When you are onto a good thing, you want to share it! This is the beauty of social media. We can share our therapy ideas with one another no matter if you are a parent trying something out, a new therapist or someone who has been around for a while (I tried to leave out the term "old" from this statement)....
I love sharing ideas with you but I also love to learn from YOU!
Over on Instagram this year, I have created a new photo challenge for 2018! Come and follow along at Your Kids Therapy Ideas (@your_kids_therapy_ideas).
Each month, I will feature therapy ideas with a specific focus. See the list in the photo below for the monthly list.
To participate is simple!
Each month, I will share my favourites to the @your_kids_therapy_ideas page. A special guest judge will help me each month and pick 4 winners to feature as the "top therapy ideas" for the month! This will be shared on the guest judge's IG account and to @your_kids_therapy_ideas page!
I already have some wonderful guest judges lined up who are excited for this challenge!
This will be a great opportunity for us to see what is happening around the world and to share in this with each other. I hope you are excited by this photo challenge!
Looking forward to seeing your great ideas!
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Happy New Year!
As we start 2018, let's take a moment to look back on 2017 and some of the highlights from my little blog! I'm really proud of what I have achieved in 2017 and couldn't have done it without you, my lovely readers!
2017 started with a bang with the release of two e-books which I co-authored! It has been such a pleasure to work with the Functional Skills for Kids Therapy Team and achieve the publication of these two e-books. Have you got a copy of The Handwriting Book or The Scissor Skills Book? What did you think? I would love to hear your feedback! Stay tuned for further publications too come!
Popular Blog Articles
The top 5 blog articles for 2017 were:
I was so pleased to bring you some amazing guest posts this year! Here are some of my favourites!
The top 5 printables for 2017 were:
In 2017, I introduced a "guided tour" of the Your Kids OT website for new subscribers! If you haven't joined the tour yet, enter your email address below to start this email sequence which will bring you more highlights of my site.
Join the Guided Tour of Your Kids OT!
Thank you for joining the Your Kids OT mailing list! Your tour will be once you confirm your place!
Wow what a busy year!
Whether you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher or occupational therapist... I hope you continue to find articles that are interesting to you, tips to help with your child's development, creative ways to make learning fun or professional development for ongoing practice. I know that not all articles will appeal to all of you as you all have different backgrounds, experience and current needs!
In the same way, not everyone likes to receive information in the same way. Some like a quick photo and caption (follow me over on Instagram) where you will often get a "behind the scenes" look at my life as a mum and therapist. Some of you are Facebook addicts and enjoy the diverse articles and fun things I share on the YKOT page. A 2017 highlight has been a following of over 11K on Facebook!
Thank you again for your ongoing support ofYour Kids OT! If you have any comments or feedback, I always love to hear from you! Looking forward to 2018!
Continuing Professional Development. As occupational therapists we are REQUIRED to keep up-to-date for registrations purposes. As occupational therapists we WANT to keep up-to-date with the latest research and innovations so that we can provide the BEST service to our clients. Whether we are newly graduated or experienced "seasoned" OTs; continuing professional development guides us as practitioners with our clinical reasoning. We WANT and NEED to provide best practice!
Today on the blog, I'm so pleased to be joined by Colleen Beck from The OT Toolbox! Colleen is an amazing occupational therapist and I have had the pleasure of working with her over the last few years! She put together the Functional Skills for Kids Therapy Team who have now published two e-books. I have been so honoured to be part of this team and to see the dedication and Colleen puts into her work. Colleen joins us at Your Kids OT today to discuss the challenges occupational therapists face in clinical reasoning and to introduce the new OT Toolbox Community. Thanks for joining us Colleen!
As therapists, we strive to advance ourselves professionally by developing clinical experience and reasoning. Advances in professional experience and clinical decision -making are essential to meeting the needs of clients. Below you will find more information about challenges related to advancing clinical reasoning as an occupational therapist. These challenges are points of consideration that can impact clinical decision-making and reasoning.
Once clinical factors are identified, it can be possible to identify and strategize effective means for advancing as a professional.
