Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Shoe Tying Might Not Be So Much Fun, So Let's Make a Paracord Wrist Band Instead

Most of my middle and high school students with high-functioning autism can't tie their shoes during physical education class and when they go bowling in the community.  They aren't so crazy about practicing, either...

So, how about we practice the fine motor and spatial skills needed for shoe tying by making paracord wrist bands?  Maybe it would be a good fundraiser, as well.

Instructions for How to Make a Paracord Bracelet

School Safety Officer Training in Working with Students with Special Needs

At one of my high schools this morning the new school safety officer (from our county's police department) introduced himself to two of my teachers for students with autism.  He described the training he had just received on understanding and working with people of all ages with special needs.

Adults with psychiatric disabilities and parents of students with emotional and/or developmental disabilities had spoken to his group on common characteristics and behaviors of people they might encounter in the community.  The officers wore headphones to simulate a person "hearing voices" and then tried to interact with another person during a role-playing session.  One parent showed videos of her son with autism, highlighting how quickly his emotions could escalate and how a photo of a favorite object (Godzilla!) reminded him to calm himself.

The officer said that he'd like to get to know the students and for teachers to let him know what familiar items or photos might help their students de-escalate if they were in a crisis.  I was so happy I almost hugged him.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Self Help--Dressing

Just saw this interesting blog, via the AOTA website:

Helping Kids Become More Independent With Dressing

And, more tips for school-based practice from AOTA:  Back to School


To say the least, I'm surprised.  Had more views of the blog pages yesterday than every before since I started it many years ago.  Thanks to you, Readers!

Students start back to school next Tuesday, so new activity ideas and photos will be showing up soon.

This week is spent verifying our caseloads, going to a few IEP meetings and planning with teachers.  Here's my outline for this afternoon's meeting with teachers for middle schoolers with autism.  I'm going to start out asking their concerns for all the students in their classes, then discuss how OT can adapt activities and provide ideas for "just right" practice of essential fine motor, self help and self-regulation skills.

1. Imbedding Sensory Opportunities Throughout the School Day--

--to positively influence alertness level for learning

--to expand student’s sensory experiences and comfort level

2. Developing students’ independence with reaching and maintaining sensory

--students can develop a personalized “menu” of preferred activities which promote

sensory equilibrium for learning

--students can practice choosing from their personal menu of activities, with

increasing independence

3. Adapting High Priority Self-Help Skills to Increase Independence--

--What self-help skills are needed in future settings, which can be practiced now?

                       --Snack and light meal prep

                       --Managing fasteners (shoelaces, buttons, snaps, zippers, plastic storage ziplock seals)

                       --Keeping personal materials organized (coat, notebooks, books, pencils, self-care supplies)

I'm hoping to work with the students, teachers, speech-language pathologist, instructional aides and others in group and individual sessions again this year.  That way I'll get to know all the students in the class, not just those with OT as a related service on their IEPs, and can offer suggestions/answer questions when they arise.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Back to Work We Go

We had a mini, 3-day, work week to get us back in the groove--picking up our school caseloads and trying to learn some new, online programs for special education and IEPs in our county.  With so many people trying to use WIFI at one time it was a little tricky...maybe because it's really still summer.

Summer means kayaking to me.  The gentle, flatwater kind of kayaking.  Paddle a little, gaze at the blue heron and turtles, paddle some more, talk to friends, follow the shade.  That's the kind of kayaking I like.
Oh, I do like to kayak downstream, too, unless there are potential rapids of any size.

Some of my new friends from my boomer gym joined me at Bear Creek Lake State Park this morning for a little paddle:  Park info

Mr. Blue Heron

This was the best part of the morning.