Friday, October 30, 2015

Stationery Central--the Abundance of Donations

One of my high schools has students with autism in classes that are more self help, pre-vocational and self-regulation centered than solely academic.  The two teachers have decided to try the "business" of creating and selling stationery to the other pre-vocational activities that the students have performed in the past.
Beauties created by a generous donor mom.
The stationery will be sold in the "School Store" during lunch periods and online.  What marketing wizardry this is, to add an online store.   We live in the age of convenience, in my yuppie neck of the woods, and being able to order from your comfy sofa at home or during a rushed planning period will certainly increase sales volume, don't you think?

A mom who has a student in the class brought in her stash of card-making supplies and tools and probably also her extra scrapbooking materials for the teachers to view and also keep some to get the business started.  Prepare to be amazed at her abundance:

The mom showed us how to make the repeating border designs flow along perfectly, even though you have to move the paper pretty often.

How to "wash" the stamps when you want to change color?  Rinse them with water.  Eek--I've never tried that before!

Hope everyone has a joyful Reformation Day tomorrow, followed by a mildly-frightening Halloween tomorrow night and a lovely All Saints' Day on Sunday.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Monday, October 19, 2015

Mummy Toast

We had quite a variety of mummy faces created as part of our Mummy Toast project this morning.  Had to admit that the faces with olives for eyes were a whole lot cuter than the ones with huge pepperoni slices for eyes.

Our highschoolers in a class for students with autism were enthusiastic when we described the toast as "Mummy Pizza," so if that works better for you, go for it.
Gather ingredients:  plain bread, pizza sauce, sliced mozzarella cheese, sliced black olives and pepperoni slices.  Students had the opportunity to twist open the jar, use a manual can opener on the olive can & grasp and pull apart the teensy-weensy sides of the cheese package.
Since we sent home very specific food preference/allergy questionnaires the first week of school we knew that one student was allergic to peanuts but everyone could eat anything on today's menu they wished to. 

My SLP buddy and I really like students to do all the steps of our activities, but for the sake of time we pre-toasted the bread.

Bad therapist.

If using a knife to slice the mozzarella was too difficult we cut with a bowl scraper instead.

One tbsp. of pizza sauce is spread over the toasted bread.

Cut up the cheese any which way you choose and place on top of the sauce.

Use black olives or cut-up pepperoni slices to make mummy facial features.  Broil for a few minutes, let it cool on the plate a couple of minutes and gobble down your Mummy Toast/Pizza.

We encouraged students to open the flip-down door of the toaster oven, using a hot pad if needed, but the oven was so hot that we decided to have just the adults place the food in and out, using tongs and a spatula. 

Our level of heightened safety precautions really depend on the self-regulation of the students on a particular day, and today there were several "engines" running on  high...

Want to know more about self-regulation and "engines?"  Here's a link:


Strategies to Aid Students Who Chew and Pick

Sorry for the awkward title for this post--how else do you say it?  Here's a helpful article I found via The Sensory Spectrum blog:

Credit goes to

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Mmmmmm... Mummy Toast

My SLP buddy found this great idea for our cooking group next week--Mummy Toast:

Instead of sliced black olives I think we'll use pepperoni slices with the centers cut or stamped out.  We'll make the mummy wrap by slicing strips of mozzeralla cheese and placing them diagonally across the bread.

Will take photos next week!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Sneaky Snacks--a Motivating FM and Self-Help Activity

Leave it to Erica to write up another DIY sheet for a great activity, based on an idea from one of her teachers for students with cognitive disabilities:

Sneaky Fine Motor Snack
SUPPLIESVery clean egg carton or ice cube tray, favorite snacks that fit into the little sections & a Hungry Student!
Egg container.jpg
  • Cut the egg container’s top off with scissors. Recycle if possible!
  • Cut the egg container in half, so there are 6 spaces for food rather than 12.
  • Clean, clean, clean!  Let it dry. Then you’re ready to use it.  
  • Place 1-2 bites of food in each compartment for kiddos to grasp, pick up, and feed themselves independently. .
Egg container w food.jpg

Provides lots of opps to practice a fine pincer grasp, in a fun-ctional way.

Thanks to Erica White, MS, OTR/L, for the "How To."

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Make It, Take It--Session #2

Yesterday we enjoyed our 2nd Make It, Take It session for OTs on our staff.  Goal:  Complete at least two of the fidget items we planned--Fidget Ball, Fidget Mat (with or without maze) and Fidget Wristband.

Making the Fidget Mat took the majority of the time, but the other two items went lickety-split.  Here are some photos of our fun inservice:
We sliced up and braided donated t-shirts and it just so happened that two of them perfectly coordinated with Lauren's top!

Susan helps Lauren with fabricating a fidget mat maze.

Playdough, ziplock bag and cute socks--all you need for a Fidget ball.

Lauren claimed she couldn't sew but she was just kidding.

One of our OTs thought she couldn't remember how to braid, but she never really forgot.

Susan demonstrates the "whip" stitch to secure the edges of the Fidget Mat.

You can probably figure out that one of our OTs is crazy about flamingos and the color pink.
And, just for grins, here's my "grand dog" assisting with our first attempt at chalk painting this past weekend.  He wanted the paint to match his chewey and we did pretty well, don't you think?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Planning the Therapeutic Garden

Last spring one of my high schools received a gift of three large planters and two picnic tables, made by a local teen volunteer.  The planters are coffin size, moveable and have no bottom--they are open to the ground.  The teen specifically gave the items to the school's Autism program, for recreation and horticulture.

Well, those planters and tables are in great shape and sitting in a grassy area near the exterior door to the bus drop-off area, but no one can figure out quite how to best use them.  Yesterday, one of the special ed teachers and I got serious about it and set out a plan for this year:
The students are familiar with potting seeds and small plants, as well as watering plants in/out of the school building.  We'll use the picnic tables as work benches for a potting session or two.  Several staff members donated packets of flower and vegetable seeds last year and we'll use those first, then purchase small plants later on if the seeds don't germinate, especially those dated October 2009...

Instead of stuffing the enormous interiors of the planters full of compost and dirt, we'll use flower box holders to provide support for lengths of recycled wood to support leftover black pots donated by friendly gardeners, filled with dirt and seeds.  By not filling the entire interior area of the planters we'll be able to move them around with ease.

When the weather gets chilly there's a great space available just inside the exit door to the classrooms, where the pots can bask in the sun and students may easily care for the seedlings.  Eventually, plants can be given to parents and other school staff.