Indoor Sensory Play For Winter Months

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Indoor Sensory Play | Tips For Homework Time | Busy Bag Activities | Above & Beyond Award


• Wheelbarrow walk with or without assistance; the child will lie on his/her stomach and walk forward, then backward on the hands without falling off the ball • Lift ball high above head to throw, bounce, or roll to parent, sibling, or friend • "Push, push, push" the therapy ball against the parent or sibling while in a kneeling position, using arms, or lying on the back using legs • Wheelbarrow walk with or without assistance; the child will lie on his/her stomach and walk forward, then backward on the hands without falling off the ball Superman: Lie on stomach; hold arms and legs straight out and off the floor. Try to hold this position as long as possible. Rollie Pollies: Lie on back; bend knees toward head, crunching the trunk up as much as possible while holding legs. Roll back and forth and side to side, trying to keep head and knees close together. Chair Lift-Offs: Sit on a hard chair with back straight. Put hands on the edges, by hips, with thumbs pointing forward. Push arms HARD until bottom lifts off the chair. Try to hold this position as long as possible. Sampson: Stand by a blank wall, facing forward. Back up about 4

The winter months can be a challenging time for children with sensory processing disorder. The opportunity for outdoor play may be limited. Children and parents may inadequately become over-reliant on using technology such as television, computers and iPads, which don't provide the vital body-oriented and movement options needed to address the sensory and behavioral challenges their children experience. There are however alternatives to explore that are fun, inexpensive, motivating and therapeutic. A child's primary preoccupation is play, and children learn best about their world by moving through it. Purposeful movement will calmand organize the over-responsive and sensory-seeking child, and will alert the under-responsive one. The key elements for purposeful, play-basedmovement are: to be child-directed, motivating and FUN! Here are some suggestions for sensory-based activities to try at home: CALMING & ORGANIZING ACTIVITIES ("HEAVY WORK") These will aid sleeping, calm a child down, prepare the child to go out into the community and help attain and maintain an alert state for schoolwork. Large Therapy Ball Activities & Games:

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or 5 feet and put hands on the wall at shoulder height. The child will be leaning into the wall, holding the body up, and elbows will be straight. Keeping the back STRAIGHT, pretend to try to push the wall down. Quicksand: Hold the child's feet at the ankles when he/she is in a four-point kneeling positions. Have himcrawl to the designated "land: and out of the "quicksand" while the adult provides resistance tomake themuscles of the legs, trunk and arms really work hard to move forward. Chin-Ups/Pull-Ups: Purchase an adjustable chin-up bar at a sporting goods store to hang in a bedroomor classroomdoorway. Dog Pile: Take turns lying on the bottomof the pile while others lie on top. Try to get out frombeneath the pile. Note: it is important to let the child dictate "howmuch" and "how long". When you witness a calming effect, make a simple comment, such as, "Wow, you are really settling down. Does this feel good?" BODY AWARENESS & MOTOR PLANNING ACTIVITIES These will help improve balance, coordination and gross motor skills, as well as improve sensory registration and discrimination. • Walk on a straight or curved line, heel to toe (use masking tape on carpet or floor) • Stand on sofa cushions or bed to play catch. Try it again on one foot • Army Crawl: Combat crawl under "tunnels" mad of chairs or over "mountains" of sofa cushions • "Simon Says" • Jump to targets (e.g., inside a taped circle, hula hoop from pillow to pillow) • Jump rope (this can be modified from typical jump roping to games such as "The Limbo" or jumping over the rope, starting at a low level and increasing the height) • Obstacle courses (use furniture, chairs, cushions, pillows) • Animal walks (Bear, Crab, Elephant, Lion, Monkey, Snake, etc.) • Mini trampolines can be used inside to help your child attend for longer periods when he appearsmotor restless or inattentive. Your child can jump on it to learn math facts or spelling words, or you can play catch with him while he is jumping FINE MOTOR ACTIVITIES These activities will develop hand arches, separation of the hand, and finger isolation to improve manipulative ability for self-care and handwriting. They help improve sensory awareness for the tactile (touch) system and will improve fine motor coordination: • Use tweezers to eat snacks such as popcorn or mini- marshmallows • Play the "flicking game"- put small items on a tabletop, curl the fingers in and "flick" with index and thumb. Make a round target on a tabletop (use the format of a dart board or archery target), using masking tape or washable marker, and award points for accuracy, with the highest point for hitting the center target