Challenges to advancing clinical reasoning as an occupational therapist.
Clinical reasoning is generally defined as the mode of thinking that goes into decision making. These factors allow an occupational therapist to make decisions in the clinic based on a client's specific needs. Clinical reasoning is a skill that develops through advancement as a professional.
There are complex factors that make up clinical reasoning and the professional advancement of occupational therapists. these factors can either positively or negatively influence decision making in the OT treatment setting.
In general clinical reasoning focuses on the assessment of the needs of a client, intervention planning based on those needs, and decisions that influence the advancement of the client towards independence and functioning. Reflection on interactions is part of the process of decision-making.
Factors that influence decision-making cover several areas. These include social and cultural influences, work space and environmental influences, education, knowledge and attributes of the clients and therapist. According to one study that assessed the factors of clinical reasoning, these areas can be broken down as follows;
Social and Cultural Influences
These factors influence clinical reasoning and development in several ways.
1. Client beliefs - This includes the client's belief in their ability to reach goals and the therapist's ability to help them in reaching their goals.
2. Social and cultural influence- This includes the therapist's beliefs and values as well as their understanding and belief in the client's capability to access and reach goals.
Attributes of the client and the therapist
A second consideration in the advancement of clinical reasoning includes the attributes of the client and the therapist. This includes the diagnosis, the client's past experiences, therapist's past experiences, and the ability to pull from previous interactions into a new situation based on the client's needs.
The third consideration that influences the development of clinical reasoning in occupational therapists is the workplace environment. This includes knowledge of the team and the ability to pull from that knowledge. Additionally, the team's ability ot be cooperative and knowledgeable while assessing needs of other team members goes into clinical reasoning. Finally, the accessibility of clinical resources including space, time and ability influences the advancement of clinical reasoning.
All of these considerations go into the development of clinical reasoning as an occupational therapist. As a result, the quality of occupational therapy intervention and the enhancement of treatment is impacted by each of the sub-areas described above.
Understanding and correcting these influences can make a big impact in clinical reasoning.
Many times, therapists struggle with some or many of these factors. A common complaint of occupational therapists is the inability to access resources in a timely and efficient manner. Other times, therapists work in an isolated setting which impacts the development of clinical reasoning. Additionally, therapists run into struggles such as the financial strain of advancing professional development, little time to interact with team members or resources available on the job, and other considerations.
All of these struggles are reasons why the OT Toolbox Community was developed.
The OT Toolbox Community
As an integral part of The OT Toolbox website, The OT Toolbox Community promotes clinicians as a valuable "tool" for clients. By connecting and collaborating with the other therapists, it is possible to exponentially enhance and promote the profession.
The OT Toolbox Community can be a means of networking with other therapists while allowing clinicians to bounce ideas off of one another. In the OT Toolbox community, therapists can communicate and network with one another while asking and answering questions.
The OT Toolbox Community is a free resource for occupational therapy practitioners who struggle to find valuable resources in a timely and efficient manner. Seeking out and have answers to clinical questions can be a huge limit when it comes to time, energy, cost and other issues.
The OT Toolbox Community provides a resource for therapists to connect with one another and collaborate on clinical questions. OTs and OTAs have the opportunity to ask questions related to their specific needs. Therapists can draw on clinical expertise to respond and answer other clinician's questions. Imagine if many therapists joined together in sharing years of clinical expertise and resources; and them into one tool kit. The OT Toolbox Community provides a one-stop location for navigating all of the information out there. It's a place to access research. It's a place to find best practice sources. It's a place to promote, collaborate, network and mentor with one another as therapists.
The OT Toolbox Community is looking for you! Join hundreds of other occupational therapy professionals who have joined the community and are sharing questions, answers, resources and valuable sources of clinical information.
A few facts about the OT Toolbox Community
Members are able to upload links to valuable resources that they have located online. These can be shared with other members and searched for by category. Check out the Resource Center and add one of your own. Members can upload their own documents and files to share with other therapists. This is a huge asset for data collection screenings and other sources of information for therapists.
