Friday, December 24, 2010
Would you take time off from blood pressure medication just because you have time off of work?
Would you stop a specialized diet for diabetes just because this time of year there are too many goodies to resist?
If you are logical, the answer would be "of course not"!
Well the same goes for your child.
A sensory skewed child, one with learning challenges, behavior issues, may find that time out from school is the IDEAL time to have therapy. No homework to compete with, no after school programs, no tutoring to go to--just a down time with a purpose.
An extended therapy time may be just the thing for your child to stay on track and be on track when school starts back up again. I am not saying everyday, but 1-2 times during the vacation can be an ideal time to address sensitive areas of competence at a stress-free time.
For those children with social issues, you might ask if they could bring a friend to work on a project in OT together, getting in fine motor, task design and social skills!!
Instead of therapy being something to take a vacation from, think of OT during vacations as something to enhance and enrich the time off!!
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
- Lack creativity and variety in play. For instance, your child may play with the same toys in the same manner over and over or prefer only to watch TV or videos.
- Not responsive to verbal cues; acts as if deaf although hearing tests in normal range.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Now as an "always" working mother, I more than "get" that you have to go to work and the kids have to be somewhere and not everyone can afford in-home care.
But keep in mind that the early learning experience can have long-range impact on the young child. Because this is often the first time that they have been away from home without a parent, finding the right experience is crucial.
- Experience of the teachers
- School certifications
- Philosophy of the school
- Size of the classrooms
- Number of classes per age group (are there smaller classes for children that might need modifications in the general program)
- On-going continuing education for the teachers
- Frame of reference for age/class specific curriculums
- Structure of the school (level of classroom structure and flexibility, is it experiential, etc.)
- Classroom facilities
- Extra-curricular experiences available (foreign language)
- Outside consultants (OT/Speech, Nutritionist, psychologist)
- Accommodations and modifications for the child with early learning needs
Sunday, October 3, 2010
__Problems taking on/off coat
__Cannot tie shoes
__Cannot manipulate buttons, snaps, zippers
__Rejects going to the bathroom
__Cannot use utensils easily
__Spills drink often
__Needs reminders to keep track of belongings
__Rejects certain fabrics
__Resists toilet training
__Picky eater (explain)
__Always wears socks, long sleeves even in warm weather
__Habituates wearing 1-2 specific outfits
__Poor motor learning (new skills)
__Mixed and/or no hand preference
__Does not attempt to initiate writing first name
__Does not like to (or never liked to) scribble
__Does not like to draw/write
__Frustrated with fine motor tasks
__Difficulty when trying to copy simple shapes
__Poor gross motor (Running, jumping, skipping)
__Looses place when looking at a book that is being read to him/her
__Walked early did not spend a lot of time crawling
__Poor grasp (awkward use of pencil/crayon)
__Poor writing pressure
__Motor performances seem unusually slow
__Cannot color inside the lines as needed
__Poor reproduction of shapes/forms/
__Poor cutting skills
__Shows no preference for his/her right and left handedness
__Holds back with gross motor games
__Rejects tasks that have multiple parts (figure-ground perception)
__Difficulty staying focused
__Overly dependent on teacher/parent
__Does not seem to hear when instructions are given
__Poor (task) sequencing skills
__Sloppy work areas
__Difficulty initiating tasks
__Difficulty transitioning from one skill/task to another
__Needs instructions repeated
__Gets confused easily
__Cannot sit easily in “circle time”
__Restless when riding in a car
__Work pace is much slower than peers
__Difficulty with instructions that are more than 1-2 familiar steps
__Not many or few friends
__Complains that “someone hit” them
__Difficulty with cooperative tasks
__Multiple somatic (physical) complaints
__Poor eye contact when speaking to peers, adults, new acquaintances (circle one)
__Seems fearful of new situations/places
__Difficulty with self-calming when upset
__Hangs of people or things
__Cannot tolerate things out of “place”
__Difficulty demonstrating affection
__Wants to but is hesitant to interact with peers
__Prefers to play alone rather than with peers
__Difficulty discerning personal space
__Poor verbal expression of thought, ideas, and feelings
__Overly sensitive to corrective remarks (criticisms)
__Avoids talking out in class, and/or participating in discussions
__Easily frustrated in social situations
__Not understand jokes
__Difficulty reading body language or facial expressions
__Uses oral language that is less mature than peers
__Does not wait to ask for help if an adult is talking
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
- Love and accept your child for who she or he is
- Limit rules at first and keep it to those that are for protection and safety and then add others later.
- Childproof your home and try to remove temptations
- A strong willed child has perseverance, give the child challenging toys, let them learn problem solving but not to the point of frustration.
- Understand your child’s limits and as much as possible do not push it.
- Make sure your child understands what you asking him or her to do and be sure they can do it. Asking them to do something beyond their skills is a fodder for an outburst due to frustration.
- Do not command but use a friendly tone.
- Do not over-react when your toddler says “no”—just repeat the request—friendly but firmly.
- PICK YOUR BATTLES—say no because you have to –do not make it a power play, toddlers do not think about that, they just want what they want when they want it. It is not about you.
