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An ongoing series of Therapy Thursday tips, tricks, and techniques for all families to utilize!

Therapy Thursday: 5 Tips for Sitting at the Table

March 4, 2021

For today's #TherapyThursdsay we are talking about 5 tips to help your child sit at the table.

1. Your child's feet should be flat on the floor. Many times tables are too tall for this. To adapt the environment, bring the "floor" to your child by placing a solid surface under their feet. You can use:

  • Theraband wrapped around the chair legs
  • A sturdy box
  • A stool

2. The table should be at the height of the child's elbows when seated. If your child is currently too small, increase their height by providing a firm cushion for your child to sit on. You can use:

  • Inclined/therapy wedges
  • Firm couch pillows 
  • Folded towels

3. Your child's back should be against the back of the chair (if there is one). This helps support their back for sitting. Again, if your child is currently to small to reach the back, place a firm pillow behind him/her to make the back reach the child. You can use:

  • Folded towels
  • Firm couch pillows
  • Therapy wedges

4. The chair should be pulled up closely to the table. Optimal seated positioning has a child's (or adult's) hips, knees, and ankles at 90* angles. Sitting too far back creates to wide and angle or causes the child to have to lean forward. Using steps 1-3 to alter the child's seated environment will help maintain this positioning, but a child will lean one way or another to reach if they need to. 

5. The child should sit up straight in the chair to maintain this optimal seated posture as well as protect the eyes from visual strain. If your child tends to lean close to their paper to see a vision test may be needed to rule out vision changes. If your child struggles with core endurance to sit up straight you can use alternative positions to encourage core strengthening:

  • Tall kneeling with paper/toy on a table/chair at elbow height
  • Writing/drawing with paper on the walls while standing or tall kneeling
  • Writing/drawing while child under a table/chair with arms reaching up
  • Playing while on hand and knees

Therapy Thursday w/ Fun Friday's Game

February 5, 2021

Today we are combining  #TherapyThursday and #FunFriday by talking about Super Duper Publication's YOGARILLA Exercise and Activities Yoga Fun Deck.

This is a go to game in the OT gym here at PACES.

These bright cards feature Otis the gorilla as he tries different yoga poses. There are written explanations and modifications on the back of the cards to help beginners or those with flexibility challenges.  

Yoga is a great therapeutic activity for many different reasons. Here our a few of our favorites:

  • Breath work supports introspection
  • Slow movements encourages body awareness
  • Different poses challenge motor planning and balance
  • Yoga is both calming and strengthening
  • Copying the cards works visual skills

Get your own copy of the Yogarilla cards and see if you can copy the gorilla too!

Therapy Thursday: Activity - Spatial Relationships

January 14, 2021

Spatial Relationships are important for our children to learn. Words like above, below, on top, next to, in, out, near, and far are vital concepts to understand in order to follow directions. A great way to teach these spatial relationships is using pictures. Print out our free worksheets of a car or ocean scene and work to work on following spatial directions. 

***To help with Right/Left, Above/Below you can label the correct directions*** 

Car Scene: There are two levels of difficulty. 

In the front seat/front of the car        In the back seat/back of the car    

In front of the (color) person               Behind the (color) person 

Beside the (color) person                     Between the (color) person & the (color) person

In/Inside the car                                       Out/Outside the car

Next to the (color) person                    At the side of the car

On the left/right side

Ocean Scene: 

Fly the plane above/over the cloud      Fly the plane under/below the cloud

Fly the plane through the cloud             Make the fish go over/under the boat

Make the plane go up/down                    Put the flag on the boat

Put the flag under/below the boat        Put the flag on the top of the boat

Put the fish in the middle/bottom of the ocean

Put the two fish close together               Put the two fish far apart

Put the captain on the boat

***Use different spatial direction words or add multiple steps (e.g. put the flag on the boat AND the sun next to the cloud) to increase the challenge.  

