Thursday, December 8, 2016

Portable Device for Pouring Liquids--Switch Access

Leave it to our newest OT on staff, Amanda Beason, to create a portable cup pourer for use by several of her students.  It took her all of 30 minutes from dream to finish--way to go, Amanda!

Cup Pouring Device video

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Smooth, Cool Water Beads

My morning elementary students had a wide variety of reactions to handling these water beads, mostly positive.  We submerged different objects in the beads---plastic letters, foam letters, connecting toys--and the students had to dig out the correct letter or shape to use in our activities.

One student only dared to reach in with his fingertips; the rest of the students seemed to enjoy exploring the cool, smooth beads.  Of course, several students squished them until they popped and one tried to taste them.  Even though the packaging states that they are non-toxic they can be a choking hazard.

You know your fingers want to dive in.
The foam letters don't soak up the moisture from the beads.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Using a Paper Cup to Clean Shaving Cream & Fingerpaint Off a Table

Quick tip:  Yesterday after an extremely messy shaving cream/fingerpaint activity the preschool teacher first wiped off the tables with a dry paper towel and then inverted a paper cup and scraped it around the table in a circular fashion.  Why?  It loosened the dried mess, which then collected in the cup.  Who knew? 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Weighted Shoulder "Shawl"

One of my teachers for high school students with autism asked me about a weighted shawl for trial by a student in her class.  The purpose is similar to using any other type of weighted item that is worn on the body's core--increased awareness of trunk position in space, the need to actively maintain postural integrity because now you're resisting the downward force from the added weight, similar to the feeling you get when a person is gently pressing you downward through your shoulders.  Many people find the input comforting and settling.

If a student has skeletal concerns or neuromuscular concerns be sure to rule out any possibility that the weight on the neck and shoulders may cause discomfort or injury.   Also, this is not a safe option for students who throw things.

This weighted shawl totals six pounds, which is not much for a tall teen.  However, you do feel it after wearing it for a few minutes.  Twenty minutes on, max, and then it comes off.   We'll have to experiment with the weight and wearing time.  If the student responds well to the input I'll sew up a long, skinny pillowcase to keep it in.  Or, how about two colorful soccer socks that meet in the middle?

Thx to my trusty, SLP buddy, for modeling!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Keeping Santa in Check

Unearthing holidays decorations from this storage spot and that, I discovered that I had purchased two more santa Pez dispensers than I needed.  One was missing the paint on his eyes and that inspired this idea for a method of reining in his scrutiny over our household:

Who knows--this technique might also work for that pesky elf on your shelf???

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Personal Space

Yesterday I saw one of my high school teachers for students with autism wearing a lanyard with several communication symbols attached; this one caught my eye:

I need one of these, desperately, to help me with a Kindergarten student who practically climbs in my lap while we're working together.  That's okay for my personal children (when they were much smaller) but not the students I work with.  From time to time I've noticed that the students who consistently enter my personal space sometimes do so to distract me from noticing that they haven't followed through on the direction I just gave them...

Another great communication tool/behavior helper on her lanyard serves to visually remind students to identify and label their level of emotion (5 Point Scale*):
I could use this all day long, with students and to help my colleagues understand what they're dealing with when interacting with me...

*5 Point Scale:

Looking Up

On the way to the car this frosty morning I was greeted by this display in the sky:
Even though I live close to an airport I really don't think these were contrails left by precision pilots.

What type of clouds are these???