Monday, August 31, 2015

VMI and Handwriting Progress Research

VMI and Handwriting Progress from www.YourTherapySource.com/blog1The American Journal of Occupational Therapy published pretest-posttest research with 207 kindergarten, first-grade, and second-grade students.   The intervention group participated in the Size Matters Handwriting program for 40 sessions and the control group received standard instruction.  All the groups were evaluated with two handwriting measures and the Beery–Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual–Motor Integration (VMI) were administered at baseline and after the intervention.
The results indicated the following:
  • the intervention group demonstrated significant improvements on the handwriting measures
  • there was no significant difference in change scores on the VMI,
The researchers concluded that the VMI may not detect changes in handwriting related to occupational therapy intervention.
Reference:   Beth Pfeiffer,corresponding author Beverly Moskowitz, Andrew Paoletti, Eugene Brusilovskiy, Sheryl Eckberg Zylstra, and Tammy Murray. Developmental Test of Visual–Motor Integration (VMI): An Effective Outcome Measure for Handwriting Interventions for Kindergarten, First-Grade, and Second-Grade Students?  Am J Occup Ther. 2015 Jul-Aug; 69(4): 6904350010p1–6904350010p7. Published online 2015 Jun 23. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2015.015826
Handwriting Stations from http://www.yourtherapysource.com/hwstation.html
Handwriting Stations include the materials to create a handwriting
station on a tri-fold or in a folder. The station includes proper letter formation for
capital and lower case letters, correct posture, pencil grip, warm up exercises, letter
reversals tips and self check sheet. In addition, there are 27 worksheets for the
alphabet and number practice (Handwriting without Tears® style and Zaner-Bloser®
style). This download is great for classroom use, therapy sessions or to send home
with a student.  Find out more at http://yourtherapysource.com/hwstation.html

Fold, Cut and Create Smile Face Project Freebie

Kirigami for Kids Freebie from http://yourtherapysource.com/kirigamifreebie.htmlHere is a freebie to practice fine motor skills, scissor skills, visual motor skills and following directions – Fold and Cut Smile project.  You can download it on the website at http://yourtherapysource.com/kirigamifreebie.html
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kirigami for kids from http://yourtherapysource.com/kirigami.htmlFind out more about the complete Kirigami for Kids.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

10 FREE Sensory Motor Printables to Grab and Go

Create an emergency bag of tricks for when interruptions occur from www.YourTherapySource.comAs school based therapists we juggle high caseloads, many schools and tight schedules. It can be difficult to find a few minutes to discuss a student’s needs. Interruptions occur at times when you are working with a student such as a phone call from a doctor about a student, a teacher pops into the therapy room to ask you a quick question or an aide needs to borrow a piece of equipment. When those interruptions occur, it would be beneficial have an emergency plan of action with some items in a “bag of tricks”. Prepare a few activities that you can grab super quick to have the student work on while you deal with the interruption.
Here are a few freebies you can print and throw in your bag of tricks for those emergency moments during a therapy session. I tried to pick ideas that address fine motor, gross motor and sensory processing therefore the activities address many goals:
1. Motor Minute Challenge Freebie – fine motor and gross motor activities on a page to complete in under 1-2 minutes http://yourtherapysource.com/motorminutefree.html
2. Visual Discrimination Puzzles – http://yourtherapysource.com/visualdfree.html
3. Superhero Action Training – locomotor skillshttp://yourtherapysource.com/superherofreebie.html
4. All About Staying Calm Glyph http://yourtherapysource.com/glyphsmefreebie.html
5. Creepy Caterpillar and Wiggly Worm: http://yourtherapysource.com/fmspringfree.html
6. Roll, Move and Cover activity: http://yourtherapysource.com/animalactionsazfreebie.html
7. Spinning Exercises http://yourtherapysource.com/freespinningtop.html
8. Football game: http://yourtherapysource.com/freefootball.html
9. Falling Leaves: http://yourtherapysource.com/fallingleaves.html
10. Roll Some Free Brain Breaks: http://yourtherapysource.com/rollsomefunfree.html
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Saturday, August 29, 2015