- Do not make “deals” it teaches your child that there are ways they can break rules and that is not what you want.
- Stick to schedules and pre-set—known—limits –“no you may not run in the parking lot –ever”
- Offer choices when possible, if helps with the child learning self-control and decision making skills. Keep the choices to 2, not an array of items. i.e. the blue or the green pajamas?
- Try to find “alone time” when it is just the two of you and let your toddler plan the time—we have a whole afternoon, what should we do first?
- Encourage using words, baby talk is cute but it can be a real deterrent to effective communication.
- Enforce consequences—neither you or your child is a “saint” and sometimes rules get broken and limits must be enforced. So if it is a time out, withholding privileges, etc. follow through on that consequence.
- After the consequence has been given engage your child in a positive activity and reinforce that he is “good” but the choice was not.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
When it comes to challenges..especially with handwriting tasks listen to your child's complaints...carefully
Sense-able feelings—when learning new skills
In addition to individual therapy, I also provide therapy camps and groups. These groups help children with sensory processing (Play YOUR Way to Sensory-motor Success), handwriting (Write Incredibly Now WIN™) and social skills (Personal Options and Preferences POP™) in a supportive peer/task environment.
And inevitably every now and then there is at least one or two kids who drop out because (as reported by mom), ‘their feelings got hurt’.
On a closer look these were the kids that really needed the groups! The ones that cracked at even minor frustrations, were over-sensitive to unintentional “slights” by the other children, who had difficulty following a one-step direction in a 1-1 setting and/or whose short term memory was almost non-existent.
As therapists we are doing our job when we challenge a child to make choices that change old, non-productive patterns. The disconnect happens when the child complains (often tearfully) to the parent that “everyone is mean to me in the ___________group”.
I have thought long and hard about how to circumvent this and I think I have a solution I want to share. By providing parents a before group syllabus and letting them know what we are doing in advance they can support the child at home and ask the appropriate questions to counter the complaints. I use the following chart form.
Using handwriting as a sample (from my WIN™ program)* I offer this example:
Anticipated (child) Responses* (all activities are new to the children and have never been tried before)
Sliding a straw between three fingers
In hand translation skills
Awkward motor skills-some frustration
Increased in hand fluency
Paper cup button catch
Competition with peers
Some possible frustration
Increase in-hand timing and visual tracking
Paper cup shell game
Visual spatial organization
Reluctant to try (some)
Increased visual skills with constancy and movement
Water bottle rock turning
Increase palmar “apple hand” position
Increase finger individuation
Increase wrist stability
Fun to make
Hands get tired
Decrease wrist rotation
Hard to keep wrist steady
My fingers won’t move “right”
Estimating skills (when bottle is “heavy enough”
Prepositional understandings with movement
Increase isolated finger movements
Wikki-Stix relief rubbing
Increase tactile awareness
Increase kinesthetic skills
Automatic pride in being able to make a complex form
Learning shapes automatically without vision a foundation skill of automatic writing
To systematically introduce formation and fluency
Hesitant at first
May rush through to get it done
May not want to correct self
Learning that to do it right is more important than to do it fast
Pride in a job well done
*This is only a partial list
Now that the parent is aware of what is going on in the class, it is also important to let the parent know when all this is going to happen. A timeline of what to expect can be very helpful for the parent to help the child through frustrations and expectations. Using the WIN™ program again as an example, I often tell parents that this is a 12-hour program offered (usually in 4 3-hour days) so here is what you can expect:
§ Day One—NO writing we will spend the whole day playing with our hands and bodies and learning how they move and how we can be “in charge of them” instead of them being in charge of us!
§ Day Two—tracing, nonsense shape making, chalkboard activities, blindfolded “writing”, gross and fine motor fluency activities, and initial workbook activities.
§ Day Three—All of the above and new games and crafts to put in our end of session take-home bags, putting our bodies together games using fine and gross motor patterns within one activity, continue in our workbook
§ Day Four—finish the workbook, and do Mad-Glad-Grab Sentences to learn about writing paragraphs with the T-E-C System (Topic Embellishers and Conclusions)—both trademarks of the WIN™ handwriting system.
Now the parent knows what and when and has some really useful tools when talking to their child about their feelings about writing, making new friends or tolerating unfamiliar situations.
But that still leaves us with the issue of how to help the emotionally fragile child. This is the child for whom everything is upsetting. The very act of walking into an unfamiliar place can be so upsetting that they need what I call a “first day shadow”, or a special “transition toy” that they can have with them the whole time. For these children creating trust is often synonymous with safety and both must be in place before learning can occur.
Even with all this in place, there will often be that “one child” for whom group therapy settings are just too much. The chaos of the group, the noise level, the stimulation of people moving, the inability to know how to ask for help, etc. can all be influences that impact a child’s ability to benefit from a given program.
So above all else, make sure that the parent knows that you are available to them by phone, email, written note, whatever works for the both of you. And YOU want to know how their child is reacting before they take action to remove him from the group. Letting the parent know that their child’s success is your only objective puts you both focused on the same goal—a happier more functionally secure child.