Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fine Motor Skills & an encouraging day ;)

Today was much needed. I stress so much over all the things M needs to be working on, if she gets enough calories, exercise, etc. that I end up being completely overwhelmed. But today was different. Everything seemed to work out today as it should. She had a great day at school - ate all her lunch, worked on sorting objects into categories, counted by 10s to 100, and so much more! On top of that, her paraprofessional is wonderful. She is gaining M's trust more and more everyday, and is teaching her so much. She is aggressive in learning about M and blind students, as well as her general education curriculum. To make the day, I received a call from her occupational therapist to learn more about her and go over ideas that may help her teach M more effectively. I was very pleased to talk with her for almost an hour.

She is focusing on M's fine motor skills, which can be very challenging for a blind child. M needs to increase control of the muscles in her fingers and hands, getting them to work together to learn to sign her name, read braille, and explore tactually with more meaning. I compiled a list of advice for working with M specifically, as well as adaptations to the general fine motor skills activities that could be made for a blind student. You have to be creative and think outside the box to have the greatest effect a blind child. Going back to the foundation of this blog, I came up with ideas to make the activities appeal to her other four senses, thereby making them more appealing to her where she actually enjoys learning.

Here are a few ideas for anyone interested... I'll have a more complete list and details on the Sensory Sun website when we launch soon! Please feel free to comment with any additional ideas, or comments on the ones I've listed. What works for your child?

Fine Motor Skills- adapted activities:

  • coloring/drawing
    • use a device like Crayola Color Me a Song or Color Wonder Sound Studio
    • use scented crayons and markers
    • place a thin object or texture piece (screen or mesh, etc) underneath the paper so the child feels the bumps when she colors
    • try the triangular crayons that won't roll around and are easier to grasp
    • get messy (also great for tactile defensiveness) with finger paints, pudding, or anything of the sort, on a large piece of construction or butcher/freezer paper
  • pegs in pegboard
    • come up with a story to go along with placing the pegs
    • place a peg for each letter in spelling a simple word (also increases vocabulary!)
    • glue different textures to each of the pegs to make them more tactile (again great for working on tactile defensiveness )
    • advance the texture idea by making the pegboard hole textured as well so the child learns to match the correct textures of pegs/holes
  • tearing paper
    • try using different textured paper, which can be found easily at a scrapbook/hobby store
    • make a game out of it or incorporate a story
    • do another activity or craft with the paper pieces after they've been torn to create a sense of purpose for tearing the paper
  • coordination/picking up & placing small objects
    • play games like Don't Spill the Beans, Cootie, or Perfection
    • count coins (also teaches about money and math!) by moving them from one area to another - from the table to a piggy bank, etc (there are fun audible banks out there pretty cheap, too)
    • practice tracing lines with index fingers - draw with dimensional paint, glued on yarn, etc
These are just a few basic ideas a lot of children seeing an Occupational Therapist (OT) will work on sometime in their early years. I hope the ideas are useful for you!

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