Sunday, January 31, 2016

Tablet Use Results in Less Muscle Activity, Repetitive Movements and Poor Posture than Toy Play

Young Children At Risk For Skeletal Problems Due to Tablet UseA small study examined five children (ages 3-5 years old) participating in three conditions (15 minutes each) in randomized order:
1) playing with traditional age appropriate toys to simulate free play environment (e.g. drawing/crafts, trains, toy cars).
2) playing with iPad2 with a range of age appropriate apps.
3) viewing television with a range of age appropriate programs.
During the different conditions mentioned above three variables were measured: mean and variation in dominant arm hand movement using an ActiGraph GT3X+, wrist, thorax and head posture  with Vicon motion analysis and upper trapezius muscle activity with an EMG system.
The results indicated the following:
  1.  the most hand movement occurred during traditional play followed by tablet use with television viewing being the least
  2. greatest mean and variation in upper trapezius muscle activity during playing with traditional toys followed by tablet play and than television viewing.
  3. mean neck flexion during tablet play was greater than the other conditions.
  4. the thorax was also more flexed during tablet play than when playing with toys or watching television.
In summary, tablet computer use by young children results in less movement, muscle activity, repetitive wrist movement and poor spinal posture than toy play.  All of these issues may put children at risk of musculoskeletal symptom development.
Remember to offer children ample time for typical play time to avoid overuse issues from excessive tablet use.  Need ideas?  Check out Play Move Develop.
Play Move Develop from
Play Move Develop includes 100 reproducible games and activity ideas to encourage motor skill development and learning in children. Great resource for fun, home exercise program activities. FIND OUT MORE.
Reference:  Straker, L et al. Movement, posture and muscle activity in young children using tablet computers. Retrieved from the web on 1/31/16 at

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Colored Caps - Fine Motor and Visual Spatial Activity

Colored capsI happen to love colored dots and index cards so this activity is a win-win for me!  Plus it is super simple to set up, lightweight and small to toss into the therapy bag and can be modified in so many different ways.  
So all you need to do is start off with some blank index cards and draw a grid.  You can do a 2×2 grid to keep it simple or make the grid larger to make it more challenging.  
Take some recycled water bottle caps and place some colored stickers on the inside to make the colored caps.  Now put some stickers on one side on the grid.  
Give an index card to the child and he/she needs to match the colored cap on the other side of the grid.  You can turn the index card so sometimes the student is matching the dots from side to side and sometimes from top to bottom.
To modify this activity you could have the child use dot markers to match the colored sticker dots, peel and stick more colored dot stickers or draw colored circles.
You could change it up entirely with other more complex shapes or stickers.  If you want to use larger stickers use full size paper and recycled milk jug tops.  
Dot Phonics Mazes
Dot Phonics Mazes – Follow the dot path from the letter to the correct word that starts with that letter. There are 26 mazes each on half a page. There are also 8 different examples of how to differentiate the lesson such as using stickers, using dot markers coloring in the larger versus the smaller circles, pushing golf tees through the circles and more. This is a great activity for 
push in therapy ideas or for centers.  FIND OUT MORE.

5 Things to Do BEFORE You Write an IEP Goal

It is that time of year again when annual reviews will slowly start to begin.  Here are 5 things to do before you write an IEP goal:

1.  Check present levels of performance - Perform a new evaluation if it is necessary.  Determine the student's strengths and weaknesses.  When you formulate a goal try to build on strengths to offset weaknesses.

2.  Review data and notes.  Check the student's progress towards the current IEP goals.  Does it seem likely that the goals will be reached by the end of the year?  Are you able to think about the next step for independence in a certain domain?

3.  Analyze deficits.  What is the impact of those deficits on academic success or accessing the educational environment?  If the deficits do not hinder educational success you do not need an IEP goal for them.

4.  Discuss with the multi - disciplinary team including parents on how your services can help the student.

5.  Discuss goals with student.  Make sure the student is on board - internal motivation is a key to success.

IEP Goals Related to the Common Core for OT/PT
Grades K-2 - this download is a large goal bank for school based occupational and physical therapy that is aligned with the English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics common core standards for grades K-2.  It is meant to provide guidance and suggestions on relating occupational and physical therapy goals to the common core curriculum in order to establish educationally relevant goals for a student's individualized education program (IEP).  FIND OUT MORE.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Visual Discrimination with Physical Activity

Visual Discrimination Freebies from www.YourTherapySource.comHere is a unique way to practice visual discrimination skills while adding in some physical activity.  You can download the freebies from Your Therapy Source.

Snowstorm Fine Motor and Oral Motor Activity

Snowman Snowstorm Fine Motor and oral Motor Activity from Your Therapy SourceHere is a fun fine motor and oral motor craft to create.  You can download the snowman templates from Your Therapy Source.
Step 1:  Choose a snowman picture to print – large plastic bag color picture, small plastic bag color picture, large black and white coloring page, small black and white coloring page.  Color in the picture if you choose the black and white pages.
Step 2:  Cut out the snowman picture.
Step 3:  Put the picture inside the correct size plastic bag.
Step 4:  Using the fingertips, break apart some styrofoam (it must be styrofoam – tissue paper and confetti is too heavy).  Put the styrofoam in the plastic bag.
Step 5:  Put a straw into the plastic bag.  Close the seal at the top of the plastic bag all the way across leaving the straw sticking out of the bag.
Step 6:  Blow air into the straw causing the styrofoam to look like a snowstorm.
Watch the snowstorm in action below.
Need more snowman activities?  Check out this previous blogpost on 5 FREE SNOWMAN PRINTABLES.
winter step by step
Winter Step By Step Projects: This is an electronic book with 10 step by step shape winter themed projects.  Each shape project includes simple step by step directions, color shape templates and black and white shape templates.   This is a super activity to encourage fine motor, visual motor, visual perceptual and sequencing skills.  Also, included is several suggestions for modifying the projects.  The 10 projects are penguin, polar bear, reindeer, winter scene, winter clothes, snowman, snowman family, ice skates, mittens and snow globe.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

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