Therapy Thursday: Activity - Yearly Reflection 

January 7, 2021

The New Year has begun and for many it's a time of reflection and goal setting. These are important skills for our children to learn as well. Reflection and introspection are components of executive functioning skills. These skills allow us to plan, problem solve, react, and change our behavior or actions in order to successfully complete a task or activity.. 

Many times medical appointments and/or therapy focuses on areas of challenge or delay with little or no acknowledgement of strengths.  When setting goals in therapy, or for the new year, it is vital to build upon the skills that are already present and find a strong motivator to keep us going when it gets tough. 

This worksheet can help your child or family reflect together, or individually, about what was learned last year, where improvement is still needed, and what are the strengths and motivators you can use to make achieving goals a little easier. 

Click here for a copy of the YEAR OVERVIEW worksheet. There is a younger kids and older kids versions. If writing is an area of struggle, ask your child to answer the questions out loud while you record the answers. If you child is very young use the worksheet to guide your own reflection on their strengths and where they need some more help. 

Therapy Thursday: Giving and Receiving Gifts

December 24, 2020

With Christmas rapidly approaching, oftentimes kids and teens focus too much on what they receive as presents. In fact, if they do not receive just the right gift, the may not be appreciative or may even behave in a disruptive manner.

Oftentimes, it is nice to use this time of year to focus on the idea of giving, as opposed to receiving. It's a great lesson for all of us to learn.

One way to do this is to have everyone in the family, children included, to make a list and purchase a gift for everyone in the family. Set a price limit and everyone must stay within that price limit. If you do not want to spend money, then have your kid or teen make something for everyone in the family. Not creative, then they pick a way of helping out a family member or a way to spend quality time doing something for another family member. There are a lot of different options with this!

The important thing is how it is given Christmas day. Make sure that you focus on one individual at a time. The first individual gets up and gives every family member the gift that he or she got for that family member. Everyone waits until all gifts are distributed, then opens the gift receive from that first individual. Then the second individual gets up and presents his or her gifts to everyone. Start with the kids and end with the adults. The focus then becomes on presenting the gift that he or she got for the other members of the family, not on what he or she received.

Not only does the focus turn from receiving to giving, everyone slows down and takes the time to open gifts and actually see what they received, as opposed to tearing through the pile of gifts as quickly as possible.

Here at PACES, we wish you and yours a blessed, safe, and wonderful holiday!

Therapy Thursday: Activity - Don't Burn the Christmas Tree 

December 10, 2020

This week we have a Christmas themed activity that can be done with just a paper, a pencil, and a number die! Don't Burn the Christmas Tree is a dice game that works on pre-handwriting skills, turn taking, frustration tolerance, and following directions. Click here to get our free PDF with instructions. 

Therapy Thursday: Holiday Schedule Changes

December 3, 2020

The holidays are quickly approaching and with that means lots of schedule changes! Schedule changes can be very difficult for our kiddos and can sometimes evoke problem behaviors. One way to decrease the probability of problem behaviors is to prime the child beforehand. Priming means to prepare the child before the event occurs. Talk to your child that his or her schedule is going to change. Talk to them about possible outcomes and what behavior is expected of him or her. This will help prepare them a little better for the craziness of holiday schedule changes!

Therapy Thursday: Activity - Thanksgiving Categories Activity (age 3-7)

November 19, 2020

Thanksgiving is next week and many families are starting to discuss holiday plans and dinner menus. Include your young child in this conversation by asking them to name items in some Thanksgiving themed categories. Click HERE to download our free PDF. 

Therapy Thursday - Thanksgiving Dinner

November 12, 2020

It's November and that means THANKSGIVING DINNER (lunch or breakfast)! Classic feasts include turkey, ham, potatoes of all kids, green vegetables, breads, pies...makes our mouth water just thinking about it.

However, many children may struggle to enjoy this meal for various reasons. Sensory challenges are often a cause of distress for children during holiday meals. Click HERE  for a pdf with some tips for each sensory system:

Hope these tips give you some ideas to make this Thanksgiving meal the best one yet!

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