back to school tricks

5 Back to School Tips Every Parent and Teacher Should Know

I can’t believe that Back to School is around the corner.   In honor of back to school this year, I’ve decided to share my 5 best back to school tips!  They may seem simple, but they work!  So here goes!

 

1) For the child who doesn’t hold their pencil correctly…

This is a great tip for kindergarten, first, and second-grade teachers.   Kids still need reminders to hold their pencils correctly.  Why not make it fun?  Rather than spending money on an expensive pencil grip that the kids lose, chew, and pick apart; simply take a sharpie and use it to make a face on each pencil.  For the Kindergarten teacher who spends an hour sharpening every pencil to get ready for the first day of school, this should only take another ten minutes.   For the mom of the child who needs reminders, it takes 30 seconds.  And it works!

  pencil grip trick
Drawing a face on the pencil is a simple visual cue. Kids love it when I ask them what kind of face they want: girl or boy? happy or sad?, etc.
pencil grip tricks,
The thumb goes on one eye, index goes on the other. It’s a quick trick that works wonders!

 

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long island hippotherapy and therapuetic riding

Long Island Links: Therapeutic Horseback Riding and Hippotherapy

One of my favorite things about Occupational Therapy is that there are no limits to how you can help a patient achieve their goals.  It depends on what the patient wants to achieve and what they are interested in.  You can use activities like gardening, scrapbooking or crocheting to work on motor skills. You can use yoga, dance, or karate to work on strength and coordination.  The list goes on.  One of the coolest ways to help a patient achieve their goals is on horseback.

There are a number of places right here in Long Island that offer Hippotherapy and Therapeutic Riding.  When I learned that a PT friend of mine does therapeutic riding lessons on the side, I just had to go see what it was all about.  And of course, I loved it!

Hippotherapy vs. Therapeutic Riding

So here is what I learned:

Hippotherapy is different than “therapeutic riding”.  The American Hippotherapy Association defines Hippotherapy as  a physical,  occupational, or speech and language therapy treatment strategy using a horse.   A horse is incorporated into the treatment to “engage the sensori-motor and neuromotor systems to create a functional change in their patient” (http://www.americanhippotherapyassociation.com/2015).

So basically, a therapist takes their treatment goals and uses the movements of a horse (rather than a swing, scooter, etc.) to facilitate the achievement of that goal.  From an OT’s perspective, let’s say I wanted to work on visual perceptual skills, teaching left and right and reaching across midline.  I could set up puzzle pieces on both sides of my patient (and the horse) and have them reach across midline following my directions to get a piece from the left or right and then walk the horse forward to where the puzzle is to insert the piece.  A physical therapist might use this same activity to work on postural control, balance or trunk rotation.  A speech therapist might use it to facilitate language in a patient.

Movement and vestibular input can be very calming and organizing. I have seen children who are almost non-verbal sing and say new words after swinging on a swing for a few movements.  The movements of a horse can have the same effect.

Hippotherapy  

According to the American Hippotherapy Association (AHA), there are only about 7 certified Hippotherapists in the Long Island Area. A board certified Hippotherapist has earned the letters HPCS after their name, which stands for Hippotherapy Clinical Specialist.  Hippotherapists can be licensed physical therapists, occupational therapists, or speech and language pathologists who have been practicing their profession for at least three years.  They must have 100 hours of Hippotherapy practice within the three years prior to application. Application fees apply, and a multiple-choice examination must be passed.

“Hippotherapy is not a horseback riding lesson. It is therapy prescribed by a physician and delivered by a team that includes a licensed, credentialed therapist (occupational therapist, physical therapist, or speech-language pathologist), a professional horse handler, and a specially screened and trained therapy horse. There is direct hands-on participation by the therapist at all times. The horse‘s movement is essential to assist in meeting therapy goals.” (Apel, 2007). 

Therapeutic Riding:

There are also many PATH certified therapeutic riding instructors all through the Long Island area.  The “PATH” organization stands for Professional Association Therapeutic Horsemanship.  PATH offers three levels of certification for therapeutic riding instructors: Registered, Advanced and Master. The requirements for each level include skills in Equine Management, Horsemanship, Instruction, Teaching Methodology, and Disabilities.  Instructors who are “PATH” certified have completed online coursework, self-study exams, and 25 mentored hours with a PATH Intl. Certified Riding Professional instruction as well as an on-site workshop and certification.  (http://www.pathintl.org/resources-education/certifications)

“Therapeutic riding is recreational horseback riding lessons adapted to individuals with disabilities. It is completed by a professional horseback riding instructor in conjunction with volunteers.” (Apel, 2007)  “Recreational riding is used to enhance the quality of life through physical and emotional stimulation while the client learns horsemanship skills.” (Meyer, 2006).

Observing Therapeutic Horseback Riding

I observed two therapeutic riding lessons at MyShine in Old Bethpage, Long Island

One of the things that struck me right away was the staff to child ratio.  There were three staff members assisting the child and even more watching from outside the rail.   I was so honored to meet a teenager named Caroline and her mom.  She is diagnosed with Autism and Seizure Disorder.   Her mom brings her every week for her half-hour lesson and watches from the rail as Caroline mounts the horse with help, walks around the course, and practices making the horse stop, go, and turn. My friend Stephanie (PT) taught the session.  I could see how Caroline had to use the muscles in her legs to give the “signals” and the muscles in her arms to manage the reins and make the turns.  The staff worked with her on spatial concepts very naturally, with directions such as “go between the cones”, “turn around” and “make a left”, which was Caroline’s favorite.  Caroline seemed happy and proud to be on the horse, even though she’s been doing it for years.  She had trouble focusing and following the directions at times, but the staff was amazing about redirecting her.  They had such a great rapport; it was easy to see.  Caroline went up into the woods on a trail with the staff, which was relaxing even to me who followed on foot.  The environment of being outside on a beautiful sunny day, walking on a trail through the trees was very peaceful after a crazy day. I can totally understand how this activity can reduce stress and anxiety for anyone!

