Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Make Nice Flashcards

One tool often used in various speech therapies happens to be flash card type of games. While I have no games to list I thought I would share some ideas on how to make various flash cards without purchasing 3x5 cards.

Option #1
You can buy precut ready to be printed on business cards from almost any office supply store. Usually these are set with what type of template you need on your computer to make sure it prints correctly on the cards. This can get kind of spendy especially if you decide to laminate. (A cheaper way than laminating is appling contact paper.)

Option #2
You can buy a deck of real cards and then purchase mailing labels. These cards happen to be more durable due to their coating and slide far easier than 3x5 cards. In most cases that I have experienced dollar store playing cards don't have that nice coating. (Many times you can get them free or for real cheap if you call a casino and explain what they are for. They do have a hole punched out usually in the middle and so in that regard you might have a sticky spot. A simple way to fix this is by putting a small piece of paper in the center of the mailing labels.) I have found

Option #3
The last option I can come up with is when you make your flashcards if you are using a printer to use a glossy paper like photo paper. You can use many of the Microsoft Templates to get things in the right spot if you're worried about centering things. This too can get spendy but it's an option.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Shoe Tying Products

I was planning on posting this earlier but we are working on making some decisions on our baby daughter who has hearing issues this week and what steps we were going to take. So please accept my apology as  know I promised some people to update earlier than this and I just haven't gotten to it until now.

I am not sure if you have seen this product. It is called Loopeez. It is a shoe tying aid for kids that is actually fairly cheap being only $4.00 for a pair. Basically, after you cross the laces and put one lace under the other and pull. You stuff the laces (one lace up each side) to make loops. The loopeez holds the lace(s) depending on if you're doing one or two loops in place while you finish the rest of the knot. There are videos of how to use this on their site.

I made one out of a plastic lid from a sour cream container and used a hole punch. The only problem I can see with this model personally is that there is no point in doing the first part of the knot before you make bunny ears. Once the bunny ears are made with this help aid the problem is that the bunny ears will not stay tied unless you make a double knot. Other than that it works well.

Another product that is simular in nature is this something called Tie Buddies. These are put on a particular part of the laces to allow you to tie shoes easier. The bad part about this particular product is it doesn't work on ALL shoe laces. The product is about $9 from what I can tell.

This product I tried to do something simular basically what I had to do was find two objects and just because my kids are extremely quiet when they're getting into trouble and don't always respond I chose to try it with jingle bells. I tied them less than half way up the shoe lace (closer to the shoe than the end of the lace). This seemed to work much better. It's not perfect and it can be harder to untie your shoes. I would use their instructions for how to do it though.

My last thought is that it might be helpful to find a clip that will go over the knot on the shoe to prevent it from coming undone especially if the knots in your shoe get loose and untie easily.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Nursing Necklace

One of the things that drives me nuts with my nursing baby is the fact that she always seems to have a death grip on my hair. This is not uncommon as my other kids did it and if it didn't happen to most nursing mothers there wouldn't have been an idea for nursing necklaces.
After going on Etsy and looking around you get a pretty good idea of things you can make yourself. Having children with sensory issues I decided to make one but with a sensory flair.
Working on Etsy products I bought a bunch of beads. Many of my projects will use plastic beads because they're appealing to small children, less likely to break with rough use, and they come in all sorts of shapes and colors. However, with anything you allow a baby to play with you must watch them.

Sorry the picture isn't all that great. It is in the colors of
pink, yellow, cream and lavendar. The animals are safari
animals (elephant, rhino, zebra, lion, and giraffe).

First task is find your cord. There are several options but I strongly encourage you to use something that will not break after being slobbered on or washed after several uses.
The next step is deciding on what beads to use. The plastic pony beads come in many shapes and colors and string them on in any order you choose. (I chose a safari girly colored theme in this picture.)
An option I did was adding some taggies (ribbon) of different textures. This is something that my baby really enjoys. (You can heat seal the ribbons by using a lighter or a woodburner to make sure they don't fray.)
Lastly, tie a secure knot at the end and slip it over your head and allow your child to play with it as they're nursing.


