Friday, May 14, 2010

Crazy times

Ahhhh! IEP season. But, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

So a quick post.

Another amazing resource online. It's from Super Duper. You do have to sign up, but it's quick and worth it.  This page has over 200 print outs (often in English and Spanish versions) full of information ranging from testing tips for students with learning disabilities to teaching students to self-manage their behaviors. 

This page has a quick reference for Fine Motor Milestones.  So Handy. 

If you have 5 minutes, you should really check out this site. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sensory diets not breaks

Something I have struggled with this year is implementing sensory breaks.  When I am not having success with these breaks in the classroom I begin to it me? Is it my fault that these sensory breaks are not helping? Or, is it stuff going on at home? Maybe it's behavioral? hmmmm.

So...what to do?

Well as per usual, I lean on the internet. I can't help it, it is so easy and quick. And, I found a resource that got the gears in my head turning. has a ton helpful information including this page, which did shine a little light on my struggle.

I am thinking that if I am going to work on sensory breaks in the school then I am going to be sure to explain to the guardians that sensory breaks do not start and end in the classroom.  In order for sensory breaks to be effective in the school then the breaks must be part of an overall sensory diet, which includes the home.

You may be thinking, "Of course you would do that!" And, I think, "Of course I should be doing that." I guess I have just become comfortable enough with all of the other duties of my job, that now I am looking at how I can be better. Although I have always known I need parent's cooperation it seems early on all I could manage was the absolute necessities of each day.  If a student doesn't come to school "sensorially" ready, then they are not coming with all the tools they need to be successful.

It is part of my job to explain the importance of the carry-over. I am sure it can be difficult to fully gain the guardian's commitment to and cooperation with the home carry-over, but it can't hurt to try.

Sensorysmarts is a great free resource that has a checklist to help determine the child's specific sensory needs. Then, towards the bottom of the page, it describes a Sample Sensory Diet which helps me figure out how I might explain how the sensory diet can be carried over at home. Definitely good food for thought.

Check out the other helpful pages on this website. Let me know if you have any other helpful tips on how to be successful with sensory diets.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Make-a-deal Monday

I am not sure if it has to do with me being a new therapist or if it is the nature of the job, but I find myself looking for new toys for treatment pretty often. I generally by things on sale as I love a good deal. I often will head to Target and look for sale signs or search for coupons on the internet, but the blog TotBargains does a lot of the searching for you. Although this website is not always necessarily posting about things that can be used for treatment, if you check back often I am sure you will find a gem to add to your collection. Currently I really like this find from Amazon. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Trip to Staples - good finds.

After learning about the china marker on Tuesday (see March 23rd post) , I decided I needed to make a quick trip to Staples to pick some up. And, of course there were other things I picked up as well. 

On the far left, I purchased Twist and Write Pencils - 4 for 4 bucks. These might be great for a student with a weak or awkward grasp. 

Next to that are circular multi-use labels. 1,000 of these blank stickers will run you about 7 dollars and can will give you endless treatment ideas. I use them to write the letters of student's names or words and have them peel and match them on whatever we are working on. This is great for fine motor manipulation, visual motor and visual perceptual skills. There are also different sizes available depending on the student's ability level. 

The third item I bought is paper reinforcements. I was thinking ahead to the week when I come back after Spring Break. I have seen a cute activity in the past where the student's dip their hand in black paint placing it on the paper upside down. The fingers are the feet and the thumb is the head. After it dries (definitely a two step activity), the students place the paper reinforcements on it as the "wool"to create a lamb.  It is a great spring theme activity. There are a ton of other lamb activity ideas here

And finally, the china markers, of course. These ere a little pricey for my budget but you get 12 pencils for less than a dollar each.  You might be able to find them somewhere else sold in smaller numbers. 

I am heading camping for Spring Break!! Be back later next week. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Assistive Tech Tuesday - Weighted pencil

I have a student who often makes light wavy strokes when writing letters. And, I thought I would try a weighted pencil. So, I made a quick trip to the hardware store and purchased a few nuts, that cost less than 10 cents each! I can't remember what size I got but just bring the pencil in with you and that'll solve that.

Once home, I wasn't really sure how to rig the pencil. I tied a rubberband around the ends of the nuts to keep them on and that seemed to do the trick.

