Handwriting 101: The Handwriting Basics You Need to Know!

Handwriting, graphomotor skills, spacing tricks,

HANDWRITING 101: UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS

Handwriting is a complicated motor skill that requires dexterity, strength, motor planning skills, and visual memory. In the past, children learned the alphabet and how to write their letters in kindergarten. These days, children are learning how to write earlier and earlier.

Most preschools boast that they include capital and lowercase letters in their daily instruction, even though the NY state curriculum expects capitals and a few lowercase.

Why? Parents want their children to be prepared for kindergarten. Nowadays, most children are already writing on the first day of school. However, their muscles aren’t ready to start so young.

What should we do?

Continue reading

Holiday Themed Visual Perceptual Activity Packet

FREEBIE: 5 PAGE HOLIDAY THEMED VISUAL PERCEPTUAL ACTIVITY PACKET

holiday themed visual perceptual activity packet

FREE FOR SUBSCRIBERS!

Don’t you just love the holidays?

I do.  Especially at school with the kids.  There are so many fun things going on: concerts, holiday boutique, holiday parties, Secret Santas, and all kinds of jolliness.

Sometimes it can be hard to keep those kids engaged, though.  They are overstimulated from all the music, busy decorations,  sweet treatments and holiday excitement.

At times like this, I love to have some fun activities or worksheets to do with the kids on my OT caseload. This year, I’m focusing on visual perceptual skills.

I’ve created a Holiday Themed Visual-Perceptual Activities packet that I can use with all of my kids – from my Kindergarteners to my Middle Schoolers.  Some of the activities are very simple, while others are pretty tough.

All of the pages are black and white – because coloring is great fine motor work! To work on shoulder stability, have the kids do these worksheets on a vertical surface or while laying on their tummy!

My Free Holiday Themed Visual Perceptual Activities packet works on the following skills:

Visual Discrimination: This is the ability to notice and compare the features of an item to match or distinguish it from another item; distinguishing a P from an R, matching shapes to complete a puzzle, etc.

Visual Figure Ground: This is the ability to find something in a busy background; finding the red crayon in a messy supply box, or finding the milk in a packed fridge, as well as finding a bit of specific text on a busy printed page.

Visual Closure: This is the ability to know what an object is when you can only see part of it; recognizing a word when you only see a part of it, recognizing a picture by looking at half of it

Visual-Spatial Awareness: This is the ability to understand where objects are in relation to each other; spacing letters and words correctly, understanding maps and graphs, understanding personal space.

Form Constancy: The ability to recognize that a picture is still the same picture, even though it may look bigger, smaller, or be turned to face a different way.

Left-Right Awareness:  Children need to understand that we read and write from left to right.  It’s  also important for them to be able to distinguish their left hand from their right hand.

Visual Scanning and Tracking: This is the ability to use the eyes to scan smoothly from left to right, up and down, and across midline without the eyes skipping or losing their place.

 

 

 

visual perception printable

RELATED POSTS

visual perception, visual perceptual skills, vision and learning occupational therapy resources, occupational therapy online, occupational therapy community vision and learning, learning disabilities, binocular vision, reading disabilities

 

 

 

OT resources, Online OT resources

The Biggest Challenges in finding OT resources

OT resources, online OT resources

Biggest Challenges in Finding Online OT Resources

As therapists, there is a common thread of struggling with time and energy when it comes to finding online Occupational Therapy resources. Many therapists struggle with fitting in professional advancement between work schedules and home life. Take into consideration all that needs to be done for a therapist to maintain licensure requirements, learn on the job, and other efforts for advancing clinical expertise. To take additional time out of family life or “off time” to seek out evidence-backed answers to clinical questions can be a real challenge!

Below you’ll find common themes related to challenges Occupational Therapists experience as they locate and search for online OT resources.

Advancing in a professional manner through independent learning as an occupational therapist “should be” easy given that therapists of this technological age have the world at their fingertips given an online search. Finding resources online “should be” an effortless and obvious means for continuing education in an individual manner. But there can be challenges to finding online resources.

Many therapists come across common challenges as they look for the resources online…resulting in frustration and unanswered questions.

Do any of these common these challenges sound familiar?

Continue reading

Is your child’s learning disability actually a vision issue?

< An undiagnosed vision issue could easily be mistaken for a learning disability. Does your child have an undiagnosed vision problem?>

I’m thrilled to have pediatric OT and vision rehab specialist  Robert Constantine guest post for me today.  Did you know that school vision screenings only detect 20-30% of vision problems?

Is it an undiagnosed Vision issue?

Vision is our furthest reaching sense. It tells us 75% of what we know about the world around us.

It affects movement, balance, and reading and writing ability.

But vision is a frequently overlooked contributor to academic problems. Undiagnosed eye movement problems can mimic conditions like ADHD and dyslexia and are not identified on school screenings, making a complete vision exam a must for every child.

Continue reading

9 Fabulous Fine Motor Fads to Revive on the Playground

Thank goodness the fidget fad is fading.

Even though every child has one hidden away in their pocket or backpack, the intense obsession with every kind of fidget spinners is slowly dwindling.

A few months ago, when fidgets were more popular than  big hair in the 80’s, parents and teachers kept asking me, “What do you think of these fidget spinners?

Truthfully, a fad is a fad.  Fidgets can be helpful for some kids in some situations.  I can see how some teachers would find them a complete nuisance in the classroom.  BUT, on the other hand, it’s awesome that another fine motor fad made its way back to popularity.

As an OT in a public school setting, I find that children’s fine motor skills are growing weaker and weaker.  Children are playing with Ipads and other techy toys that don’t require motor skills or dexterity.  It takes spinning, flicking, and using in-hand manipulation to move those spinners, so I look at it as a good thing.

Continue reading

learning to tie shoes

The Amazing Secret Weapon to Learning How to Tie Shoes

 <This is a sponsored post. To learn more, read my disclaimer>

Learning how to tie your shoes is a giant leap toward becoming a “big kid”.   Kind of like getting your first car or driver’s license. It feels like you are immediately branded as a “grown-up”.

Yup, being self-sufficient below the ankles is a big deal.

There are tons of tips and tricks to help kids achieve those “big kid” milestones. Learning to get dressed (including shoes) by themselves is really monumental in a kid’s life.

Did you know that typically developing children are ready to learn how to tie between the ages of 4 ½  and 6?  It’s true. Unfortunately, many elementary school children don’t learn for years after that. 

   Continue reading