Primitive reflexes start to develop in utero and they actually help the baby get down the birth canal during labor. (Who knew!?) A reflex is an automatic motor response that is triggered by a stimulus.
Calling all OTs! Need some shortcuts for back to school? Check out the Ultimate Therapy Bundle! Available this week only.
I’ve been a HUGE organization kick lately. Every month or so I need to clean out my therapy bag. Inevitably, I find things out of order, things I need to change up or replace, and things that are missing pieces, etc.
I once posted a pic of the crazy amount of stuff in my bag and everyone on Facebook went crazy commenting and asking questions. I figured, why not share this “clean out” phase with all of you?
In-hand manipulation is the ability to manipulate objects in the fingers and hand or adjust an object within the hand after grasping it.
There are three types of in-hand manipulation:
1) Translation – the ability to move an object from the fingers to the palm or from the palm to the fingers. An example of this would be picking up a penny and moving it into the palm of the hand, and then manipulating it back to the thumb and fingers to put it in a bank. This skill starts to develop between the ages of 1.5 to 2.5 years old.
2) Rotation – the ability to rotate or turn an object in the pad of the fingers. Simple rotation could be turning a bead so you can put something through the hole. More complex rotation might be making “meatballs” with playdough within one hand using the thumb and fingers. (This is one is always a challenge for my kids!)
3) Shift – the thumb and fingers manipulate an object in a linear movement after it’s been grasped. Think of picking up a pencil near the eraser and then “shifting” or “walking” the fingers up toward the point. (developing between 4 to 5 years)
What to Look For:
When you’re looking at a child’s in-hand manipulation skills, it’s important to note their speed and accuracy. I find that a lot of my kids drop things or “stumble” through in-hand manipulation tasks. Their speed and accuracy improve with natural development but lots of fine motor and manipulation activities are always helpful in pushing these skills along!
Kids who still haven’t developed in-hand manipulation often use compensatory strategies to accomplish the task in front of them. For instance, if they are trying to manipulate a peg into a pegboard, but it’s upside down, they may touch it to their chest to turn it. This is because they don’t have the higher-level manipulation skills to turn it within their hand.
Other compensatory strategies to look for:
-dropping the pegs or coins to pick them up in a different way
using their other hand to turn the object
picking up one object at a time
How do you know if they are making progress?
I like to use progress monitoring sheets to keep track of my kids’ manipulation skills. These allow me to easily check off what activity I used, what goal I targeted, AND how my student did!
Progress monitoring and keeping data are an important way to measure how and if your students are making progress.
This printable Manipulation Activity Packet includes a simple tracking sheet that allows you to keep data while staying focused on your child and the exciting fine motor challenge at hand.
Forward from Miss Jaime, O.T.: When I first graduated from OT school, I got a job working as a contract therapist in a public school. I had no supervisor, no mentor, and no one to ask questions.
Thank goodness, I ended up placed in a school with such a large caseload that there was also another (more experienced) OT. She took me under her wing and offered me informal mentorship and much invaluable advice as a colleague and friend.
I left that agency very soon to get a district job, but I am forever grateful to my first mentor, Diane Fine, Occupational Therapy Extraordinaire. Twenty years later,Diane still works for that agency in that building and has generously offered to share her experiences and advice to new school OTs in the field. Continue reading →
Different kids can like or dislike different sensations. I like to recommend weighted things because I find that they can be calming and grounding for children who are sensory seeking, anxious, impulsive, or hyperactive. They can also be used as “heavy work” for kids who need to “wake up” or get moving.
Picking out a gift can be so frustrating.
This year I thought I’d make a quick list of my top favorite NEW sensory toys – ones that are unique and probably not already in your child’s toy box.
Affiliate links have been included for your convenience.
A Weighted Teddy Bear
This weighted teddy bear is too adorable. It looks like a typical toy but provides a weighted sensation which can be comforting. Check it out!
A Weighted Cap
This weighted cap is so cool! I love that it looks just like a regular hat, but it is weighted to provide extra input to the head. Such a brilliant idea! Learn more here.
“How am I supposed to teach him to tie his shoes?”
The Occupational Therapy student’s cheeks were pink. A concerned look creased her face.
Self-doubt was creeping in. I understood.
Sometimes you get a child on your caseload that seems to have a lot of obstacles to face, just to live a normal independent life.
This little boy was no exception. Charlie was born with amniotic banding, a rare condition caused by fibrous strands of the amniotic sac entangling the limbs or other parts of the body, which can cause deformities in utero. In Charlie’s case, he was born without his left hand.
How do you teach bilateral skills like cutting, buttoning, and tying to a child with only one hand?
You adapt. And you teach them to adapt. There’s always a way.
Every child deserves to live a full and happy life.
They deserve to be independent.
And they deserve to accomplish typical milestones, such as tying their shoes for the first time.
I love to use adaptive tools to make these mountainous challenges just a bit easier for my little guys. So I was super excited to tell my OT student about Zubits.