Monday, February 27, 2012

Fine motor warmup

Wanna fun way to work on intrinsic hand muscles, visual motor skills and fine motor skills?

Make a 3-D lacing project.

Here's how:

1) Play dough rolled in a ball or into a shape.

2) Stick a piece of spaghetti in it. Have your kiddo be careful to grade their pressure just right so the spaghetti doesn't break.

3)Thread on cereal pieces.

Kids love it!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Glow in the Dark Bowling...

Simple. Bottles, glow sticks and a ball. It's sensory. It's motor. It's fun!

Rainbow toast...

Bread
Milk
Food Coloring
Clean Paint Brushes

Or for my health nut friends...

Coconut milk
Gluten free bread
Berries/beets (will work as your "dye")
Clean Brushes

Mix 1/8 cup milk with dye.
Paint bread with clean paint brushes.
Toast.
Enjoy!

Friday, February 3, 2012

EZ SOX

I have been wanting to put up a post on EZ SOX. As an Occupational Therapist I am constantly looking for ways to make to my clients more independent. When I had a client (age 9) that was unable to put on traditional socks I knew I had to find something to help him out. I then stumbled upon EZ SOX. They worked great and within 2 sessions he was putting them on himself. When I ordered some for him I also bought my 3 year-old some and she loves them!

They recently started making some for adults. These would work great for clients with knee/hip replacements, etc...

Right now the website has free shipping and if you enter the code EZ40 at the end of your order you will get 40% off! Not too bad for super cute functional socks.

*BTW I don't think a child needs to use these socks everyday for their life. These socks are ment as a training tool and there should be a transference of skills (meaning once they get the hang of pulling up these socks they should be able to pull up regular socks).

**I am sure that you could make a few pairs by adding a similar loop at the top of the socks (I would use an old cut up teeshirt or the like). Just make sure to reinforce it because they are ment to be pull on.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Why I hate sippy cups...

Our first child loved sippy cups... And I thought I loved them too. They were easy to make sure he was getting enough fluids and they didn't spill (well not too much!). Sippy cups were kind of like a security blanket for him. He would wake up get a sippy and curl up and cuddle with mom (this seem like a dream after having to wean him after starting OT school when he was 15 months old).

Then at 18 months he got the stomach flu and I decided to put Gatorade in his sippy cup. It seemed harmless and I knew he needed the fluids. But something happened he wanted his sippy cup more and more. And at first I obliged thinking he must be a thirsty kid. For some reason I didn't think twice about constantly filling his cup up with watered down Gatorade (um...SUGAR?! DYE?!). He was happy and so was I?!

But then...I found a sippy while cleaning out the car. You guessed it. It was FILLED with black, fussy mold. Nasty. That is when I decided we need to cut WAY down on sippy cups. If he has so many sippys lying around that I didn't even know where they all were then that was too many.

The trouble? He was already painfully addicted to his sippy and it's have Gatorade goodness. So I had to wean him. He was my first child, so I was nice about it (much slower and gentler of a wean then I probably would do now-umm can someone say COLD TURKEY). By an age of 3 sippys were just for car trips and usually just filled with water. Hooray!

Number two came along. And I decided (after months of cleaning up NASTY moldy sippy cups) we would put nothing but water in them. We always offered a glass (water) for a small sip (starting at 6 months or so) and Guess what?! She preferred a cup. She was drinking from a cup at almost all meals by 18 months and could drink from a small cup unassisted by 12 months. Ahh! She never became obsessed the juice or Gatorade and is a little water lover.

Number 3?! Same rules. She is already loving sipping from my water glass and even sucking on a straw covered with my finger.

Let me make this clear...I am not a Speech Therapist. I am however a mom, aunt, friend, and therapist who too often sees kids that are way too old drinking from bottles and sippy cups. If this is you, don't feel bad I was a victim of this too. But it is time to set you and your child free (plus hey drinking from an open cup is a life skill that SHOULD emerge around 12-18months).

Now a few more what I thinks, before I give you links to some GREAT Speech Therapy Blogs that discuss this topic as well and give helpful hints on transitioning.

1. Breast is best.

2. If bottles are needed STOP using at 12 months (For many reasons, including promoting correct oral motor development, but also to make the weaning (from the bottle-nurse as LONG as you want) process easier. The longer you wait the HARDER it will be and really that is only hurting both of you).

3. Introduce sippy cups at 6 months (Say bye-bye to them by 18-24 months.)

4. Encourage drinking from a straw around 9-12 months (even earlier if they seem interested- water please!). Drinking from a straw will help position your children’s tongue correctly for speech and give them the strength necessary to be more successful communicators (thanks Mommy Speech Therapist).

5. Practice drinking from an open cup (with your help) as early as 6 months. Just offer a sip or two of water and if they aspirate or start choking wait a few weeks before trying again. 

6. Constantly sucking on a bottle or sippy cup can decrease your child opportunities to practice talking babbling and further decrease their language skills and articulation.

7. It is BAD for their teeth! Especially if the bottle/sippys are filled with juice/Gatorade (yikes!). I have seen plently of kids that have had TONS of cavities filled or even teeth pulled from juice rot.

Proof I am NOT making this up! :)
Mommy Speech Therapist
ARK Debbie's Blog

 Go ahead wean your kid and increase their self esteem by showing them one more thing they can do like mommy and daddy!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Foot Painting?







                            
            
Who needs finger painting when you can paint with your feet?!

Besides our spines, our feet are the anatomical regions which contain the most proprioceptive sensory receptors!

So if you are looking for a super fun SENSORY experience with your kids, this is it.

1. Tape up paper from the floor to the highest their little legs will reach (I'd rather have TOO much then clean it off the wall). Butcher paper would work great but I was all out.

2. Make sure your kids are in grubby clothes! This can get messy.

3. Put some paint (washable) on a large plate or cookie sheet.

4. Have your kids lay on their back. Hold the paint in a desired location for your child to stretch for (High/Low/Left/Right).

5. Now encourage them to FILL the paper.

*This is also a great activity for kids who need to work on trunk and lower extremity strengthening!