We've finally posted our updated Toy and Gift Suggestion List! Open the Toys & Gifts page on the left and click on the link for our recommendations for current and classic toys and games.
We hope your school year is off to a good start! Throughout the year we will continue have a Tool of the Month to promote self-regulation based on the Zones of Regulation Program. The Program was created by Occupational Therapist Leah Kuypers to teach children to identify how they are feeling and strategies to help them self-regulate. There are four zones: the blue zone (low energy or sad), the green zone (relaxed, content), the yellow zone (a little too much energy, worried or excited), and the red zone (too much energy or angry). See our Zones of Regulation page for more details. The Tool of the Month for September is Body Pretzels. Body Pretzels help with attention and organization by relaxing the mind and body as energy circulates. They can be done while sitting or standing.
Instruct your child to do the following:
The Tool of the Month for May is hand fidgets. Hand fidgets can be used to help you refocus if you have blue zone (low energy) or yellow zone feelings (a little too much energy). With the recent popularity of spinners and fidget boxes, it is important to talk about the appropriate use of hand fidgets. The purpose of utilizing a hand fidget is to adjust your state to take you where you need to be, for example, from the yellow to the green zone. A fidget is not effective if it takes you to another place (i.e., takes your mind away from the group or the task you are working on) unless you are taking a break from work. Below are pictures of hand fidgets that are available at Plymouth River and Foster Schools.
The Tool of the Month for April is Size of the Problem. Size of the Problem helps kids think about what the ACTUAL size of a problem is so they can think about what size their reaction should be. It's important to acknowledge that for some kids, small problems may feel big, but they can use tools to SHOW a small reaction on the outside even if it feels big on the inside.
Tiny and small problems can be solved quickly without any outside help, like your pencil breaking during a test. Medium and big problems usually need help from someone else and take longer to solve, like not knowing where you are supposed to go after school or being hurt on the playground. Huge problems are emergencies that always need outside help to solve, sometimes from multiple people and may take days or weeks, like a fire or hurricane.
Your child can use the chart below to rate and compare the size of the problem and the size of their reaction on a scale of 1 to 10.
Crossing the body's midline is the ability to reach across to the opposite side of the body with arms, legs, and eyes. This skill is necessary to perform many everyday tasks, such as writing and putting on clothing. Crossing midline creates new pathways in the brain that are the building blocks for developing complex motor and cognitive skills such as writing, reading, self-care and physical activities. Participating in activities involving crossing the midline helps children learn how to use both sides of their bodies so they can grow, learn, think, and move their bodies effectively. Click on the link below to access brain break activities that work on crossing midline.
Brain Break Link
The Tool of the Month for March is chair push-ups. They can be used to help with blue zone feelings (low energy) to help energize and focus children. They can also be used for yellow zone feelings (a little too much energy) to help children calm and refocus. Ask your child to show you how to do a chair push-up and encourage them to utilize the strategy when you notice they are having difficulty self-regulating.
Check out our new Zones of Regulation page found on the left sidebar. The "Tool of the Month" at PRS is Lazy Eights and at Foster it is Balloon Breath. Ask your children to demonstrate them for you.
Children at PRS and Foster enjoyed making fingerprint art before winter break. We used washable stamps, pencils, and markers to create snowmen, birds, houses, etc. (you could use fingerpaints instead of stamps). Arts and crafts are a great way to fill those cold winter days. Every child was highly invested in creating their own unique masterpiece!
Looking for ways to keep the kids active and get their energy out during the long winter months? Here are some great games that incorporate movement, exercise, and/or yoga in a fun way, and they will make fabulous holiday gifts. As an added bonus, the games can be found on Amazon so you don't even need to leave your house!
Flip 2B Fit
Wiggle and Giggle
Move and Groove
I Can Do That!
Super Stretchy ABC
Super Stretchy Disney
ABC Yoga Cards for Kids
Q Race to the Top
Roll and Play
Move Your Body Cards
Lay It or Break It
Egg Relay Game
Feed the Woozle
The new school year is off to a great start! Staff and students have come back refreshed from the summer and excited to work and learn. During therapy sessions, your child works to develop underlying motor skills and improve performance on specific school-related activities, such as handwriting and typing. I thought I’d take the time to remind parents of the importance of working on these skills at home. Many OT activities are game-based so they are fun and can be incorporated into playtime. Practice of functional skills (handwriting, typing, etc.) should be done in frequent, short sessions (several times a week for 3-10 minutes). I realize that life is busy; however, just practicing letter formation or keyboarding for 3 minutes a few times a week can make a huge difference! I cannot stress enough the importance of frequent home practice for maintenance, improvement, and carryover of skills. I have noted a significant difference in the skill development of children who consistently participate in activities at home and those who do not.