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Stephanie’s mom, Mary, taught the next session.  I had the opportunity to meet with a teenager named Gina and her dad.   Gina is a fifteen-year-old who has been attending either hippotherapy or therapeutic riding since she was 3 years old.  She is diagnosed with Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome (SLO).  Gina is non-ambulatory and has very high tone in her legs, so she rides without a saddle.  Stephanie told me that the tone of her legs improves when she rides.  Gina has decreased strength throughout her body, so riding is a great workout for her.  Stephanie explained to me that hippotherapy is usually done bareback, while therapeutic riding is usually with a saddle. However,  Mary uses a bareback pad with Gina even though it’s therapeutic riding because that is what Gina needs.   Mary and the staff supported Gina from all sides as she went up on the trail.  One of my favorite moments was when one of the staff members put on a Justin Beiber video on their phone for her.  The way her eyes lit up and the burst of giggles that came out of her mouth was so endearing. What a typical teenage girl!   It was interesting to see how the staff placed Gina’s legs so that she was sitting “traditional style” with her legs on either side of the horse, then with both legs on one side in a “side-sitting” position, then backwards, then side-sitting on the other side, and finally back to facing front.  Stephanie explained that this is called “around the world”, and it is Gina’s favorite thing to do.

hippotherapy

Gina’s mom told me that she learned about hippotherapy from Gina’s Early Intervention PT. It was difficult to find a program for her at such a young age, but Gina’s mom was very motivated by the research and documentation she found. Her first session on a horse was at the age of 3.  It was with an experienced rider and the instructor sat in the horse with Gina and they rode together.  Gina’s mom reported that Gina finds it very relaxing and when she was young she would often fall asleep (thumb in mouth) and out like a light on the horse. Over the years, Gina has participated in both hippotherapy and therapeutic riding with a PT, and an OT.  They reported that they saw the biggest changes when they started at MY Shine.  She began holding the reins (not mouthing her hands or her shirt) and becoming thoroughly engaged!  Gina’s mom also reported that they see increased trunk control, better posture, maintaining contractors in her legs (which is preventing surgery), and decreased mouthing her hands (which is a constant challenge). Overall, Gina is a happy girl when she is on a horse!

hippotherapy

 The benefits of horseback riding

There are many benefits to horseback riding for people of all ages; both with and without disabilities.  Horseback riding can help to improve speech and language, sensory processing, and muscle tone and strength.  It addresses balance, motor coordination, and reflexes.  Horseback riding can be used to address cognitive and mental health goals as well.  There is a lot of research about how animals can facilitate progress in children and adults with physical, cognitive, social, psychiatric, and developmental disabilities.  Articles report increased socialization, improved mood, decreased anxiety, and improved communication (both verbal and non-verbal) when animals or pets are incorporated into a patient’s therapy or care (Rosetti & King, 2010).

 Hippotherapy and Therapeutic Riding Resources

“American Hippotherapy Association, Inc.” American Hippotherapy Association Inc. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 June 2015. <http://www.americanhippotherapyassociation.com/>.

Apel, L. (2007, 06). Hippotherapy and therapeutic riding highlight! The Exceptional Parent, 37, 28-34. Retrieved from http://proxy.nbcot.org:2048/docview/223497887?accountid=143111

Meyer, G. E. (2006). Special needs, special horses: A guide to the benefits of therapeutic riding. Physical Therapy, 86(4), 596-598. Retrieved from http://proxy.nbcot.org:2048/docview/223109476?accountid=143111
Rossetti, Jeanette,EdD., R.N., & King, Camille, MS,R.N., P.M.H.C.N.S.-B.C. (2010). Use of animal-assisted therapy with psychiatric patients. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing & Mental Health Services, 48(11), 44-48. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.3928/02793695-20100831-05
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 Long Island facilities that offer Hippotherapy or Therapeutic Riding:


HorseAbility Center for Equine Facilitated Programs

Horse Riding School
223 Store Hill Rd
Old Westbury, NY 11568
516-333-6151

http://www.horseability.org/
email: info@horseability.org

*HorseAbility offers both Hippotherapy and Therapeutic Riding, as well as many other equine assisted activities.  Click the link for more information.


Great Strides Long Island, Inc. 

Saddle Rock Ranch
41 Coram-Swezeytown Road
Middle Island, NY  11953
(631)786-9708
http://www.greatstridesli.org/
email:julie@greatstridesli.org

*Great Strides believes in the benefits of equine assisted activities for everyone – children, adults, and veterans of all abilities.  Great Strides is currently running a recreational therapeutic riding program using PATH certified instructors.  They also offer programs to veterans free of charge.  Click the link for more information.


Pal-O-Mine Equestrian, Inc. 

829 Old Nichols Road
Islandia, NY 11749
email: info@pal-o-mine.org

* Pal-O-Mine offers hippotherapy, therapeutic riding and other equine assisted activities.  Click the link for more information.


SPeech IN Motion

Speech Language Pathology in Motion has been offering Hippotherapy as a speech therapy treatment strategy for over 5 years. They are the only place on long island set up as a therapy practice.

Locations in Islandia and Hauppauge, NY
ph: (631) 479-3393 Ext. 3
fax: (631) 479-3358
alt: (516) 395-8610

email: 


Center for Therapeutic Riding of the East End  (Ctreeny)

Wolffer Estate Stables
41 Narrow Lane East
Sagaponack, NY 11962
email: info@ctreeny.org

631-779-2835 

*Ctreeny offers therapeutic riding lessons from “PATH” certified instructors.  They do not accept insurance, but they do offer scholarships.  Riders start with core balancing riding at age 3 and there is no limit on older ages.   Riders must have good sitting balance and our restrictions are listed on our new rider paperwork.


IRIE Therapeutic Horseback Riding

Union Standardbred Farm
937 Reeves Ave.
RiverheadNY
(631) 871-1916

https://www.facebook.com/groups/102653969772380/


Disclaimer: Part of my goal in developing this blog is to offer resources to families in my community of Long Island, NY. Miss Jaime OT is not employed by or associated with the above organizations.  These organizations were contacted for permission to be included on this blog post.  If you have information about another resource in Long Island that should be added, please let me know.

For more information about Hippotherapy, click here.

For more information about “PATH” click here.

 

Happy Riding!

 

~Miss Jaime, O.T.

 


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Image of Aerial Yoga Aromatherapy and OTASI, Sensory Integration Therapy

 

 

Using Aerial Yoga for Kids with ADHD, ASD, and everything else!

As I’ve mentioned before, I love yoga.  Recently, I had the opportunity to observe an Aerial Yoga class for children.  After that, I just had to try an adult class myself.  I kind of had an idea of what to expect, but the class totally exceeded my expectations.   I practice yoga and I use it with my Occupational Therapy students all the time.  I think yoga is such a wonderful way to work on strength, balance, and coordination.  It also helps to quiet the mind and increase focus.   Aerial Yoga has all the benefits of traditional yoga, as well as the added benefits of sensory input.  Traditional yoga provides sensory input, too, but in a different way.  I am writing this blog post about my experience as an OT in both observing and participating in an Aerial Yoga class.  I recommend that you also read the post “Aerial Yoga from an OT’s perspective”  by the owner of the facility, who is able to give her perspective as a Occupational Therapist specializing in the treatment of Sensory Processing Disorders.   I’ve attached the link for you at the bottom of the page.

