Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Frankly…I Love to Exercise


Frankenstein sensory motor activity

Print out this free Frankenstein activity to create.  Cut out the pieces to the Frankenstein and attach with brads to create your very own exercising Frank.  Kids can move the joints on the Frankenstein and try to copy the movements.  Work with a partner – one child moves the joints and the other child copies Frank.

DOWNLOAD Frankly…I Love to Exercise for free.

Need more Halloween activities?  Check out all of these resources to encourage sensory motor development with a Halloween theme.

Brain Breaks for Halloween

Brain Breaks for Halloween – Download includes 30 Halloween themed Brain Breaks, 5 brain break spinners, Roll Some Halloween Brain Breaks and Calm Down poem.

Halloween Poses - Postural and Strengthening Exercises with a Halloween Theme

Halloween Poses – includes 12 full size pages with one Halloween pose and directions per page, 3 pages of the 12 poses in smaller sizes, 20 games ideas to use with the poses and BOO! game cards and directions.

Print and Create Fine Motor Projects – Halloween

Print and Create Fine Motor Projects Halloween – includes 10 fine motor projects with a Halloween theme.The 10 projects included are the following:
Halloween Clothes Pin
I Can Draw Halloween
Chinese Pumpkin Lantern
Wacky Pumpkin Game
Paper Skeleton
Clothes Pin Critters
Pumpkin Patch
Step By Step Cat
Witch Mask
Spooky Door Hanger


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Monday, October 24, 2016

5 Ways to Increase Peer Interactions for Children with Disabilities


Therapists are frequently asked for suggestions on improving inclusive classrooms settings whether it be for accessibility, play, social or peer interactions.  Here are 5 evidence based tips to increase peer interactions during playtime for children with disabilities:

  1. Toys should be limited and well chosen.  Children will play longer when allowed to choose their playthings.  Social play such as pretend play, creativity or cooperative play helps to increase social interactions.
  2. Group children with disabilities with peers who demonstrate appropriate social skills.
  3. Keep adult child interaction to a minimum.
  4. The target behaviors should be play and joint attention.
  5. Play area should be relatively small.

Reference: Papacek, A. M., Chai, Z., & Green, K. B. (2015). Play and Social Interaction Strategies for Young Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder in Inclusive Preschool Settings. Young Exceptional Children, 1096250615576802.

Play - Move - Develop

Play Move Develop includes 100 reproducible games and activity ideas to encourage motor skill development and learning in children.  FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Visual Motor and Discrimination Activity – Hedgehogs


Here is a cute, visual motor and visual discrimination freebie with hedgehogs.  Just print, grab some crayons and start looking for matching hedgehogs.


DOWNLOAD the visual motor and visual discrimination freebie here.

This is from the Visual Discrimination Seek and Find download which includes 8 full color boards with cards and 12 black and white boards to color. Look for objects that are pictured on the tablet screen. Match up the cards or color in the matching picture according to the key. This activity encourages visual discrimination, visual closure and visual motor skills. Kids will love the tablet theme! Just print and play.



You can create the boards with cards.  They range in difficulty from easier to more difficult.


Create busy bags to make the activities easy to travel with from school to school.


Find out more information about the Visual Discrimination Seek and Find download.

visual discrimination seek and find Your Therapy Source

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Link Between Visual Motor, Object Manipulation Skills, Executive Function and Social Behavior

Link Between Visual Motor, Object Manipulation Skills, Executive Function and Social Behavior

Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport published research on 92, three to five year old children to establish a link between early visual-motor integration skills and executive function and a link between early object manipulation skills and social behaviors in the classroom during the preschool years.  Each participant was evaluated for visual-motor integration skills, object manipulation skills, executive function, and social behaviors in the fall and spring of the preschool year.  The results indicated the following:

  1. children who had better visual-motor integration skills in the fall had better executive function scores in the spring of the preschool year after controlling for age, gender, Head Start status, and site location, but not after controlling for children’s baseline levels of executive function.
  2. children who demonstrated better object manipulation skills in the fall showed significantly stronger social behavior in their classrooms (as rated by teachers) in the spring, including more self-control, more cooperation, and less externalizing/hyperactivity after controlling for social behavior in the fall and other covariates.

The researchers concluded that children’s visual-motor integration and object manipulation skills in the fall have modest to moderate relations with executive function and social behaviors later in the preschool year.

Reference:  MacDonald, M., Lipscomb, S., McClelland, M. M., Duncan, R., Becker, D., Anderson, K., & Kile, M. (2016). Relations of Preschoolers’ Visual-Motor and Object Manipulation Skills With Executive Function and Social Behavior. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 1-12.

Teaching Catching, Throwing and Kicking Skills

Teaching Catching, Throwing and Kicking Skills is loaded with information to help children learn object manipulation skills. It is in PDF format and in Word (therefore you can edit the pages).  This packet includes the age progression of each skill, visual picture cards with step by step directions, tips on teaching the skills, letter home to parents regarding teaching the skills, different ways to practice the skill and data collection to track progress. The activities are reproducible to use over and over again with all the children that you teach.  FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION.