Members are able to ask and answer questions. These are sorted by category to enable search queries in order to locate best practice answers in a timely manner. Stop over to the Question Forum and see if there is one that you can answer given your clinical expertise.
Members can list job opportunities in the Job Area. Have a position open in your facility? Reach out to our large community of occupational therapy professionals and fill your positions fast!
Have an activity that you love using in treatment sessions? Snap a picture with your phone and share it as a Blog Post. It doesn't have to a fancy blog post...just share your idea with the community members. Members can enhance the profession by sharing practice strategies that work!
In the OT Toolbox Community; all links, resources, questions, comments and blog posts can be shared anonymously if you like! Members can network and collaborate to enhance OT careers while building lasting relationships with colleagues.
There are more tools coming to the OT Toolbox Community very soon; an Evidence-Based Practice Library, mentor match ups, member badges, notifications systems and messaging options are just a few of the tools coming to the community!
As therapists, we know the value of self-reflection. Now, the ability to develop and grow in personal and clinical experience is right on your screen. Stop by and join The OT Toolbox Community! It's a thriving source of information for occupational therapy practitioners.
Shafaaroodi, Narges & Kamali, Mohammad &Parvizy, Soroor & Hassani Mehraban, Afsoon & O’Toole, Giyn. (2014). Factors affecting clinical reasoning of occupational therapists: A qualitative study. Medical journal of the Islamic Republic of Iran. 28.
Find more articles like this at Your Kids OT Blog.
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Happy World OT Day! This has also been "OT Week" in Australia! I have been involved in lots of promotion across social media to promote "occupational therapy" in some very exciting events!
One of these events has been the "You know you are an OT" challenge! Occupational Therapists (and OT assistants) are special people who are so passionate about their jobs!
Here are some of the memes I shared about being an OT.
There were also some fabulous contributions to the challenge by occupational therapists and OT assistants across the world. Here are some of my favourites:
I have also been busy this week organising many Australian OT week online events with the lovely Anna from Kids Play Space for the "Australian Paediatric Facebook Group".
We also asked group members to answer "You know you are an OT"... Here are some of my favourites!
This is has been so much fun to celebrate World OT day in this way! I hope some of these made you smile or chuckle or just nod your head in understanding!
Give your OTs some love this week and let them know that you appreciate them! Cheers to my fellow OTs!
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"Music is the universal language of mankind" Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the American poet says it much better than I could! Music brings people together. It can bring such joy and emotion to both those who listen and those who make music. It can also be therapeutic. "Music therapy is a research-based practice and profession in which music is used to actively support people as they strive to improve their health, functioning and wellbeing." (Australian Music Therapy Association). In my first job as an occupational therapist, I saw the effectiveness of music therapy with children with disabilities in a special school .
Today on the blog, I would like to introduce Natalie Wilson. Natalie has been playing guitar since she was 5 years old. She used to be a guitar teacher and her experience teaching with a variety of unique needs sparked her interest in music therapy’s ability to improve the lives of others. She believes music is a powerful way to spread positivity and wants to inspire music to children.
Natalie writes about "What Skills Children Can Learn from Music Therapy"! Welcome Natalie!
Music is an excellent therapeutic tool that can be used to develop motor, speech, cognitive, and communication skills in children. Regular music lessons have been shown to improve academic performance in children. For example, a study from Northwestern University revealed more sophisticated neural processing abilities in students who took instrumental music lessons than students who only listened to music. Another study found more increases in IQ in children who took music lessons than children who didn’t take lessons.
While these findings are well known in the musical community, many parents aren’t aware of music’s ability to encourage the development of important life skills in children. Not only is music education an excellent tool for encouraging positive child development, music therapy can effectively reduce or remediate cognitive, motor, and psychological issues. Since the Music and Memory project gained popularity in 2011, music therapy has become strongly associated with improving the lives of patients with dementia.
However, many parents aren’t aware of the ability to help those much younger than the population with dementia. Children experiencing myriad issues can benefit from therapeutic musical exercises and develop skills that will help them succeed in all areas of their life.