You may be wondering exactly what Aerial Yoga is.  Have you ever seen Pink do one of her performances where she sings as she hangs from the ceiling and twists, swings, and flips herself around?   Picture that! Ok , ok. I didn’t hang or twist like a rock star… but the theory is there.  And I felt like a rock star!

Lycra “hammocks” are suspended from two hooks in the ceiling.  The height can be adjusted based on the size of the person who will be using it.   The stretchy  material hangs in a “u” shape.  The material is super stretchy but also very strong, so it can support a child or adult size body midair. The instructor and staff members measured each person to make sure their hammock was the right height.   Aerial Yoga focuses on strength, balance, and coordination through different poses with the Hammock.  The children’s class that I observed was at Sensational Development in Massapequa.  There were 8 students, a Yoga Instructor and three staff members assisting the kids.  The therapists at Sensational Development are trained in Yogapeutics.    For more info on Yogapeutics, please check out the link at the bottom of the page.

AyogaHammocks2

Even the room itself was cool!  The lights were dimmed and soft music was playing in the background.  The floor looked exactly like a hardwood floor, but when I looked closer I realized it was made up of foam mats!  The kids ranged in ages from about five to sixteen.  The students seemed familiar with the yoga instructor’s verbal cues and were able to follow the directions.  The music really helped to provide a calm and relaxing aura. Later, when I would get into the complex inverted positions myself, I was able to feel my body become “un–calm”.  My heart would be racing from physically exerting myself as well as whatever else I was feeling from being upside down. Somehow, the instructor Linda, knew how I was feeling too.  After the “stimulating” poses, she would go back to a relaxing, calm pose.  She called it “chill-axing”.  I loved it. She really knew how to get our bodies back to right “state”.  Not too high, and not too low: Just right. The class consisted of children of all different levels of ability or “disability”. There were children on the spectrum, children with impulsivity and hyperactivity, and children with low tone.  The instructor, Linda, had an awesome way of providing the kids with the cues and descriptions to follow her instructions.   I was amazed at how the kids were able to follow up to ten step directions to perform the different moves she was showing them.  I was also surprised at how well the staff was able to manage all of the kids.  They were all different ages and abilities!  The owner told me later that the parents have to sign up their children for the class in advance so she can make arrangements to have the appropriate staff members present based on which kids were attending.   That made sense.  No wonder everything ran so smoothly.  They had it down to a science.

Aerial yoga is one of those wonderful activities that works on a bunch of goals at once.  Here are just a few of the areas that I saw being addressed:

Attention and focus – as I watched the children adjust their bodies according to Linda’s instructions I noticed that each child had a different way of listening and attending to her words. Some of the children stopped moving and watched her quietly and others kept bouncing as though they were on a trampoline. Each child was able to control their bodies and their positions to what felt comfortable for them. In the classroom, there are children who cannot sit still and listen. But just because they aren’t sitting still and just because they aren’t looking at the teacher doesn’t mean they aren’t listening and they aren’t learning. Some children need to move more than others. And some children need to move all the time. This class was the perfect example of showing that you can still listen when you’re moving around. All of the children followed Linda’s instructions. Occasionally one of the kids would try a different move than what Linda was explaining. The staff just gently went over and redirected them to stay on task and with the class. Some children needed more direction and more physical assistance than others.  So the children who needed less assistance were able to “play” in their hammocks until everyone was ready. This worked out great for everyone.  In the school setting we sometimes talk about a child’s need for self-regulation in the classroom.  What we really mean is that we want the child to be able to keep their own body awake and alert without being hyper or “wild”.  The point is that every child’s body and sensory system is different and their needs can be met in different ways.  It doesn’t mean that they have to sit still.

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Strength– the kids used their core (abs and back) muscles throughout the session to arrange their bodies according to Linda’s instructions.  When I had the chance to try the poses myself, I really felt the muscles in my back and abs working to keep myself in the right position. I also felt the strength in my arms and legs during every pose. When we did the upside down poses, we had to use our arms to pull ourselves back up.  You know in the action movies when someone is hanging from a bridge or a train or something and they miraculously pull themselves back up? Yeah.  That was me!  One thing I didn’t expect was the amount of fine motor coordination and dexterity that was incorporated into the aerial yoga class.  Linda often had us re-orient our swing, to make sure it wasn’t all bunched up, so that our bodies would end up in the correct positions. She used cute expressions like “make a bikini bottom”  to help the kids understand what she wanted. The kids learned to use their fingers to bunch up the material the appropriate number of times according to Linda’s request.  It kind of reminded me of scrunching up a sock or a pair of stockings before you put them on. It takes a lot of small movements in your fingers and hands to get that material all bunched up. We had to do it over and over again, so those muscles got a great workout. What an awesome way to hide fine motor strengthening in a gross motor activity.

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Motor planning – as I mentioned before, following Linda’s instructions required a lot of listening and watching her physically demonstrate the movements. She made it look so easy!  It was much harder to get my body to do what she just did. Motor planning is the ability to cognitively plan out how you’re going to move your body to complete an activity. We take motor planning for granted, but it can be really hard for some people.  The  entire one-hour session was filled with motor planning challenges.  Any new movement can be tricky if you’ve never done it before.  The staff was awesome about making sure that each child in the children’s class as well as every adult in the adult class was able to complete the movements either with or without assistance from staff.  

Tactile and proprioceptive input – As the children stretched and pushed their bodies against the Lycra Hammock, they were receiving tactile and proprioceptive input throughout their entire bodies.  Our largest organ is our skin. So when you engage in an activity that stimulates your entire body, the receptors in your skin are sending a ton of feedback to your brain. This can be calming or alerting; it depends on the child as well as the setting of the activity. Proprioceptive input is also known as deep pressure.  Inside that Lycra swing, your whole body is pressing against that material. And the material is pressing back as you hang against gravity, providing proprioceptive input throughout the entire class.  When I had the chance to do it myself, I was surprised at how my perceptions of the input changed throughout the hour-long class. There were times when I was calm and relaxed and there were times where I felt a little nervous or anxious. The sensations and my emotions changed in different poses.

 

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Vestibular input – Hanging from the ceiling with nothing holding you but a large stretchy sock (hammock) can be a little unnerving. Most adults rarely go on rides. I am no exception to this. In fact, I’ve been on a roller coaster twice since the eighth grade. The reason for this is that most rides make me feel sick. Even swinging on a playground swing too high or for too long can make me a little nauseous, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from Aerial Yoga. The instructors told me that it’s normal to feel a little lightheaded or dizzy after class. For the most part I was totally fine. Vestibular input can be extremely calming or alerting to a person’s sensory system. Many children actively seek out vestibular input by swinging, rocking, or hanging upside down. They simply know what their body needs. Then, there are other children whose bodies need vestibular input, but it makes them uncomfortable. Some children avoid having their feet off the ground at all. This is called gravitational insecurity and it can really interfere with typical childhood play.  I thought it was amazing how aerial yoga, with one piece of equipment, could provide so many different kinds of sensory input. How awesome!

Self Esteem and Confidence -There was one student, a teen-age girl, who was the sibling of one of the kids in the class.  She was very quiet, but she was great at the poses; maybe even the most comfortable and skilled in the class. The staff told me that she attends the class every week with her sister, who is on the spectrum.  This is one of her “extra-curricular” activities, such as taking dance or gymnastics.  When I commented on how good she was, the staff told me that she progresses each week, learning new and more difficult poses. They tailor certain things to meet her need for a challenge, since she is capable of more than some of the other children.  The best part was that the staff reported that this girl had really transformed since coming to aerial yoga.  She has become more confident, more self-assured, and more outgoing.  How cool is that?

 


For a more detailed description of how Aerial Yoga can impact a child’s sensory system, you should read this post by Sara, an Occupational Therapist specializing in the treatment of Sensory Processing Disorders, and one of the owners of the facility where I took the class. Click here for the link.

 

So, are you willing to try an Aerial Yoga Class? Want to see if your child likes it?  Sensational Development is offering a deal with this blog post; “Buy five classes, get one free”.  Mention “Miss Jaime, O.T.” to get the deal.

 

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~Namaste!

 

 


 

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literacy and motor skills, Miss Jaime OT

Incorporating Motor skills into Literacy centers

BLOGhoplogofrogI’m so excited to be participating in my first blog hop, courtesy of Speech and Language Literacy Lab.  In an effort to promote Better Hearing and Speech Month, SL3 has gathered over 30 professionals in the educational field  to offer their expertise on RTI in the school setting.   Today I will be blogging about the importance of incorporating motor skills into literacy centers for children.  Common Core standards have increased the expectations we are placing on our little ones.  As an Occupational Therapist, one of my concerns is that the children are still given opportunities to use and develop their motor skills throughout a typical school day. Over the past few years,   I am finding that children’s motor skills are decreasing, rather than improving.  So what can we do?  Tons of things!  There are so many ways to incorporate movement into reading and literacy lessons.  Why not work on two skills at once?

What is RTI, anyway?

RTI stands for “Response to Intervention”.  Response to Intervention (RTI) is a framework used by teachers to help children who are struggling.  For example, a first grade student is behind his peers in reading.  The teacher will use his test scores or other strategies to provide targeted interventions to address that deficit.  What does that mean?  It means the teacher will determine where the child’s weakness is, and then provide specific strategies and lessons geared to helping that child improve on that skill.  If the interventions don’t work, the teacher will provide more focused interventions.   RTI is a 3 tiered process.  It allows a general education student to get the help they need before falling significantly behind.  It is designed to be pro-active in helping children to catch up to their peers.  For more information on RTI, check out this link.

Anyway, RTI is here to stay and it’s a great way for teachers and parents to keep track of their student’s success.  RTI strategies can be used for learning, behavior, and even motor skills. One of my best ideas (in my opinion!) over the past two years was to create “motor boxes” in my classrooms.  I collected shoe boxes from all the teachers in my building and then had a blast building activities that incorporated both motor and literacy skills. The boxes were  designed for each child’s special learning needs.  I admit it took a while, because I created the boxes based on each child’s individual needs.  However, the idea behind the boxes is perfect to use from an RTI perspective!  So I am going to share the ideas/boxes that I created for my classrooms in hopes that parents, teachers, OT’s and Speech and Language Pathologists will create similar activities to use with all of their students, too!

My teachers have given me great feedback on the boxes. They told me that the “motor boxes” are great for independent working time. This allows the teacher to pull children in small groups while other children work independently at their desks on the motor and literacy skill in their box.  From an RTI perspective, a teacher could create multiple boxes so the children can take turns using them, working on different skills.  I found it very helpful to create a “star chart”. I numbered each box. Then I put the children’s names and the box number on the chart.  After a child finished the task in the box, they were excited to go over to the chart, find their name and put a star in the column of the number box they did.  This also eliminated a different problem.  Kids were avoiding the “difficult” boxes!  Now we had a way to ensure that each child worked on all the different skills we planned.

The first thing I did was to ask my teachers for a list of the skills they wanted to work on as well as the sight words they would be teaching this year.  Then I used the information to create each box to be a little different.  As I said, the children were all at different levels, so I had to make the boxes hard enough to be challenge, but easy enough to succeed:  “The just right challenge”.

As we all know, school materials can be expensive!  I recycled a lot of things and then used Dollar Store materials to supplement where I needed to.  Here were some of the activities that I came up with.

*This post contains affiliate links


Clothespins

 

 

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So this was an easy one.  The Dollar Tree sells sight word flashcards in different grade levels.  For a Dollar, you get a whole stack of words of different levels of difficulty.  I separated the words into two piles and put the “difficult” ones away for the second half of the year.   I love clothespins to work on grip and hand strength.  Again, the Dollar store always has them.  I took a sharpie and wrote the letters of the alphabet (a different letter on each side) on the top of the clothespin.  I did extra clothespins for vowels and popular letters like s and t.  And that was it!  The kids are now reviewing grade level sight words, much like flash cards. Plus, they are working on bilateral coordination to hold the clothespin and the card at the same time. They are increasing their hand strength (particularly their Pencil Grip muscles) to open and close the clothespins, too!   This box also incorporates Visual Figure Ground – the ability to find what you are looking for in a busy background.  Many times the kids will say, “I can’t find an A!” even when it was right in front of them.  They had to track and scan through the pile to find what they needed.  This is just like looking all through the fridge to find the milk (that is right in front) or looking through your crayon box to find the black (even though it’s right on top).

This activity could also be adapted to be a vocabulary lesson.  Use index cards with definitions and write the word on the clothespin. Children have to find the correct definition and pin it onto the matching card. The possibilities are endless!

