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OT Tips

Fine Motor: Present a child with an activity that incorporates the necessity to use both hands. Tasks such as cutting, stringing beads, lacing, copying shapes and letters, coloring, gluing, catching a ball all accomplish this activity. This will develop bilateral hand and body coordination.

Gross Motor: Encourage a child to participate in activities on the floor in a variety of positions such as tailor sit (crisscross applesauce), side sitting, prone (tummy), long sit (legs straight out). This promotes postural stability/strength and normal patterns of movement. Encourage activities such as jumping, jumping jacks, riding a tricycle, ball play, animal walks, marching, obstacle courses involving balance beams, tunnels, playground equipment, running, hopscotch game, jump rope and rolling.

Self-Care: Encourage a child to participate in all self-care tasks (dressing, feeding, toileting, bathing)independently. This allows a child the opportunity to participate in all tasks and feel confident in his or her own abilities. Provide a visual aid (picture symbols, schedules, sequence strips) to children to increase the child’s understanding of the task, also label drawers and clothing to promote independence, always build in consistency and predictability to decrease stress.

Sensory: Sensory integration is defined as the neurological process that organizes sensation from one’s own body and the environment, thus making it possible to use the body effectively within the environment. Each person processes sensory input differently. It is important to investigate what type of input is upsetting or calming for a child. As a general rule, providing firm, deep pressure helps children calm and quick, loud movement is alerting. Good activities to help provide firm, deep pressure include, crawling, tug-of-war, pulling/pushing, catching/throwing, carrying heavy objects, wheelbarrow walking, joint compression, heavy exercise, hanging, stirring, massage and wearing a weighted vest. Good activities to help alert a child include, light touch/tactile media activities, bright lights, fast movement, and spinning.

It is extremely important to monitor a child’s body after sensory input has been provided since sensory input affects the neurological system. Note changes in breathing, face pallor, sweating, motor agitation, increased anxiety, pupil dilation and changes in sleep/wake cycle. If changes are noted stop the activity and monitor the child.


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