Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Embedding Sensory Opportunities into the Classroom

During IEP meetings parents often ask how we OTs incorporate sensory experiences into the school day.  Here are some examples I share, according to the particular classroom:

Note:  Some of these are “out there” so sift through for any helpful ones...

1. Put yesterday’s classroom library books in the M-W-F box and arrange the Tu-Th books neatly on the library shelf in the classroom. (Heavy work—sequencing—spatial orientation)

2. After doing “wall push-ups” on the chalkboard, practice drawing a simple sketch from a drawing book which relates to a topic being discussed that day. (Working arms in anti-gravity position while drawing; joint compression and upper body strengthening which some students find calming; increase success in drawing to increase interest in journal writing or other academics which include student drawing)

3. Extra clean up of student desks, tables. Student or adult squirts thin line of shaving cream on table surfaces, then uses hands to spread it over the table. Student then uses thick cloth to wipe up cream from table, followed by using a drying towel. (This is not really a “cleaning.” Good for L to R sequencing, weight bearing through arms, sequencing of a task).

4. Classic chalkboard cleaning. An oldie but goodie for students who are not sensitive to chalk dust. Students wipe chalkboard with a thick, damp washcloth, with adult supervision to avoid slippery floors. May use spray bottle to dampen chalkboard if student can handle the responsibility. (Anti-gravity arm movement to strengthen arms; left to right sequencing; attention to detail)

5. One student assigned to sharpen pencils, manually. Keep a “sharp” and “dull” basket to avoid sharpening during the day. (Hand strength; attention to task)

6. Use magnetic clips to hold paper, or use blue painter's tape to temporarily attach paper to a classroom easel or whiteboard, for practicing handwriting formation, 5-10 minutes daily.  Alternately, may use for copying homework from board. (Anti-gravity arm movement and pencil grasp refinement).  Ideally, an adult or helper from an older grade should monitor to supervise correct formation. (This will pay off greatly as students may feel better about writing as the year progresses.)

1 comment:

Katherine Collmer said...

These are great ideas! Children love to help out in the classroom and your "straightening up and sharpening" suggestions are simple to putting into action. I like you anti-gravity activities, as well. Thanks for sharing. I will do the same.