 Craft Sticks

sight words

I had a million craft sticks that were donated to me by a retiring teacher.  I wanted to use them up but wasn’t sure how to get a motor skill out of simple craft sticks.   I used the vocabulary list from my teachers to make cards again.  Then, I used a box cutter to make little slices in the top of a shoe box.  It’s better if the shoe box isn’t too high, so the sticks don’t fall through. BUT!  I did have one box that was too big, and the kids learned that they had to modulate the amount of force they used when putting the sight word in the hole so it wouldn’t fall through.  This is a great skill for kids who press too hard on their pencil and squeeze too hard on the glue.  I also like that the children had to put the stick in the correct slot.  It helped to build their awareness of left to right fluency and also spacing.  You can’t just put any letter anywhere or the word won’t be correct.

Beads

spice container

 

This activity was designed for some of my preschool students who are having difficulty sorting by color.  The children actually had good fine motor skills for their age, so I used these tiny “Perler” beads to keep the “just right challenge”.  They had to discriminate through the beads to find the proper colors in order to put them in the right hole.  I used loose-leaf reinforcers and magic markers to mark the colors with an empty spice container.  Sorting and categorizing is a math skill, but they are also language based skills that  a child needs in order to develop good literacy.

 

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I bought these “ABC” beads and this floral wire at you guessed it, the Dollar store!  I cut the wire into different lengths so I could use them for different boxes. One of the teachers had sent me her “words to know” from the Journey’s program (aka sight words) via email in a label template.  So I printed them out, stuck them on index cards and done!  I should mention that I always print out the directions and paste them inside the box. This way I can make sure the teacher or teachers aide knows exactly what I want the kids to do.  I also go through each box with the kids when I present them, to explain what they need to do.  The tricky thing with this center was that the kids would pick a card and then find the right beads. But they had to WAIT to put them on the wire until they found all the letters.  Otherwise their word would end up backwards.     In my directions I explained to the kids that they had to find the beads, put them in order, then string them (last letter first).  They had to put a plain colored bead in between the words to represent a space.  Then, they had to write the 5 words on loose leaf.  This center reinforced left to right directionality, spelling, writing, and recognizing sight words.  It also worked on using a pincer grasp to pick up the small bead, using bilateral skills to hold the wire and get the bead on, and left to right tracking to line the beads up properly.  Don’t forget Visual Perceptual skills to find the bead they needed and to recognize the letter whether it was upside down or turned sideways.

 Blocks

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I had some Linking cubes  that I hardly ever used.  You could also use Legos or Mega Block if you have them.  I used the same pack of Dollar Store sight words and I used a Sharpie to write the letters on the blocks.  I suggest putting all your cubes together before you write the letter so they are all facing the right way.  I made a few long towers and then wrote all the letters, extra vowels, and popular letters.  Then I flipped the cubes over, and wrote more letters on the back. This way the kids had double the letters with half the blocks.  I also included some fun pencils in the box so the kids could practice writing the words. Kids love anything novel.   The kind of pencils where you can pull the top off and stick them in the back are always a hit! Plus they work on bilateral skills and pincer strength!


 Dice

hand-245230_1280Arches in the hand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love to use dice with children in any way I can.  The first thing that most teachers don’t realize is that children don’t actually “roll” the dice. That is because they really haven’t developed the arches in their hands yet.  You need arches in your hand in order to make a “cup” so the dice don’t fall out.  There was a cute pin on Pinterest of dice in a clear Tupperware.  It’s kind of like the “popper” from the game Trouble.  I think it’s a great idea because children can shake the Tupperware and the dice don’t go flying…. BUT, I would rather deal with the flying dice so that children can learn to use the arches in their hands to hold things (including dice) without them falling out of their hands.  I feel the same way about glue sticks – Ok, so there is no mess, but there is also hardly any work involved.  Kids need to squeeze, turn the cap, and learn when to Stop squeezing.  They benefit way more from real glue.  But I digress!

It is easy to think of  ways to use dice for math, but for literacy?   There are still a lot of ways to use dice.  I have seen “Roll A Sight Word” sheets in many classrooms.  You can use my free  BINGO template for this purpose, too. You can use the concept with any subject.  It’s simple to assign each number a word or even a definition for older kids.   An example: a Kindergarten student is practicing simple sight words.  The teacher has a simple work sheet with a “key”.

  • Roll a one:  he
  • Roll a two:  she
  • Roll a three: they
  • Roll a four: it
  • Roll a five:  the
  • Roll  a six: and

The child rolls the die and then colors in a box with the word in it or writes the word in the box.  The child is using future  math skills (probability, graphing) with current math skills (counting, number recognition) as well as literacy skills, recognizing the number, matching it to the word, remembering that the number two is code for “she”. They are also using motor skills to build the arches in their hands to hold the die and “roll” it, rather than drop it or throw it. (They often need to be shown this).  Then, they are working on pencil or crayon grip and fine motor skills to write or color.  That’s a lot of things accomplished with a die activity.  The activity can be adapted to fit any teacher’s needs.

Let’s think about the same activity  for a fourth grade teacher.  She can use it to work on social studies definitions and vocabulary.  Fourth graders often study in class by copying definitions from the textbook or from the board, doing fill in the blank sheets, or multiple choice questions.  Here is way to make it a bit more fun AND work on those hand muscles.

  • Roll a one:  Definition of longitude
  • Roll a two:  Definition of latitude
  • Roll a three: Definition of equator
  • Roll a four: Definition of plateau
  • Roll a five: Definition of peninsula
  • Roll  a six: Definition of plains

When the child rolls the die and reads the definition, they have to find the corresponding word on a sheet and color it in. Now the child is working on vocabulary and motor skills at once.  If you wanted to add another component, you could add an extra die, make more definitions, or have the kids write the word instead of color.  You could even have the kids write it in script.  The possibilities are really endless. You just need to think about your typical classroom and homework routine in a different way (aka involving motor skills).

Scissors skills

There is an easy way to incorporate scissors skill practice into literacy.  Cut till you get to the words you need!  Again, you can modify this concept any way you want.   Use it for letter or sight word recognition or to learn vocabulary.  Once you start thinking differently, you can adapt anything.   20150518_174000

 

“Start at the beginning and cut until you reach your sight word.  Try to stay on the line!   Tell me the sight word!?”

Novelty items

I’ve also made motor boxes to help kids learn their word families.  I’ve used plastic eggs and also other novelty items (like these eyeballs ) to make it fun.  You can write on anything with a Sharpie.  Twisting eggs takes fine motor and bilateral coordination as well as forearm rotation, which kids need in order to cut with scissors.  Scooping with these  great measuring spoons (Dollar Tree!) also works on forearm rotation and eye-hand coordination.

