Posts tagged ‘elementary school’

Nail Trimming

nail trimmingDistress during nail clipping is one of the everyday obstacles we hear about from many of our families. Some children have trouble tolerating the clippers, some dislike the sharp feel of the nail after clipping, or the novel tactile input on the fingertip that was previously covered by the nail. Here are some ideas to try next time the clippers need to come out.

 

  • If your child likes to play with resistive materials like theraputty or play doh, have him use the materials before nail clipping as a way to “warm up” the fingers before the task. Or, let him hold a vibrating massager to provide vibration to the fingers. Offer these types of materials after the trimming as well.
  • Try a lotion massage on the hands, using firm stroke with your whole hand (not just fingertips pressing into your child’s hand). End with deep pressure gently “pulling” down the length of each of his fingers, toward the nail.
  • Nails will be softer and easier to trim after bath time.
  • Use child-friendly terminology – don’t say you are going to “cut” the nails, use words like “trim”. Children may associate “cut” with pain.
  • Have your child be in charge of counting each nail that is trimmed. Counting will help him see that the process will not take forever.
  • Singing a song together may help as well. Try the tune of “Here we go ‘round the mulberry bush” and change the lyrics to “This is the way we trim your nails”.
  • Some children prefer the vibration and pressure of a nail file rather than clippers.
  • At first, a successful nail trimming may be one hand at a time, or even one nail. Find the level where your child can tolerate the process without being overwhelmed and build from there.
  • Teach your older child to safely trim his or her own nails. Sensory input that he controls may be easier to tolerate than imposed input.
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Apps We Love: Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame

App Name: Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame

Why We Love It:

This beautifully designed app helps children learn to use deep breathing strategies to self calm. The app introduces a Sesame Street monster who faces real life scenarios such as having trouble tying his shoes or impatiently waiting in line. The narration uses a variety of words to describe the emotions and makes observations about the monster’s body language as well. The focus of the app is to teach the child to take three deep breaths, then think of multiple solutions to the problem at hand. The child chooses one of the options and the monster acts out the solution. The language is simple and the steps are repeated to help reinforce the lesson.   The animation is high quality and visually engaging. We love that the monster comes up with more than one possible plan, however, one scenario involves asking a teacher for a hug, which may not be appropriate in a school setting. Overall though, this app is a powerful tool for teaching an important skill.

breathe think do

Why Kids Love It:

The animations are clear and beautifully presented which keeps the kids visually engaged. Also, while the monster is “thinking”, the child gets to pop bubbles which helps keep their attention on the app. Although it is unlikely that your child will independently pick this app to play in their free time, with some guidance from you they can pick up a new skill to help them succeed in day to day activities.

Available: iTunes FREE

SPD Month Series, Part 5 of 5: Visual Processing and Olfactory Processing

Red Flags for Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

October is Sensory Processing Disorder Awareness Month. Each Tuesday in October, we will share some of the “red flags” of SPD.

Many parents of children with sensory processing difficulties report feeling that something was “off” with their child, but they were unable to identify the source. The following list includes some of the red flags we as occupational therapists look for when evaluating a child for sensory dysfunction. If you are concerned about your child’s development and ability to process sensory input, speak with your pediatrician, or give us a call at the Center to discuss the potential need for an evaluation.

Signs of Visual Dysfunction

Please note, that as with auditory dysfunction, any issues you observe with your child’s visual functioning should be screened by a pediatrician or eye care professional to rule out visual impairments. A child who is over responsive to visual input may attempt to shield his eyes from lights or become overwhelmed by a visually busy environment. Under responsive children may appear to ignore visual stimuli or have a hard time locating an object in a group of other objects.

 

Does your child:

  • Seem more sensitive to bright or fluorescent lights than other children?
  • Become easily distracted by visual stimuli, such as decorations hanging in a room, movement out a window, etc.?girl with sunglasses
  • Rub his eyes or have watery eyes after reading or watching TV?
  • Have difficulty finding an object in a group, such as finding a particular toy from a toy box?
  • Frequently lose his place when reading or copying written work?
  • Write with inconsistent sizing and placement of letters, more than other children in his grade?

 

 

Signs of Olfactory Dysfunction

The olfactory system is our sense of smell. This system plays an important role in safety, such as the noticing the smell of spoiled food, and can have a significant impact on a child’s ability to focus and participate in a variety of environments.

 

Does your child:

  • React negatively to smells not noticed by other children?
  • Frequently talk about how other people smell?
  • Become bothered by household smells, such as cleaning products or cooking smells?
  • Fail to notice unpleasant odors?
  • Use smell to interact with objects or people?

 

Last Week: The Auditory System

 

Apps We Love: Monkey Drum

App Name: Monkey Drum

Why We Love It:monkey drum

This is yet another adorable and free app that we love. To play, the child taps on a bongo drum or hits keys on a xylophone to make her own rhythm or song. Then the monkey will imitate the exact song the child played. This can be a great tool for children learning cause and effect. We also use this with older children who are working on motor planning and timing. You can tap out a short rhythm, the monkey will imitate it, and then your child can attempt to recreate the same rhythm.

Why Kids Love It:

As you play your song or rhythm, the monkey will smile, clap and dance which engages the children. After a long song, or several shorter ones, a banana falls from the tree and the child can feed it to the monkey. He might launch it into the air or catch it in his mouth. Feeding the monkey bananas earns points to unlock other characters, instruments or accessories.

