Tuesday, April 22, 2014

This, Not This

One of the first graders I work with has a pretty inefficient and fatiguing grasp that she likes to use just fine.  So, we try all different kinds of ways to encourage more wrist extension and IP flexion to hold and maneuver the pencil.

We thought of spring-ish words and wrote them on a vertical surface, using a wobbly Q-tip and stamp pad ink.  The connected boxes worked as a boundary for the letter sizing and placement.  This grasp above is sorta acceptable.

This grasp is better...
 ...and the bottom photo is of the grasp we're trying to avoid! 

EEK!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Joys of Spring Break

Yesterday was the first day of our Spring Break--total wonderfulness abounds.
Celebrated by going to our local botanical garden, which was recently voted to be the second best botanical garden in the USA--wowie zowie!  Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
It only takes about 2 hours to tour it, but there are many delights.  Your olfactory system is singing in the conservatory where all those gorgeous orchids reside.







That's enough beauty to last me through the week.  Now, on to cleaning the house that's been neglected all semester and getting prepped for a big holiday dinner at home on Sunday.
If you're on Spring Break, too--have a wonderful time being not at work and gear up for the rest of the school year to come.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Writing Anywhere You Can

Last Friday I noticed this clever use of an interior window as an additional writing area in a resource classroom.  The creative teacher taped a huge sheet of writing paper on one side of the glass and students stood to write their "word wall words" on the other side. 
Notice the built-in shelf for the markers.  Very inventive; go Ms. Brinkley!



Friday, April 4, 2014

Rubber-banded Markers for Better Traction

One elementary student has quite a bit of difficulty opening her color markers independently.  We tried slipping these teensy rubber bands into the space between the marker and the cap, but then the cap wouldn't snap closed.  Oh well...
So, we tried winding several rubber bands around the marker and also the cap, to see if she could get a little more traction when trying to pull the two parts apart.  Voila!  With a little practice, it worked!
Once the first one worked, she decided to match the rubber band color to the color of all the other markers...schmart!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Customizing a Fine Motor Activity

For the last few weeks I've enjoyed having a FW1 student with me on Thursday mornings.  Today she planned the fine motor session for one of my elementary-age students, using an activity she customized for his interests.
During a meeting with his family a couple of weeks ago we heard that the student loves all kinds of animals--so Dana created a cutting, writing and memory activity to match his interest in all things slitherly or furry.
The neon-colored paper also captured his attention as he practiced cutting along the lines, which Dana had widened just a tad to give him a better "road" for his scissors to follow.  She noted that he did not always keep his fingers on the scissors in the same manner and attempted some pretty creative grasp patterns during the session.  This was his best grasp of the scissors, which is just fine.
Now it was time to name those critters.  Writing on a vertical surface wasn't the sure cure for his inefficient grasp pattern.  After the session Dana and I discussed ideas for how to promote a better pencil grasp next time. 
In between there were some short breaks and the student practiced doing chair push-ups, to improve his hand/arm strength.  Back to the activity. 
The memory game should have been lots more fun than cutting and writing, but our student decided that he wasn't good at it so Dana had to coax some self-confidence and participation out of him.
After the student returned to class Dana and I discussed his boundary-testing behavior and the fine motor skills he needs to improve to perform more effectively during classroom tasks.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Remember Your Good Body Mechanics When Traveling

Another timely post by my work buddy, Fiona:
http://www.scoutiegirl.com/travel-and-ergonomics-a-how-to-guide

Written for those of you who actually do travel...while folks like me consider it a vacation to work outside and just hang out with the cat:

Keiko takes a break.. by kws



Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sorta Biofeedback for Better Posture

One of our guy friends this morning was wearing this sensor/alert device and curious me asked how it worked...had it helped...how complicated was it to use...  device for sensing posture

He said it monitored his upright posture and sent a variable intensity vibration to the skin to remind him to stand up taller when he slouched, and that he had less pain in his lower back (he can now bend over forward without pain) because he was using better posture during the day.  I was floored.

In the 80's therapists used mercury switches (buying the parts at Radio Shack), attached them onto the collars of our clients and connected them to radios or tape players so the music would play when the client sat or stood "tall" and the circuit in the switch connected.  We had to keep fiddlin' with the placement of the mercury switch on the person's clothing to get it just right.  Frustration city.

This device sounds real interesting to me.  Have you seen one in use???