Parents are always asking us for product recommendations to help make life easier at home or to help their children learn and develop. Here is our first edition of OT Product Recommendations. We will be featuring a great book and a must have tool for managing behavior and making life easier (for you and your child).
You are a Social Detective
Authors: Michelle Garcia Winner,Pamela Crooke, PhD
We are all “Social Thinkers,” on a daily basis, when interacting with the people around us. As good Social Thinkers, we are aware that we have thoughts about the people around us and that they have thoughts about us and the way we behave. We are also “Social Detectives” who are constantly listening, looking, thinking, and doing things in our environments. You are a Social Detective: Explaining Social Thinking to Kids encourages kids to act as Social Detectives, considering the environment and thinking about their own thoughts before choosing how to act. This comic book provides a wonderful visual explanation of how we can be good Social Detectives who can determine what are expected and unexpected behaviors in various situations. Great illustrations in this book help depict the concepts and provide a useful tool to explain Social Thinking to a child.
If I was stranded on an island and could only bring 5 items to do therapy with what would I bring? Definately a Time Timer! This is a must have item in my "therapy tool kit." If I am ever doing therapy outside of the clinic this is one of the items that I am sure to grab.
Many of the children I work with have a lot of difficulty with transitions. Some struggle to stop an activity and move to something new and others struggle with not constantly moving from activity to activity. Many children struggle with both! Using a Time Timer provides a clear visual reminder of when a child will have to stop the activity and move on or it will help a child see how long they must remain focused on the task at hand. I find that the Time Timer makes it so I am not making the child stop, start or continue doing something that they may not want to. The timer now is the dictator. Most children are rule followers and they understand the concept of rules. The rule is very black and white (well, actually red and white)..."when the red goes away we ________."
I highly recommend making the investment in a Time Timer. Also, did you know there is a Time Timer App!
What do you like best about the Time Timer? What are you favorite strategies for helping your child manage their time?
Guest post by Kristina Han, OTS
School’s out and summer is here! Summer is a great time for children and their families to get involved in multisensory activities that promote sensory processing and learning outside. Engaging in sensory-rich activities provides opportunities for children to integrate sensory information such as touch, sounds, vision, smell, and movement. These active, meaningful, and engaging experiences can help foster appropriate responses to sensation while promoting expected behavior, social skills, academic performance, and motor development. Through exposure to a variety of sensory input, children have been found to be able to generalize these skills and behavior into the classroom and other environments.
Here is a list of multisensory activities for the whole family to have an amazing, sensational summer!:
1. Make and play with sand foam! A fun activity with messy tactile play and executive functioning skills to follow the steps of a recipe.
2. Sensory squishy bags. Create mess-free baggies for tactile fun and to practice pre-writing skills. Put in glitter and other small objects for more fun!
3. Melt insects or other objects in ice. Freeze small objects in an ice cube tray and have your child melt them by squeezing warm water out of a squirter bottle! This not only provides tactile and visual input, but helps children build fine motor skills as well!
4. Beans/pebble sight words. Print out pages with sight words and have your child form the letters using beans or colorful pebbles. Makes for a simple, educational, and sensory-filled experience! For an even more multi-sensory experience, scent and dye your beans!
5. Colorful hopscotch with bubble wrap. This activity encourages kids to get active and engaged in a tactile, visual, auditory, proprioceptive, and vestibular experience! Place colored paper underneath clear bubble wrap and tape it down with painter’s tape in a hopscotch formation. Create a game of naming colors/shapes/etc. for a whole other challenge and level of fun!
6. Play a game of water balloon toss! A classic summer activity that incorporates all different types of sensory information and encourages gross and fine motor body movements and eye-hand coordination.
7. Shaving cream & food coloring. Two simple ingredients, loads of fun! Kids can get creative through this activity that requires them to use executive functioning skills to follow steps while getting lots of tactile and visual input.
8. Make and play with scented Play-doh. Kids can develop their executive functioning skills by following a recipe while getting sensory input through touch, smell, and vision.
9. Make a tie-dye shirt. This tactile and visual activity allows your child to practice executive functioning and fine motor skills by following a sequence of steps to create their very own groovy shirt.
10. Create a maze/hopscotch with chalk. Another classic summertime activity that gets kids to their fine and gross motor skills while getting a variety of sensory input. Have them use their imagination and executive functioning by choosing a theme and creating an obstacle course/maze!
11. Soap foam printing/painting. Create a tactile and visually stimulating masterpiece using soap foam, watercolor, and paper!
12. Make a lap buddy (weighted pillow). Provides deep proprioceptive pressure for calming the nervous system. For added sensory input, add lavender or other scented essential oils!
Golden tip for parents: Most of these items can easily be found at your local dollar (Dollar Tree, 99 cent store, etc.) or Daiso stores!