Archives for posts with tag: fine motor skills

I have a friend, Jen. She is Elizabeth’s tutor actually but we consider her a wonderful friend.

She is an amazing person, friend, educator and mom.

She has a daughter who is now in Kindergarten and throughout the time we have been getting Elizabeth her tutoring, I have watched how her daughter has grown and developed. I tend to notice many things about child development because of Elizabeth and her struggles and hard work.

So as I am watching her daughter write her letters, I notice she has an amazing mature grip on her pencil. The kind that older children develop after a long time. I told Jen this and she smiled and said that that was something they had been working on for a long time and that she was proud of how well she is doing.

So flash to a year later, and this little girl handed me a Valentine that she had written and I again, noticed how great both the penmanship was as well as her spacing of letters. I think I said “Wow!” and again, Jen said how hard they work.

This whole writing thing made me take pause as I reflected on Elizabeth’s ever evolving journey to write well. With her special needs, specifically Global Dyspraxia, writing is hard work. Keeping it neat is hard work, organizing thoughts to put down on paper is hard work.

This is par for the course for those affected by Dyspraxia. For some these hand-writing skills are affected a little bit, and for others, like my daughter, they are affected a great deal.

With so much going on in her life when she was younger, I can honestly say, I do not really remember how she learned to hold a pencil well. I want to say it was when she was being home-schooled, about age 6. I know I tried to encourage this skill of writing and also coloring which also helps promote imaginative play. Honestly, it was simply too frustrating for her. She would hold the little crayon in this claw like grasp and kind of swipe at the paper with long arm strokes.

I did not know how to teach Elizabeth proper grip. One thing I know now that I did not know then is you can use jumbo sized crayons as a fine motor tool to help strengthen grip and hand muscles.  

At the time, I was wanting her to use a typical sized crayon or pencil because that is what I though was what she use, but what I did not know was that using the super jumbo crayons, and working toward the typical sized crayon was what Elizabeth needed to grow her hand-writing skills.

The Super Jumbo Crayons, on our site, are the ones I am referencing. They are thicker in width and allow for little hands to hold and grasp with ease as they develop the fine motor skills to advance them to a smaller size. The Jumbo Crayons are good for the typically developing children, but what I know now is that they are really helpful to those with special needs.

I think using these Crayons will allow a child to have success in those activities, that most enjoy, but maybe a child with Dyspraxia or other special abilities would struggle with doing. 

I can use my oh-so-clear- hind site to see how nice it would have been to not only allow but encourage the use of these Crayons back in the early developmental days.

And something else to think about is the fact that using them at home in adjunct with guidance from your child’s occupational therapist will encourage success. Also good to know, is that in our sensory world, crayons were never offensive to Elizabeth. Unlike painting or markers.

I know that the Super Jumbo Crayons will be an easy and fun addition to any therapy bin. So if you think these might fit your child’s needs, please take a look on our site.

And also know, that all skills take time to learn for children like Elizabeth. And that each step, each growth is a success to be celebrated!

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti

Author of “ I Believe In You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey” and “Emily’s Sister”

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When Elizabeth was young, about three or four years old, I had made a basket of activities for her. The basket contained many items that we used to help her fine motor work, helping her cross mid-line, count and identify colors.

There was a piggy bank for her to put pennies in, there was THERAPUTTY with beads in it to encourage her finger strength, there were these big plastic nuts and bolts to encourage motor planning and wrist strength among many other things. I would change them around as I was guided by the OT because as we all know, their sensory diets change as do their motor and sensory needs.

I think what made something better than another for Elizabeth was when she liked the therapy tool or toy we were working with. And this was way back in the late 90’s, so the options for special needs children were not as great as they are today. (I know, I just made myself sound old!)

But my point is, there are so many great therapy tools available that would really be fun and enjoyable for your special needs child to play with or for you assist in playing. Items that can help your child work on strengthening fine motor, oral motor and other gross  motor skills, but are fun. In my experience, this is the ticket to success!

So the sensory toy I have to talk about today looks innocent enough in its prettiness. But look at it again and I can see the great possibilities it can serve for a therapy tool.

It is called Build-A –Bouquet. And right away it looks inviting because it looks easy to play with and trust me, this can be the biggest thing because with sensory issues, loud or overwhelming toys can become an instant no.

So what I see is this eco-friendly toy has 44 pieces. They consist of the parts of flowers: the leaves, the petals and the inner part of a flower. The flowers, lilies, petunias and daisies, come in yellow, pink or purple colors. And instead of a vase, there is a flower bed that has a winding shape to it.

No noises, batteries, switches or really small parts!

Right away I know how great this would be for color identification. Even if it is only to separate them into piles. And then progressing to making a line of purple ones, then yellow and then pink.

The flowers have a nice solid feel to them, so that they will be easy to maneuver. They are very slightly textured which again, helps with holding them.

Putting the flower stems into the flower bed will work on eye-hand coordination as well as fine motor control. Then comes the fun of picking the colors of flower and inner part of the flower to use. This is the part that will build creativity but also keep working on fine motor skills. You can even put the flowers on one side of the table and the flower bed on the other to encourage your child to cross mid-line. The pretty flowers that are the result are a fantastic motivator! 

The thing I loved is that putting the flower bed together will encourage them to use both hands at the same time and working on wrist strength and motor planning to get the pieces to fit. But again the pieces are nice and big so that encourages success.

Being a lover of the pastel colors of these flowers, I know Elizabeth would have loved this to be added to her “work” basket. And this can hold true to any sensory bin that you might have.

So if you have a thought that this is something you might like use for your child, please visit our site to read more.

And again, for my planet saving, recycle everything you can daughter, this toy is made from recycled milk  jugs!

 

I wish everyone a peaceful week!

Michele Gianetti

Author of “I Believe In You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey” and “Emily’s Sister”

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