Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Color Cut Glue for December – Scissor Skills Practice

Color Cut Glue DecemberColor Cut Glue for December – Scissor Skills Practice

Everyone seems to LOVE these simple, black and white scissor projects.  They are one of the most downloaded freebies on the website right now.  Here is the color cut glue for December.  It includes three black and white activity pages to practice coloring, cutting out simple shapes, planning out where to glue the pieces (the trickiest part) and then glue the shapes together to create the December themed pictures: ornament, tree, and holiday bell.  Just print and it is all set to go.

This activity encourages:

  • scissor skills practice
  • eye-hand coordination
  • bilateral coordination
  • motor planning
  • sequencing

Remember to get your free copy sign up for our email newsletter at the bottom of the post.

If you need more activities that require cutting, pasting and sequencing, check out Cut, Sequence, Paste and Draw Holiday edition.  If you need fine motor, gross motor, AND visual motor activities, check out this December Packet.

If you need more specific information on the development of scissor skills, check out The Scissor Skills Book. This digital download is a huge resource for anyone who works on scissor skills with children. Written by the Functional Skills for Kids (FSFK) team of 10 pediatric physical and occupational therapists with years of experience in the field, The Scissor Skills Book is the ultimate resource for tips, strategies, suggestions, and information to support scissor skill development in children.

Color Cut Glue December

Some clipart by Ksenya Savva/

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Less Affected Hand in Unilateral Cerebral Palsy

Less Affected Hand in Unilateral Cerebral PalsyLess Affected Hand in Unilateral Cerebral Palsy

When working with children who have hemiplegia, do you address the less affected hand in unilateral cerebral palsy?  Or do you assume that the less affected hand is within normal limits for typical child development?  Sometimes, the difference between the hands, gives the impression that the less affected hand is functional and age appropriate but in reality, there may be decreased function in both hands.

Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair published research to compare hand function in 47 children, by timed motor performance on the Jebsen-Taylor Test of Hand Function (JTTHF) and grip strength of children with unilateral cerebral palsy to children with typical development.  Each participant was evaluated for baseline hand skills and single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation testing to assess corticospinal tract and motor threshold.

The results indicated the following:

  • the mean difference of the less-affected hand of children with unilateral cerebral palsy to the dominant hand of children of typical development the JTTHF was 21.4 seconds.
  • the mean difference in grip strength was −30.8 N
  • resting motor thresholds between groups were not significant.
  • age was significantly associated with resting motor threshold.

Regarding the single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation testing:

  • children with unilateral cerebral palsy ipsilateral pattern of motor representation demonstrated greater mean differences between hands than children with contralateral pattern of motor representation.

The typical pattern is a contralateral motor pattern where the motor-evoked potential response is in the more-affected hand following stimulation of the contralateral, lesioned hemisphere.  An ipsilateral motor pattern describes an absent motor evoked potential response in the more-affected hand following stimulation of the lesioned hemisphere and a present motor-evoked response in the more-affected hand following stimulation of the nonlesioned hemisphere.

Overall, deficits in speed and strength of the less-affected hand in children with unilateral cerebral palsy were observed when compared to the dominant hand of typically developing peers.

The researchers concluded that the less-affected hand in children with unilateral cerebral palsy underperformed the dominant hand of children with typical development. The less affected hand should be assessed and intervene if necessary during rehabilitation.  Future research should focus on bilateral hand function.

Reference: Rich, T. L., Menk, J. S., Rudser, K. D., Feyma, T., & Gillick, B. T. (2017). Less-Affected Hand Function in Children With Hemiparetic Unilateral Cerebral Palsy: A Comparison Study With Typically Developing Peers. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, 1545968317739997.

Therapeutic Play Activities for Children DownloadTherapeutic Play Activities for Children– Do you work with young children with cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorders, developmental disabilities or delays? Are you in search of new, creative ideas for your therapy sessions? Do you need home exercise program sheets to encourage carryover of therapeutic activities? Do you need simple ideas that use materials that you have around your house, therapy room or classroom already? Do you work with children who receive constraint or bimanual therapy? Therapeutic Play Activities for Children includes 100 play activity sheets with a photo of the activity, purpose of each activity and materials list. The 12 tip sheets include topics such as modifications, peer interaction, guided play, prompts and several specifically for children with cerebral palsy. FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION.