Here are some of the different skills your children can learn from music therapy
Music therapy is a great way to improve children’s abilities to vocalize and pronounce words correctly. Melodic intonation therapy is an approach that will work well for children with aphasia, which is a condition that impairs a child’s ability to comprehend or produce speech. Melodic intonation therapy is an effective to for teaching children how to produce speech, as it uses parts of the brain associated with singing. Singing using a different area of the brain than regular speech production, which allows therapists to achieve speech through a different pathway in the brain. Using melodic intonation therapy, children with what many know as “Broca’s aphasia” can learn to access regular speech through musical exercises.
Music therapy is also an excellent tool for children who have stuttering issues. Rhythmic speech cueing is a therapeutic approach that will allow the therapist to control a child’s rate of speech using a musical beat. For example, the therapist might use a metronome to either speed up or slow down the rate at which a child says a sentence in order to improve their speaking abilities.
MOTOR CONTROL SKILLS
Using musical instruments is a motivating way to improve motor skills in children. For example, if a child is experiencing weakness on one side of their body, a drum circle exercise will offer a unique way to exercise the affected arm. Not only will the child learn to move his or her affected limb, they will also learn how to control the movements more efficiently by learning to strike the drum on the correct beat. You can also strengthen a child’s limb by teaching them guitar.
If a child has difficulty moving one arm, teaching them to strum a guitar with that arm will lead to improvements that can be transferred to day-to-day life. If you want to learn more about the best guitars for a small child’s hands, take a look at this article.
Since music is a universally appreciated art form, music therapy can be used to encourage social skills in all children. Group music therapy involving children of around the same age can improve a child’s ability to socialize and may even create long lasting friendships. Through therapeutic songwriting exercises, drum circles, and improvisational music therapy exercises, participants will foster relationships and improve their ability to socialize with others. This is especially beneficial for children with an autism spectrum disorder who are learning how to socialize with other people.
Since children with autism spectrum disorders often experience difficulties expressing themselves, expressing their thoughts and feelings through sound may also teach them behavior management skills and emotional expression techniques. For more information, take a look at the symbolic communication training through music (SYCOM) technique explained here.
Musical exercises are also a great way to improve cognitive abilities in children. As was already mentioned, music lessons have been shown to improve neural processing and IQ scores in children. Music therapy can take things a step further and develop better functioning in children who are experiencing cognitive issues.
For example, musical sensory orientation training is a useful technique for children who might not have the same attention abilities seen in the average child population. Attention is necessary for learning to take place, so music therapy is therefore a very viable option for children whose learning processes have been stunted due to a lack of attentiveness.
In conclusion, music therapy can assist with a variety of different issues children may be facing. Whether you’re child is struggling with socialization, motor control, or attentiveness, music therapy may give you the improvements and skill cultivation you’re seeking. Enjoy watching your child grow with the help of music therapy!
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Please welcome today's guest blogger, speech pathologist Vincent Borg from Box Hill Speech Pathology Clinic. Vincent is a leading specialist in stuttering therapy with almost 36 years of practice. Vincent is here to share about stuttering; what signs to look for, what to monitor and the treatment options which may help! This is a subject close to home as I sought speech pathology assistance for my son before he started school so that we could address a mild stutter. We participated in the Lidcombe program which is mentioned in this article!
It’s a common concern we hear at our speech pathology practice, particularly from parents of toddlers and pre-schoolers, “Our toddler started stuttering overnight.” It can be particularly worrisome for parents when their child was speaking perfectly fine beforehand.
Between the age of two and four years old, children suddenly have so much to say! Quite often their little brains simply cannot keep up with all the things they want to say not to mention also trying to figure out how to put sounds and words together into phrases that make sense.
Signs of stuttering in toddlers and pre-schoolers
Stuttering can not only present itself as sound, word or phrase repetition, for example,‘w-w-w-will you play with me?’ or ‘can-can-can I go outside?’ or ‘I want to, I want to, I want to um go home now’ but can present itself as a stuck or blocked sound production or the stretching of sounds, for example, ‘Ca___n I have a drink please?’