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Monday, October 17, 2016

Tactile Function in Children with Cerebral Palsy


As pediatric therapists, assessment and treatment of children with cerebral palsy frequently focuses on motor impairments although, children with unilateral cerebral palsy (hemiplegia) are also likely to have sensory impairment.  Research indicates that tactile registration for children with hemiplegia is consistently worse with their impaired hand than their unimpaired hand.  Both hands of children with hemiplegia performed worse than either hand when compared to typically developing children. Forty percent of children with hemiplegia had tactile registration and perception deficits, 37% had perception deficits only and 23% had no tactile deficit. The larger the tactile registration deficit, the poorer the performance on all tactile perceptual tests.  The researchers concluded that tactile dysfunction may contribute to functional impairment and is a possible target for intervention (Auld, 2012).

Here are a few suggestions to encourage tactile registration and perception during therapeutic play activities:

  1. Provide different textured toys during playtime.  For example, verbalize and discuss differences between soft/hard, bumpy/smooth, fluffy/scratchy, etc.  If the toys are just smooth plastic, then try and add a sensory component to the toy.
  2. Add weight to toys to increase input.  For example, try stacking boxes with weights in them (ie 1 lb. bag of beans).
  3. Add to texture during arts and crafts time.  For example, add sand to fingerpaints or use shaving cream.
  4. Focus specifically on tactile perception and registration.  For example, the child can close their eyes and rely only on their sense of touch to identify objects.  They will not be able to use their sense of vision to determine what the object is and how to hold it.
  5. Add tactile input to weight bearing activities.  For example, when a child is working on weight bearing with an open hand, try performing that skill on different surfaces such as bubble wrap (bumpy), sand paper (rough), dry towel (scratchy), yoga mat (smooth) or cold (gel ice pack).  For the bare feet, try walking or balance with on different tactile surfaces such as grass, sand or dirt.


Auld, ML et al. (2012). Tactile function in children with unilateral cerebral palsy compared to typically developing children. Disability & Rehabilitation, 2012, 1–7, Early Online. DOI: 10.3109/09638288.2011.650314

Teaching Motor Skills to Children with Cerebral Palsy and Similar Movement Disorders - A

Teaching Motor Skills to Children with Cerebral Palsy and Similar Movement Disorders – A Guide for Parents and Professionals – The ELECTRONIC version of Teaching Motor Skills is a must have reference for all therapists who work with children with cerebral palsy. Whether you are a beginner or experienced therapist you will find the information concise, informative and very helpful to carry out everyday functional tasks including stretching with children with cerebral palsy. The book provides activity suggestions throughout the developmental sequence such as head control, tummy time, sitting, transitions, walking and beyond. There is also great information that reviews additional interventions for children with cerebral palsy such as bracing, surgical and medical management.  Find out more.

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Friday, October 14, 2016

Halloween Mini Book

Halloween Mini Book from Your Therapy Source

Check out this adorable Halloween Mini Book that you can print, cut and fold.  I happen to love small things so this fits the bill.  I also happen to love Halloween activities.  So fun to create!

You can download this free template to practice scissor skills and folding.  Send home the mini book for the child to write some small notes or draw some pictures.  Just print in grayscale if you want it black and white.  It still comes out really cute!

DOWNLOAD the Halloween Mini Book and step by step directions for free!

Need more Halloween activities?  Check out Halloween Visual Perceptual Puzzles, Print and Create Halloween Fine Motor Projects, Multisensory Handwriting Activities for Halloween,  My Halloween Handwriting Book, Halloween Brain Breaks and Halloween Poses.

Check out Cut and Fold for more scissor and folding skills practice.

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

5 Ways to Incorporate Visual Supports During a Therapy Session


It is well known that children with autism and certain other disabilities benefit greatly from the use of visual supports throughout the day. Visual supports can be pictures, objects, written words, body language and cues. Some children use visual supports as a primary means of communication in the classroom and home. If this is a child’s sole means of communication, visual supports should be used at all times which would include occupational and physical therapy sessions, physical education class, art, music, library and more.

Here are 5 ways to incorporate visual supports during a therapy session.

1. When explaining directions to certain children, you may need to provide a visual strategy or symbol instead of just verbally expressing directions. Many times picture symbols are used for the child to select a choice or to respond but are you providing picture symbols for “receptive” language as well?


2. Provide responses appropriate for therapy sessions beyond choice selection. Remember children are frequently performing motor tasks and physical activities during a therapy session. You may need to create picture communication boards that allow the child to express statements such as:

This is fun.
I need a break.
I am in pain.
I need a drink.
I am ready to go.
I want to slow down.
I want to stop.

Get more information on the Response Board for Therapy Sessions.

3. Create picture symbols that relate to a therapy session. You can use a commercially produced product or take photos of objects that you use during a therapy session. Once you create picture symbol cards of these items, you can use them to allow the children to make choices regarding activities.

4. Create a schedule for during the therapy session. Set up a schedule board with parts of therapy session on it such as First This and Then This steps to complete so the child can know what to expect.

5. If you need a child to complete many tasks, try creating visual supports for all the steps in the task. Break the whole project down into simple steps with visuals.

Visual Supports for Self Regulation and Classroom Participation

Visual Supports: Schedules, Self-Regulation, & Classroom Inclusion includes 283 visuals!  The pictures are color coded, engaging, and easy for children to understand. Visual supports for self-regulation can be pivotal in implementing an IEP in the least restrictive environment. Find out more about this digital document.

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