Thursday, May 16, 2013
1. Rock Tic Tac Toe - Go outdoors and collect 10 small rocks (or head to Dollar store to buy a bag of river stones for $1). Paint 5 'X's and 5 'O's on the rocks. Using sidewalk chalk draw a tic tac toe board. Play tic tac toe with the rocks - either place the rocks in a square or toss them from far away. Place the rocks and the chalk in a plastic bag to send home. Maybe include other games to play with the rocks - hopscotch, hide and find, etc.
2. Journals - Cut apart a recycled cereal box. Using two large pieces of cardboard cut two rectangles to make the front and back covers. Glue colored paper over the cereal boxes. Cut out 10 pieces of paper the same size. Punch holes in the paper and covers. Tie a string through the holes to assemble the journal. Include several story starter ideas. Need it easier than this? Print out Doodle Diaries, staple and ready to go!
3. Activity Idea Book - At each session ask every child for an activity idea to do over the summer. Perhaps a trip to the library, blowing bubbles, hide and go seek, etc. Once you have documented everyone's answers write or type them all together on a sheet of paper. Add this hand out on Physical Activities for the Summer. Makes copies for each student to add to their summer bag of make and takes.
4. Printables from Your Therapy Source - Print out fine motor, gross motor or visual processing ebooks activities or from the free stuff page all sorts of activities. Put out suitable activities on a table. The child can go through the activities and select some to put in a folder to bring home for summer.
5. Play Dough - Make large batches of home made play dough. Give each child a small container of play dough and activity ideas to do with the play dough. Need activity ideas - check out Creative Clay Activities or Play Clay Mats to print and send home.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Here is another app to add to the list to encourage physical activity in children - Big Cat Race (and its free!). Basically you pick an avatar - lion, leopard or cheetah. You pick a level - easy, medium or hard. Then you pick a race - either number of steps, timed or free run. Then get ready to race. When the iphone says go the child runs holding the phone (the iphone screen goes black while the race is on so be sure to tell the child there is nothing to watch while they run). Then when the race is over you get to see how long it took, how many steps you took and what your speed was. It saves your times based on the profiles you create. You can even play back the race and watch the animals.
This was a fun app that got a 7 and 8 year old running all over outdoors to see if they could beat the big cats. We found that if you really want to win the race try the 10 step race. They seemed to win that race consistently. Occasionally they did get frustrated because they ran as hard as they could on the two minute race but did not even come close to winning when they watched it playback.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
- improvements were found in hip, knee and ankle muscles strength
- increase in GMFM-88 score
- decrease in time for TUG test performance.
Monday, May 13, 2013
- significant increases were found in parental perceptions of positive social skills for younger children after receiving a wheelchair
- slightly older children showed improvements in social skills before the wheelchair was received
- no changes were found in negative social skills
- parental ratings also indicated a significantly greater difficulty remaining engaged in tasks after receiving a wheelchair
- a significant increase was noted in the number of mobility activities during indoor free play but no difference was seen in interaction with toys or objects
- improvement in the qualitative level of outdoor interactive free play was reported but there was no change in verbal interactions.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Saturday, May 11, 2013
The participants in the study were 20 children with autism and 26 children without autism ranging in age from 8-17 years old. The children were asked which way bars were heading (right or left) on a video screen. The bars became increasingly smaller when a child answered correctly. When the the images were low contrast both groups performed similarly. When the images were high contrast, the children with autism performed twice as well as their peers.
One of the researchers, Foss-Feig, stated the following:
"This dramatically enhanced ability to perceive motion is a hint that the brains of individuals with autism keep responding more and more as intensity increases. Although this could be considered advantageous, in most circumstances if the neural response doesn't stop at the right level it could lead to sensory overload."This research is particularly interesting to me. Makes me think of many what-ifs which I know we should not do with research but I can not help myself. Sensory integration treatment sessions involve the children receiving sensory input and requiring a motor and behavioral response. When we talk of sensory input though it usually includes some sort of manual therapist/parent intervention (ie - joint compressions), physical motion (ie proprioceptive input) or receptive input (ie white noise). Visual input is included at times as well such as natural lighting. But if the overall trigger of sensory overload from movement is visual input are we occasionally missing a key component?
What ways can we include this current research into practice? Does a child experience hypersensitivity to motion only in more visual stimulating environments of high contrast? Are children with gravitational insecurity less fearful in environments with less visual stimulation?
Take using a swing for example, should we give a child ample time to explore movement by just pushing the swing and not actually getting on the swing? Maybe another child or adult can push the swing at a certain speed with the child watching. Have the child then get on the swing with it going at the same speed. Then get off the swing and have the child observe again with a faster speed and then get back on the swing to experience this faster speed. By repeating this task, will it help the child to process motion perception by calling in different senses (vestibular) to help prevent sensory overload? What if the swing is a bright color against a visual stimulating environment? Obviously, there are certain children that this approach is taken due to fear or anxiety to use the swing. But do you think about this with other children where it is not so apparent?
Obviously the visual system and the vestibular system are significantly intertwined but does the visual system play a larger role in sensory overload? What would the results of this study be if the children had a third intervention where the images were low contrast and the children were moving at the same time? How about moving and high contrast images? Something to ponder further...
Reference: University of Rochester. Enhanced Motion Detection in Autism May Point to Underlying Cause of the Disorder. Retrieved from the web on 5/11/2013 at http://www.rochester.edu/news/show.php?id=6332.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
As the end of the year approaches, I occasional get emails from parents if we offer gift certificates for therapists. Unfortunately, we do not but it brings me to today's topic - end of year gifts. Therapists never expect a gift from any student or parent. But if you are looking for ideas here are a few suggestions that don't cost a dime:
1. Make a handmade gift. Something simple would be most appreciated, perhaps it is a painted hand print, a poem or a picture. A therapist, especially an OT, would be so proud to get a hand made gift from a student. And, I mean truly hand made from start to finish by the student. You would truly give that therapist a gift a pride and satisfaction in that student's accomplishments.
2. Leftover Supplies from your house. Sounds silly I know but maybe you have some loose stickers, highlighters, colored tape or other fun items that could be used during a therapy session. Therapists usually pay for all of that stuff out of their own pocket.
3. Write a thank you note. I once received a handwritten thank you note from a parent a few months after I was done working with their child. The mother was very grateful for the physical therapy I provided her son and the progress that he made. I have NEVER forgotten that note. It really meant so much to me.