But, once I tried it, there was no improvement. I think I'll play with the weight and the location on the pencil a bit to see if I have any luck. I looked for some research to support and guide my attempt and I was unsuccessful. Please share any EBP tips you have on this one.

When I googled weighted pencils to include some interesting links, I found this great webpage that had my idea along with other do-it-yourself projects.

And check out this super helpful pdf file compiled by an OT. It discusses many other weighted pencil options. I'm thinking about trying the China Marker.

Don't stop there because this tasty little treat is full of ideas and describes her "Handwriting Club" in great detail. So useful!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Happy Almost St. Patrick’s Day!

Not long ago it seems I was whining about the lack of holidays for treatment inspiration. And, it seems time has crazily flown by and here we are at St. Patty’s day. I have been milking this holiday for weeks now and never got around to taking pictures of my other projects, so here is my latest one.

Leprechaun Hat - for lack of a more creative name

I precut the hat, buckle and four leaf clover. Of course, if your student is capable and there’s enough time, they may like to do it themselves.

My students cut along a ¼ inch thick line on a page that they had traced and colored a shamrock.  The piece that was cut from this page was used for the white strip on the hat. Then the students decorated the hats with small sequins that required a  precise pincer grasp to manipulate.

Here are some other great St Patrick’s day inspired ideas. And check here. 

I like this idea for a tactile component to your treatment. 
 Jello coins in a pot of gold! 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Wonderful Website - Tasks galore.

I was looking through some of the literature I have saved in the past few years. And, although I didn't find exactly what I was looking for, I did stumble upon this wonderful resource. Tasks Galore is a publishing company that appears to have some great OT related books - but if you don't have the money for that right now, check the Task of the month, a free and brilliant idea. It does seem that they change these and the ideas are not archived, so check back monthly to keep up.

February 2010's idea would be great for a student with self-help dressing needs.  Picture the lunch box as a suitcase and have clothes that pack inside with buttons, zippers, etc.

I'm thinking that you could tie this into a themed treatment session and "go on a trip" on a scooterboard, avoiding obstacles (cones, pillows, chairs) in the road along the way, or picking up friends (stuffed animals).

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Built-up handle - so easy!

Could it be any easier ?

Stop by Home Depot (or another hardware store, perhaps?) and pick up some pipe insulation. It comes in different thickness options - but is under 2 dollars for a 6 foot long piece! What a steal. You can wrap this around any handle that would help your student (or patient) access their environment. This could help with a student who has difficulty grasping smaller objects like the handle of a spoon, when self self-feeding.  It already comes with a cut down the middle, so simply wrap around object of interest or need. You may need to wrap it with tape if a student finds it entertaining to remove.

A solution so cheap you don't even need to find funding! Hooray!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Olympic Treatment Ideas

After the holidays rushed by, and gave me continuous treatment ideas, I found myself a little worried that St Patrick’s Day was too far away. But, alas, we have the Olympics!

So this week I have been making the Olympic symbols – you know the multicolor rings? This is an idea that can be done individually or in groups – so very versatile. Basically this activity can be tweaked towards your child’s goals or the purpose.

Activity: Olympic Rings

How: Use whatever materials you have on hand to make the Olympic rings. I have had my students cutting out the rings from construction paper, snipping strips of paper to decorate the rings, or tearing paper to color the rings.  Painting or coloring can be done. Or even, using paper plates to cut and decorate.  Also, if color-coding is a goal, precut the paper pieces, mix them in a bowl together and have the student match the pieces to the rings.
Also, I recently made a trip to Lakeshore Learning and purchased Safe and Soft Ring Toss, which kind of goes with my Olympic theme this week. So, I am using this as part of my sensorimotor groups. 

I found some other great Olympic themed treatment ideas here. And here


Friday, February 19, 2010

Well, here goes nothing....

Sitting here on a cloudy Friday afternoon, a thought came to me. Why not start a blog to keep track of my thoughts that I hurriedly scribble down in my planner, so not to forget and later cannot seem to read. As a first year practitioner, I find that I am constantly learning and would like to keep track of all of these (sometimes hard learned) lessons. I am hoping to share (and trade!) ideas about great treatment activities, cheap or free assistive technology, and other hopefully informational ramblings. My goal is for this blog to be a useful resource eventually, whenever that happens.

Stay tuned....but be patient, I've never done this before.