• Use the tabletop target to blow cotton balls or small balls or small balls of paper, using straws to blow the balls to the target. A variation of this activity is tomake "goals" at opposite ends of a table and try to blow the ball into the goal while the opponent "defends" it by blowing the balls back away from the goal • Flip playing cards over tomatch/sort by color, suit, or number • Teach your child traditional card games such as OldMaid, Crazy 8s, and Go Fish, and board games such as Scrabble, Monopoly, Sorry, Trouble, or Candy Land. These games develop visual motor skills, hand dexterity, and social interaction though turn taking • Put stickers on the child's body and have the child remove themwith his "pinchy fingers" (thumb and index). Increase the challenge by removing them with his eyes closed • Use a squeeze bottle to help clean mirrors or play with in the bathtub • Hide coins or other small items inside balls of Play-Doh for the child to discover with fingertips • Put shaving cream on cookie sheets for sensory exploration • Make a "Feel-and-Find" box by cutting a fist-sized hole in the lid, place items inside the box, and have your child locate an item and identify it without using visual aids. A variation of this activity is to take digital photos or make flashcards with the items' names and take turns drawing a card and finding the matching object When children engage on sensory activities, many wonderful things occur! Your child will learn how to control his body movements, improve body awareness, increase his ability to attend for periods, improvemotor, social, and play skills, regulate behavior, and feel a sense of mastery and self-worth. Best of all, these activities can include siblings and parents and will foster family relationships through play. Enjoy!

Written by: Beth Aune, OTR/L

Success Stories "William has made remarkable progress at school as well as home. He is much more settled and comfortable with tasks that used to cause problems. His overall disposition is more laid back. Thank you, Ms. Tracy, and Pediatric Therapies!" - K.B.

"My child succeeded in eating dinner by himself (without any fits!) by doing an obstacle course before dinner begins!" -A.R.

"This week, my child did well following directions and paying attention while on vacation. We took Molly to a UT football game and she watched the entire game that was very loud. She enjoyed cheering with the crowd. This is a big deal because she normally covers her ears when around loud noises. Her ability to pay attention to the game itself was astonishing. We also took her to the Knoxville Zoo. She had to listen to directions to be able to feed a giraffe. She was very gentle even though she was so excited. She also went down a tube slide. At home, Molly has been able to work on math homework for 30-45 minutes without sensory input. She has started buckling her own car seat buckle. She tries to dress herself, even though she still needs help. She is now asking for help instead of crying out" -A.M. Awards! As a group, Pediatric Therapies votes each year for fellow employees in the following categories: • Way Above and Beyond Award • Velcro Award - For being the "hook" to our "loop" in holding us together Superstar Award Our Superstar Award this month goes to Maya M.

Maya is such a hard worker, she gives 110% every session no matter what activity is chosen. Maya has great motivation and de t e rmi na t i on t o complete and do her very best in all activities, most always with a smile on her face. She has such a kind heart and often thinks of others over herself, which is so amazing at such a young age. Maya has made so much progress in many of her

• Glass Half Full Award • Funny Bunny Award • Success Story Award

From left to right: Danielle Carder, OTR/L and VPA - Velcro Award, Keely Nall, M.S., OTR/L, CTRS - Glass Half Full & Funny Bunny Award, Brittany Drabyn, MOT, OTR/L - Success Story Award, and Dana Daymude, M.S., OTR/L and VPO - Velcro Award and Way Above and Beyond

Award (not pictured: Kayce Owens-Office Manager- Velcro Award) Congratulations to all of our therapists and staff for your hard work and dedication, and for making 2016 another wonderful year at Pediatric Therapies!

skills and her self-confidence has blossomed in the past few months and is so fun to see. I truly enjoy my days with Maya and look forward to them each week. She is so deserving of this award because she is a Superstar in so many ways!!


Do You Notice Your Child Struggling With... • Speech or language delays? • Gross or fine motor or other physical challenges? • Social skills, play and interaction? • Sensory or self regulation challenges? • Self care difficulties such as feeding or dressing?



• Hair gel (we used approximately 16 fl. ounces) • Snowflake buttons • Sequins • Duct tape (optional)

What you’ll need: • 1 zip top bag (2 if your child tends to be rough) • Blue food coloring

5. Place the “snowy” sensory bag on the table and let your child enjoy some mess-free sensory play!

What to do: 1. In all this takes about 5 minutes to put together, including locating all the materials. 2. Place the gel into the zip top bag with the food coloring. You can make the gel as light or dark as you want, but I would recommend staying on the lighter side or it can become difficult to see the buttons. 3. Duct tape the top closed if you desire. You can also double up the bag at this point. 4. Scatter the buttons and sequins into the bag being sure to get some gel in-between them or they will all stick together.