SMART Goals for School Based Occupational and Physical Therapy

Writing SMART Goals for School Based OT and PT - www.YourTherapySource.comAre you familiar with SMART goals?  SMART is an acronym for guiding someone how to write a goal.  It stands for:
S – SPECIFIC: what, why and how are you going to do it
M – MEASURABLE: evidence that the goal will be achieved ie data collection
A – ATTAINABLE: goal needs to be challenging but reachable
R – RELEVANT: goal should measure outcomes not activities
T – TIME BOUND: deadline that the goal needs to be achieved by
Here is an example of a SMART goal using the Common Core Standards for a kindergarten student (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.K.5).  GOAL: By June 2016, during speaking and listening tasks the student will independently be able to open/close containers that hold ELA supplies 9 out of 10 trials to create drawings or visual displays when presenting knowledge and ideas.
S – Specific: 
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO IT?  student will independently be able to open/close containers that hold ELA supplies
WHY ARE YOU GOING TO DO IT?  so student can create drawings or visual displays when presenting knowledge and ideas.
HOW ARE YOU GOING TO DO IT? independently 9 out of 10 trials by June 2016
M – Measurable:  independently 9 out of 10 trials.  This can be measured using observation skills and data collection when the student is opening and closing materials that hold ELA supplies
A – Attainable:  Make sure the student has the skill set to accomplish the goal.
R – Relevant: According to the Common Core Standards, kindergartens should be able to create drawings or visual displays when presenting knowledge and ideas for english language arts.  In order to create drawings, some materials may be inside containers ie pencil pouch, plastic bins with lids, etc.
T – Time Bound: Student will achieve the goal by June 2016.
Here is another example of a SMART goal using the Common Core Standards for Kindergarten ELA  CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.K.1:  GOAL: By June 2016,  the student will independently exhibit age appropriate body awareness (i.e. maintaining personal space, keeping hands to self, etc.) 90% of the time when actively engaged in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups. 
S – Specific:
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?  student will exhibit age appropriate body awareness (i.e. maintaining personal space, keeping hands to self, etc.)
WHY ARE YOU GOING TO DO IT? so student can participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
HOW ARE YOU GOING TO DO IT?  independently 90% of the time
M – Measurable: through observation and data collection student will independently maintain body awareness 90% of the time
A – Attainable: Make sure the student has the skill set to accomplish the goal.
R – Relevant: According to the Common Core Standards, during speaking and listening tasks, kindergartens should be able to participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
T – Time Bound: Student will achieve the goal by June 2016.
Here is one more example of a SMART goal using the common core standard CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.K.5d Distinguish shades of meaning among verbs describing the same general action (e.g., walk, march, strut, prance) by acting out the meanings. GOAL: By June 2016, the student will be able to move fluidly between different actions (walk, march, strut and prance) with similar meanings with verbal cues  8 of 10 trials for vocabulary acquisition and use.
S – Specific:
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?  student will move fluidly between different actions (walk, march, strut and prance) with similar meanings
WHY ARE YOU GOING TO DO IT? so student can distinguish shades of meaning among verbs describing the same general action
HOW ARE YOU GOING TO DO IT?  with verbal cues 8 out of 10 trials
M – Measurable: through observation and data collection the student will move fluidly between actions with verbal cueing 8 out of 10 trials
A – Attainable: Make sure the student has the skill set to accomplish the goal.
R – Relevant: According to the Common Core Standards, for vocabulary acquisition and use, kindergartens should be able to distinguish shades of meaning among verbs describing the same general action (e.g., walk, march, strut, prance) by acting out the meanings.
T – Time Bound: Student will achieve the goal by June 2016.
Hopefully, this help to explain how to write SMART goals.  Need ideas based on the Common Core Standards?
IEP Goals related to the common core for OT/PT from http://yourtherapysource.com/commoncorek2.html

Friday, August 28, 2015

Back to School Handwriting Activity - Who Are You?

Who Are You in September? from http://yourtherapysource.com/whoareyou.htmlHere is a cute freebie from Who Are You? – a new owl themed handwriting and drawing activity packet.  Use it to track student’s progress throughout the year and create an adorable keepsake while you are at it.  Download the sample page, Who Are You in September? herehttp://yourtherapysource.com/whoareyoufreebie.html and find out more about the complete packet here http://yourtherapysource.com/whoareyou.html.
Who are You? Owl Themed Handwriting Activity from http://yourtherapysource.com/whoareyou.html