The development of language skills is like a huge jigsaw puzzle for young children as they try to grasp new words, sounds and phrases and dysfluency quite often occurs during this developmental period. Some children outgrow their stuttering once they move through this phase and some don’t. It can bequite difficult to determine whether or not stuttering is normal or if it will pass, this is why it’s best to take a proactive approach.
Closely monitoring the dysfluency is essential and if you’re concerned or unsure about your child’s stuttering, seeking speech therapy for stuttering from an experienced speech pathologist will give you answers and set your mind at ease. Treatment is most effective if started before the child turns six years old.
What types of stuttering treatment are available? Do they work?
The Lidcombe Program is a best practice treatment for young children who stutter in Australia. The program is a parent training program which teaches parents how to provide feedback regarding their child’s speech that is carefully worded and well-timed, during specific games and naturally occurring situations.
Parents and children that have undertaken the Lidcombe Program say that the program is fun and easy to implement. Children enjoy coming to our clinic to engage in the ‘smooth talking games’ and parents feel very empowered because they are equipped with the knowledge and tools to be able to be a direct therapist for their child.
What is smooth talking?
Smooth talking can also be known as speech restructuring, smooth speech, prolonged speech or The Camperdown Program and it teaches children with a stutter to use a slightly altered speech style to control their stuttering. This approach is effective in reducing stuttering where accurate self-monitoring and close attention is paid to the technique. We rarely recommend this treatment for very young children but do recommend it in partnership with the Lidcombe Program for older children.
What things to monitor before attending stuttering therapy?
To achieve the best possible outcome at a speech pathology appointment, it’s essential that you make close observations of your child’s stuttering and document the following:
How to support your child while they are experiencing stuttering?
If your child starts stuttering, in addition to making observations and seeking advice from a speech therapist, it’s essential to display sensitivity towards your child. Try not to make a big deal of their stuttering, let them know that you are there to help them through their frustration and that you will wait for them to say what they need to.
It’s so important that you’re not in a hurry to communicate with them. Try to slow down your questions and give them the amount of time they need to express themselves properly. Patience when it comes to stuttering is key.
Has your child started stuttering all of a sudden? Did it go away on its own or did you seek therapy?
By Vincent Borg
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OT is fun!
OT is work!
OT can be frustrating!
OT is learning!
OT is rewarding!
Kids who participate in occupational therapy sessions may have a range of feelings. They may feel all of the above in one session!
Kids come to OT because they need help. They want or need to learn something (because sometimes mum, dad or a teacher want them to learn something)!
Learning can be tough especially when mistakes are involved.
I wanted to encourage the kids who see me for OT with some "learning rules"! I shared these on social media last week and had a great response!
These rules are so much more than "OT rules"! They are a learning contract between myself and the kids that I see. We will do these things together.
We will do our best.
We will be ready to learn.
We will be respectful to each other.
We will work hard.
We will try new things.
We will follow directions (or give them in a way that takes into account their learning style).
We will ask questions (including asking for help).
We will have FUN!
We will believe in ourselves.
We will make mistakes (because that's how we learn)!
These "learning" rules are suitable for the classroom, home, therapy clinic .... for learning in life!
We are all life long learners and these posters may motivate you as the teacher, therapist or parent!
I have now made these posters available in the Your Kids OT shop. OT rules remains a FREE printable. You can also obtain the classroom and generic learning versions in the shop.
What is your favourite "rule" for learning?? How do you motivate your kids to learn?
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Today I would like to introduce the lovely Fi Morrison from "Mumma Morrison" as a guest blogger to Your Kids OT. Fi is a mother to a gorgeous baby boy (check out her Instagram feed to meet her bub) and a primary school teacher. I recently discovered that Fi taught one of my nieces a few years ago! My niece LOVED being in Mrs Morrison's class! Today Fi is helping us with 5 ways to promote social skills with children! This is a timely article with the recommencement of school here in Australia! Thanks so much Fi for writing this article!
