There are times when someone will come up to me and ask me if I remember one of the first times I noticed that something “just wasn’t right” with 

Elizabeth, who has Sensory Processing Disorder and Dyspraxia.

I can tell you many times for sure, and one of them is when Emily was working on a shapes puzzle trying to teach it to Elizabeth. You know the kind. Made of cardboard and consisting of a circle, square, rectangle, triangle and an oval. Emily had been doing this puzzle, like a pro, for years. And the reason she was even doing it now, was to show her sister how to do it. Or at least try to do it.

I watched Elizabeth take the shape in her hand and simply try to mash it into place. Whichever way it hit the puzzle board was the way she kept it and she just shoved and shoved to get it to fit. She did not try to turn it, or manipulate it at all. Just shoved it. I would watch her do this for all the shapes and was almost joyful when she had the circle in her hand because I knew it would be an almost guaranteed success. This was the day I remember I noticed.

I often wondered why she did not twist the pieces or turn the board or pretty much try anything. I would later understand that this is part of her Dyspraxia. This inability to problem solve using her motor skills. Elizabeth’s Dyspraxia has been and continues to be a strong force to reckon with. Even at the age of 20.

So as we learned more about her Dyspraxia, we would look for toys that helped her motor skills grow.

We got puzzles that were made of wood, so she could grasp them better and ones with little pegs on the outside of each puzzle piece, so she would have to use her pincer grasp to work the puzzle. You kind of get the idea. There were many sensory solutions we created to help her, but the one thing I loved doing with Elizabeth was the shape sorter.

That plastic toy with holes in it cut out in various shapes. You get the matching shape and put it through the hole. We used to work on this all the time. It was nice because you can do some great hand-over-hand work with it.

So when I saw this new version of an old favorite, I had to share. It is called the Green Toys Shape Sorter. It is made out of 100% recyclable materials, milk jugs to be exact. So that is pretty great right away. It is BPA free, so no worries when the shapes make their way into a child’s mouth. And it has both top and bottom shape holes on the sorter, which is shaped like an elliptical, so no matter which way it is positioned, your child can play.

There are four shapes provided: stars, circles, squares and triangles. And there are two of each. The shapes come in purple, orange and yellow colors. Which I liked because it is a vivid upgrade from the traditional colors offered.

 

As I said before, hand-over-hand work can be done well with these sorters. You can work on stacking skills because the shapes are bulky and can be worked with easily. And you can work on counting as well as color identification. I can remember narrating to Elizabeth as we would play, kind of like a play by play. And I would say, the color of the shape, the name of the shape, what hand Elizabeth had the shape in. The teaching opportunities excel beyond the actual purpose stated on the box.

Oh and I almost forget. Can anyone say “Dishwasher safe?” So that means when they 

look a bit dirty, just put them in the dishwasher and then have fun again.

If your child struggles with fine motor skills, take a moment to look at this toy. It is a new spin on an old favorite.

I wish everyone a peaceful week,

Michele

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