Wednesday, March 1, 2017

7 Simple Tips to Help Students Process Sensory Information

7 Simple Tips to Help Students Process Sensory Information

Have you ever been in a classroom as an adult?  Wow, they can be chaotic, loud and overwhelming for anyone.  The days of students sitting in the desks quietly working are over.  Cooperative learning, alternative seating arrangements and group projects have turned the classroom environment upside down.  On one hand it is a constant learning environment, all the other hand it can increase the chances of sensory overload for any student.  Students need to process all the sensory information that bombards them throughout the school day – sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touch and movement.  Here are 7 simple tips to help students process sensory information in the classroom:

Keep consistent.  Establish a structured routine throughout the school day so students know what to expect.  Provide visual schedules if necessary.

Maintain the classroom furniture arranged the same way.  When the classroom stays the same, this also helps students to know what to expect.  Their bodies learn what they need to move around, over and in between to transition in the classroom.  For alternative seating classrooms, try keeping at least the tables and carpet areas in the same position and you can move the various seats.

Keep student apprised of upcoming transitions.   For example, give students a heads up of what is coming next and/or how much time is left for the current activity i.e. “We will be going to art in 5 minutes”.

Provide student with frequent movement breaks.   Our bodies are not designed to sit all day.  Keeping students active also helps to activate the brain.  Incorporate movement with learning, assign students jobs that require physical activity, increase recess time and add in brain breaks.

Promote cooperative learning.  Do group assignments so students can learn from peer role models.

Encourage a multi-sensory approach to learning.  Learning styles can affect a students ability to process sensory information.  Try to create lessons plans that are multi-sensory i.e. tactile, visual, auditory and kinesthetic (movement).

Provide the student with choices.  Everyone has sensory preferences.  If someone has a very strong sensory preference, it can possibly interfere with his/her ability to learn.   If possible, allow the students to make their own choices i.e. fingerpaint or paintbrushes, stand up or sit down, pencil or pen, etc.

What suggestions or tips have you found to help students process sensory information at school?

Typical Classroom Sensory-Based Problem Behaviors & Suggested Therapeutic Interventions

Typical Classroom Sensory-Based Problem Behaviors and Suggested Therapeutic Interventions

This book offers many suggestions for therapeutic interventions for 12 different problem behavior categories.

The classroom sensory based problem behaviors include the following:

  1. Sitting/Poor Work Tolerance
  2. Vision/Attention Related
  3. Oral/Facial Related
  4. Visual Sensitivities
  5. Tactile/Proprioceptive/Personal Space Issues
  6. Self-Injurious Behaviors
  7. Gut Reactions Due to Perceived Stress/Anxiety
  8. Difficulty Staying with the Group
  9. Delayed Immature/Inefficient Grasp Pattern
  10. Visual/Proprioceptive Sensory Seeking Wrist/ Hands
  11. Difficulty with Positioning/ Lower Extremity Awareness
  12. Oral Motor/ Self-Feeding Issues

Under each problem behavior category the book lists:

  • what the child may be displaying
  • possible underlying causes
  • sensory strategy solutions


The post 7 Simple Tips to Help Students Process Sensory Information appeared first on Your Therapy Source.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Self Assessment Checklist for In Class Behavior and Self Regulation

Ready To Work Self Assessment Checklist

Are you looking to encourage students to improve self regulation skills and maintain classroom expectations?  This free self assessment checklist will help students gain independence in school.  This checklist helps children:

  1. to understand what behaviors are expected of them.
  2. how to succeed in the classroom.
  3. to reflect on those behaviors during class time.

Students can refer to the checklist throughout classroom work to check in on their organizational skills, state of regulation, focus, effort, and behavior in class.

How to use this checklist:

Print it out full size, half page or 4 to a page.

Review the checklist and expectations with the student.

Confirm understanding of the student.

Provide the student with the checklist for during class time.

The student can write his/her name and date at the top.

The student can periodically refer to the checklist to self check and confirm he/she is ready to work.

The student can put a check mark in the box if the reminder is being accomplished.

When the task is completed, the student can record his/her score out of 6 points.

BONUS –  student generated data collection on his/her goals!   Enter your email below to download the FREE Ready To Work Checklist.

My Goal TrackerThe student can keep track of the data using My Goal Tracker.  This is an electronic book of data collection forms for students to track their own progress. The student can track his/her goals over time, by monitoring the skills over the course of a day, week, month or quarter. Find out more information.

Self Regulation Skills Curriculum

Move~Work~Breathe is a self-regulation curriculum designed by a school based occupational therapist, Thia Triggs.  This curriculum provides an effective, time-efficient structured system to provide classroom breaks, improve self-awareness and self advocacy and teach specific self-regulation skills so that kids have tools to use in their classrooms. This system will get kids moving, give them the benefits of a brain power boost [from getting their heart rate up], give them heavy work and isometrics to help them calm down, and help them learn techniques to quiet and control their bodies in order to return to their academic work.  FIND OUT MORE.

The post Self Assessment Checklist for In Class Behavior and Self Regulation appeared first on Your Therapy Source.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Brain Activation and Ball Skills

Brain Activation and Coordination

Do you know what parts of the brain are activated when a child learns ball handling skills? You might be surprised to find out that catching a ball requires all the lobes of the brain to work together!  When you see a child reach their arms out to catch a ball various steps have already occurred throughout each lobe of the brain.  Let’s take a closer look at brain activation and ball skills.

