Many children with vestibular and proprioceptive processing difficulties find it very challenging to sit and attend to fine motor tasks such as coloring, cutting and writing. A child who is under responsive to sensory input and constantly seeks movement may expend so much energy and attention keeping their body relatively still that he is not focused on the task at hand. Another child who is a passive under responder may slump in her chair, have a hard time using the correct amount of force on her tools and seem like she is not paying attention. So what can you do to make homework time more effective and enjoyable for everyone involved? Pair table top activities with movement. This will provide your child with the sensory input they need while also giving natural breaks and rewards for tackling a challenging task. Studies have shown a positive link between movement and learning, retrieval abilities and arousal level. Here are some ways to put this into practice this week.
- Practice spelling words while tossing a ball back and forth.
- Complete jumps or jumping jacks next to his chair after completing a number of problems or after a given amount of time.
- Log roll or do an animal walk across the living room to collect crayons one at a time for a coloring project.
- Print or purchase pictures of simple yoga positions to imitate between worksheets.
- Hold a vibrating massager or sit on a vibrating pillow when reading. (*Note that vibration should not be used with children who have a history of seizures*)
- Do wall push-ups or chair push ups after writing a sentence or a paragraph.
- Sit on a small yoga ball – knees should be at 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor.