Archive for November, 2012

Quick Tip: b and d Reversals

A quick and easy way to help kids who reverse “b” and “d” from http://www.cometogetherkids.com/2011/09/easy-letter-reversal-solution.html

b vs d

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Holiday Gift Ideas – Preschool

The holiday season is here! Are you looking for gift ideas for your children that will also help them develop skills? This list includes some of our favorite games and toys for our preschool children. We stuck with games available from toy stores and department stores- not “therapy” toys – so they are easy to find and will blend in with other holiday presents. Plus, everything on this list is under $25!

Click on the name of the game for a link to the manufacturer’s website. We also listed the underlying skills that can be addressed during play. Have fun!

Uno Moo – Fine motor, visual perceptual

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Cat in the Hat – I Can Do That – Motor planning, balance, coordination

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Elefun Motor planning, body awareness, visual motor

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Don’t Break the Ice – Fine motor,  force grading, visual motor

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Don’t Spill the Beans – Fine motor, force grading

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HiHo Cherry-O – Fine motor

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The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel – Fine motor, visual motor

Apps We Love: Dial Safe Pro

App Name: Dial Safe Pro

Why We Love It:

This is a great (free!) app to teach phone skills starting from the very basics how to hold a phone, dialing and hanging up, when to call 911, and safety when talking to strangers on the phone. There is a customized memory challenge where you can input your home phone number or any other number your child needs to memorize. Perhaps the best part of this app is the practice and challenge levels that actually walk your child through the steps involved in dialing a number and talking to someone at home or to a 911 operator.  The buttons are large and easy to tap correctly and the sound effects are realistic. The app is narrated by a woman with a clear, friendly voice, and the script reads much like a social story.  This is a great tool for children learning phone skills and phone safety.

Why Kids Love It:

The narration is clear and the visuals are simple without being too childish. This is not an app that kids are going to beg to play, but once they start using it they tend to stay engaged.

Available: iTunes FREE

Holiday Help: Family Gatherings

This is the second post in our series “Holiday Help”. Here are some ideas to consider for your next family gathering.

  • If your child is sensitive to noise, arrive early so the volume level rises slowly over time.
  • Have your child complete sensory diet activities before being asked to sit for a long period at the table. Ask your therapist for ideas.
  • Allow your child to take a movement break during the meal. Or, allow your sensory sensitive child to move to a quiet place in the house to take a break from the stimulation at the dinner table. Taking a break is always better than a meltdown at the table. If you are going to be at a relative’s house, plan ahead and ask the host where your child can go as a retreat.
  • Bring a length of Theraband to loop around the legs of your child’s chair at the dinner table to provide them with an appropriate way of gaining sensory input without kicking the table (or a cousin).
  • Review behavioral expectations with your child for several days before the family gathering. Use clip art pictures to reinforce the concepts.
  • If you are sleeping over at a relative’s house, you may consider bringing a set of your child’s sheets. Children who have tactile sensitivities may find it difficult to tolerate the novel sensation of different pillows, sheets, or blankets.

Apps We Love: Lazoo Squiggles

App Name: Lazoo Squiggles

Why We Love It:

This adorable app encourages children to explore the possibilities of a simple squiggle. There are 13 different pictures that your child can complete by adding squiggles. After completing the image, press the “Go” button, and the image comes to life. Each image requires the child to draw in designated areas, which encourages visual perceptual skills and fine motor control. If your child is learning to trace complex lines, you can use a wide paintbrush to draw the line and then have your child trace over your line with a narrow chalk line.

Why Kids Love It:

 The images in this app are beautiful and gender neutral, ranging from making squiggly cotton candy to drawing nests for birds. The app allows the child to chose from a paintbrush, chalk, marker or squirt bottle, use different colors and add stickers to the picture.  The animations are visually engaging and the app allows the child to save their work to show off later.

Available: itunes FREE

Helpful Hints for Road Trips

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The holidays are fast approaching. Do you have any long car trips planned? Here are some ideas to consider as you prepare.

  • Use a calendar to count down the days leading up to the trip. Highlight the days of the trip with a bright color. Bring it with you to help your child see when they will be going home.
  • Allow your child to wear comfy clothes in the car, even if it means wearing their pj’s for the ride.
  • Gather pictures to track your progress on the trip. Print pictures of planned stops, state lines or miles traveled. As each milestone is passed, have your child put the picture in an “All Done” envelope.
  • Pack sensory smart snacks. Chewy foods like dried fruit and bagels or drinking liquids (even yogurt) through a thin straw can be organizing.
  • Use bathroom breaks as sensory breaks as well. Encourage wall pushups against the car or a tree, or have your child help you “rearrange” the luggage.Image
  • Use a 5-point scale for voice volume. Practice with it before the trip. Use it to prompt your child to bring their volume down to a 3 or use a 2 if a sibling is sleeping.