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AGENDA:1. When to refer to OT (review)2. Sensory Integration concept and techniques3. Strategies and tips for teachers to address handwriting problems4. Questions 5. Stations6. Raffle
When to refer to OT:Questions to ask yourself:-is classroom instruction and “practice” not helping the student?-Is the inability due to lack of exposure at home?-Have you attempted classroom solutions such as those listed below?“…but his handwriting is awful!”-Student is delayed compared to other students, but is functioning at his/her full capacity-different pencil grips may be ok if they are functional-OT is a related service, so it is necessary only if the child needs treatment to function in an educational setting. Contact us and we will give you ideas to use first without putting child through testing.
WHAT IS SENSORY INTEGRATION (SI) and SI DYSFUNCTION?“The inability to organize sensory information for use.”SI is a process occurring in the brain that allows us to make sense of our world by receiving, registering, modulating, organizing and interpreting information that comes to our brains from our senses.- There are five senses plus three internal senses : *position of your body parts in space (close your eyes and clap your hands) *how fast and slow/hard and soft you are moving *your posture in space (are you about to fall over backwards)?Think of a sobriety test! Could you learn to write a foreign alphabet intoxicated? These childrens’ brains and sensory systems are not processing information correctly.
How does sensory integrative dysfunction present in children?Children with developmental disorders such as autism, LD, ADHD, sometimes present with one or more of the following behaviors: *over/under sensitivity to touch and/or movement activities *easily distractible *clumsiness *trouble organizing themselves and their work *emotional reactivity *trouble learning new skills *low frustration tolerance *difficulty making transitions between activities/situations
A child reacts inappropriately because what feels like a light touch to someone else feels threatening so this child. Examples: *if you don’t know where your arm/hand is positioned, how do you coordinate a pencil on paper and stay on the lines? *if you’re irritated and distracted by the sensation of your shirt sleeves on the skin of your arms how can you listen for class instruction and learn about handwriting?
What to do?Some things to help the child’s sensory system to organize itself include:*movement such as running, jumping jacks*swinging or using your swivel chair*pig in a blanket*joint compressions*carrying a book bag or heavy objects*locomotor movements, stationary movements*fidget toys (examples at station)*class helper*sitting on uneven surfaces*minimize distractions with corner desk in back of class or in a nook*allow child to move around in class*vibrating pillows to decrease tone
Stations in the back include:-Pencil grasp: optimal grasp is the tripod grasp with the thumb, index, and middlefinger. Don’t worry unless the grip is affecting their writing or the child develops pain. Try correcting it with grippies and adaptive pencils or “stubs.”- ”Washington monument grasp”-child moves their entire arm when they write and doesn’t bend their wrist, have child write lying on the floor or vertical surface (slant board/notebook), use sandpaper or felt “buddy”-Child does not space between words: try a penny or a popsicle stick for a spacer (lefties can’t use fingertip), vertical line paper
-child writes with open hand or fingers straight: try placing a small marble or cotton ball in the last two fingers and have them hold it while they cut or write-Child writes too hard: (poor finger awareness or muscle control) correct pencil grip, practice coloring bunnies light gray, medium gray, dark gray, and black to increase their awareness of pressure.Also, put the child's paper over Styrofoam so that if they write too hard they will poke holes.-child writes too soft: practice coloring with raised background such as knitting sheet, correct pencil grasp.
-reversals and letter form: practice making the letter in the air first with large movements, let the child feel the letter with sand an glue letters-posture: use a box under their feet so they are at a 90 angle-make sure they stabilize the paper with the other hand “helper hand” use a clipboard or tape if the child is disabled.-child holds pencil too far or too close to the tip: rubber band for reminder to hold the pencil where the paint ends.
Child does not orient handwriting to lines: Use dot/box method, vertical line paper, highlighted paper, raised line paper, use marker or copier to make lines darker, skip a line-child does not size letter appropriately: dotted middle line, highlighted paper, skip a line, dot and box method-to improve overall organization on a page: make vertical stop and go lines with colored markers on the margins, skip lines, use grid paper for math problems, use notebook paper turned sideways for division problems.