Less Affected Hand in Unilateral Cerebral Palsy


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Monday, November 20, 2017

Fine Motor Skills, Visual Function, and Reading in Children

Fine Motor Skills, Visual Function, and Reading in ChildrenFine Motor Skills, Visual Function, and Reading in Children

Human Movement Science recently published research examining the association between fine motor skills, visual function, and reading in children. The participants included 19 children who were reading below expected grade and age level.  In order to test whether the children identified with reading difficulties perform worse only on fine motor tasks that rely on binocular input, the researchers used two experimental tasks: bead-threading and peg-board.   Each participant completed tests for stereoacuity, fusional vergence, amplitude of accommodation, and accommodative facility.

The results indicated:

  • children with reading difficulties performed significantly worse on the bead-threading task.
  • performance on the peg-board task was similar in both groups.
  • accommodative facility was the only measure of binocular function significantly associated with motor performance.

The researchers concluded that normal binocular vision may provide an important sensory input for the development of fine motor skills and reading.  Further research was recommended with a larger sample size.

Read more on the link between visual-motor integration and reading.

Reference: Niechwiej-Szwedo, E., Alramis, F., & Christian, L. W. (2017). Association between fine motor skills and binocular visual function in children with reading difficulties. Human movement science56(Pt B), 1.

Need fine motor skill activities?  Check out all of our resources here.  Visual perceptual resources?  Find out more here.

Fine Motor Skills, Visual Function, and Reading in Children


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Saturday, November 18, 2017

How to Write a Social Story with Visual Supports

How to Write a Social Story with Visual SupportsHow to Write a Social Story with Visual Supports

Do you know a child that is struggling with different situations?  Perhaps it is learning a new routine, participating in a conversation or playing with peers.  Whatever the situation, a social story may be helpful to inform children of what they can expect and what is expected of them.  Writing a social story can be a daunting task.  Here are some tips on how to write a social story with visual supports.

Use Different Types of Sentences

Carol Gray developed the concept of social stories.  She recommends that social stories include descriptive sentences and directive sentences.  You should write two descriptive sentences for every directive sentence that is included.  Sentences that describe can be factual sentences, perspective sentences, cooperative sentences and affirmative sentences.  Here are some examples:

  • Descriptive/Factual Sentence:  I ride a bus to school.
  • Perspective Sentence:  Sometimes, I get upset when I ride the bus.
  • Cooperative Sentence:  When I get upset, my friends can give me some space.
  • Affirmative Sentence:  Staying calm on the bus is good.

Sentences that direct can be can be directive or control sentences.  Here are some examples:

  • Directive Sentence (guide the child):  I may ask the bus aide for help.
  • Control Sentence (written by the child):  If I get upset, I can listen to my music.

Prepare the Story

Pick the topic and prepare the story.  Begin to write the text remembering to include 2 descriptive sentences for every 1 directive sentence.  If possible, involve the children in the creation of the social story.  This allows for ownership of the story and in turn, may increase compliance.  Guide the children with open-ended questions if necessary.

Add Pictures

Determine what pictures you will add to the story.  Place the picture above the text.  Make sure the pictures are clear and represent the meaning of the story.  Use photographs of the children, classroom or home or visual support pictures if you are unable to take photos.

Create the Book

If the book will be used to read to a large group, create a larger book.  If the book will be in the class library, laminate it for durability.  If the book is to be used with many children, make multiple copies so each child has his/her own.

Reading the Story

Be sure to set aside time to read the story to the children.  The children should be a “ready to learn” state and attended to the topic.  Read the book several times and have the children read it as well if possible.  Discuss personal experiences regarding the story to make connections to real-world situations.

After the Story

Once you have read the story several times, try role-playing to deepen the child’s understanding of the behavioral expectations. Provide on-going positive feedback when the child exhibits the expected outcome or behavior following the use of the social story.   Keep the social stories easily accessible so that children can re-read as necessary to review the expectations.

Reference: More, C. M. (2012). Social Stories™ and young children: Strategies for teachers. Intervention in School and Clinic47(3), 167-174.