One thing I have been thinking to do and finally got what I needed to accomplish the task is getting my son a pulley. My son loves pulling cords, string and any long piece of fabric if I let him and usually I don't mind it provided it is not a trap or tied up everywhere with knots that aren't standard as they're twisted in several directions.
So I went and bought him a pulley to hang from our sensory swing to go with the rope I bought to hang up his tire swing. I took the rope and heat sealed the ends and made sure I tied a knot in it so that it wouldn't come undone in case he accidently let go as I knew I would get tired of getting up on a stool to rethread the pulley.

I knew that he could find a bucket to use to tie the rope to and I let him figure that one out by himself to give his brain a creative workout.

Dream Catchers Free Weighted Blanket Giveaway

Thought I would pass this on. It's customed designed! Weighted Blanket Giveaway

Friday, May 13, 2011

Marble Fabric Mazes

This project specifically is about 6" square.

Okay, I finally made one just to try it out and see how well it worked. My son happened to be the guinea pig for this one. Anyhow, this was a very easy sewing project and you can make it as difficult and elaborate as you wish. I started out with a sewn square and a few lines. I made sure I put the marble in the maze while making this lines to make sure I had enough room. Here is one of the ones I made. It has 3 dead ends and I just made it as I went. The only thing I thik I wish I would have done differently on this particular one was make sure the backing is a solid color or make the end and beginning of the maze very clear.

This is my son working on completing the maze. Notice
how he's using two hands. He did figure out he could slide
the ball as well especially if you were going in one direction.
Anyhow, my son loved this project and took it to bed with him. Hey, it's quiet and non-destructive so I am not going to complain too loudly. Here he is using it. He found the marble and now he's just pushing it through the maze. It helps with fine motor skills and hopefully I'll add some more variety to this idea later.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A List of Tools I Want On Hand

I decided to honor a place in our home for tools that I can use for therapy tools that are small to have all in one location. (I'm still working on a location where it will be out of grasp or locked up to avoid huge messes.)

Here is my list:

  • Paper
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Elmer's glue
  • Glue sticks
  • Clothes pins
  • Water color paint
  • Tempra paint or something simular
  • Paint brushes
  • Pom-poms
  • Bubble solution
  • Bubble wands
  • Playdough or something simular
  • Stress balls
  • A large empty tray
  • Aprons
  • Scissors (different styles)
  • Coloring books
  • Beads
  • String
  • Sponges
  • Cookie Cutters
  • Fidgets
  • Contact Paper
  • Bubble Wrap
  • Stickers
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Resistence Bands/Tubing
  • Shaving Cream
  • Spray Bottle
  • Flashlight
  • Tape
  • Sensory Box
  • Dyed Noodles or Rice
  • Recipes Box for activities
  • A list of kitchen ingredients
  • Tweezers
  • List of kitchen material frequently used
  • Index cards

Controling the slimy texture craver

Having one kid with sensory issues is a challenge but when you begin understanding the many aspects SPD can have and how it affects each child individually and uniquely it is amazing what you end up missing. I got this book the other day through Amazon or Borders. I was flipping through the book skimming various activities when I saw this cartoon. (Sorry about how dark it is I was taking pictures of stuff last night and the flash made the cartoon almost impossible to see.)
Anyhow, I got this book for my son and his sensory issues. I didn't think anything of my almost 3 yr old daughter at all as she is nothing like my son at all. This picture PERFECTLY shows her to a 'T'. I was so frustrated at the constant emptying out of bottles of shampoo, ointment, cooking oil, and teething gel. No matter what I have tried it has been a fruitless attempt to say in the least. Now that I see this picture it helped me see that my daughter craves tactile input... mainly slimy input. I have to admit that I am thinking 'Oh great, A slimy mess to deal with.' I realize at the same time I already have them to deal with constantly with her. The difference will be that I will be able to control what she gets in to deal with her need for playing in slimy things thus controling the mess to some degree.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Auditory Sensory Issues and Headphones

