Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Activities for Students Who Like to Be Hugged, alot

Sorry if I've shared this info previously.  Since you might be thinking of recommendations for home over the summer a few of these activities may be helpful for students who seem to always be craving deep pressure input:

1. Resistance Exercises: Use Thera-band, Thera-tubing or bands cut from the lower 6” of old t-shirts. Since she likes to feel deep pressure there are several resistance exercises that might provide her with that input and I can show you some.

2. Figure out where to mark a square or “x” on the floor and have student stand inside the square, leaning heavily against the wall with flat palms, a straight back and flat feet. Push away from the wall and clap real hard before landing back on the wall with flat palms. Repeat at least 10 times. If clapping is too loud for the classroom you don’t have to include that.

3. Does she have Special PE? There may be some stretches or exercises which can be done in the classroom. If she’s familiar with yoga she might do poses that require upper body weight bearing. If that’s weird in the open classroom do you have room dividers to create an exercise area?

4. Keep a large zip-up sweatshirt on back of chair, show her how to zip herself up with the back of the sweatshirt behind the chair. Lean forward for the feeling of being compressed/squished.  Be sure that the student is capable of freeing herself from the sweatshirt or chair; this is not a restraint!

5. If you feel that you can have a sitting ball in your classroom, with the students respecting the safety rules for using it, try a ball that inflates to the height of student chairs. If you put the ball inside a large cardboard box that comes half-way up the sides of the ball that will help it be more stable (but not totally safe). The vertical movement of gently bouncing and adjusting your position on the ball are also weight bearing activities. This can be a risky addition to the classroom so use your best judgement.

6. 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. Or, allow the student to tape her paper on the board and write while standing. (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)

7. Classroom job--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).  Ensure that the student is not sensitive to any of the ingredients in the shaving cream.

Bonus:  Call me crazy, but I think keeping a large beach towel handy and using it to "dry" your back (over your clothes, of course) would be very good input.  Use fast movements for alerting and focus on deep pressure from the towel for calming.
After today, two more days until summer break!

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