If you are looking for resources to help jump start social story writing check out:

Cut and Paste Sensory DietVisual Supports: Schedules, Self-Regulation, & Classroom InclusionGoing to Doctor Visual Schedule

How to Write a Social Story with Visual Supports

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Effects of Yoga on Autism Symptoms

Effects of Yoga on Autism SymptomsEffects of Yoga on Autism Symptoms

Complimentary Therapies in Clinical Practice published research on the effectiveness of yoga training program on the severity of autism.  The study consisted of 29 children (ages 7-15 years) with high functioning autism. The participants were randomly assigned to the yoga treatment group (received 24 sessions of yoga training over 8 weeks) or the control group.  Parents were not aware whether their child was in the yoga treatment or control group.  Parents or caregivers completed the autism treatment evaluation checklist (ATEC) at the beginning and the end of the intervention.  Read more about the ATEC here.  View the Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist here.

The results indicated that:

  • yoga poses had a significant effect on the following subscores of ATEC: sociability, cognitive/awareness, and health/physical behavior.

  • there was no significant effect of yoga poses on the speech/language/communication subscores of the ATEC.

The researchers concluded that a yoga training program may help to reduce the severity of symptoms in children with autism.

Reference:  Sotoodeh, M. S., Arabameri, E., Panahibakhsh, M., Kheiroddin, F., Mirdoozandeh, H., & Ghanizadeh, A. (2017). Effectiveness of yoga training program on the severity of autism. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice28, 47-53.

Check out some of our amazing yoga resources for kids!

Yoga CardsYoga Moves Cover YTSYoga for Every SeasonScooter & Me Bundle – 9 Videos & 16 Self-Regulation Flash Cards

Blog post photo by YURALAITS ALBERT/

Effects of Yoga on Autism Symptoms



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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Motor Overflow in Preschool Children

Motor Overflow in Preschool Children

Motor Overflow in Preschool Children

When observing preschoolers complete complex motor tasks, you may observe an increase in motor activation displayed as extraneous movements in body parts not actively involved in the current task.  These extraneous movements are sometimes called motor overflow, mirror movements or associated movements.  Perceptual and Motor Skills published research examining what is associated with motor overflow in preschool children.  The study participants included 476 preschool children (average age: 3.88 years).  Three assessments were completed on each preschooler.  Contralateral associated movements (motor overflow)were measured with the Zurich Neuromotor Assessment (i.e. pegboard, alternating finger/hand movements and timed finger tasks).  Inhibitory motor control was measured with the statue motor persistence subtest of the Neuropsychological Assessment for Children – children have to stand still with eyes closed with occasional distractions.  Cognitive functioning was assessed with the Intelligence and Development Scales–Preschool.

The results indicated the following:

  • a significant relationship between contralateral associated movements and motor persistence, selective attention, and visual perception which are all related to overall executive functioning.
  • the intensity of the contralateral associated movements correlated with inhibitory control problems in preschoolers.
  • no significant relationship between contralateral associated movements intensity and visuospatial working memory and figural reasoning.

The researchers concluded that this association of contralateral associated movements and lack of inhibitory control in younger, healthy, typically developing children requires further longitudinal studies and studies to identify motor overflow with specific neurodevelopmental disorders for early detection.

Reference:  Kakebeeke, T. H., Messerli-Bürgy, N., Meyer, A. H., Zysset, A. E., Stülb, K., Leeger-Aschmann, C. S., … & Munsch, S. (2017). Contralateral Associated Movements Correlate with Poorer Inhibitory Control, Attention and Visual Perception in Preschool Children. Perceptual and motor skills124(5), 885-899.

Read the Ultimate Guide to Self-Regulation to learn more about inhibitory control in children.

Yoga has been shown to have a significant effect on self-regulation in preschool children.  Read more here.

Yoga Moves: Incorporating yoga into your therapy routine or your classroom movement breaks has the benefits of increasing focus, concentration, working memory, body awareness, executive function and self-regulation.

These yoga cards can be hung on the wall of a therapy room, sensory room, or classroom and they can be used as cards you can pull out for a yoga breaks.  The cards include visual pictures and do not include written descriptions to complete the poses.  FIND OUT MORE.

Motor Overflow in Preschool Children

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