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

10 Back to School Tips for School Based Therapists

10 Back to School Tips for School Based Therapists from www.YourTherapySource.comIt is that time of year again – back to school.  Here are 10 tips to help you get started on the right “foot” (for the PTs) or “write path” (for the OTs).  Get it hahahaha!  Ok, I know lame joke but I couldn’t resist.  Here we go:
#1:  Get organized.  Here are a few specific tips to help –
1. Try using one color folder per school. For example, for every student at school XYZ use a red folder. For each student at school ABC use a blue folder.
2. In each student’s file, keep an general information page including goals. There are several free versions of this from TeachersPayTeachers such ashttp://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/IEP-at-a-Glance-1392781
3. Keep a binder for all your daily notes. Using file folder dividers with tabs, write the student’s name on the file folder tab. Try to keep it in alphabetical order to quickly find a student’s name.  Check out the Therapy Planner for 2015-2016 to organize your binder at http://yourtherapysource.com/therapyplanner.html
4. Keep a file folder with your most popular hand outs in your bag. When teachers or parents need extra information on a popular topic you will have it all at your fingertips. Check out all of our hand outs for ideas at http://yourtherapysource.com/handouts.html
5. Keep a pack of sticky notes ready to jot down a note or reminders. At the end of the day transfer any information on the sticky note to the proper location.
6. Schedule a meeting with yourself at the end of the week to stay organized. Create a time slot in your schedule at the end of the day (or at home) to sit down go through all the important papers from the week and re-organize to get ready for the upcoming week. It will be a time saver in the long run.
#2: Set up your therapy space.  This can mean so many different things to different therapists.  Perhaps you are lucky enough to actually have a therapy room.  Design your space with universal design principles to set a good example and help all children that come to the therapy room.  Want to make it look nice?  Check out some of our motivational posters for pediatric OTs and PTs at http://yourtherapysource.com/motivational.html   If your therapy space is a hallway or small closet start setting up your car.  Clean it and organize it so that you have space for all your equipment as your travel.
#3:  Learn about the students’ curriculum.  This may sound like a huge undertaking but at least start out by understanding what is expected of the students on your caseload.  Things have changed so much over the last several years about what is expected of children to learn.  As school based therapists our job is to help students achieve their educational goals.   That job is impossible if we do not fully understand what they need to learn.  If your school is using the common core standards you can get an idea of what is expected for each grade in IEP Goals Related to the Common Core for OT/PT Grades K-2  at http://yourtherapysource.com/commoncorek2.html or IEP Goals Related to the Common Core for OT/PT Grades 3-5 at http://yourtherapysource.com/commoncore35.html
#4:  Check current goals.  Learn about each of your students.   It can be hard to get a clear picture of a student’s skill based on what you read on paper.  If you had the student previously, have any skills changed over the summer?  If a decline is observed, be sure to collect some data to help justify services over the next summer if needed.  If the student has improved, check if goals needs to be adjusted.
#5: Observe your students in the educational environment.  Observe the student in the classroom, on the bus, in the cafeteria, etc.  Can the student physically access all the materials? Are there certain modifications that need to be made to the environment to make it easier for the student?  Sometimes as therapists, we focus on what we can do to help with specific therapeutic interventions to help a student improve his/her skills.  We need to remember the quick fixes that can be done to the environment around the student to help achieve goals.
#6:  Collaborate with teachers, parents, students and other school staff.  Introduce yourself to all of the team members,  Explain how you can offer help in certain areas for students and encourage the team members to contact you if they have any questions.  Don’t forget to collaborate with the most important team member – the student!
#7: Communicate.   Communication is different than collaboration.  Inform students, parents and school staff what you are working on with the student and offer suggestions of how they can help.  Want more suggestions?  Check out this article Let’s Talk – How to Communicate Effectively with the Special Education Team at http://yourtherapysource.com/communicate.html.
#8:  Establish goals for yourself.  Keep it nice and simple and try filling out this worksheet on how you can improve this school year – http://yourtherapysource.com/blog1/2014/06/03/self-improvement/
#9:  Don’t judge.  If you have new students on your caseload, do not judge them solely on what you read on paper especially their motor skills.  Don’t assume that a child can not achieve a certain skill.  Take the time to get to know each student (see tip #5).
#10:  Be prepared.  Children tend to exhibit inappropriate behavior when they become complacent during unstructured times. It is critical to plan out in advance exactly what goals you will be addressing during the session and design an activity keeping those goals as the focus. Always have in mind a few extra activities. Some activities that you may think will take 20 minutes may take 5 minutes leaving you with a chunk of unstructured time.  Make sure that students can complete the tasks you will be using while being challenged.  You can find thousands of activity ideas at http://www.YourTherapySource.com. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Movement, Math and Visual Perceptual Skill Freebie - Roll, Move and Cover

Alphabet Animals - Roll and Cover from http://yourtherapysource.com/animalactionsaz.htmlHere is a fun game, Roll, Move and Cover that incorporates movement, visual perceptual skills, fine motor skills and math skills.  It is a freebie game from Animal Actions A to Z.  Basically, the student rolls two dice, adds up the numbers, finds the number, performs an animal action and then colors in the circle to cover it up.  Another option is to cover up each circle with a small ball of clay.  You can download the free activity here  http://yourtherapysource.com/animalactionsazfreebie.html
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