Thursday, 19 July 2012

Fine Motor Skills

Occupational Therapy works best for us when we don't realize that we are actually doing it.  When we build it in to our day and it becomes so automatic that I forget there is a purpose.  Really, any activity that we do together is a chance to build skill- and each skill that is gained is a stepping stone to something bigger.  It's not much different than what you would do when you engage any child.  We just do it a little more often, and sometimes we have to approach it in a different way.  I love finding activities that do "double duty", where we work on multiple skills at the same time.  I went through a phase where I thought that I needed to buy all sorts of fancy Occupational Therapy sets and toys, but know I realize that it actually makes more sense to use real life experiences for teaching moments.

Today we are working with coins, which is partially a fine motor task, but also a learning experience for school.  Over the summer it was suggested that we work developing his fine motor but also that he become more familiar with Canadian coins.  So wrapped up in one activity we have fine motor, sorting, math awareness and language.  No special equipment required, it all starts with a jar of pocket change.

Hyperlexia has some advantages, especially to get the party started!  If he doesn't really want to play with something, I can always suggest we make letters!  Not a big fan of letters?  Make shapes!  Make lines!  Separate by coin type- this picture has just pennies, but how dimes, nickels or quarters?  Make a pattern line for beginning reading tasks- penny penny nickel, penny penny nickel. Just like that you added a language task!

We sort them, stack them, make letters with them.  We build towers.  And then we knock them down.  He reaches for them.  If I plan it out well, I can get him using both hands at the same time, which is something that he has great difficulty with.  I can move the piles around and then ask him to cross mid-line to pick them up.  Sometimes we play specific games with the coins, and sometimes he sneaks away and plays with them all by himself.  That's what I call a winning therapy experience!

My favourite part of coin therapy?  Counting out enough money to get a treat at the store!  It's important to have a pay out at the end:)

This  post is part of  #TherapyThursday, which I hope gives you a glimpse inside our lives.  Care to join me in raising awareness of Special Needs?  Post a blog, picture or tweet about it using the hashtag #TherapyThursday.  Feel free to post a link below in the comment section!  Remember that there are many different types of therapy- Occupational, Physical, Feeding, Speech Language and Behavioural to name a few.  I hope it will serve as yet another way to spread awareness of special needs!

From the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists

"Occupational therapy is the art and science of enabling engagement in everyday living, through occupation; of enabling people to perform the occupations that foster health and well-being; and of enabling a just and inclusive society so that all people may participate to their potential in the daily occupations of life (Townsend& Polatajko, 2007, p. 372)."

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