Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pulling Snake out of Baby wipe Container



I sewed some small socks together and didn't realize until I got to work that they look like snakes. I just need to add a face for next time. Each sock has 1/2 a plastic bag inside to make it a bit thicker.

I attached some of the rubber bands that are attached to produce- the ones with little labels and the bar code on them. First I thought I would attach stickers so that the kids could tell me what they were, but realizing I didn't have any stickers, I added the round dots used for yard sale labeling and had the kids count the number of dots. Only one almost 3 year old was able to do that and my 4 1/2 year old was not interested in counting. I will buy some stickers for them and have them count how many stickers we find.

In the video you can see a client pushing the snake back into the opening. She demonstrates very good motor planning skills to push the sock near the container's opening. Another client found it tricky to get the snake back inside because she was pushing the snake distally instead of near the opening. This is a great way to strengthen fingers and teach these concepts.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Peabody Essex Museum made by students out of Plastic Bottles

Sharing pictures from the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. they are made by their art students out of plastic bottles. the first picture is the one picture and the rest are details of sections. Hope that you enjoy it as much as I did !





Thursday, May 9, 2013

Book Review: No More Meltdowns by Jed Baker, Ph.D.


I recently had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Jed Baker speak at a Future Horizons conference- where he shared many of the same concrete and logical strategies he describes in his book- No More Meltdowns. I recommend attending one of his presentations to fully appreciate his wisdom, experience and humor.

Carol Stock Kranowitz, author of The Out- of- Sync Child wrote the foreword to this book because as an educator she recognizes the critical role of sensory-based strategies as part of the four-step program to prevent incessant meltdowns. As an occupational therapist, I too appreciate how Dr. Baker explores the child’s sensory challenges when evaluating behavioral triggers and implementing interventions. For example, a child ran away from a  school staircase because the reverberation was aversive to his auditory sensory system. An effective intervention such as using the staircase at a quieter time could only be implemented after identifying this sensory-based trigger.      

Dr. Baker’s book begins with a detailed explanation as to what exactly a “meltdown” is- an escalating negative emotional reaction. Parents of children who respond to the common methods of consistent rules and consequences- don’t need to read this book!  However, when rewards and punishment no longer work and actually escalate the power struggle -it is time to look at Dr. Baker’s 4-step program. This involves:

·        Accepting and appreciating your child

·        De-escalating a meltdown

·        Understanding why a meltdown keeps occurring

·        Creating plans to prevent meltdowns

Readers learn how factors-such as an overactive emotional center, sensory processing disorder or difficulties with abstract thinking interfere with the development of self-control. Dr. Baker provides many strategies but here are a few of my favorites:

1) use the 80/20 % rule-this means that since kiddos who have learning and behavioral challenges have a history of failure, spend 80% of the time with activities, including school work that we know will be successful and 20% of the time introducing new material.

2) children who are in the middle of a "melt down" cannot respond to logic.
Since their out of control behavior is escalating  - they are best managed by.....
*distraction,
*sensory interventions such as jumping into a crash pad,
*enhancing communication (i.e. pictures, Ipad)
*and handling our own feelings during the crisis.

3) strive to prevent meltdowns in the first place by recognizing that:
*fear of failure leads to anger
*one size solutions do not fit all
* punishment works, but we pay a big (negative) price for it, and   

* misbehavior is often unintentional.

Dr. Baker states this simple rule: REWARD EFFORT, NOT OUTCOME!

This is also my Occupational therapy mantra as I strive to create fun, therapeutic activities that meet a child’s sensory needs with just enough cognitive challenge to be interesting, assure success and build self-esteem. Using sensory modalities, visual supports, tweaking the difficulty level, even the time of day tasks are given and providing a reward system may all be included in the OT and psychologist’s bag of tricks. Now readers, especially parents have the positive interdisciplinary tools spelled out for them in No More Meltdowns.     

I recommend that you jump, skip and crawl through a cloth tunnel to get to read this book or get to Dr. Baker’s next presentation. You will be richly rewarded!
 
 No More Meltdowns is available at Future Horizons. Please use code PEDIA for a 15% discount on most books and conferences: http://fhautism.com/?subcats=Y&status=A&pshort=Y&pfull=Y&pname=Y&pkeywords=Y&search_performed=Y&q=no+more+meltdowns&dispatch=products.search
and on Amazon. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Interceptive Perception

I don't usually share personal stories about my family but this one cracks me up.

"Interoception" refers to awareness of what is going on inside the body- like recognizing pain. Kids with sensory processing disorders may have discrimination deficits in many areas including recognizing what is going on inside their body. These are the kids who go to the nurse but don't understand what is wrong and they may be late in toilet training because they are challenged to recognize those sensations.

Anyway.... my young adult son spends a lot of time changing the thermostat and putting clothes on or off because he can't decide if he is hot or cold. Actually, it seems like one minute he is hot and walks around shirtless and the next minute he is wearing 2 sweaters.

Yesterday was a beautiful spring day.....my house is surrounded by shade trees and it was warmer outside than inside my house. I noticed early in the morning that my son had turned up the thermostat, but when I went outside it felt like 80 degrees. So I turned the heat off and opened all the windows. Hurray, I love to air out the house and miraculously I convinced my son to open his windows and enjoy the warmth.

Ten minutes later he was installing his air conditioner!!!
I am not a fan of AC since I live up north and as I said, our house is shaded. I have to choose my battles and my son spent yesterday studying for a final in his AC room.......

I'm sure he'll get an A+

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Unbuttoning Rings




I have made sensory socks before and asked children to pull them apart to work on motor planning skills. I have also made socks that attached to one another by buttoning but recently decided to add a button (made by cutting large plastic circles)  and a button hole so that each one could be buttoned into a  a ring. I connected them together like links so that the children would have to open the buttons to take apart. Each sock has 1/2 a supermarket plastic bag inside to give it some substance but not be too bulky.

The photos show the rings I made buttoned, unbuttoned and on my arm. I realized during therapy that 1) the little girls thought that they were beautiful pieces of jewelry and that they enjoyed the deep pressure of them on their own arms. Opening the buttons was a bit challenging but I love how putting them on and off my arm worked on both motor planning and strengthening and definitely required using their 2 hands together! 
video