I was sitting in my classroom next to Bryan* and Charlie*, helping them with their maths task, when Bryan snatched Charlie's pencil. Charlie started pointing the finger, crying and yelling, saying Bryan had stolen his pencil (which I obviously knew, because I was sitting RIGHT THERE).
Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence in my life as a teacher, and I'm sure it sounds all too familiar to parents and teachers everywhere. What do we do with those children who fight and bicker, who haven't learnt to share or turn take, and overall drive us bonkers with their antisocial antics? (My pet peeve is dobbing. I had students who would say, “SHE LOOKED AT ME” and it would drive me up the wall!).
I think many parents, and teachers, assume that social skills are inherent within children, but it is just not that simple. Social skills, like the majority of other skills, need to be taught to children and reinforced. While practice might not make perfect, it surely does make progress.
If you have been struggling with social issues with your child at home, or in a social or educational setting, these activities can help to improve their social skills and teach them the right way to deal with particular issues.
Social stories are particularly used by educators for students with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). It is a visual story that describes certain situations or scenarios a child might encounter, and the best way to respond. It is one of the easiest and most effective ways to teach children social skills at home, because it is through the medium of story telling (a family favourite!) that the skills are reinforced.
For example, I had a year 2 student, Stacey*, in my class last year who had ASD and Anxiety. To support her transition to year 2, we created a social story by taking photos of our classroom, her peers, meeting spots and play areas around the school for her to be acquainted with, then bound the book into her social story. You could do something similar for a social situation your child struggles with. Take a photo of the situation in the wrong way (for example, pushing someone) and of the right way (standing next to each other, talking). Write captions for the story about the wrong way and the right way (I will not push someone if I don’t like what they say. I will stand next to them, talk to them and say ‘I don’t like what you said’). For older children, you can turn this into a learning activity and create the story together (which goes hand in hand with role plays, see below).
Role playing a situation can be a powerful way for your child to understand how someone might react to a situation. For example, if the situation was ‘Someone has said something mean to you’, work through the situation with your child the wrong way (what shouldn’t we do) and the right way (how can we react to that situation). By getting your child to physically act out and verbally respond to each scenario, and playing off the responses you give, your child can see the impact of their words and their actions on other people.
With role playing, however, you will need to be mindful of how you act out certain scenarios. Children might find some scenarios hurtful (such as saying something mean), and you don’t want it to escalate out of control. This might give you a lot more teaching than you were expecting! As a teacher, we need to be mindful about the scenarios we ask children to roleplay (for example, peer pressure to do certain things), however it is a helpful medium for children to develop their social skills and understand how their actions and responses affect others.
This activity works well with a group of children, and was taught by our Learning Support teacher at school. Children would sit in a circle, and the teacher would ask the children a question about a social scenario (e.g. If the teacher is talking to another student and you want to ask them a question, what do you do?). To monitor the discussion, the teacher would use a soft toy as the ‘talking’ prop, and whoever had the prop could answer the question. The social circle was a great way to promote discussion between peers, bounce ideas off one-another, and extend their thinking in different ways.
Puppets are absolutely by far one of my favourite educational (and play!) resources ever! They are super fun, engaging for children and can promote learning. I used to run puppet workshops for gifted and talented children, and social skills was one of the biggest benefits I would promote for children who attended the workshop.
Similar to role playing, puppets can be used as an engaging way to act out certain scenarios for children to respond to. However, puppets have two extra benefits:
Explicit discussion and modelling
As parents and teachers, we should never underestimate the power of a simple explanation from an adult and our own role modeling of the correct response.I would always reinforce this with posters in our classroom to remind the children after our conversation.
For example, with our dobbing situation, I sat the children down and spoke about when was an appropriate time to speak with me (if someone was hurt or in danger) and when there was a situation they could resolve themselves (someone using the wrong book for class work). After this, I modeled for them how the children could approach me about a situation, and then reinforced it with a display in the classroom.
Social skills are vital for children to learn to help them in a variety of social situations. By teaching and practicing these skills at home, as well as in educational settings, your child will develop the necessary social skills to participate in a variety of social settings both during childhood and beyond.