If you are worried that your child might squish too hard, you can also tape around the edges onto the table so that they cannot pick up the bag, but they can still enjoy playing with it.


SQUIRMY WORMY: HOW I LEARNED TO HELP MYSELF by Lynda Farrington Wilson Voted 2012 Book of the Year by Creative Child Magazine, Squirmy Wormy is a wonderful little children's book about a boy named Tyler, who has autism and SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder). Together with Tyler, the reader learns about SPD, and what everyday easy therapys he can do by himself feel better. For instance: "I feel like running really fast, run run run! Maybe I just need a s-q-u-e-e-z-e between the couch cushions like a hot dog. Whew! I feel better."

WIN A $30 GIFT CERTIFICATE! Families that have perfect attendance for the month of January will be entered into a drawing for a $30 gift certificate at the end of the month. If you attend multiple therapies, you will have multiple chances to win! Get more details from our front desk.

10 Tips to Make Homework Time Less Painful

The amount of homework assigned these days can be overwhelming. If the homework assigned is excessive, or if the content is too difficult for a child's capabilities, homework effectiveness can backfire--especially in grade school- aged children. Stressmechanisms can negatively affect comprehension and retention of new material, battles over homework can contribute to family conflict, and negative associations with homework can lead to avoidance patterns. Even very bright and organized kids can experience undue stress from homework, and those with attention problems, learning disabilities or mood symptoms can become disorganized and deregulated, creating a vicious cycle. Here are some tips to make homework time more efficient and less painful: 1. INCORPORATE SENSORY-MOTOR TRICKS. For active, restless, or fidgety kids, try having them sit on an exercise ball, or tie an exercise band around the front legs of their chair (so they can push and pull on it with their feet). Chewing gum can also work, as chewing or sucking can be organizing for the nervous system. 2. USE A TIMER. For kids who have a hard time starting their work, try saying "okay, let's see how much you can get done in thirty minutes," and set the timer. Reset it again if needed. Or, try "if you can sit down and start working in the next 5 minutes, you can earn 'x' as a reward." 3. TALK TO THE TEACHER. How long is their homework supposed to take? If your child spends a much longer time than is expected, the amount may be unrealistic. Ask if the teacher can modify it (eg get rid of some of the "busy work", reduce the "project" load, or just assign odd or even problems.) You may need this in writing as part of a formal plan, but if it makes sense, ask for it. 4. TAKE BREAKS...BUT KEEP 'EM SHORT. Let your child unwind for a short time after school, but try to get the work completed earlier than later. Giving a snack with protein, healthy fats, and/ or complex carbs will help support brain power and keep blood sugar steady. 5. USE REWARDS. For kids who are unmotivated, give immediate rewards as often as possible ("I'll play a board game with you once you're finished.") Don't use video games as a reward, since they have an adverse effect academically, and can affect concentration, sleep, and time management. 6. GET A TUTOR OR HOMEWORK BUDDY. Many kids don't need a tutor per se, but do better with someone (other than mom or dad, sometimes) sitting next to them to help them stay on task.

and nothing but a desk and chair (or ball!). The more visual and auditory distractions there are, the more interruptions there are. White noise or classical music can be helpful, but keep it soft.

8. LOSE THE SOCIAL MEDIA. Some children (especially middle and high school kids) like to Skype and text while doing homework. Recently a thirteen year old girl told me that skyping helped her get her work done. Since she had good grades I didn't press the issue. Then she participated in an electronic media fast as part of a school project, and got all her work done for the school week by Tuesday. She also went to bed two hours earlier than usual. Needless to say she couldn't believe how rested she felt! 9. BE AVAILABLE. Lots of times I hear about kids who end up ripping up homework because no one was close by enough to ask for help. Don't do their work for them, but stay nearby, help guide them and keep giving positive feedback. 10. DON'T LET THEM MULTI-TASK. Multitasking is really switching attention or focus repeatedly rather than attending to multiple tasks at once. Although some kids insist they can settle down better with the tv on, research has shown that multitasking with screen media is linked to poorer performance. Other kids will have all their books open at once and switch around from subject to subject. Have them complete one subject at a time, with the hardest task first.

Above all, give the situation a reality check. Both sleep and play are more important for mental well-being and development than homework, somake sure these take priority.

7. CREATE A PRODUCTIVE SPACE. In an ideal world, homework would be done in a room with blank walls

Written by: Victoria L. Dunkley, MD

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