How to  get the hand writing going ?

How to  get the hand writing going ?

When my son was in year 3 in school he was unable to form letters or numbers .  His school provided him with a laptop as his spellings were good but they did not think he was able to write and the OT the school had provided said that the law only requires a child  to be  able to sign his name BUT I had big dreams for my son , i believed he will be able to write . Now as a teenager his hand writing is neat  and nice and he loves writing stories .

At first I had purchased different tracking activities but quickly realised that my son was unable to follow the templates as his focus , tracking and eye teaming were  very poor .  After working with a vision therapist here are my recommendations.

Here are my 5 tips :

  1. Working on the primitive reflexes is a game changer .  Primitive reflexes :  We all have active neurological reflexes present in our central nervous system , those enable us to function as we do in a day to day life . We  are born ,with a number of primitive reflexes, and those facilitate our development in the womb and make it possible for us to undergo the natural birthing process as well as stimulating  our natural development during our early life .  They are tested at birth , and when present , indicate   that the neurological development in the womb is as it should be .  After that, they hang around until we reach certain developmental milestones , such as smiling for the first time or taking the first step, and are able to to perform normal infantile movements in the correct manner . Once we reach that stage , they have no further play in our life and our brains inhibits or removes them from our central nervous system .   As the primitive reflexes are inhibited or removed , they are replaced  by postural neurological reflexes, which remain active in our central nervous system for the rest of our lives, ensuring that we can undertake normal daily movement patterns.  BUT when these primitive reflexes stay from some reason or other in our central nervous system they are a BARRIER TO NORMAL DEVELOPMENT. some of the symptoms include : *Difficulty with visual tracking and crossing the midline.
    • Difficulty with reading and following a line of text.  easily losing their place when reading.
    • Difficulty reading small print.
    • Double vision.
    • poor listening skills.
    • poor handwriting and difficulty coping written script.
    • difficulty with spelling.
    • poor hand eye coordination.
    • impulsive and emotionally immature for their age.

 

Activities for crossing the mid line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gross motor activities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fine motor activities

 

 

 

 

 

 

Choosing the right pencil grip .   

 

 

 

Resources for a Sensory Diet

Resources for a Sensory Diet

In this post I’ve gathered different resources that I found helpful through the years, some can be made at home with a bit of effort and others can be purchased on a small budget.

Resources for hand-eye coordination :
  • Hitting a ball hanging from the ceiling ,bunting the ball ,catching it /hitting with a plastic tennis racket
hitting a ball

hitting a ball

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • For the following resource you would need a tennis ball, tweezers and small pieces of paper:
    Get a standard tennis ball, cut it in the middle and them crunch small pieces of paper at the side.
  • Ask your child  to hold the ball with one hand .opening the ‘mouth of the ball’ and with the other hand insert the pieces of paper using the
  • tweezers.

 

tennis ball eye hand coordination

Tennis ball eye -hand coordination

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Throwing balls into a bucket- you could use a small ping-pong ball or tennis ball together with a small bucket you can find at home, I have used different types of textures sizes hardness and colors to add another layer to the sensory input.
  • Prickly pile up- was a hit in my household when each boy in his turn tried to “pile up” another hedgehog on top of the others making sure they keep “hanging on”

 

 

Resources for Spatial awareness :
  • Spinning –  the feeling of spinning around and getting used to the movement is very important in the way the child develop the spatial awareness this could be done with a desk chair or with the ‘Astronaut board’  below as part of the program.
  • Directionality  : drawing arrows ,mazes and following the direction with arrows helps understanding directionality as your child will physically add the arrows where appropriate.

 

 

astronout board

Primitive Reflexes- (as part of occupational therapist plan) :
Gross motor activity :
  • Jumping on a trampoline /Bosu  – also helps with spatial awareness
  • Jumping from one hula hoop to another- lay 3 to 4 hula hoops on the floor and get your child to jump.
  • Skipping : skipping can be a tricky task for some kids : we first practiced jumping and then learnt the arm motion with poi –socks ( you can make easily at home or buy it ready made.

 

poi sock

poi sock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • jumping jacks exercise -straightforward jumping while moving arms and legs
  • Wheel-barrow exercise : hold the child legs and have him walk on his hands around the house .
  • Putting legs on the wall while the child’s hands are the floor.

 

 Balance :
  • Using a balancing board while hitting a ball which is tied to the ceiling  variation: throwing and catching ballons while on the balancing board –
  • Walking on a beam – there is no need to purchase a beam as you can practice walking in a straight line on pavements outside or in the park.
  • Walking on colored stones –  helps children build confidence when jumping, judging distances, coordinating and balancing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Working on inward/outward position of the toes : we did so with a pigeon/duck walk chart I created .

 

 

duck pigeon walk

duck pigeon walk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Stretchy arm bands or resistance band, they are really great to have at different resistance levels as they can help with motor planning, hand-eye coordination, proprioception and spatial awareness.
  • Pointy dog exercise (Bird dog) 
  • Superman excercise 
  • Marching straight in line with fingers pointing up – this exercise helps with  directionality.
Resources for logical thinking :

*Geoboard – great little board that helps with directionality creativity and mesuring distances as well

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Wooden blocks: Here are some examples for possible structures, the child might find it overwhelming at the beginning so I would recommend to start with an easy setup


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Parquetry blocks – geometrical shapes that can be sorted in as part of a picture or pattern
  • “Thinkfun pathwords” – word game good for spatial orientation , directionality etc..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are few other games from ‘Think fun’ which also contribute to directionality and spatial orientation .

