Monday, January 23, 2012

Coloring Inside the Lines

Do you ever struggle with teaching a child how to stay within the lines when coloring? Coloring inside the lines can be a tough skill to teach, especially if the child has visual motor or perceptual challenges. One technique that I've found to be helpful is to provide a tactile "cue". Just take some clear Elmer's glue or a hot glue gun and outline the edges of the picture. This provides a nice tactile "ridge" that the crayon will "bump" against when the child is coloring.  I've found that it is also helpful to glue the coloring picture to a poster board to keep the child from ripping the paper while coloring.

I also like to teach the child how to color in small circular strokes rather than using large back and forth strokes, as this gives them more control. First I demonstrate how to do this, then I move them through the motions with "hand-over-hand" guidance, then I let them give it a try with verbal and gestural prompts. This takes a lot of practice, but they eventually get it!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Valentines for Veterans

A special education education class at one of the schools where I work came up with a wonderful project idea that I'd like to share with you. It's called "Valentines for Veterans!" The students are making these very special Valentines card for local veterans. Aren't they awesome? Of course, the OT in me loves all of the skills that were addressed as the students were working on the project. First of all, they worked on bilateral skills and hand strengthening when punching the stars in the blue construction paper.
They practiced cutting skills when cutting out the hearts as well as the stripes, and they worked on gluing skills, as you can see in the photo below. We practiced making glue "stripes" and glue "dots", as well as lining up the construction paper stripes on the glue line. (Great for visual-motor and perceptual skills!)
Aligning the stripes and using both hands together was somewhat challenging for some of the students, but everyone did a great job! The teacher and paraprofessionals in this class are always coming up with great project ideas like this. I'm so happy to have the opportunity to work with them!
Don't you think this Valentine is going to make a veteran somewhere very happy? :)
                                                                     I do!


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Friday, January 13, 2012

Kids Activity for Following Directions

This was a simple activity that I carried out with a group of student to work on following directions. I began with a sheet of red construction paper. I prepped ahead of time by gluing a blue stripe across the center and a green and yellow stripe running up and down. (See photo)

You can use a variety of small items for the rest of the project. I decided on the following: I had the students cut a circle out of purple construction paper, they cut a piece of string in half, a small orange square sticker, a small bead, a small sponge. For the activity, I just gave them simple directions. "Cut out the purple circle and glue it under the blue line." Then I told them, "Cut your string in half." This was a challenging concept for some of them! Then, "Put one piece of string beside the green line," and "Put the other piece of string on top of the yellow line." For fine motor skills, they had to peel the back off of the orange sticker, then I told them, "Put the orange square above the blue line." Finally, "Glue the sponge on top of the purple circle." As you can see, this is a great kids activity for following directions. It also works on a variety of concepts as well as colors, cutting, gluing, and other fine motor skills. Give it a try...it's lots of fun!
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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Visual Perceptual Skills Activity


Visual perceptual skills allow a person to understand what he or she sees. Visual perceptual skills include recognizing and identifying shapes, objects, colors, and other qualities. A person with functional visual perception is able to make accurate judgments regarding the size, configuration, and spatial relationships of objects.


Visual Spatial processing falls under the umbrella of visual perception and is the ability understand directional concepts for organizing visual space. It is the ability to perceive the position of two or more objects as they relate to each other and as they relate to your own body. For example, if you are walking through a room, you must know where you are positioned in relation to the walls, floor, other people, and furniture in that room. If you have visual spatial problems, you may have challenges with maneuvering through space, with ball skills, and with writing and spacing between words and letters.

Recent research reveals that the spatial language that parents use around their children causes the children to better attend to spatial information. For example, toddlers who frequently heard words such as "over, under, beside, tall, round, and short" from their parents scored better on spatial tasks at an older age! Additional research tells us that skills practice can improve spatial abilities. Since spatial processing is related to success in science, technology and math, as parents, we might as well expose our children to spatial language and activities.

In recently discovered the game Equilibrio that I have been using in therapy and I absolutely LOVE it. It is great for working on visual perceptual skills and it also requires dexterity, planning, patience, and persistence! These are all important skills to address, and believe me, the kids always have a blast playing Equilibrio! Check it out, it is available on Amazon.



Dear Readers, If you have found my blog to be helpful, please "like" my Facebook page and follow my blog...I'm trying to get my book published and this would be a great help! Thanks :)