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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Simple Weaving Shapes for Children with Autism or other Disabilities

Weaving is the process of interlacing threads by going over and under each other. I use a similar process when I cut slits in a plastic shape and "weave" a longer strip through it. This photo shows my son holding one I made over 20 years ago!

I realized that if I make one end a bit bigger, the insertion strips will look like lollipops and when pulled in place tightly, won't slip through the notches and come out easily.

This activity continues to be easy to make and beneficial when used at work with adults with developmental disabilities. However,  young children with or without disabilities will reap the benefits of watching you make this manipulation activity to use at home or for therapy.

Weaving the shapes together
  • strengthens hands and fingers
  • promotes bilateral hand use
  • develops eye-hand coordination 
  • teaches the spatial relationships of going in and out, over and under... 
  • may involve color and/or size matching
  • provides a repetitive fine- motor task that some individuals will find relaxing
Taking the pieces apart is easier than putting them together and some individuals may only learn this aspect of the task.  Use thicker, stiffer plastic if you want th
e person to use force.  This makes the activity "resistive" and provides sensory stimulation to muscles and joints. Try using the vibrant, strong plastic from coffee containers, plus it smell great! See the Amazon links below.

One of my clients loves to rip paper, especially cardboard. Pulling these shapes apart to push into a small container lid opening appears to meet her sensory needs.
For some clients-I may choose to use a container with a large opening so that insertion is easy. Over time I may add a lid with a large slot opening and eventually use a more challenging lid with a thin opening so that force is required to push the shape inside.

Notice that the individual in the video must pull the pieces apart or they will NOT fit into the slot. There is some built-in problem-solving required in order to be successful.

Also notice that I positioned the container next to the pink vibrating cushion so that he can feel the vibration while working.  You may choose to put some type of vibrating object inside the container. Either way vibration often motivates children or adults with disabilities to engage in hand activities.   

Source: Simple Weaving Shapes for Children with Autism by RecyclingOT

 Placing or removing the worms from the apples works on similar fine-motor skills. However, the openings are quite large and force is not required.... Fall is a great time to incorporate this pretend play into your hand activities.....
Source: Make Your Own Apple Toys for Preschoolers by RecyclingOT

Another option is to attach or remove arrows from valentines. I love the creative options when creating my own materials and your children or clients will, too ❤

Source: Make-your-own Valentine Hearts and Arrows by RecyclingOT

Don't have time to make toys?

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