Archives for posts with tag: teacher supplies

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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I think I will start this blog off by saying….I found an old friend. Not a friend-friend, meaning a person, but an old friend non-the-less. And his name is POP-TOOBS.

We used to have these things years ago, when Elizabeth was really young. This was in the phase of her life when her Sensory Processing Disorder( SPD) was really affecting her days. And I found these tubes and she loved them, I really could not believe how much. I loved them so much because she loved them so much. We had a whole bunch of them back in the day. She was always carrying one around and playing with them. It was one of the few items that she would use willingly at the time.

But I digress….let me refocus.

The Slinky POP-TOOBS are brightly colored tubes of plastic that are ribbed. You pull them and the tube stretches as they make a really satisfying RRRPPPPTTT sound. After you pull them, the slinky pop tube is really long and then you can hold each end and work it back together until it is the same size it was before. It was discovered, years ago, by my oldest child, Emily, that when they are at their longest, and you swing them around in circle with your arm, they make a great whistling sound.

The thing about the Slinky Pop tubes is that they are such an easy therapy tool to help create some good sensory input for your child. They are fun and quite addictive. Honestly, they are one of the easiest and least expensive ways to add to your child’s sensory diet. Because they do not really require a learning curve to use, they do not make the child frustrated when they first see them. This used to be the case for Elizabeth. When she would want to try something, she would find out her Dyspraxia would make it difficult for her to succeed, then she would become frustrated and defeated and then quit. But these tubes are easy to work.

And by work, I mean the POP-TOOBS do work the fine motor skills of the person using it. The stretching part does work their arms and hands, but it is the wiggling and fine motor adjustments that you need to do to get it back to its original form, that is the work. You cannot just shove the slinky pop tubes together, you have to guide it a bit, so it takes some motor planning, fine motor strength and patience. But all that is actually lost in the fun of working the tube back into the way you found it. Elizabeth would hold the opened slinky pop tube like she was holding handle bars of a bike, then work her hands and arms to get the tube closed. She did not quit on this one, and I think it was because the fun of opening it again drove her to keep working.

So please take a look at the Slinky Pop TOOBS guys, they are actually an option for a stocking stuffer even if you child does not need them in their sensory bin, trust me. Michael, my 11 year old, saw the red tube, pulled it apart, squeezed it back together again and said “YEESSSSS! Can I have this?” I said “yes” and he took it upstairs to his room. So I am giving it a thumbs up from Michael.

I am ordering a few for our fidget bin. Maybe you can too!

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele

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