Blowing gum bubbles and teaching how to do a ponytail, OT style

I work in elementary schools and obviously we work on functional classroom based tasks. But sometimes, for example, I’m asking a little girl to show me how to wrap a rubber band around a pile of popsicle sticks the way they sometimes do in class, working on basic functional utensils exposure, etc. I volunteer the information it’s like doing a ponytail. She says she doesn’t know how (and is way old enough to be capable). I promptly ripped the ponytail holder out of my hair to have her watch me slowly and carefully go through the steps, then helped her. We had just done a lot of challenging work writing and focusing, so our “break” was still OT but in a more personal way, ie not something that ends up in an IEP goal. 

Same with bubbles – it may be a small break for a kid who never quite has self-awareness of their challenges, but has just volunteered they wish they knew how to blow bubbles. (Sometimes because I let my kids chew gum to help concentrate and I join them and absent-mindedly blow a bubble!) As soon as a kid can volunteer a wish for something they’d like to do, I want to reinforce it and help empower them and understand how our job is to make their lives easier/higher quality. So then our short break can consist of bubble tips for a few sessions or something.  What a great way to work on sequencing, motor planning, following directions, oral motor skills, etc, while the child thinks they are on “break”. 🙂 I love using breaks as a way to do more OT. AHAHAHAA
Oct 03, 2013 | Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none