Have you found other ways to develop your child’s social skills?
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It has been a wonderful year for the YOUR KIDS OT blog (besides being sent a ransom virus which wiped out my computer files just before Christmas - eek) !
Thank you for reading and commenting on my articles as well as purchasing my resources!
This article will bring the most popular content for 2016! Perhaps you missed one?! What was your favourite?
MOST POPULAR POSTS - NEW TO 2016
1. Visual Perceptual Skills Required for Handwriting! We started the Functional Skills for Kids Series last year with this popular article! Read about different aspects of visual perception and its impact on letter formation, size and spacing.
2. Why is my child "just playing" when they see an OT? This article outlines the importance of play as a childhood occupation as well how therapists use "play" in therapy. There are details about finding a "just right challenge", using play as a medium to achieve goals and play as a goal in itself. There are practical ways to encourage your child to learn through play at home.
3. Quick Ways to Calm Down: Sea Life Sensory Solutions. Inspired by the sea, learn how to make a "puffer fish puff", "clam cuddle", "turtle tongue" and a "starfish stretch". Based on sensory processing theory, these "calm down techniques" facilitate self regulation through breathing and proproiceptive input. Later in the year I also added colouring pages to this free printable!
4. Sensory Triggers in the classroom. This article outlines sensory triggers that your child may experience in the classroom. Children may be over-responsive or under-responsive to stimuli in the classroom. The article considers visual, auditory, touch, movement, oral and olfactory (smell) triggers and includes a free printable.
5. Brain Breaks To Help Concentration in the Classroom. Looking back on brain-based education and also considering sensory integration principles, "brain breaks" may be used to "alert" or to calm" children down in a classroom environment. Find some popular "brain breaks" that teacher's love to use!
6. Motion Sickness - A Sensory Issue. Sensory Triggers when travelling in a car. Have you considered the sensory information that your child may be processing when travelling in a car? This article looks at the visual, auditory, proprioceptive, vestibular, oral and olfactory triggers that your child may experience in a car that may lead to discomfort and motion sickness. Later I also wrote some helpful tips with "Sensory Solutions When travelling in the Car".
7. Teaching Concepts for Potty Training. You can begin "potty training" way before your child is physically ready to use the potty. Consider the "concepts" they need to know like back/front, wet/dry and dirty/clean. Simple counting and body awareness are also important concepts for children to grasp before potty training begins!
8. Sensory Considerations for Dressing. Another popular article looking at which sensory triggers can affect a child's willingness to get dressed or undressed. This article explores sensory triggers, looks at your child's behaviour, provides strategies as well as a free checklist!
9. I can brush my teeth! Tips for Tooth Brushing and Oral Care. This is an important personal hygiene task for everybody! This articles looks at developmental ages and stages to encourage tooth brushing for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and school-age children. This article also addresses the components needed for tooth brushing with fine motor, gross motor, visual motor, sensory, attention and concentration skills. There is a guide to an oral desensitisation protocol as well as free printable resources (tip sheet, rewards chart and checklist)!
10. 4 Ways to Modify Meal Times for Fussy Eaters. Take the stress out of meal times finding alternate cutlery, dinnerware and lunchboxes. Encourage a regular routine and hide extra veggies in meals!
MOST POPULAR PRODUCTS 2016!
1. Sea Life Sensory Solutions (Quick Ways to Calm Down).
2. Sensory Triggers in the Classroom.
3. Pencil Grip Reference Sheet.
4. Sensory Diet Reference Sheet.
5. Visual Perception Reference sheet.
Some readers also chose to purchase some of these popular sheets in a bundle with the newly launched "Bilateral Coordination and Laterality Reference Sheet". Find details of the discounted bundle package here!
FUN FACTS 2016!
Certainly a highlight for me in 2016 has been participating in the "Functional Skills for Kids" Blog Series with some amazing bloggers. We are working behind the scenes to publish our first book soon! Don't forget to subscribe to the Facebook group to be the first to find out about our launch and receive discounts!
