This month at Aspire Pediatric Therapy, the occupational therapists have completed activities to celebrate OTs and increase awareness of what they do to help children reach their fullest potentials. When arriving at the Moon location, one of the four Aspire Pediatric Therapy offices located in the Pittsburgh area, you may see taped proudly to the wall some of the drawing and coloring pages they have completed.
Almost like being at a parent-teacher conference at your child’s school, you can see that the children were working on handwriting skills as each display has written testimony to why they love OT! On the same wall and display you may notice that scissor skills were addressed when children focused on cutting out a heart shape to paste onto their individual copies. So many skills are addressed with just one coloring activity!
An occupational therapist will focus on the underlying skills needed to successfully complete the task at hand. They know the development of these skills will be the foundations to higher executive functions and learning. These skills include fine and visual motor development, bilateral coordination, stability, and postural control. All of these are needed to be able to focus on and attend to an activity like coloring. The magic of OT is created through play-based therapy at Aspire Pediatric Therapy, so children look forward to their weekly sessions and are motivated to attend. To quote some of their testimonials would be the best way to recognize how they feel.
I (HEART) OT because….
“I get to play games”
“I like swinging”
“I get to play in the swings and beans..”
“because it is my place because it’s the best”
“Going to OT helps me with my texture problems”
“because it helps me write better”
“I get to cut out triangles”
From the mouths of babes, Aspire Pediatric kids love OT! Keep a tool box (plastic bin or drawers) in your home full of supplies to create art and memories and to be consistent with carry-over of the skills your children are learning in OT.
Listed are some supplies to keep on hand:
Child scissors-targets hand development and strength
Self-opening scissors-targets motor planning, good to use if tiny hands demonstrate decreased strength
Sticker books-targets using distal tips of fingers, have a tactile component (sticky), learning to isolate a pincer grasp
A variety of puzzles- develops grasp and release skills
Construction paper, lined paper
Glue-Elmer’s and stick form
Tweezers/tongs-targets pinch and thumb strength/coordination, joint stability
Paints/brushes-develops writing and tool grasps, joint stability
Pencil and erasers-choose a variety of pencils and leads, erasers; good to develop grasp and learning to grade pressure involved with handwriting
Preschool workbooks-target visual motor skills, visual perceptual skills, spatial awareness and form constancy skills
These are only some suggestions to start seeding your toolbox. As I continue to blog for Aspire Pediatric Therapy, I will continue to give you more ideas and tools to use and the therapeutic values of them. To see through the eyes of a child is to grow with them! As parents and OTs we can help them achieve success on every level!