One thing that most parents with sensory issues soon realize is that their child's sensory issues may not be something that is present all the time but is spuratic. Our child happens to be like this especially when it comes to hearing issues. Our church isn't all that loud compared to many. We go to a very small church which we happen to love. However, in spite all the measures we have put in place for our son the sound is too loud for him on occassion. There are certain songs that go from soft to quiet or quiet to loud that really set him off that he can't handle (one being one of the pastor's favorite songs). There are times he can tell us the noise is too much for him and other times he never says a word other than through his behavior. Sometimes it's hard to tell if it's him or his sensory issues and this last sunday it was his sensory issues although we thought it was just his behavior.
One thing we thought about getting was some headphones for noisy environments. We've had this thought in mind for some time and just haven't done it hoping things would get better. They haven't so yesterday I bought some. We have not tried them but we'll see if they work. They can be used to hook up to a CD player but we're trying to see how he does with the noise being shut out to some degree. If that doesn't work we'll bring kid worship songs or maybe some bible story tapes. He only has to sit in our service for worship right now so we'll see how it goes.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mr. Buttons the Turtle

One of the tasks some kids have problems with is fine motor skills they need for every day things that most people don't think twice about. One of these important fine motor skills happens to be learning to button. I was inspired by another site and asked one of my friends if one of her sons had issues with this. I decided to try this out to see how well it worked. (Mind you, I had to learn how to do a button hole on my sewing machine so it took a while.)

The Front of Mr. Turtle

The Underside of Mr. Buttons

Anyhow, her son LOVES turtles and so I made this felt turtle that is full of buttons. You must button the arms, legs, head, tail and eyes on as well as his 8 different spotted colors. Each piece is zig-zagged stitched around two pieces of felt. Then I put the button holes on each piece and sewed the buttons in place so the pieces would fit.

Wood, Nails and a Hammer

You have seen some toys that are for kids with wooden or plastic mallets to pound pegs through however many times this is geared to a lower age group. Many times by the time the kid hits about 3 they're done with this toy looking for more bigger and challenging things.
One thing my son loves to do is use scraps of wood, nails and a hammer to pound or make things out of. Now I can't say I'd trust the sturdiness of his projects but the ability to pound the wood is very theraputic. This is obviously a task that requires adult supervision at all times especially with a kid with sensory issues. You might find you may have to assist them by starting the nail very firmly in the wood. Also, I would highly suggest the hammer you use doesn't have the claw on the back.
If your child is older something that might be a little bit more challenging and rewarding is building an actual product and figuring out how to put it together. This is great for busy little minds and bodies. Simple projects like boxes, birdhouses, bookends, and so forth are fairly easy to do.
If you want to spend time together building something what things like T-stools, tables, benches, shelves are all other things that might get their interest and allow them to do projects and have quality time with you.

Balloon Volleyball

One thing my kids love is balloons which we have to be very careful around with the new baby seeing she just started crawling. Now if your child won't put hte balloon in their mouth a fun game is to play balloon volleyball or keep the balloon off the floor. You and your child track the balloon making sure that you hit it up in the air before it touches the ground. Another option is to blow to make it go higher. How many body parts can you use to keep the balloon up? For more of a challenge you can pass it back and forth over a chair or a couch to get it high enough and far enough to the other person.
There are other things you can use besides laytex balloons to do crafts like this such as juggling scarves. You can't throw them but they're pretty easy to keep up in the air. Sometimes women's scarves work the same way. We have also used a somewhat deflated myler balloon as they don't pop and they don't have laytex in them which can be a huge problem for some kids especially if they're allergic to bandaids as most bandaids, rubbers like elastic all have some form of laytex in them unless otherwise stated.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Remove the Stickers

My children love stickers and recently I came across a site done by an OT that talked about different activities. One of the posts was about how she goes and puts stickers on her clients and the clients get to take them off. This probably wouldn't be a good thing for a child with laytex or tape sensitivies but for those who aren't it allows the kid to move in various ways. If you put the stickers in hard to reach spots then you make them stretch more so than they might normally.
(For kids that are unable to physically reach various parts of their bodies easily this can be a task that might encourage them to reach just a little bit farther. It is especially helpful for kids that might need exercise to help bring their foot closer to them to put on socks or shoes.)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Cool Site I Found

