Saturday, October 23, 2010

Other Potentially Helpful things

These were in the hand-outs for the Tapestry Conference and I didn't get to them. Time goes so fast when you're having fun.

Other Potentially helpful things

Alert System - a "self regulation" "training program"
It's very helpful to borrow the idea (even without the program) and teach children they are like a car - sometimes the engine is too cold and sometimes it is too hot and sometimes it is just right. We also teach them things that we all can do to help our engine run just right.
This website lists a chart.

Weighted items - blankets, vests, weighted stuffed animals that can be used around the shoulders or over the lap, even weighted hats.
Check here for the widest selection, but not necessarily the cheapest

Fidgets - a fidget (known in the adult world as stress balls or desktop toys) is usually a small toy or object that can be manipulated quietly to help a child calmly attend - my favorites come from dollar stores and the best ones can be described "just plain cool" in a sensory-rich way.

Suspended equipment - is OT for swing :) Many different kinds available for indoor and outdoor use (doorframe swings are cool).

"Quick Calmers" (also listed under "Activities that can help a child calm down, organize and focus") - A quick actvity that can be adult directed or the child can be taught them to use whenever they feel the need

Pulling it together – reach way across your body one hand at a time and pull a pretend rope back to midline

Self hug - best way - arms out in front, thumbs down, then palms together (keeping thumbs down), clasp hands, bend elbows, and bring arms and hands in toward chest , and hug. (so easy to show, harder to explain :))

“Magic Mustache” (Amy Monroe’s kids)- use index finger to give sme steady firm pressure across the upper lip (can also be discreetly by adults or older children in a "thinker" pose also giving some good joint input)

Smell a flower, Blow bubbles - Deep breathing is very calming. the best way to encourage children to take a good deep breath is through imagination. Pretend that you both (or all) are smelling their favorite flower (helps to have them close eyes) - hold it up to your nose in your thumb and index finger and take a great big sniff. Then pretend that you are blowing great big bubbles with a magic bubble wand. For boys or girls who aren't jazzed about flowers, pretend you are holding a plate of their favorite cookies (make mine chocolate chip). You can also pretend that you are blowing a dandelion as well. Have them imagine watching the floating bubbles or dandelion dust for further calming and more fun.

Magic Room (make the room bigger) - Take both hand and press firmly and consistently against the wall for some great calming proprioceptive input.

Pretend bubble gum (Dr. Jean) - I love Dr. Jean. For this one pretend you are tossing or handing the child (or children - works great in a group) a piece of bubble gum. Have them chew (don't forget to unwrap :)) the gum and then blow a huge bubble (using your hands in front of your mouth to show how big the bubble is getting and then clap them together to "pop" the bubble). We like to say the bubble gum has been in my pocket a LONG time and needs lots of chewing. The proprioceptive input of the chewing and the blowing are very calming/organizing.

Note - Real bubblegum can also be very organizing (the more pieces the "heavier the work" and the greater the potential benefit!)

Chair pull-ups - While seated in a chair, lift your legs and try to lift the chair. Also great are chair push-ups - put your hands on the chair beside your legs and try to lift yourself into the air. Great heavy work/joint input activity - perfect for discreet use in a classroom or staff meeting. :)

Sucking/Blowing - We've already mentioned two specific "games" but many sucking blowing activities can be very calming. Sipping smoothies, applesauce, yogurt, or thin pudding through a straw can be very fun and orgnizing.

(Disclaimer – If I remember the source, I have noted it. If I have heard of it from multiple sources, can’t remember or if I (or a child I know) made it up, I have not noted)

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