Every day I'm O-T-ing… (every dayy I'm shuffffflinnnnggg)

Today I gave a presentation to the 2nd grade teachers, very similar to the one I gave recently to K and 1st at that same school which I discussed recently. [Insert angst here in terms of me not going back to find the link, sorry, I feel guilty, but not guilty enough to go find it.]  We covered the same things, although I went faster over the pieces that didn't pertain as much, and focused on some of the more applicable pieces, SUCH AS – ERASING!!!

When you see kids just writing darker over writing, or doing a poor job erasing, you probably just think the child is being lazy. BUT for the most part, it's more likely the child genuinely has trouble erasing. Watch the child erase and I bet you will see he does it an inefficient angle or in an awkward manner which makes it challenging. (Or maybe even just turning the pencil around is inefficient – kids who use their chest or other hand to turn their pencil around, or drop it on the paper and pick it back up, etc) Eventually, they often give up and just start writing darker over their mistakes. We assume that by older grades, a child just naturally knows how to erase. Not always true. Do eraser exercises – writing letters, rotating pencil within their one dominant hand, and then erasing at an efficient angle/manner. TEACH THEM. SHOW THEM. Do NOT assume. And OTs – I think  that erasing is an area we tend to forget – at least I historically have – but erasing is pretty important too! 🙂

I also talked briefly about quiet fidgets (like a pipe cleaner, a piece of string, etc), DESK ORGANIZATION (another REALLY important area that gets overlooked), and OFFICE SUPPLIES – exposing the kids to rubber bands, staplers, paper clips, folding, etc etc.

My two main points were this.

1) Kids today may be little academic geniuses because of all their educational screen time, and know how to do all these advanced skills quite early, but developmentally,  many of them are the lowest they've EVER been (in comparison to past years of classes) in terms of their physical strength, gross and fine motor coordination, ocular motor skills, eye-hand coordination, etc. This is of course a quite sweeping generalization, but most of the teachers I speak to express concern over the increasing rise of children coming through that are lacking basic foundational skills, as they were skipped in order to achieve academic skills.  So, AWARENESS that they might be in 2nd grade, but still need to be taught things like how to erase properly – and that it's less likely laziness and more likely ignorance.

2) I realize that teachers today are really stretched for time – it's not like 2nd grade teachers have time to just work on fine motor skills. So everything I talked about included easily accessible and cheap materials, most of which could be incorporated into “fun time” activities without the kids even realizing the point behind it. And/or activities that can be done while waiting in line, taking a 15 second break, etc – just tiny little things they can incorporate into their day due to awareness of its importance. Or they may even be doing these things and not realizing what they were working on….so again, AWARENESS.

Tomorrow I'm hiking up a mountain with some friends from work for a birthday party! Guess I should try to get some sleep. Must work on a new product review this weekend + some conference blogging as well. Yes, all those papers are still waiting for me to deal with them.

Oh….someone said something recently in a comment that made me go Ooooh. I have been so bad about posting about OT in a more global sense, instead of just pediatric school OT. I will try to remember to occasionally post more about other areas – and if anyone who reads this wants to do a GUEST posting, just like Ravi did a few days ago on disability rights, it is certainly appreciated.

May 19, 2012 | Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 3

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