One of the tasks that I enjoy is finding new things to do with my son to help him with his SPD but I also enjoy finding things that might work for other people with kids who struggle with special needs.
I came across this site called, Therapy Fun Zone, and thought of my friend who has a son with a heart condition and one with autism. (Here is her blog) This site has a lot of ideas that I think I will do not necessarily for my kids but just for the fun of doing it because they're quick and simple and my son can help me put them together for my Etsy shop I'm hoping to start up in the next month or two and he can get paid for it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Make Your Own Ispy Bag

This I Spy Bag is at the Etsy Shop Giggle Junction.
The link to her site is below but this is what the I Spy
Bags look like although the instructions below are
for a simplier style.
I have seen these on Etsy.com where you can buy multiple styles and shapes. This bags have a small viewing window that you can use to find the hidden things inside the bag. To do this toy you must have a sewing machine. If this lady had her Etsy site up I would share that too but since I can't find it I won't be able to until she opens another one.

How to Make An I Spy Bag

Here is an Etsy shop that sells them: Etsy Store: Giggle Junction I am not sure if this seller has the items to find listed on the back but I know some of them on Etsy do so you know you found everything.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sensory Issues and Going to the Store

One of the challenges I tend to face on and off is going to the store... any store. If you think about a trip to the store there are a lot of things that can trigger your child's sensory issues from people, lights, sounds, stuff, and sometimes even how you keep your child with you such as the cart or a harness.
Hopefully some of these might help you cope through the store.

#1 - Prepare your child. Let them know in advance you are going to the store. Inform them what it will be like and how they are to behave in the store.
#2 - Make sure you bring with you some supplies to help your child cope. Snacks, drinks, small toys, a comfort item, and so forth can make your trip a lot easier. We ended up getting a small fanny pack quite some time ago for this purpose and sometimes we use a backpack depending on our son's needs.
#3 - Make a list and follow it. While this isn't always easy it is amazing to see how my son does when I tell him on a sensory type day that we are going in for 3 things and list them off. Each item I get I tell him what is next on the list until I am done with my list. This helps him know that we aren't going to be out forever. This can also be done with the stores or errands you have to do. I usually got straight home afterwards.

The other thing I have found that I have to do constantly is think outside the box. My child is sensory seeking and so I tend to think in ways he can have various sensations. For instance, at Walmart I found something called a Fusion Ball. It is one of the most annoying toys I have found as it is a ball and it vibrates all over and makes noisy music that you can't turn the volume down on. It is $5 and it was well worth it although it didn't last more than a couple weeks as the outer cage broke. (I have mixed feelings about that.) My son would bring the ball with him and hug it to himself really close as we would go through the store as it jiggled him around. People I am sure were sick of the noise but it kept my son under control.
What can you do to help your child? If lighting bothers your child then what about getting them a pair of sun glasses? Find something that works for them regardless of your opinion on how they look on your child. If sound bothers your child what about some thick headphones? The nice thing about headphones is that they can be connected to some device that can play songs or tell stories. If they are overwhelmed by people then maybe bringing in a blanket for them to cover their heads and bodies up might do the trick.

The truth of the matter is we have to go to stores and while many times not bringing our SPD child is easier it isn't always practical. Maybe you need to make a sensory kit for when you go out to fit your child's needs that is strictly for going out in public. There are many small toys and gagets that you can make as well as tiny toys that you can get from a party store such as Party City.

Most of all, make sure you compliment your child. Going out in public tends to be a very stressful thing. I have been told that it can affect your child not necessary immediately but show up a few days later. I have yet to be able to identify this with my own son. I have noticed a lot of praise has worked wonders especially in the small things that he's able to do. It doesn't happen all them time. In fact, his abilities vary day by day but with each day I am reminded that he's learning tools to cope in the world he will soon face on his own. Try to find one thing... even a small thing that they did right whether it was respond one time appropriately to a command or remark you made. If it even means they held the cart for 1 minute. Look for those little opportunities to compliment them espeically on a hard day.