Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Some students enjoy working together on de-cluttering their pencil boxes, tossing tiny crayon stubs and returning unnecessary supplies to the class stash.  However...

other students don't really see the purpose of doing this mundane task and aren't very engaged during the session.  What's the big deal?  I can find everything I want!  Well, their hard-working teachers don't often tell me the same story.

So, change it up!  Talk about art class and the ROY G. BIV mnemonic Roy G. Biv explanation on Wikipedia then work on arranging the broken bits of crayons in that order.  Some students may need some convincing to discard those little nubs of color, so you might measure the really short ones and toss any that are less than an mutually-agreeable minimum (2" or less???).

Have fun trying to talk some students into getting rid of all those pencils...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Use Coban to Customize an Adapted Pencil Grip

This is a wonderful idea for adapting a standard pencil:

Coban on Pencil

The neat thing about Coban is that it's so easy to apply and remove.  I snitch mine from my husband's tack room but when I'm hankerin' for a color besides beige I go to Southern States and buy up the purple and pink packs of Vetwrap  Vetrap source

I usually cue students to make sure their fingers are touching the "rings" at the pointed end of Crayola crayons, so they hold the crayon close to the tip.  With Coban, or Vetrap, you can "highlight" the part of the pencil where you want fingers to go, by using a contrasting color of the material.  I'll have to take a photo of that!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Really Adorable Raccoons Here

No idea how the art teacher presented this activity or the steps, but saw this beautiful artwork in the hall this morning and had to share.

There must be a book titled "The Racoon Tribe."  The facial expression on the little critter just below the  letter "I" is beyond cuteness.

Happy Friday!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Proprioceptive & Vestibular Activity for Students, Using Recycled Bottles

Proprioceptive Activity Using Weighted Bottles

Absolutely perfect for classes for older students with a variety of disabilities who need more naturally-occurring opps for proprioceptive and vestibular activities in their day.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Take a Little Trip to Reality

Today I got to go on a community outing with a group of high schoolers with autism.  Just when you think they're doing okay with their behavior and don't really do things that might make them stand out from the crowd.....

One student likes to blow the dust off things; that didn't go over so well when she was repeatedly blowing on the hanging signs over the concession stand.

Another student likes to wander.  Not real far but far enough that an adult has to stay with him.  Today he wandered over real far toward a "civilian" who had thousands of dollars worth of electronic equipment in use.  Nothing was fiddled with but I'm sure that civilian was wondering what she might need to do any minute.

A third student found that dropping the bowling ball produced a fun vibration under his feet.  Not exactly in line with standard bowling protocol.

What to do about all this?  Continue practicing acceptable behavior at school, ask the parents to reinforce specific positive behaviors at home, and keep on going back out into community settings until we "get it right," or at least, get it better.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pumpkin Play Dough Recipes

Pumpkin Play Dough Recipe
Just found this recipe and it looks fantastic!  Uses just canned pumpkin puree and cornstarch.  Easy!

And, here's another:

Pumpkin Spice Play Dough Recipe

Looking at This Pencil Grasp May Make You Cry

Well, I did warn you.  This 2nd grader has a pretty tough time with arm/hand coordination, overall.  On top of that he appears to possess little awareness of where he is, spatially.  When it comes time to work on white boards with dry erase markers his sleeves, cuffs, palms and fingers are coated with whatever color marker he is using.  Washing his hands doesn't help much unless he is coached through each step.  As you might imagine, we practice handwashing at the classroom sink before he picks up and carries my tote bag, which he cheerfully describes as being "full of rocks," to our work table.

Found these thin, plastic shapes in an office supply store last week.  Thought I'd use them mostly for tracing and creating pictures, but they're also a wonderful challenge for fine pinch.  They proved quite tricky for our guy to pick up and sort by shapes.  After we got them divided up we counted how many were in each group.  Even though my guy had a creative way of counting, which made me think he might have made some errors, the re-counts proved that he was correct.  Cool!

When it was time to stack the shapes and put them back in the teensy plastic bag my guy had to slide the shapes to the edge of the table to be able to pick them up.  I thought at first that this was due to his poor prehension, but it turned out that I couldn't pick them up straight from the tabletop either.  Humbling.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How Do You Motivate a "Hello Kitty" Lover?

C'mon, don't these cheetahs look like "kitties" to you?

This 3rd grade student loves all things that are branded "Hello Kitty."  Who wouldn't?  The kitty figure is always pink, it makes cute kitty faces--what more could you ask for in adorable-ness?

Well, how about baby cheetahs?  The Richmond Metro Zoo has a kitty-cam going 24/7 to track the development of these little critters and the Richmond Times-Dispatch displays photos regularly.  Perfect material for motivating this student to write and write about a subject she thinks about quite a bit.
Having her stand while writing aids her posture and encourages her to keep her wrist and fingers in a better grip around the pencil. 
You know I'll be looking for more photos like this one as the year goes on.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Looking for a Place to Share Your Abundance? St. Jude Hospital Article

St. Jude Give Thanks.Walk article
My buddy, Fiona, participated in the walk last year and wrote this article about her experience.

Two Guys and an Easel

Two second grade guys, a double-sided easel and one assignment---draw a picture of your room at home.

Of course, we began with me modeling how I go about drawing my room at home.  First the walls, then the door and windows, then the closet and finally the furniture.

I have to start by telling you that both boys focused primarily on where their TVs were placed in their bedrooms, then their video game consoles and then the chairs they used to sit while playing their games.  I was getting a little aggravated and mentally began my scheming about how to have some extra "consultation" with their families, but managed to keep my cool.  When they asked me about where the TV was in my room I got a little "preachy" and told them that my room was just used for sleeping and reading.  They looked at me as if I had just dropped in from another planet.

At first I thought that this guy had lots of stuff in his huge bedroom, but then realized that he probably doesn't have a bedroom but shares part of a house with his dad, and other people, and there is no separate place for sleeping.

We talked about what was in their rooms and wrote the names of those features or things--window, closet, bed, dresser--on the drawings.  Using the easel for drawing and writing helped them keep their wrists extended as they wrote and promoted a thumb and first two fingers grasp of the crayon.  Letter formation and spelling practice were a bonus.

My bonus was insight into their lives.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Miracle League of Richmond article

Article on Miracle League of Richmond
Big dream, lots of dedication, lotsa volunteers.

Thx to Barbara L-J, one of our hard-working physical therapists, for sharing this article.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Continuing Education

Earning NBCOT credits is always lurking in the background of my mind--will I have enough when the time comes to renew???

Has anyone taken courses via this online continuing ed source?

Let me know your impressions of the course(s) you took.  Thx!