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These eggs end up sticking around all year long!  I made different eggs for each word family, with magnetic pieces to make up some of the words in that family.  Kids can use the whiteboard or an easel to make the different words, and then write them.

Bingo Chips

This simple boxed worksheet is the one resource that I use all the time (and hopefully you will too!)  Shown here is a simple spelling review activity for a second grade class.  Children were given  a handful of Bingo chips and told that they need to hold at least three in their hand.  When they hear the spelling word called, they have to use their fingers to manipulate the bingo chip to their thumb and pincer and then place it on the correct box (word).  Children try to compensate for decreased in-hand manipulation skills “dropping” the chip onto the board, or using their other hand to simply pick it up and place it in the right spot.  The purpose of this activity is to work on a skill called “translation”.  Translation is the ability to move an object from your palm to your fingertips.  Picture having your hands full and manipulating your ring of keys to get the right one into the door knob.  Or trying to get the quarter (when you have a handful of coins) into the slot of the vending machine.  This activity can even be used for high school students. Teachers can put definitions, vocabulary words, you name it in the boxes. I’v also used it to work on letter recognition in script and print.   And what child doesn’t like to win BINGO?  If you don’t have Bingo chips, change it up. Use coins, stamps, or even stickers.  Anything that the kids need to manipulate within their hand is good!

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Click the link below for your FREE printable template that can be used and customized in a million ways.

BINGO

Adapting the ideas for children who are significantly delayed

Everything can be adapted to be appropriate for children who are significantly delayed. Make the pieces bigger, make the directions more simple, etc.  I know that I am simplifying what can sometimes be a very difficult task. Modifying curriculum so it is still appropriate but still achievable can be a challenging task for any therapist/educator.  Simple adaptations such as using bigger pieces or using simpler directions can really help.  Here was one way that I adapted  the “bingo” idea.  I used checkers from a “Connect Four” game that had broken.  I put stickers on the face of the checkers and then used a sharpie to write letters and simple sight words.  I had the children pick up one checker at a time and place them on a simple sheet.  Some of the children were non-verbal, but they knew the letters.  Using the larger coins allowed them to work on their sight word or letter recognition, grasp and release, fine motor, and dexterity skills just like their peers.

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What about Gross Motor Skills?

Here’s two ideas to incorporate gross motor skills into a small group lesson.

Balloon Play

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Playing with balloons is always fun.  A bag of balloons can cost $1 dollar for 12 balloons, so that’s a great bargain.   Balloon play helps a child with visual tracking, eye-and coordination, and crossing the midline.   It also addresses some sensory issues  for children who don’t like smells like latex or loud noises like popping.   You can use your imagination to come up with an activity that suits the needs of your class, but here is one that I like to do with small groups.  Give each kid a  balloon and a Sharpie.  You can incorporate music if you want to.  Play keep it up, where the kids have to keep their own balloon in the air until the music stops or the teacher says “freeze”.  The teacher then says a sight word, a definition, or a category.  The children use their Sharpie to write the answer or the word on the balloon.  The teacher is incorporating the lesson and literacy activity at hand with the motor skills involved in balloon play.  This allows the children to showcase and build their knowledge while still getting some active juices flowing.  I’ve played this with my students outside and inside.  I found that playing inside made the kids negotiate the obstacles (desks, cubbies, etc) in the classroom. Playing outside let them breathe fresh air, play in natural light and run.  Sometimes the balloons pop if they hit the grass, though.  You can prevent that by tying a string around the balloon and the child’s wrist.  Now its more like a paddle balloon.  Whatever!  It still works on all the skills I’ve mentioned….

Bean Bags

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In my OT/PT room at school, I had a tic tac toe board that I barely ever used. I decided to use it a different way by having my students work on their word families.  I set up the tic tac toe board right by the Smartboard.  The kids lined up excitedly to throw a bean bag at whatever square they could.  When they hit a word ending, they had to tell me  a word from that word family and then write the word on the board.  I pulled up lined paper on the board so the kids could also practice writing their letters on the lines with proper spacing.  The kids thought they were “having a break”, but we were also able to target a literacy skill that they needed help with.

Using Motor in RTI

Teachers can incorporate these motor skills into their classroom lessons or reading groups at any Tier in the RTI process.  Tier One is a general intervention to be used  with all students.  Teachers can and should incorporate motor activities into their lessons as a general practice.   Tier Two instruction targets 5 to 10% of the students who are not making adequate progress in the core curriculum.  Targeted instruction is provided based on the students needs and rates of progress.  Motor activities can easily be incorporated into small group instruction.  Teachers can find simple ways to include movement and motor skill activities with the reading and literacy activities they are focusing on for Tier Two interventions.  Tier Three  provides Intensive Instruction on top of regular core instruction to 1 to 5% of children who aren’t responding to interventions.  As the teachers monitor the progress of the children and determine what interventions to put in place,  motor skills are being addressed and monitored as well.

Look at the whole child

Literacy is of utmost importance.  Teachers are being evaluated based on their student’s reading scores and levels of success.  Common Core has increased the demands of the curriculum so that Kindergartners are doing what used to  be done in the First grade.  As an OT, I am amazed and impressed with what our children are able to absorb and learn.  But it is still so important that they have a chance to develop their motor skills.  Any movement activity that can be incorporated into a literacy or reading lesson should be. We as educators and parents need to remember to look at the whole child.

And remember:

1) Reading is really important, but there are many other skills that help a child to read well.  Visual tracking, language, letter recognition, and postural control are just a few.

2)  Kids need to move!  Movement helps them to maintain an engaged state of mind so they can focus.  It lets them get their wiggles out.  They are still kids!  Research shows that when kids move as part of learning they process information better and the learning stays with them for longer periods of time (Jensen, 2001).

3)  What about writing?    Yes, we know that technology is taking over the world and even little kids can text.  That doesn’t take away the fact that they still need to learn how to write properly.  Using a pencil to write helps them to use all of those little muscles in their hands that they need in order to live life.  To open a bottle of water, to zip their own coat, to sharpen a pencil, to use a fork and knife….the list goes on.  Writing in itself is a fine motor skill, and so is coloring!  It drives me nuts when teachers tell me they aren’t supposed to color anymore.  What?!

