Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sequin Art Projects are Great for Fine Motor Skills

I love these little sequin art kits. They are great for fine motor skills and kids love them! I found some at a local craft store, but they are also available on Amazon (click here).  Kids gets plenty of opportunities to practice a pincer grasp when picking up and peeling the sequins/stickers. Placing and aligning the sequins in the little circles is also great for eye hand coordination and visual perception. In the video below, this student is doing a great job with hers!
video

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Weighted Blankets

This article was originally written for Pediastaff.com

Have you ever felt a sense of relaxation when someone gives you a big hug? Sleeping under a weighted blanket is like getting a big, warm hug all night long. Weighted blankets provide deep pressure/proprioceptive input to an individual’s joints, muscles, and bones. In many cases, the input is calming and leads to improved sleep. Weighted blankets have been used successfully with individuals who have sensory processing disorders.

When selecting a weighted blanket for a client with sensory processing issues, the treating therapist should carefully consider the client’s specific sensory needs. There are no “official” research-based guidelines for selecting the weight and size of a blanket, but based on feedback from occupational therapy practitioners, 10% of the individual’s body weight is often effective when using weighted vests or lap pads. The treating therapist may want to start with 5 to 8% and make adjustments based on the reactions and/or feedback from the individual. If the client is nonverbal, it may be necessary to get feedback from the parents. For safety reasons, it is critical that the user be physically capable of independently removing the blanket. Most importantly, a weighted blanket should never be used for restraint purposes. If the user does not like the sensation of the blanket, use of the blanket should not be forced.

The blanket should fit evenly on top of the mattress so that no weights are hanging over the edge of the bed. This could cause the pressure provided by the blanket to be uneven. The blanket should NEVER cover the individual’s head, and parents should always provide supervision when using a weighted blanket with their child.

The effects of weighted blankets vary. Many parents have reported that the first night of use resulted in a good nights sleep for their child. However, it may take two to three nights to observe improvements in sleep. If no changes are noted at that point, the treating therapist may want to consider increasing the blanket’s weight. As stated previously, there is no evidence-based research on weighted blankets, but anecdotal reports from therapists and clients are generally positive. For someone with a disorganized nervous system, a weighted blanket may be the perfect solution for a good night’s sleep.


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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Cutting on the Lines: Another Tip!

Teaching a child how to cut on the lines when cutting can be challenging. I posted about this in September and provided several suggestions.


Here is another idea to add to you teaching “toolbox” of ideas for cutting instruction.

Materials Needed:
Sturdy Plastic Canvas Needlepoint Sheets (found at craft stores or Amazon),
4 x 6 Index Cards or card stock paper- Much easier than paper to handle when cutting.
Black or bold colored marker
Paper Clips
 Use the marker to draw the cutting line on the index card. Begin with straight lines, then progress to curves and angles. Using the cutting line as a guide cut out two pieces of the plastic needlepoint sheet so that they are approximately ¼ to ½ inch from the cutting line. (See photos below)

Attach the canvas cut outs to the index card.
When holding the scissors, be sure that the child’s thumb is turned upward inside the loop and the middle finger should be inside the other loop. The index finger should be outside the loop serving as a “guide”.

Tell the child to "touch the black line with your scissors" and start cutting. Remind her to continue touching the line with her scissors while cutting. If she veers off of the line far enough, her scissors will bump the plastic, reminding her to get back on the lines. (See video)


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video