Are you new to YKOT? What article or resource brought you to my site?
What was your favourite in 2016?
I would love to hear from you and look forward to another great year in 2017!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Cindy is a registered Occupational Therapist practising in Sydney Australia. She has two young children who are a constant source of inspiration and learning. Cindy loves working creatively to help children to reach their potential, finding opportunities in everyday living and making learning fun. Cindy is the author of the Occupational Therapy blog Your Kids OT.
Social skills may be described as "abilities necessary to get along with others and to create and maintain satisfying relationships" (Kennedy-Moore, 2011). These abilities may include verbal and non-verbal forms of communication such as using appropriate greetings, language, gestures, body posture, manners and other social conventions.
Expectations of "appropriate" social skills may be influenced by local culture, location, presence of particular people, an event and even gender. As adults, we may be familiar with visiting a foreign country and not understanding the social conventions expected in certain situations. We may become frustrated with other adults who do not to follow social conventions which we deem as "expected" or "normal".
We expect children to develop social skills by watching adults model language and behavior, however this may be difficult for some children to learn. Social skills involve the ability of a child to "see" (pick up social cues), "think" (interpret the behavior of others) and "do" (interact in a positive way) (Kennedy-Moore, 2011). This level of insight usually develops as a child becomes more mature, however for some children it can be extremely difficult. Some children will need explicit instruction about how to participate in social situations with both their peers and adults.
Teaching social skills to children is a gradual process that begins as early as a baby can say "ta" in exchange for something which is given to them. Further social skills are developed through modelling, providing opportunities for social interaction and teaching children words and behavior. The National Association of School Psychologists (2002) suggest that learning social skills is made through incidental learning and normal activities, addressing environmental factors and individual factors which may affect your child (NASP Center, 2002)
In this article, I look at community activities to encourage your child's development of social skills. Depending on your child's individual factors, you may teach these skills by modelling, role-play, use of social stories and/or direct instruction.
These are some common community activities that you and your child might participate in. There are many more which in which I have not covered - Can you think of some of the frequent social community events you participate in (eg. playing in a sport's team, walking around the block, attending church, etc..) . I have not included social skills in the playground (read this HERE) and read about social skills at school next month with the Functional Skills for Kids Blog Series!
One place where children and adults can build social skills is with conversation at the dinner table ... whether that be at home or at a restaurant. Sometimes both children and adults struggle with "dinner conversation". There are some great printables at "Conversation Starters" and "Childhood 101" to help start your conversations.
I have also developed a FREE PRINTABLE called "Would you choose...". This is a pack of 29 "simple choices" to help start conversations. They include would you choose snow or surf, cereal or toast, apple or pear... a quick response may lead to further discussion as you delve into "why" they chose this option. It also provides an opportunity for adults to share about their experiences and preferences. Download your copy HERE today!
This article is part of “Functional Skills for Kids: 12 month series by Paediatric Occupational and Physical Therapists”. You can find lots of great tips and tricks to help your children with their participation in the community in the links below. Make sure you bookmark this page so you can come back to read all the links!
Developmental Progression of Community Skills | Your Therapy Source
How to Support Your Child’s Core Strength Development Every Day | Miss Jaime, O.T.
Attention and Behavior Concerns and Independence in the Community | Sugar Aunts
Modifications for Kids with Special Needs in the Community | Growing Hands-On Kids
Calming Games and Activities for Outings | The Inspired Treehouse
Working on following Directions When Out | Therapy Fun Zone
Using Community Activities to Develop Your Child’s Social Skills |Your Kids OT
Kennedy-Moore, E. (2011) What are Social Skills? Helping Children Be Comfortable and Competent in Social Situations. Psychology Today. Retrieved on 21/07/2016 at www.psychologytoday.com
National Association of School Psychologists (2002) Social Skills: Promoting Positive Behavior, Academic Success, and School Safety. Retrieved on 21/7/2016 at www.naspcenter.org
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Hi, I'm Cindy and I am an Occupational Therapist. I enjoy working creatively with children to see them reach their potential. Read more about me here.
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