Sunday, October 28, 2012

Responsibilities for Kids at Home

This is an interesting post, listing home responsibilities (AKA "chores") for kids at different ages.  Many will make excellent home program suggestions.  Be sure to read the follow-up comments for ideas for older kids, too.

Chores for Young Children

Too Much Halloween Fun in Richmond

In the Fan District of Richmond (streets near the university form the shape of a lady's fan) there are many creative folks who like to decorate their homes for Halloween.  A friend and I walked Hanover Avenue in the Fan today and dropped our jaws at some wonderful stuff.

 A Sentry

 Honestly, they look real.

I think I'll make this web with all the hay twine I've got in the barn.
The scariest things I saw---hairy brown spiders of all sizes, along with a terrifyingly realistic vampire bat that hangs from a tree right over the sidewalk--EEK!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Making Pumpkins Using Electronic Switches

This week we painted real pumpkins and also made 2-D foam pumpkins in the middle school class for students with significant cognitive disabilities.  The students pressed on a round switch to activate a spinner dial, stopping on the facial feature they wanted to add to their pumpkins.

We started with the foamy pumpkins.

Then, on to the real deal!  First, we explored all the different textures of the pumpkins--the smooth, cool sides and the rough, jagged stem on top.
This student preferred to use his head switch to activate the spinner dial.

As usual, I forgot to take photos of the finished pumpkins.  Out of kindness to me, the OT who doesn't like to work with paint or ooey gooey things, the teachers and SLP used stickers for the facial features on the pumpkins.  Unfortunately, the stickers kept falling off!  Maybe they used the slimey stuff after I left...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Visible Decibel Level Meter

I need one of these for work and for home!  Even with DH using headphones the TV audio at our house is pretty loud!

Keeping the Peace

Monday, October 22, 2012

Inexpensive Fidget Toy

This is a wonderful idea for a quiet fidget toy; just make sure the sweeties don't put marbles in their mouths!  Can make in a variety of textures.

Fabric Marble Maze Fidget Toy

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fundraiser for Classroom

How can anyone resist these big, chocolate lollipops???

A local bakery supply shop special ordered the puzzle-shape molds for the classroom staff to make the pops.  The students will sell them during lunches at the high school.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Zombie Pumpkins

Some kids thought the idea of zombie pumpkins was cool, some thought it was scary.

Are you brave enough to make a Zombie Pumpkin???
Use a light color crayon to make heavy shading on construction paper, with the sandpaper pumpkin shape underneath.  Similar idea to making "rubbings" from tombstones.  You can usually find tombstones in cemeteries, where Zombie Pumpkins hang out after Halloween.
Use a template (this one is a leaf) to go back and outline your "rubbing" with a contrasting color.  This one will be a sweet maple leaf design, not a Zombie Pumpkin.
 Be sure to practice writing the name of your creation, using correct letter formation.
 Each student grasped the crayon in their own way, to generate enough power to create the rubbing.
 Red is a good accent color for Zombie Pumpkin eyes.
It took some practice to squeeze a skinny strand of glue to outline the pumpkin without the glue glopping all over.
 Make the eyes real spooky.

Sprinkle a tad of cinnamon all around the pumpkin, then shake off the excess and save it on a piece of paper.
 Some students stay more alert when they're standing.  Who says we have to sit all the time in school???

We had quite a bit of cinnamon leftover from the first two students, so we used it up for the last go round.  Cinnamon feels so soft in your fingers.

Oops!  Forgot to take shots of the finished Zombie Pumpkins.  Check back later!

10-24-2016--Erica just contributed:  "My kids have LOVED this idea! Great for those kiddos that are working on grading movement/pressure to have their writing show up on paper! I have a class of 5 boys for SOL Aut- how perfect was this!"

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

College Cooking Continues--Scrambled Eggs with Cheese

More college cooking today in the high school class for students with autism, making easy scrambled eggs in the microwave.
 Wish we could have sprayed that Pam outside--I'm sure we all breathed too many fumes during the session.
 Each student referred to the visual and text steps of the activity.
 Tons of variety of skill in how the students cracked the eggs.  Most students tapped the eggs slightly against the rim of the bowls, then just used their fingers to open the eggs fully.  It got a little messy...
 Back to the directions for the next step.
 Most of the egg and milk mixture remained inside the bowls during the mixing.
 Each microwave is different--this one took about two minutes for two eggs and a little milk.
 Get those potholders ready; it's hot!
 Sprinkle on a little cheese and microwave again for a few seconds.

 Cut apart a section for each cooking buddy.
Enjoy your scrambled eggs, along with your morning snack from home (Oreos!)

It was interesting to note that each student demonstrated basic cooking skills (knew to tap egg on rim of bowl, knew how to hold potholders, knew how to open and start microwave oven).

We made sure the students washed their hands thoroughly after the activity--raw eggs!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Age Appropriate Pre-Vocational Activities for High School Students with Autism

What a great pre-voc activity for the classroom!  This student has excellent manual dexterity and can insert the name slips into these ID badges with minimal effort.
 Although the corners are a little difficult to squeeze into the snug plastic holders, this student can do it without getting frustrated and bending the paper too forcefully.  You could start with paper slips that are slightly smaller and work up to the correct size paper.
 Some students can sort the completed slips by color, alphabetize them by last name or sort by another characteristic.
This teacher found these ID badges at a recycle store, but you might send a notice to parents to donate materials that are suitable for pre-voc activities.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ideas for Improving Writing Grasp

Love this blog post--but....don't think I'd use those kitchen tools with kids (especially the microplaner--yikes!!!). 

Otherwise, great ideas.

Ideas for Improving Pencil Grip

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Teensy Weensy Magnetic Letter Tiles

When I saw these styrofoam-ish, magnetic letter tiles in a travel game at my favorite thrift store a couple of weekends ago, I knew they'd be excellent for many of my kids.
The font serves as a good model for students to practice copying a letters in a word that appeals to them (batman!)
 There's a little guy I work with who needs lots of perking up activities to stay focused, so I put the tiles on a chair in the hallway (less distracting to his classmates) and asked him to find the letters in a word we were talking about.  Of course, I put them on a low chair so he'd have to bend over, and over and over.  Turned out that this promoted weightbearing through his left arm, which provided some nice heavy work opportunities (proprioceptive input).
Using the metal window frame as a board resulted in nice wrist extension while placing the letters in the correct order.  The individual tiles are about 1/3' to 1/2" square and I think they'd be easy to make from recycled materials.