Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Developing Skills to Screw and Unscrew Bottle Caps

Unscrewing and screwing caps and covers onto containers not only teaches a functional skill, but develops eye-hand coordination.

It is generally easier for young children and older clients with developmental delays to first learn how to open (unscrew) and later learn how to close (screw cap on).

I cut a variety of container or bottle tops from detergent bottles, vitamin jars, dishwasher soap bottles, juice bottles etc. Some clients enjoy matching the covers to the corresponding threaded pieces. You may choose to start out using all the same size covers/caps and threaded pieces to make the task easier and then build in challenge by requiring matching.
In the first video, a young man who is blind and has autism unscrews the pieces and then inserts the  cover into the container hole and then stacks the threaded piece onto the dowel. He enjoys using his advanced matching and sorting skills.

Source: Unscrewing Bottle Caps to Insert or Stack by RecyclingOT on Rumble

After removing the covers, my client inserts them into the corresponding holes in the container. This former kitty litter bucket functions as a shape sorter after he separates the two pieces.  

Source: Matching Lids Sensory Activity by RecyclingOT on Rumble

This man enjoys pulling on the threaded bottle tops that are attached to the book stand with elastic cord. He regularly seeks out sensory stimulation by pulling on objects, including his clothing. He also enjoys using force to unscrew the covers before inserting into them a bucket.

Source: Container Lids Sensory Activity by RecyclingOT on Rumble

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Handle Jig for Holding a Magic Marker

My client has a traumatic brain injury and her hands are spastic with contractures and she is challenged to engage in any functional activities such as coloring. Her right shoulder has some active movement so I made the following jig to take advantage of the skills she does have......

I  have used handles from detergent or juice bottles to build up objects to make grasping easier. The first  video shows her using a handle with a piece of  plastic attached. I cut 2 holes in the black plastic in order to push the marker through. Unfortunately, her knuckles were rubbing against plastic while grasping the handle tightly, so I made a revised jig with the plastic cut away and covered with soft fabric and duct tape.  You will see how I made this in the first video.

The second video shows her making horizontal lines on paper. She really enjoyed doing a familiar task, actually she simply enjoyed an opportunity to use her hand, at all.....

Source: How to Make a Jig for Coloring by RecyclingOT on Rumble

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

2017 SALE



My book sells on Amazon for $35.00, but you can buy it through pay pal for only $25.00 until the end of  2017


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Adapting Handles to Increase Functional Hand Skills

I have been using handles from detergent, dishwasher soap and other types of bottles for over 20 years to make materials easier to grasp and use. The following videos demonstrates how to make it easier to perform insertion tasks, use a ring stack and sponge painting.

These ideas are described in my book THE RECYCLING OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST.

My book sells on Amazon for $35.00, but you buy it through pay pal, here for only $25.00 until the end of the year.


Source: Improving Function with Adapted handles by RecyclingOT on Rumble

Source: How to Make an Adapted Handle for Sponge Painting by RecyclingOT on Rumble

Friday, October 27, 2017

Spider and Web Fine-Motor Activity

This activity gives lots of sensory stimulation as children or older clients move the heavy ball around, tie or untie the knots and push the black fabric "spider legs" into the web.

1) I wrapped stretchy strips of fabric all over a weighted ball, tying lots of knots so that all stays in place.
2) Punch holes around the top of a container and weave cord to create the "web". Use more cord to increase challenge when pushing the "spider legs" inside.
3) Grade according to the student or client's needs by tying knots loose or tight, one knot or several on each black fabric piece "spider leg".
4) Challenge balance by performing while standing, kneeling, half kneeling or sitting on a ball.
5) I attached the web to the ball with cord so that they don't get separated.......

 Play some spooky music and Happy Holloween!

Source: Spider and Web Fine-Motor Activity by RecyclingOT on Rumble

Friday, October 13, 2017

Fun Activities for people with Memory Impairment, Alzheimer's Disease or other Dementias

When my mom developed Alzheimer's disease I created activities that were easy for her to use and met her individual needs. I describe these in my book: Still Giving Kisses: A Guide to Helping and Enjoying the Alzheimer's Victim You Love. The video below describes how I came to write this book.....

I created an activity book for my mom filled with pictures, song lyrics, word completions and an illustrated story of her life. At first, she flipped through the binder independently but over time, I needed to read the stories, identify the pictures and sing the songs to her. You can find many of these activities on my website. Just print them are links to some of my favorites:
  • lyrics to mom's favorite songs
  • pictures of familiar people, places and activities
  • an illustrated story of Sarah's life

You may choose to make a similar activity book for a loved one, friend or patient who you care about ....

Source: How to Make an Activity Book for Somebody with Alzheimer's Disease by RecyclingOT on Rumble

My mom loved word games. There are many described in my book that involve completing the last word or syllable to a familiar place, name or adage.
Such as:
  • Sarah was not born in New York, she was born in Chica.....  Illinois.
  • A penny saved is a penny.......
  • Somewhere over the rain........