Available: iTunes FREE or Monkey Drum Deluxe (instruments and characters unlocked) $3.99

SPD Month Series, Part 4 of 5: Auditory Processing

Red Flags for Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

October is Sensory Processing Disorder Awareness Month. Each Tuesday in October, we will share some of the “red flags” of SPD.

Many parents of children with sensory processing difficulties report feeling that something was “off” with their child, but they were unable to identify the source. The following list includes some of the red flags we as occupational therapists look for when evaluating a child for sensory dysfunction. If you are concerned about your child’s development and ability to process sensory input, speak with your pediatrician, or give us a call at the Center to discuss the potential need for an evaluation.

Signs of Auditory Dysfunction:

Please note that auditory problems should be screened by a pediatrician or hearing specialist, to rule out any hearing impairments. A child who is over responsive to auditory input may find typical household sounds to be overwhelming or painful. Other children are under responsive to this input and may have difficulty filtering out pertinent auditory input from background noises or appear to not hear well even though there is nothing physically impairing their hearing.

Does your child:too loud

  • Become distracted or bothered by background noise other children do not notice?
  • Show fear of typical household and community sounds, such as toilets flushing, an automatic hand dryer, vacuum or hair dryer?
  • Frequently ask people to stop talking or singing because of the noise?
  • Seem oblivious to certain sounds that other children notice?
  • Need directions repeated or frequently ask “What?”

Last Week: The Proprioceptive System

Next Week: The Visual System and Olfactory System

Helpful Hints for Halloween

Halloween is almost here! Are you ready?

  • Have your child try on his costume ahead of time. Layering tight fitting clothing, such as Under Armor, may help decrease the discomfort of novel fabrics. Be willing to adjust your expectations of what constitutes a costume. A simple pair of black sweatpants and a favorite Batman shirt could be a Batman costume.
  • Face paint and masks can be difficult for children with tactile sensitivities. If your child wants to have a mask but cannot wear it, attach a dowel to the side so she can hold the mask up when she wants to.
  • Canvas your neighborhood before Halloween. Avoid houses with motion-sensor decorations or warn your child ahead of time if he has auditory sensitivities.
  • Role-play the social interactions required during trick-or-treating. There are many “hidden curriculum” items involved with Halloween, such as:

– skipping houses that do not have lights on

– taking one piece of candy instead of a handful

– waiting in line behind other children who arrived first

– some adults wear costumes while others do not

– other children may wear the same costume as you

– some people wear scary costumes while others do not

– if it is cold outside, you may have to wear a jacket over your costume

– if you do not like any of the candy that a person is offering to you, you can say “No, thank you” or politely take a piece to share with someone else in your family

  • Children who are sensitive to smells and tactile input may be able to participate in pumpkin decorating by painting, drawing or placing stickers on their pumpkin instead of carving.
  • Know your child’s limits. Some children can only tolerate trick-or-treating at a few homes. Watch for signs your child is becoming overwhelmed or over stimulated and take a break.
  • Have a plan and discuss it with your child ahead of time. When will you go trick-or-treating? How much candy will your child be allowed to eat that night?
  • Use sensory breaks. Bring along a drink in a sports bottle or let your child chew gum for organizing oral motor input. Have your child pull a wagon or do a quick set of wall push-ups against the car or an understanding neighbor’s house.
  • As with any holiday, try to keep a reliable schedule at home during the week of Halloween.
  • Most importantly, have fun! Halloween is not about making it to every house in the neighborhood; it is about the quality time your child can enjoy participating in the festivities in a way that works for them.

SPD Month Series, Part 3 of 5: Proprioceptive Processing

Red Flags for Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

October is Sensory Processing Disorder Awareness Month. Each Tuesday in October, we will share some of the “red flags” of SPD.

Many parents of children with sensory processing difficulties report feeling that something was “off” with their child, but they were unable to identify the source. The following list includes some of the red flags we as occupational therapists look for when evaluating a child for sensory dysfunction. If you are concerned about your child’s development and ability to process sensory input, speak with your pediatrician, or give us a call at the Center to discuss the potential need for an evaluation.

Signs of Proprioceptive Dysfunction

The proprioceptive system uses receptors in the joints and muscles throughout the body to provide information regarding body position without having to actually look at our body parts. This system also helps to grade the amount of force that is needed to pick up an egg vs. pick up a full gallon of milk. Proprioceptive input is gained during activities such as pushing, pulling, dragging, lifting, crashing, jumping, chewing and squeezing.

Does your child:

  • Have a strong internal drive for activities such as pushing, pulling, dragging, crashing, etc.?
  • Kick his feet against the floor or chair legs when seated at a table?
  • Fall to the floor intentionally?wrestle dad
  • Frequently bump into people?
  • Fail to notice when he has fallen?
  • Tend to grasp objects so tightly or loosely that it is difficult to use them?
  • Press extremely hard or very lightly on a pencil when writing?
  • Unintentionally use excessive force when playing with animals or peers, such as petting a cat too hard, or giving a hug that is painful to the other person?
  • Break toys or writing tools by pressing too hard?
  • Have a history of difficulty learning bowel and bladder control?

Last Week: The Vestibular System

Next Week: The Auditory System