Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Butterflies, Bugs and Blocks Mini Puzzles

Butterflies, Bugs and BlocksPrint this Butterfly, Bugs and Blocks freebie to practice fine motor, visual motor, visual closure and visual discrimination skills.  You can download the freebie at Your Therapy Source Inc.
Building Block Patterns and Games from http://yourtherapysource.com/blocks.html
Need more building block ideas?  Check out the freebies and download with Building Block Patterns and Games.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Free App Friday Suggestions for Pediatric Therapists

Here are a few free app suggestions.  These apps are always totally free which is awesome.  I did test these out.
iPhone Screenshot 1
  1.  Gigglebug’s Face Race:  This app is super cute for some oral motor and motor planning fun.  Basically an animated creature makes a face and you copy it.  The app snaps a photo and then compares the creature to you at the end.  Cute and fun.  May be challenging for some kids for sure.  iPhone Screenshot 2
  2. ChatterPix Kids:  This app would be great for some fun after drawing practice.  The child could practice drawing (maybe from Cut, Sequence, Paste and Draw Monsters).  Then snap a photo, draw a line over the mouth, record a message for up to 30 seconds and hit play. Your drawing will come to life with your voice.  Entertaining.iPhone Screenshot 1
  3. Laugh & Learn™ Shapes & Colors Music Show:  This is a basic colorful app.  The shapes appear and the child can move them around the screen with colorful mini shapes that follow.  Bright, simple visual motor task.  Motivating to learn about shapes.  Carry over the activity and create the I Can Draw Shapes Mini Books.
Happy App Friday!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Kinesthetic Deficits in Developmental Coordination Disorder

Research in Developmental Disabilities published research comparing kinesthetic sensitivity in 30 children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) and 30 typically developing (TD) children all between 6 and 11 years old. Each child put their forearms on a passive motion apparatus which extended the elbow joint at constant velocities.  The children had to focus on detecting passive arm motion and press a trigger held in their left hand once they sensed it. The detection time was measured each time.  

The results indicated the following:
1.  DCD group was significantly slower detecting passive motion than TD children.
2.  kinesthetic sensitivity was worse in DCD than TD children for age groups beyond six years of age suggesting that individuals with DCD lag behind their TD counterparts in kinesthetic sensitivity. 
3.  between the ages of 7 and 11 years the difference between groups is quantifiable and significant.
4.  11 year old children with DCD performed similar to 7 year old TD children.

Reference:  Kuan-yi Li et al.  Kinesthetic deficit in children with developmental coordination disorder. Research in Developmental DisabilitiesVolume 38, March 2015, Pages 125–133

Now You See It, Now You Don't includes 20 worksheets to practice kinesthetic skills without visual input.  Some children rely too much on the visual system when completing visual motor activities.  These worksheets encourage a child to use his/her kinesthetic sense (where the body is in space) to complete a visual motor task rather than relying on the visual system.  The ebook includes 10 easier worksheets and 10 harder worksheets. The theme is animals and sports.  

Now You See It, Now You Don't encourages: kinesthetic memory, kinesthetic feedback and visual motor skills.

As with all our products, the activities are reproducible to use over and over again with all the children that you teach.  Download sample page from Now You See It, Now You Don't.

Remember this is an electronic book.  Following payment you will receive a link to download the book.  

To purchase the download for $1.99 with credit card of Now You See It, Now You Don't click on the ADD TO CART button. Following payment you will receive an email with a link to download the book.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

5 Best Answers to a Child's Questions to Encourage Executive Functioning Skills

5 Best Answers to Encourage Executive Functioning SkillsToday's post is by a guest blogger, Paige Hays, OTR.  She is an occupational therapist who provides in-home, pediatric occupational therapy services in the south metro area of the Twin Cities, MN through Paige Hays, Therapy Services, LLC. She is a mother of 2 girls, avid DIYer, and a highly skilled and experienced OT. She specializes in working in pediatrics, with diverse expertise ranging from cognition and sensory issues to working with children with neuromuscular disabilities or complex medical needs.  Today she offers the 5 best answers to a child's questions to encourage executive functioning skills.
Anyone who works with children knows that children ask A LOT of questions.  They ask because they want to learn things.  They ask because they already know things and just want to confirm it.  They ask to make conversation.  They ask to get attention.  And sometime they just ask (and ask, and ask, and then ask again).   The truth is that children are trying to talk to us, trying to engage with us, and trying to learn from us.  It is a teaching moment- don’t miss it!
Many of the children I work with as an occupational therapist struggle with executive functioning skills (such as children on the autism spectrum, children with learning disabilities and attention disorders, and children with developmental delays).  One of the best tools (and habits) I use as a therapist is that I rarely answer children's questions directly.  Instead, I find that giving answers that encourage the child to think and respond are a great way to develop executive functioning skills and higher level thinking, such as:
  • making inferences
  • using logic and reasoning
  • problem solving
  • flexible thinking
  • making predictions
  • critical thinking and skepticism
  • social and conversation skills
5.  What do you think?
Example: Child: Why can't I eat the playdoh? Adult: What do you think?
The quickest and easiest answer.  Often a great way to stop repetitive questioning when the child knows the answer and is just seeking attention or needs to confirm a rule or boundary (remember children learn through repetition, so confirming an answer they already know is an important part of learning to control one’s behavior and develop self-regulation skills).  I also find that for children with oppositional or defiant behavior patterns this is an approach to build shared control and promote compliance.  For children who struggle with social skills, this may be an attempt at engagement and by asking a question in return you can continue to work on the co-regulation skills needed for functional conversation skills.

  1. How can we find out?  Who could we ask?  Where could we find that answer?
Example: Child: Why is the balance beam tippy today?  Adult: I'm not sure, how could we find out? (and how can with fix it?)
When there is actually an answer to be discovered, giving them clues about how they could find out on their own.  This is a great chance to provide a “just right challenge” for their cognitive skills by providing hints and clues (scaffolding) and leading them to discover an answer.  The process of discovery is a great time to work on the steps of problem-solving: initiation of action, making a plan, executing a plan, monitoring and self-correction of work, and task completion.
  1. I don't know, let's make a guess together.
Example: Child: Why is the swing squeaking?  Adult: I don't know, let's look closely and make a guess together?
When there isn't an answer or there is not an age-appropriate answer, it is ok to make a guess together (or a theory or hypothesis for older children).  This is a great time to focus on flexible thinking skills, especially for children who are very literal or think in absolutes (black and white thinking).  The cognitive skill of making a guess can be hard for children, but with a therapist role modeling for them it can stretch them more complex thinking skills (don’t be surprised if a child’s guess is completely wrong, being right or wrong isn’t the point!)

  1. What could happen if you ____?  (Or, how would that make ____ feel?)
Example: Child: Can I wear my tutu in OT?  Adult: What might happen to a tutu while we swing or play with shaving cream today?  How would you feel if your tutu got dirty?
Children often ask "what if" or "can I" questions.  Rather than answer, let the child think about the reasoning behind the answer.  It is a great chance to make predictions about consequences of actions (a key part of developing self-regulation).  This is a great way to build social skills as well, focusing on theory of mind, social thinking, and emotional regulation skills.
  1. Give an outrageous or silly answer and let them correct you.
Example: Child: Can I wash my hands?  Adult: Nope, this week at OT we are only washing our elbows and ears.
My favorite response is to give an answer that makes absolutely no sense.  Children love to correct adults and be "right," and this gives a wonderful chance to have your child try to convince you through logic skills.  This also helps to build a healthy amount of skepticism (and critical thinking skills) that all children need.  This can be hard for children who are very literal or struggle with language skills, but can also present a great opportunity to build social skills, sense of humor, while promoting higher level thinking skills.
Here is more information about executive function by Paige Hays Therapy Services, LLC
Don't forget to check out the Paige Hays Therapy Services Blog and follow on Facebook 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Spring Time Egg Freebie

Spring Time EggsHere is a one page FREE download to print for three different Spring time egg activities.  You can print the page(s) and use to create a matching game, hidden eggs game or scissor practice.
Spring Time Eggs2
Print and make a matching game.
Spring Time Eggs1
Print, cut out the eggs and laminate.  Hide them in play dough or a sensory bin.
Spring Time Eggs3
Cut the egg page into 6 strips.  The child can practice cutting the eggs apart.  
Download your copy from Your Therapy Source.
Sensory Motor Activities for Spring
Sensory Motor Activities for Spring is loaded with  fun, creative electronic book with over 30 ideas for sensory motor activities relating to springtime including printables! FIND OUT MORE AT http://www.yourtherapysource.com/springactivities.html

Monday, March 14, 2016

Visual Perceptual Clothes Pin Games

VIsual Perceptual Clothes Pin Games Sample PagesI am so excited about this new download, Visual Perceptual Clothes Pin Games, that combines visual perceptual skills, hand strengthening and play skills.
Visual Perceptual Clothes pin Dinosaur Game
The first game is the Dinosaur Shadow Game.  It includes four different dinosaurs to pin your clothes pins on if your dinosaur matches the shadow on the board game.
Visual Perceptual Clothes pin Number line Game
The next game is the Number Line Clothes Pin Game.  Move along the board game, using your clothes pin to either add or subtract numbers.
Visual Perceptual Clothes pin sock GameThis is the Clothes Line Sock Game.  Cut apart the cards and see who can get all their clothes pins on the sock clothes line first!
Visual Perceptual Clothes pin spider GameThe last game is the Clothes Pin Spider Game.  Match up numbers, colors or facial expressions to get the 8 legs on the spider.
Visual Perceptual Clothes Pin Games
FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION about the Visual Perceptual Clothes Pin Games download.
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