of crayon promotes a tripod grasp and finger flexion and extension, which are desirable!

Click on the following links for the free Thanksgiving coloring pages.

Turkey

Color the Turkey

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The StayPut Mat Stabilizes Paper for Writing!


Do you know a child who is unable to stabilize the paper when writing? I’ve worked with a number of clients with hemiplegia who struggled with this issue. We tried a variety of approaches, including using a paper weight, taping the paper down,  and using a clip board, but none of these options were ideal. Fortunately, there’s a solution! The StayPut Mat!

When your client is unable to stabilize the paper when writing, try the StayPut Mat!  This is a non-slip drawing mat that stabilizes letter-sized paper for writing.  It’s has lightweight magnetic frame, and it’s durable, portable, and easy to use.  I love mine!  It's the perfect tool to add to your therapy bag!

For more information, visit www.stayputmat.com, or you can purchase one by clicking HERE!
                                

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Is Creativity on the Decline Because Young People Don't Daydream Enough?


Daydreaming plays an important role in the creative process, and research reveals that creativity has been on the decline in recent decades.  To learn how to promote creativity in children (and adults), click HERE to watch my TEDx talk!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Make Your Own Magnificent Maze

Do you want to make a Magnificent Maze?  This is a great activity for bilateral coordination, visual motor skills!

Draw the outline of a maze on a firm piece of foam board or cardboard. Make it simple or more difficult, based on what you feel will be a "just right challenge" for the child.  Leave enough space in the pathways for the ball to travel through.  Lay the straws out on top of the maze lines and cut them to the appropriate length (see photo above).  Use colorful duct tape to hold the straws in place.  Now instruct the child to navigate the ball through the maze.  Have fun!

The project above was completed by one of our Master's of Occupational Therapy students at 
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center and posted with permission.