Electronic tablets and phones were not yet widely used when my mom lost her language skills and YouTube was in its infancy. I know that she would have loved the following video, mainly because it starred, her daughter.... ME!
Consider making your own, personalized "word completion" video or use mine. Repeat the phrase after me, pause to give the person time to respond and then repeat it nice and clearly for them. I suggest using a large tablet, like an Ipad rather than a small phone, so its easier to see and read. I don't expect people with memory impairment to learn or remember how to find the video, press pause or repeat it.... that's your job as you engage in a meaningful activity with someone you care about. I hope that you enjoy your time together! I sure did!

Source: Word Completions for People with Memory Impairments by RecyclingOT on Rumble

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

How do Fine-Motor Activities Help to Develop Handwriting?

Babies begin learning about the spatial relationships between what they see, reach for, grasp and manipulate during the first year of life. My book From Rattles to Writing: A Parent's Guide to Hand Skills describes the development of  incredible milestones during the first 5 years so that children can do the following:
  1. smoothly move their eyes across a maze, whiteboard, screen or line of print
  2. stabilize their trunk and shoulders while manipulating objects and writing
  3. Comfortably and effectively grasp writing tools
  4. Process and respond to sensory information in order to tolerate touch and effectively grasp writing tools
  5. discriminate sensory information in order to use the right amount of force-- so that paper doesn't rip and toys don't break 
  6. coordinate right and left sides of the body in order to stabilize objects such as paper with the non-dominant hand while cutting or writing
  7. develop a highly skilled dominant hand used consistently for skills such as writing
  8. discriminate right, left, up, down, diagonal directions, clockwise and counterclockwise- all skills required to learn letter and number formation
  9. cross midline (CML) when reaching with the right hand for objects left of the body center and reach for objects with the left hand when located right of the body's center. Children with CML challenges may have difficulty forming letters made up of diagonal lines - such as X, Y and Z
  10. create letters of correct size, oriented to the writing line with even spacing between letters and words. 
As an occupational therapist who has worked with children and adults with developmental disabilities for over 40 years, I like to design activities that help children with challenges to develop these types of skills- the skills that prepare children for handwriting.  That is why I wrote the book- Flapping to Function: A Parent's Guide to Autism and Hand Skills

The following videos demonstrate few  activity adaptations that might be helpful for parents, teachers and therapists to develop some of the skills listed above.

1) Pulling the coil upward provides sensory stimulation to muscles and joints, strengthens the trunk, and arms. This works on visual attention and tracking as student watches the rings spiral downward.
This activity develops coordination between  right and left sides of his body as he uses his preferred hand to reach for more rings while grasping the coil with his non-dominant hand.  He finds the repetitive motions calming....

Source: Sensory Processing Disorder Activity: Stringing Coiled Hose by RecyclingOT on Rumble

Writing letters on the plastic pieces  with dry erase marker develops motor control. The student must  stabilize the plastic  with the non-dominant hand while writing and learn how to form half and whole space letters to fit on the small or large plastic pieces. Then placing the letters on the Velcro strips teaches the skills used to orient letters to writing lines.

Source: Sensory Visual Perception Writing Activity by RecyclingOT on Rumble

Working or writing on a vertical surface helps children to correctly grasp a writing tool with the wrist in the best anatomical position. This can be done when coloring on a white board, painting on an easel or using a 3 sided folded cardboard box as shown in the following video.

Source: Make Your Own Paint Easel by RecyclingOT on Rumble

Watching the rings spiral down the curvy ring stack (made out of a bird mister) develops visual attention and tracking skills. Many children with autism seek this type of visual stimulation and may attend to this activity better than some others. If the rings are small enough they will have to use both hands together to stabilize the ring stack while pushing each ring on. I also like how this activity is tall, perhaps at eye level- this is helpful to use with highly distractible children because the materials are directly in front of their face..  

Source: How to make this helpful toy for children with autism by RecyclingOT on Rumble

Manipulating weaving plastic pieces develops strong fingers, bilateral hand use and visual perceptual skills when children copy patterns. Its a lot of fun!

Source: Weavable Toys Develop Fine-Motor Skills for autistic children by RecyclingOT on Rumble

Pushing objects  through the stretchy elastics provides sensory feedback that helps to develop strong fingers and motor control. It encourages them to coordinate using hands together as they stabilize the container. You can up the challenges by using larger objects that require more force to push between the elastics. Many people on the autism spectrum seek out this type of deep pressure sensory stimulation.

Source: Sensory Processing Activity: Pushing Objects between Elastics on Container by RecyclingOT on Rumble

This video demonstrates how to promote effective grasps on pencils and scissors while having fun with a fidget spinner toy.

Source: Recycling Occupational Therapist demonstrates Fidget Spinner by RecyclingOT on Rumble