Brain Activation and Coordination 1

Step 1:  See the details.  The occipital lobe is activated to analyze the details such as clarity, contrast and color.

Brain Activation and Coordination 2

Step 2:  Identify it.  The temporal lobe is activity to recognize the ball’s identity.

Brain Activation and Coordination 3

Step 3:  Distinguish it from surrounding objects.  The ball’s initial location and form are mapped out in the parietal lobe.Brain Activation and Coordination 4


Step 4:  Predict the direction of the ball.  The middle temporal and posterior parietal lobes are active and predict the ball’s vector.

Brain Activation and Coordination 5

Step 5:  Determine where to catch the ball.  The frontal lobe and the parietal lobe play a role in predicting the location of the ball by relying on prior experiential learning including oculomotor, motor, perceptual and spatial experiences.

Brain Activation and Coordination 6

Step 6:  Start to move to the ball.  The moment to moment 3D coordinated of the shape and location of the ball reach the motor cortex in the frontal lobe.

Brain Activation and Coordination 7

Step 7: Catch, kick or dribble the ball.  The motor cortex in the frontal lobe works with the timing system in the cerebellum, the overall balance system and the reflex motor support systems in the brain stem and the thalamus to finalize the action.  If you are dribbling the ball start the entire process over again with each dribble!

It is amazing how complex the brain activation is for a simple eye hand coordination skill like catching a ball.  Imagine the activation during a volleyball game, tennis match or soccer game!

Teaching Catching, Throwing and Kicking Skills

Help children learn how to catch, throw and kick with Teaching Catching, Throwing and Kicking Skills.  This digital download is full of information of age progression of skills, visual picture cards, tips, letter to parents and more!  FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION.

Reference:  Reference: Chokron, S., & Dutton, G. N. (2016). Impact of Cerebral Visual Impairments on Motor Skills: Implications for Developmental Coordination Disorders. Frontiers in psychology, 7.

The post Brain Activation and Ball Skills appeared first on Your Therapy Source.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Cut and Number Puzzle

Cut and Number Puzzle

Here is a simple, no prep Cut and Number puzzle.  Cut out the picture at the bottom of the page.  Assemble it in number order, 1-5, and glue it back on to the top of the paper.  Download your FREE Cut and Number puzzle below.

Need more scissor skill activities?  Check out:

  1. Cut and Paste
  2. Cut and Fold
  3. Kirigami for Kids
  4. Cutting Cards
  5. Cut, Create and Play
  6. Step By Step Circle Animals
  7. Hair Cutting Sticks


The post Cut and Number Puzzle appeared first on Your Therapy Source.

Yoga and ADHD

Yoga and ADHD

Yoga incorporates breathing techniques, postural control, muscle strengthening, flexibility and cognitive control which can help promote self-control, attention, body awareness, and stress management. These are all skills that are beneficial for children with ADHD to practice.

Recent research analyzed the benefits of yoga in 49 children (average age 10.50 years old) with ADHD. The participants were assigned to a yoga exercise group for an 8 week exercise intervention, 2x/week x 40 minute sessions or a control group. All subjects were evaluated with the Visual Pursuit Test and Determination Test prior to and after the intervention.

The Visual Pursuit Test is used to assess visual perception involving sustained attention and the Determination Test is used to evaluate the ability to determine multiple-choice reaction requiring inhibitory ability and selective attention.

The results indicated the following:

  • significant improvements in accuracy rate and reaction time of the two tests were observed over time in the exercise group compared with the control group.

The researchers concluded that yoga exercises can be beneficial as a behavioral intervention for children with attention and inhibition problems.

Reference: Chou C, Huang C. (2017) Effects of an 8-week yoga program on sustained attention and discrimination function in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. PeerJ 5:e2883

Check out some of our amazing yoga resources for kids!

Yoga CardsYoga Moves Cover YTSYoga for Every SeasonScooter & Me Bundle – 9 Videos & 16 Self-Regulation Flash Cards


The post Yoga and ADHD appeared first on Your Therapy Source.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Motor Skills and Executive Function

Motor Skills and Executive Function

Mental Health and Physical Activity published research on the relationships between physical activity, aerobic fitness, and motor skills to executive functions and academic achievement in 697, ten year old children.

The results indicated the following:

  • no relationships were observed between moderate to vigorous physical activity and executive functions or academic performance.
  • sedentary time was related to executive functions and academic performance in English in boys.
  • aerobic fitness was associated with executive functions and academic performance in boys only.
  • motor skills were associated with most measures of executive functions in both girls and boys and academic performance in girls.

The researchers concluded that the strongest independent associations were observed for motor skills to executive functions. Sex-specific associations were observed for aerobic fitness and motor skills. Programs that increase both aerobic fitness and motor skills may positively affect executive functions and academic performance.

Reference: Aadland, K. N., Moe, V. F., Aadland, E., Anderssen, S. A., Resaland, G. K., & Ommundsen, Y. (2017). Relationships between physical activity, sedentary time, aerobic fitness, motor skills and executive function and academic performance in children. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 12, 10-18.


Need activities that include aerobic fitness and motor skills?  Check out 25 Bilateral Coordination Exercises.

The post Motor Skills and Executive Function appeared first on Your Therapy Source.

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