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Friday, September 18, 2015

Developing Strong Tripod Grasp with Squeeze Push Activity

This activity works on many skills. It involves squeezing the open ends of plastic pieces I will call "tongs" and then inserting them into the bottle opening.  I thought of this because a new client loves insertion tasks and she also puts everything in her mouth first. It was pretty easy and fast to make many of these tong shapes and large enough so that I don't worry about her choking. Sometimes she gets confused as to which end to put in first but she understands when I direct her to insert the open or closed end.

You can see in the photo how I cut 2 sides of a bottle to create the tong shape and the fold is already in the plastic's "memory".

Some individuals do not understand about folding and try to open it before inserting. This may be OK for some people but I want the option of the increased sensory motor/cognitive challenge of folding and pushing. If you are working with someone who doesn't put objects in the mouth, try taping the tong closed at the tip so that it stays folded but there is still plenty of squeezing to do above the tip.

This task is very easy to grade using bottles with smaller openings as skills develop to push or make the tongs larger. Its great for developing stabilizing  with the non-preferred hand and also as you see in the video it offers sensory input.

The woman in the video loves to rip paper and cardboard, so pushing these into the bottle also provides that push and squeeze sensory input she craves. Of course, squeezing the tongs using the tripod fingers, strengthens the fingers used in grasping a writing tool. So I also recommend using this activity with 2- 5 year olds with that goal in mind. Perhaps you  can add cognitive challenge by having matching color bottles and tongs or add an electric toothbrush inside for more sensory input....

Friday, September 11, 2015

Making Pom Poms

There's lots of great pom pom crafts all year long... I made this adapted pom pom  maker for individuals who have a weak grasp or increased muscle tone. The individual shown has left side hemiplegia and very good control in his right hand. He is able to wrap the yarn independently but I like to do some range of motion by gently stretching his left arm toward me while he works.

This adaptation can be used when providing hand over hand assistance to grasp the handle while staff do the yarn wrapping steps.   Next place pipe cleaner in the center,  or better yet position it before starting the yarn wrapping. Tie off tightly and snip the yarn to remove from holder and trim again to make pom pom round.  

There are some great seasonal crafts using pom poms, like the Red Tag Art Spider... 

 or use orange yarn to make pumpkins

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Teaching Motor Skills to Floss

Staff worked on teaching this individual how to wrap yarn around his fingers and move side to side to remove the "dirt" from simulated "teeth" made out of egg cartons or Legos.  I think this is a clever way to demonstrate how dirt is removed using the similar motions required for flossing real teeth. This was challenging and I don't know if he will have the motor control to floss his teeth but the individuals were very focused and fascinated as they took turns "flossing" .......