4) Coloring IS meaningful and purposeful for children of all ages.  It is exercise.  Teachers who incorporate coloring and drawing into their lessons are building fine motor strength as well as helping children to create memories associated with pictures or words.  The association of pictures with words or vocabulary can help solidify a child’s learning.

5) Don’t forget your  BINGO FREEBIE!  I hope you come up with a million ways to use this simple sheet.

 Sources:

Jensen, E. (2001).  Arts with the brain in mind.  Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

 

I really hope that my “Motor boxes” have inspired you to to start creating!  What motor centers did you create for your students? As always please feel free to comment! I love to hear from readers!

~ Miss Jaime, OT

 

Check out the rest of the posts on the blog hop!  There are tons of free resources available.

The Schedule:

5/1/2015 Kick Off to Better Hearing Month

5/2/2015 RTI for the R sound! Badger State Speechy

5/3/2015 Response to Intervention in High School– A Journey from Abject Frustration to Collaboration and Student Success Stephen Charlton Guest blogs on Speech Language Literacy Lab

5/4/2015 Technology and RTI  Building Successful Lives Speech & Language

5/5/2015 Motor Groups and RTI Starfish Therapies

5/6/2015 Orton Gillingham Approach & RTI  Orton Gillingham Online Academy

5/7/2015 Evidenced-based writing that works for RTI & SPED SQWrite

5/8/2015 RTI/MTSS/SBLT…OMG!  Let’s Talk! with Whitneyslp

5/9/2015 RtI, but why?  Attitudes are everything!  Crazy Speech World

5/10/2015 Who Knew RTI Could be So Much Fun? (Artic RTI)    Consonantly Speaking

5/11/2015 Universal benchmarking for language to guide the RTI process in Pre-K and Kindergarten     Speech Language Literacy Lab

5/12/2015 Movement Breaks in the Classroom (Brain Breaks)   Your Therapy Source

5/13/2015 How to Write a Social Story   Blue Mango LLC

5/14/2015 Some Ideas on Objective Language Therapy    Language Fix

5/15/2015 Assistive Technology in the Classroom  OTMommy Needs Her Coffee

5/16/2015 Effective Tiered Early Literacy Instruction for Spanish-Speakers Bilingual Solutions Guest blog on Speech Language Literacy Lab

5/17/2015 Helping with Attention and Focus in the Classroom   The Pocket OT

5/18/2015 Vocabulary Instruction  Smart Speech Therapy, LLC

5/19/2015 An SLP’s Role in RtI: My Story Communication Station: Speech Therapy, PLLC

5/20/2015 Incorporating Motor Skills into Literacy Centers   MissJaimeOT

5/21/2015 The QUAD Profile: A Language Checklist  The Speech Dudes

5/22/2015 Resources on Culturally Relevant Interventions  Tier 1 Educational Coaching and Consulting

5/23/2015 Language Goals Galore: Converting Real Pictures to Coloring Pages  Really Color guest blog on Speech Language Literacy Lab

5/24/2015 Lesson Pix: The Newest Must-Have Resource in your Tx Toolbox Speech Language Literacy Lab

5/25/2015 AAC & core vocabulary instruction Kidz Learn Language

5/26/2015 An RtI Alternative Old School Speech

5/27/2015 Intensive Service Delivery Model for Pre-Schoolers   Speech Sprouts

5/28/2015 RTI Success with Spanish-speakers     Speech is Beautiful

5/30/2015 The Importance of Social Language (pragmatic) Skills guest post on Speech Sprouts

5/31/2015 Sarah Warchol guest posts on Speech Language Literacy Lab

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

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Have a Question for an OT?

Contact me!  I love to answer a parent’s questions from an OT’s perspective!

 

 

Ask An OT: “What pencil grip should I use for my child?”

Question from Dena Rich in  Albany, NYdena(1)

 

“Hi Miss Jaime!  Love, love your articles!!!! My daughter Emilia still struggles with her pencil grip (using whole hand instead of proper 2 fingers). I’m having trouble finding a pencil gripper. Do I have to go to a parent teacher store? Love the tweezer separating sprinkles idea. Do u think this will be too hard for her?  She turns five in March. “

Hi Dena!  Thanks for the compliment!  You don’t need to go to a teacher store; you can buy anything online!

Children who are four are often still developing a comfortable pencil grip.  It can be hard for children to develop separation of the two sides of the hand, but a pencil grip can help.  I usually try not to use a grip until I’m sure that the child is physically having difficulty.

That means that I have taught them many times where their fingers should go and where the pencil should sit in their hands.  When I ask them to hold the pencil correctly, they try to and they know what I mean.  The problem is that due to weak strength and endurance, they can’t maintain a proper grasp.  So then, I use a pencil grip.  My favorite “go-to” grip for preschoolers is called “the pencil grip”.  I like it because it’s “fatter” towards the back which helps kids to open up their web space.  This is the area between the thumb and the index finger.    There are specific spots for each finger, but even if they hold it wrong, it’s still ok.   Here is what it looks like.

Another good one that I like for kids Emilia’s age is the “writing claw”.  This one can be a little tricky to learn how to use, but once a child gets the hang of it, it’s great.  There are spots for the thumb, index and middle fingers.

 

Pencil grips can be uncomfortable for children at first.  That’s ok, it’s uncomfortable because the child is now using the correct muscles, and they aren’t used to doing this work.  Keep encouraging them and use it consistently.  It will pay off!   Also, you can help your child to “tuck in” the ring and pinky finger by having them hold a pom pom or a cotton ball in those fingers.  It helps to keep the pinky side of the hand separate from the thumb part.

Another way to make it easier for your child is to play games and work with toys that require separation of the two sides of their hands.  Classic games like  Bed Bugs, Lite Brite, Operation, etc. are examples of toys that encourage this.

Good Luck, Dena!  Keep us posted!

 

  ~Miss Jaime

Some Other Posts You May Enjoy:

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sensory processing, hyperactivity, food dyes

Are Food Dyes Making Your Child Hyper?

Many people are busy following through on their resolutions at this time of the year, and MANY of those resolutions involve getting healthy, eating well, and exercising.  Parents nowadays are often struggling to find the balance between making sure their children get nutritious meals and finding the time (and money) to create those healthy non-processed delights.

The Trend

Health trends change all the time, but it seems like the drive toward non-processed and organic foods is here to stay. Specialty stores like Whole Foods, Fairway and Trader Joes are flourishing all over Long Island.  Many parents with children with special needs are aware of all the research out there in regards to limiting sugar, going gluten free, and even decreasing dairy.  However, a topic that is on my mind right now is Food Dyes and their effect on Hyperactivity.

