Friday, September 24, 2010

Gummy Abacus

Wish I had an abacus like this back in the 50's when I was first learning to add. 

This is really a fine motor & proprioceptive activity for a high schooler in a class for students with autism.  He needs a little more adult-directed activity built into his day to keep his fingers happy and these fruit-scented gummy bits take a little work to push along the surgical tubing.  Yep, they're from my favorite store--Big Lots. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Handwriting Without Tears fun

The early, early HWT book has enticing drawings for kids to practice eye-hand coordination with their little pencils.  If you're like me, there are only so many HWT books we're able to purchase each year, so I'm always looking for ways to stretch out their use.
Try using drink stirrers as invisible ink pencils to "color" the little stars and fireflies on the beginning pages.  We also connected the stars and fireflies, invisibly of course, and it was fun to make screechy noises with the stirrers on the page as we invisibly drew a line from one to the next.

Monday, September 20, 2010

How Cool is This

Here are some views of the sensory area for high school students in a class for kids with severe intellectual disabilities.  Isn't this so cool!
The butterfly shot is the inside of the roof and the "veins" of the roof are highlighted with holiday lights (not flashing!).
Seems like the current theme is "Ocean animals."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Anyone making videos of class activities?

Have started taking photos of class activities, working with the speech-language pathologist for the high school to expand the photos into videos (using Windows Movie Maker), and to have students type in title text and narrate the action.  Anyone have videos like this to share?  I made extra sure I had photo permissions from the families!

Can you tell what the photo shows--it's a snow cone maker.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Lunch at Big Lots

Found these kids' utensils at Big Lots today--sturdy plastic and sized right for elementary students.  A few rubber bands on the handles would make them less slippery, if needed.  The brown spreader is adorable and what works better than a beaver's tail??? 

Don't know if I'd give too many students the shark knife but for some kids it would be great for cutting food and Play-dough. 

Yep, the price is right.  Just $1 for the whole bunch.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It Was a Picnic

My wild PT friend and I drove up to a home eval this morning, to find everyone outside at the picnic table.  No hot dogs, no pink jello, no ants--just a bunch of Early Childhood Evaluators, a litter of flea-bitten kittens, free-range chickens, a quiet little kid and one unhappy adult who was surprised at our arrival. 

After I had a stand-off with a rooster I was able to observe enough play to give an opinion on the little one's hand skills and we were outta there.  Skimpiest observation I've done probably ever, but I was glad the family member even allowed us to be there.

Photo from Virginia State Fair 2009.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Need a Quiet Space in Your Classroom?

When I was visiting one of my high schools today, the teacher for students with severe disabilities showed me how she had put high shelves in the classrooms for keeping assistive technology and augmentative communication devices handy, yet out of reach of the students when they were not using specific devices.  By using the white, coated metal shelves (usually found in closets) we could see what was on the shelves more easily than if she had just used particle board or another solid material.  That was enough of a great idea for me for one day, then my wild PT friend asked me if I had seen the "sensory" area.

Well, we walked into another room and I saw a square beach canopy set up in the room, with streamers hanging from the horizontal supports and all kinds of electronic aquariums and other electronics to provide gentle visual stimulation during a quiet time.  Last year I thought about placing a large, clip-on beach umbrella over the computer tables to cut down on overhead glare and decrease distractions while using the computer, but this idea was much more effective in changing the whole tone of an area for students.  Will take pictures soon to share.