Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Discriminating Coins and Stringing Donut Shapes



Some of my clients  are unable to discriminate coins from other round objects. So I decided to work on this basic visual discrimination skill by providing a container with a slot to push pennies through. I used the clear plastic container that tennis balls are sold in and put yellow tape around the opening to make it easier to see. The donut shapes cut out of detergent bottles are a bit larger and do not fit inside the slot opening.

I show the individual how to lace the donut shapes onto the cord. I designed these so that one needs to pull quite hard to get them on- so that they work on hand strengthening and receive sensory input at the same time.

If they try to string the penny through the cord, obviously it won't work and if they try to fit the donut shapes through the slot they won't fit. I provide verbal and/or point cues so that they don't get frustrated as they learn to stop and think about what to do so that the activities are successful.







Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Teaching How to Zip

I have been thinking about how to teach zipping better.  Many children and adults learn to pull up the slider when the 2 ends are connected for them. but the motor planning to connect them seems to be quite difficult because they need to sequence some complex steps: 

Zipping is difficult because there are all of these aspects:
1. one hand pulls one  zipper side downward to stabilize it while  the other hand connects the slider.
2) it takes very good coordination to fit the slider onto the zipper
3) Some jackets have 2 sliders, one above the other. I suggest not buying those!
4) Sometimes the tab to pull is very small, but we can always attach an object to make it larger, or tape to create color contrast.
5) Zipping takes good bilateral coordination as one hand pulls downward while the other pulls the zipper upward to close.
6) One needs to have good strength and coordination between the "tripod fingers" index, middle and thumb in order to squeeze that tab while pulling upward.


I like adapting teaching materials so that the most difficult aspect can be repeated several times. Connecting the slider to the zipper is a splinter skill, but a necessary one in order to zip independently.
Since people normally zip once when needed and are usually eager to go out rather than struggle, I thought that maybe the following activity would remove the stress and enable practice.

I bought the zipper repair case shown above at a craft's store. It cost $10.99 and came with 8 sliders. There is the option of  collecting old clothes and removing the sliders. One also has the option of throwing out a perfectly good but very stained windbreaker as shown in the photo. I cut off the sleeves so that any person of any size can fit in it. The person has the option of zipping it closed after practice time.  

The activity can be performed by teaching how to zip the sliders up or removing them to put into the pocket-thereby practicing opening and closing the zipper on the pocket.  The person you are teaching may learn how to attach the sliders and still have difficulty zipping his or her jacket, but its a good start in developing the motor planning needed to zip one's own clothing. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Deflated Ball is Great for the Wiggles

 I found a deflated ball in the storage closet at work. It wasn't quite deflated enough to sit on so I found a bicycle pump pin to insert and deflated until it felt just right. I enjoyed sitting and wiggling on it for several hours while writing reports. I plan on giving it to a client when I figure out who needs it most, but meanwhile I am thoroughly enjoying it.....







Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pushing for Sensory Input

video
Here are 2 very different activities that both involved using a very large plastic container with a hole cut into the lid.Both of the clients have much anxiety and difficulty motor planning. the individual in the video is pushing golf balls through an opening and he had to use force to push it in. This gives sensory input while also developing hand strength.
The photos shows an individual pushing socks through the opening. He has to motor plan how to push to make them in to fit. The socks are filled with either sand, lentils or just plastic supermarket bags.
.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Spiral Stringing


videoI have always loved Slinky's and use them a lot to create fun and functional activities. I also like making a similar spiral shape out of shampoo or other thin, plastic cylindrical bottles. The video shows how easily and quickly I can cut one. I have made a variety of sensory activities out of these because its fun to watch it move or objects to travel down the spiral. Its bouncy. You can add color. these are free, versatile, fun, visually engaging and safe since they will never be sharp when broken-like a real Slinky is.
You can cut bottles of various sizes, but the larger bottles won't have the same springy quality as the smaller bottle does.

The shapes that are strung can have one or two notches. Some individuals may weave them on and others may remove them- depending on the skill level of the child or adult.

This activity encourages use of two hands together as the child weaves the plastic pieces on and promotes active range of motion because the person needs to raise one end high while stabilizing the bottom end in order to watch the shapes spiral downward.