This blog post is based on my opinion and my research and is not meant to take the place of an important conversation with your family  physician if you have concerns about your child’s dietary needs.  But, I found a few articles that I thought were very interesting and I decided to share my findings to give you some info and/or food for thought.

Many parents are willing to try anything rather than put their child on a daily medication.  Who could blame them?!  There are side effects and long term implications that would scare anyone.  Unfortunately, sometimes a child’s hyperactivity and distractibility can severely limit their ability to participate in their daily classwork and then Mom and Dad are faced with a tough decision.   There are other alternatives, including counseling, supplements, and biofeedback.  But what if just changing the food that you serve your child could help them have a more productive school day?  Wouldn’t that be awesome?

 

The Feingold Diet

So…. here is the skinny on the food dye and hyperactivity controversy.    In the 1970’s the “Feingold Diet” became a very popular diet for kids with hyperactivity.  Dr. Ben Feingold, an allergist, wrote a book called “Why Your Child is Hyperactive” which ended up becoming a bestseller.  Dr. Feingold died in 1982, but the controversy about his ideas regarding hyperactivity and diet are still very real.  Some parents swear by the diet; reporting improved sleep, decreased aggression,  and increased attention in their ADHD child.   Feingold’s diet eliminates synthetic food dyes, artificial flavors, and some preservatives.  It is definitely a big commitment for parents who decide to go that route.  Today, the Feingold Association is a support group for parents to help children with ADHD through dietary changes.  If you decide to try it, you definitely need to do your research.  Even medication can have artificial coloring!  The website www.Feingold.org is a wealth of information about how to start eliminating synthetic food dyes, preservatives, and artificial coloring from your child’s diet.

Studies for and against the Feingold Diet have popped up.   In the early 1990’s studies in medical journals reported  that food sensitivities are a responsible for over 70 percent of ADHD symptoms.  But, food allergies often develop slowly, so the correlation may bot be obvious right away to a parent.    In 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported that food coloring may exacerbate certain symptoms of  ADHD in some children. But, the FDA says that it doesn’t affect enough of the population to do anything about it.  But does it affect your kid?  The FDA apparently puts the synthetic food coloring additives through a tough process to ensure that the coloring is safe.  Each batch is tested for contaminants such as lead when they are produced.  LEAD!  That sounds weird to me! Why would lead be in my food?

Because synthetic food dyes are actually made from petroleum.  Okay, in fairness, it’s not petroleum like we get at the gas station, but still!  That statement right there makes me want to be more careful about food dyes and artificial coloring.  Gross!

There are nine FDA approved synthetic color addiditives that are used in our food in the US. However, these three make of the majority of the food coloring in our food: Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6.  Other dyes to avoid are Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Orange B, and Red 3. In the 1970’s Red 2 was found to be a potential carcinogen and is no longer allowed in the USA.

 

More Recent Studies

Last year, a study at Oregon Health and science University in Portland found that the link between food dyes and increased ADHD symptoms in children affected 8 percent of those diagnosed.  That means that hundreds of thousands of the 5.9 million American children that are diagnosed with ADHD could be helped by eliminating synthetic dyes from their diet.  Isn’t that  amazing?

Feingold was an allergist.  He detected that these “hidden” food allergies were causing kids to have poor behavior and attention, sleep patterns and more.  When you think about how many children have severe allergies nowadays compared to twenty years ago, it only makes sense!  Something has changed to cause this.  Why are kids so prone to allergies?  And if they are, could something simple like food dyes be impacting their health without your knowledge?

What’s even more amazing (and annoying if you ask me) is the fact that the FDA does not require food labels to be complete!  The Feingold Association also recommends eliminating artificial flavors (even vanilla), artificial sweeteners like  aspartame (Equal & Splenda) and preservatives (BHA, BHT, and TBHQ).

So how are you supposed to eliminate these offenders when they may not even be labeled properly?  Hmm.  Apparently, to be an approved food for the Feingold Association, manufacturers need to fill out a ton of paperwork about everything in their foods.   Doesn’t it seem like all food manufacturers should have to go through this process? I mean, do we even know what we are eating?

 

Warning: Conspiracy Theory!

Since the 1950’s, the amount of food coloring in our US foods has increased by 5 times.  5 TIMES!  That’s crazy.  Want to hear something even more annoying?  Companies such as Kraft, Coca-cola, Walmart, and Mars have taken artificial coloring out of the products that they produce for the U.K., but have done nothing to change their products for America. Why?  Because European countries have banned food dyes.  A perfect example would be Fruit Loops, which have all 4 dyes that have been banned in Europe.  Still, Fruit Loops are exactly the same for us Americans.  I would love to see some statistics on hyperactivity and ADHD over there compared to here.   Hmm.   Most of the brightly colored snacks like Doritos, Skittles, and Mac and cheese are pretty obvious.  But,  even “healthy” snacks  often contain food dyes.  So that means that parents who are trying to feed their kids common “healthy snacks” are actually unintentionally giving them food dyes.  Even Yoplait yogurt and fiber one bars are guilty of it.  Oh, did I mention that many of the countries whose government banned food dyes also have governments which provide health care?  So, the European government stands to lose money if their people get sick from food dyes.  The U.S. Government actually makes money when Americans are sick.  Hmm again.

Feingold was an allergist.  He detected that these “hidden” food allergies were causing kids to have poor behavior and attention, sleep patterns and more.  When you think about how many children have severe allergies nowadays compared to twenty years ago, it only makes sense!  Something has changed to cause this.  Why are kids so prone to allergies?  And if they are an “allergy-sensitive” kid, could something simple like food dyes be impacting their health without your knowledge?

I hope this blog was an eye-opener for many parents.  It certainly was for me!   I’m thinking that if I want to stick with my own personal resolution of being healthier and eating less processed, artificial foods, I need to re-vamp my pantry!  Sorry for my random theories but when you blog, your thoughts are said out loud!   Again, this post is only meant to get your thinking.  If you have legitimate concerns for your child’s health, make an appointment to speak with your family doctor or allergist.

Resources

http://www.100daysofrealfood.com

http://www.cspinet.org

Armstrong, Thomas, Phd.  (1997). The Myth of the ADD Child. New York, NY: Penguin Putnam.

Stevens, Laura J.  (2000) 12 Effective Ways to Help your ADD/ADHD Child. New York, NY: Penguin Group Inc.

Barkley, Russell A. (2005). Taking charge of ADHD: Revised. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

~Miss Jaime, OT

 

Please comment if you have any other input for our readers!  I’d love to hear from you !