Sunday, May 21, 2017

Activities for Tactile Sensitivity

Photo by Sattva @ 
      Try these activities with children who have tactile sensitivity. Any child's sensory system will benefit from these activities, defensive or not. Just be sure and remember to start slowly, and DO NOT force any input that your child resists. If your little one is extremely resistant, it’s probably time to consult your pediatrician and ask about the possibility of occupational therapy. There are more advanced treatments that can only be carried out under the supervision of a therapist. 
  • Spend a few extra minutes after bath time to vigorously rub the child with a towel, or guide them in doing so.  
  • Rub lotion or powder on the legs, hands and arms while singing (for distraction purposes). Let them also rub the lotion or powder on you, especially if they won’t tolerate it on their own extremities.
  • Pretend face washing or shaving- with different textures of cloth or towels.
  • Use a variety of textured materials such as corduroy, fur, terry cloth, etc. and rub on your child’s back, arms and legs.
  • Put textured mittens or puppets on child’s hands and let him or her take them off.
  • Encourage your child to play in binds of sand, rice, beans or popcorn. Hide items and have the child locate them, guessing what they are while still covered. If your child won’t touch the textures, provide cups and shovels for play.
  • Have the child roll up in a blanket or sheet, then play hot dog – press on mustard, relish, etc., and then have them roll out.
  • Put shaving cream, lotion, or pudding on a large piece of aluminum foil and have the child draw a picture or write spelling words. Be sure to get both hands messy!
  • Finger painting or body painting with water-based paints. 
  • Play in play dough or putty. Pulling, squeezing, rolling, etc.
  • Draw numbers/letters on the child’s back, arms, lets, etc. and have him identify. You can make it a multiple choice or yes-no question - Is this a 2 or a 5?
  • Provide activities that provide tactile input on the child’s entire body, such as a kid pool full of styrofoam, big soft pillows, or balls.
  • Games with physical contact are good – bear hugs, piggyback rides, wrestling, back rubs, petting animals.
  • Identifying objects with eyes closed – keys, comb, marble, block, coins, shapes, etc.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Play and Child Development

 Children learn about the world around them through exploration and play. The role of play in child development is important for the development gross motor, fine motor and social skills. Play can be as simple as imitating the sounds that your infant makes, or it can be more involved, such as putting puzzles together, stacking blocks and imitating complex block patterns. Play activities such as these are great for motor and perceptual development, and they are also wonderful for social skill development.

Parents and caregivers need to have a basic understanding of developmental milestones in childhood. This knowledge will be helpful when encouraging your child come up with ideas for play.

Here is a brief early developmental milestone chart of skills that influence play. Please keep in mind that all children develop at their own individual rates, so the ages for acquiring these milestones may vary from child to child.

Begins to show interest in and curiosity about the environment – 4 to 6 months
Object permanence emerging/pointing to pictures and objects- 10 months to 1 year
Imitation and solitary play skills- 1 year to 15 months
Parallel play and symbolic play- 2 years
Interactive play and taking turns- 2 ½ to 3 years

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Free Visual Perceptual Worksheets

We use visual perceptual skills to understand what we see around us.  Visual perceptual skills are needed for writing, reading, and copying from the board.  There are many different ways to work on visual perceptual skills!  For example, visual perceptual worksheets can be fun way for kids to improve visual perception.  As a special thank you to my readers, I am providing these free visual perceptual worksheets! 

For free visual perceptual worksheets, click on the following links:

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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Fine Motor ABC: A Must Have Book!

Are fine motor skills important?  Yes!  Research tells us that there is a connection between fine motor skill development and future science, math and reading skills.  It is also important to know that all young children spend a large percentage of their school days engaging in fine motor tasks.  If you are looking for a fun and motivating way to develop and improve a child’s fine motor skills, then “Fine Motor ABC” can help!
This fun-filled book includes a fine motor strengthening task for every letter in the alphabet.  The photographs are colorful and engaging, and they will attract and delight children.  The instructions are easy to follow and will put your child on the road to motor skill success!

This book is perfect for use at home or in a therapy session.  Use it to help your child improve his dexterity and gain confidence in his abilities!

 Sign up for a chance to win your own copy of "Fine Motor ABC" by following my blog (lower right side of this page) or click HERE to order a copy on Amazon!

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:

Glue Gun
Construction paper
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:

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.