 

  • Q-bitz: a visual challenge game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resources for writing :
  • Pelican pencils , tried a variety of pencil grip but found the pelican pencil the best for my kids as its stable and sturdy.
  • There are many  resources out there which are aimed at helping children in learning to write . I have tried some which combine music and learning  but I have found out that there is a set of basic skills a child has to have before he or she are ready to write.
  • The visual skills are focusing , tracking  and teaming making sure both eyes are working together to be able to learn to write .When the child is ‘Ready to learn’ I found  ‘writing without tears’  to be  a good resource.
Oral resources to help in articulation and speech :
  • Chewy necklaces and Ark grabber both are chewy but the arc is thicker and helps in jaw movement, tongue movement, and oral exploration.
    mouthing, and oral motor development.
  • Blowing and making bubbles using different size of straws
  • Whistles : variety of different kinds .(recommended resource kit
  • Blowing a variety of balloons from different sizes and shapes
  • Baby chewy toys
  • Sucking non sugar lollies (organic lollipops)helps to develop the muscles in our mouth
  • Using a mirror moving the tongue in circles after putting fruity lip-balm / putting one lip over the other sucking lips inwards and pulling tongue out
  • Using electric tooth brush on the lips for sensory input
Speech and Language :
  • Games for WH questions : super duper publications have got a verity of games for Speach and language
  • Auditory workout App: this is a wonderful application designed for children with auditory processing disorder .
  • Learning to sequence : 6 set scene game by ‘Carson Dellosa’ publishing
  • Social stories : creating social stories . I created some , one of them appears on Amazon , it was a story dealing with friendship and competition brother rivalry and relationship I offer it for FREE on this page.
  • Black sheep publications offer games that help in problem solving , imagination and prediction.
  • Tell tale – card  game that encourage imagination and creativity together with communication skills.
  • What a performance – perform a variety of noises, actions and activities to help children express themselves in a unique way.

Rhyhem:

  • Metronome- clapping hands at the right rhyhem and developing awareness to sound and music.
  • ‘Loopz Shifter’ game :  An action memory game that used light and sounds to help in memorizing the steps.

 

loops shifter

loopz shifter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anxiety :

 

Craniosacral therapy

Craniosacral therapy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Nutrition : healthy diet helps in revealing stress avoiding process foods added sugar and white flour.
How I taught Math ?

How I taught Math ?

Teaching math at first seemed like an impossible task to me.   Guy didn’t understand what is counting or how to add simple sums or even subitising which is Instantly recognizing the number of objects in a small group, without counting . for example: when holding 3 fingers up a child automatically know its 3 . I can remember it made me anxious and protective whenever people asked him “How much is 2 + 5 or any simple sum …something that is expected of children of primary school age . I knew he didn’t have a clue . As a teacher I used to feel impatient with children who “didn’t get it “….but when my son did not understand simple concepts I developed an enormous amount of patience and creativity , qualities I did not think exist in me . I started reading a lot about neuroplasticity and that children are often mislabeled with a learning problem when it is often a vision/development related problem . In schools children are often labeled as being ‘Dyslectic’ , ‘Dyscalculia’ and so on …. I didn’t want to label my child as “Dys” before finding out if there not some neuro-development issue that is causing these learning difficulties . I thought there must be a way to teach him and I knew these answers wont be given to me by our national health service – the NHS or the school . It is a known fact that learning is more effective through movement. Embodied Cognition is the notion that the body influences the mind . It is when our motor system influences our cognition just as our mind has an impact on our bodily actions. It has become a very hot topic in many researches and many neuro-scientists are talking about it . We all learn differently and some of the activities will work for some and some will work for others , the key to all activities is to use a Multi-sensory approach and be creative .   My resources and activities are aimed at a low budget . As I have stated earlier my belief that we can rewire our brain and the wonderful results I have had has guided me through this journey. Changes are possible ……amazing changes are possible!!! Teaching to count :   My method was a multi-sensory approach combing Floortime , movement and tactile . During these years I converted my bedroom into a sensory room .   My mattress was put leaning against the wall and the entire space was devoted for our exercises.   My priority was helping Guy “bridge “ the gaps in his development, I preferred having a “sensory room rather than a bedroom.   As my husband was always very supportive , it was his decision as well. As we live in England and often have “cold weather” which Guy didn’t adapt well to cold weather  as  it often caused him to be non responsive and apathetic.   So instead of jumping on our Trampoline outside we did our jumping indoors. I used many different ways to give him the understanding of the counting . We did a lot of jumping : we put a variety of cushions on the floor together with a ‘Bosu’ (fitness training device) and mini trampoline and practiced counting from 1-10 and counting backwards as well. *We balanced on a balance board while hitting a ball to the wall , supporting hand-eye coordination at the same time of balancing and counting . Resources for Counting:
  • Three Bear Family Counters
  • Counting  his favourite toys.
  • Easy to make velcro chart like the one below:
.  
  • Dienz Blocks  (great resource to understand place value)
  • As stated by Harry Wachs in his book Visual/Spatial Portals to thinking, feeling and movement “These blocks are useful for developing numerical literacy and can help the child develop the visual infrastruction for mathematical thought”. (Visual/Spatial Portals to Thinking,Feeling and Movement page 426) .
         
  • Numicon:  An apparatus which I found very useful was the Numicon . A proven approach in teaching math in the primary national curriculum . It develops fluency by using a visual, practical base to develop conceptual understanding and fluent recall. 

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