Archives for posts with tag: preschool

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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One of my favorite things to do with my children, when they were younger, was to build things. I think I loved it so much because it was time spent just sitting with my kids, no T.V. on. Nothing but us just talking and building. What we were building did not matter and if I am being truthful, sometimes it was an unidentifiable thing we created, but the fun was being together.

Emily loved play dough and clay to create things.

Michael was more of a Lego kind of man.

And for our beautiful Elizabeth, due to her sensory processing disorder, she did not have a favorite but we were always encouraging her to participate in all of the above. Sometimes she did and it was great and other times she did not wish to participate and we tried to understand.

So when I came across these learning blocks, I immediately knew who my go to person was for help to tell you about them. And it is my beautiful 11 year old son, Michael.

He is my side kick and my assistant for toy reviews. What follows is a combination of his thoughts and mine about the building blocks called: Elemenosqueeze

They are alphabet blocks but so different from any you will find.

First off their colors are not in the primary realm of red, blue, yellow and green, but come in orange, moss green, pink and red. So this is something that, right away, caught my eye. Partially because the colors are different but mostly because the colors are soothing. It is a nice change from the traditional color options in most children’s toys.

The Elemenosqueeze blocks come in interesting shapes. Not just square, triangle or rectangle but in curved ones like a bridge, long ones like pillars and ones with rounded corners. So the building will be easy with these choices and allow for more creative play. 

But aside from that, on each alphabet block there is a letter, hence the name, as well as a raised imprint of a word that starts with the letter and an animal image. Thus, the Elemenosqueeze blocks help with letter, animal and color identification while promoting fine motor skills and imagination through building. 

Nice! Right? I think they feel nice in your hand and come with a zippered carrying case to take them with you. The only thing I have to say is that the case requires the blocks to be put in in a certain way to get the zipper to close. So to be realistic, it might be a good idea to take them out of the container they came in and put them in something that will allow your child to throw them in. It would just make it easier. Also, the letter “X” has an imprint of a fish on it with its ribs elevated. So just know I think they are going for X-ray here. But you may have to explain it to your children.

But other than that, the Elemenosqueeze is a perfect addition to the toy chest or the classroom, especially for sensory seekers! 

Now here comes Michael.

He opens the bags and takes out some of the blocks. He immediately squeezes them and when they make a noise, he looks up at me and smiles. “Listen to this!” he says. “I love that they do this!” So the sound made is a high point in 11 year old land.

And because he is a chewer, think shirts, pillow cases and the like, he reads they are PABA free and puts one in his mouth. He is immediately happy with the fact that these can become “chewies” and continues to work with the Elemenosqueeze as he happily chews on the moss green pillar.

His final thought is actually a question “How cool is this?” And it refers to the fact that the b toys building blocks, when filled with water make some “really nice squirt guns!” “Mom, seriously these would be so fun in a pool”.

I then told him to squirt the remaining water out of the rectangle. Which he did in an unhappy fashion.

Michael gave the blocks a great rating on the fun scale!

Add the Elemenosqueeze building blocks to your sensory diet, bathtime fun, and/or  the sensory table today.

Ohh, and they were also rated Best Baby Toy of 2011. So there’s that too! 

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele

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