Make Halloween Spooktacular

Halloween can be an exciting time of year with spooky cobwebs, glowing pumpkins, haunting ghosts and treats galore.  Many children and adults enjoy taking part in the fun, and “sensational” activities that come along with such a spirited holiday.  For others, especially children who have a harder time with sensory processing, it can become quite an overwhelming experience.

With a little extra preparation, Halloween can be an enjoyable experience for the whole family.  The following are a few tips* to make this Halloween a great one.

Prepare your child for the holiday by helping them to understand the tradition

  • Tell stories about Halloween or read Halloween themed books
  • Discuss the rules and boundaries of the holiday and your expectations
  • Role play and pretend so they know how to handle situations that may arise while at a party, having visitors or visiting others during Halloween activities
  • Let them know exactly what to expect and avoid any surprises (the good, bad and scary of it all)

Get the costume right

  • Try out some inexpensive “practice costumes” to help them to get used to wearing one.  Make your own and do some pretend play.  You could make a cape out of an old T-shirt, or cut a paper plate into a crown/mask (just add some elastic or string)
  • Make sure that the costume that you purchase for Halloween events is right for your child.  Have them try it on to be sure that it fits and feels right. It won’t be too “scratchy” or uncomfortable, and will be cool or warm enough depending on what activities you plan on participating in.  Also consider whether face paint or a mask is right for your child.

Prevent the dreaded meltdown

  • Try to limit the duration of events, and to know what to expect if you will be attending a gathering.  This way you can have a plan, allow your child to know the structure of events and give them a chance to make choices and feel in control of the situation and thus themselves.
  • Allow your child to explore the fun that Halloween has to offer, but keep a close eye on them and stay tuned in to how they may be feeling.  If they begin crying, looking fatigued, too hyperactive or combative it may be time for a break.  Find somewhere less stimulating and take them for a break from the sensory overload they may be experiencing.

Plan ahead and consider which activities would best suit your child

  • Try trick-or-treating in a controlled environment.  Some local organizations arrange trick-or-treat experiences that may be more your child’s speed.  Also, many nursing homes and hospitals set up special times for children to visit with the patients or residents.  It is a great opportunity to participate in a Halloween event while brightening someone’s day!
  • If trick-or-treating isn’t for you, that is OK!!  There are many other ways you can enjoy the season and get in the spirit of Halloween.  Make some Halloween crafts, decorate pumpkins with paint or stickers, experiment with Halloween food recipes, roast pumpkin seeds or try out some structured sensory play.

 

Blog by: Ashley Yankanich, MS, OTR/L, IMC

For further information please contact us at 941-360-0200 or visit us at www.pediatrictherapysolution.com

Please follow my NEW Pinterest board for some fun ideas for Halloween and every other day!! Search for Miss Ashley the OT

REFERENCE

*Halloween tips were adapted from:

American Occupational Therapy Association (2011). American Occupational Therapy Association tip sheet.

The complete document can be found at:

http://www.aota.org/-/media/Corporate/Files/AboutOT/consumers/Youth/Halloween%20tip%20sheet.pdf

Frontal Lisp: From Cute to Concern

A frontal lisp is when the tongue protrudes through the front teeth, typically during the production of /s/ and /z/. This causes air to escape out, resulting in a sound distortion. Production of /s/ and /z/ will sound like the /th/ sound, ex. sun/thun. This articulation error is cute initially, but is no longer developmentally appropriate after 4 1/2 years old.

A child should receive a formal speech evaluation around the age of 4 1/2 years old if this error persists. Intervention should include awareness activities, strategies/techniques to elicit /s/ and /z/ sounds without tongue protrusion, drill activities, and self-monitoring skills.

Techniques that can be used in therapy and in the home environment include:
1) Ask child to close teeth, smile, and blow air out. This technique will teach child correct tongue placement.
2) Have the child use a mirror during practice to visually show child correct tongue placement
3) Ask child to produce /t/ sound and then hold the sound while blowing out air. This technique will elicit appropriate tongue placement.
4) Once the child is able to produce /s/ and /z/ correctly, drill and structured activities will be used so the child is given many opportunities to practice. The more the child practices the sooner the skill will be carried over into conversational speech.

Blog by: Mary Williams Anderson

For further information contact us at 941-360-0200 or visit us at www.pediatrictherapysolution.com

 

 

Personalized Books

Manasota BUDS recently hosted a workshop with guest speaker Natalie Hale, founder of Special Reads for Special Needs.  Manasota BUDS is a volunteer organization based in Bradenton Florida that provides networking and support for families and helps promote understanding and acceptance of Down syndrome.  Natalie was an excellent speaker, with so much information to share.  Her program Special Reads for Special Needs provides specialized reading materials for learners with Down Syndrome, Autism, and other developmental delays and Natalie has so many wonderful suggestions for making reading more fun and effective.  One of her recommendations for helping children learn to read is making personal books.  So, how do we do this?

Materials you will need:

A “hot topic” list of at least 9 of your child’s favorite people, family members, pets, foods, toys, activities, sports, character, etc.

5×8 index cards

110# card stock paper (for printing the book)

Red marker (for making flash cards)

Instructions

Choose a vocabulary list of 10-15 words.  Some of these will be your “hot topic” words, and some will be Dolch Sight words appropriate to your child’s current reading level.  A full list of Dolch words can be found here: http://www.dolchword.net/printables/All220DolchWordsByGradeAlpha.pdf

Write the text for your book.  Keep your sentences short and simple, each one will be on a page by itself.  After each sentence page, the next page will be the sentence plus a picture.  Be sure to end your story with “The End”.  I created a book about the Minions from Despicable me.  I kept it very simple and incorporated numerical words one to ten.  The entire book had 11 vocabulary words.

Create flash cards for all of the words in your story.  You can do this by writing them as large as possible using your red marker, or printing them on your computer in red ink (red has been known to help children learn).

 

Find photos online, cut out pictures from magazines, or take your own photos to go along with your text.

Write the text on your computer and print it, with these guidelines (directly from Natalie Hale’s website):

Use landscape mode

Set font to size 70-100 black, and choose one of the Sans Serif fonts (Arial, Calibri, Tahoma). Almost everything we read on a daily basis (newspapers, internet, books) is in a Sans Serif font.

Type one sentence per page, alternating sentence only and sentence with picture and print using the 110# index paper stock (or use plain paper in a pinch, and laminate to help your book hold up longer)

Assemble your book with the text ONLY on the right hand side.  You can take your book to an office supply store for binding.

Time to Read!

Using Fast Flash, a method of reviewing flashcards at a rapid pace, which helps maintain a child’s attention and helps with instant recall, review the vocabulary with your child.  You can find more detail about the Fast Flash method here: http://specialreads.com/blog/?p=165.  Once you have reviewed the flashcards, it’s time to read the book to your child and enjoy it together!  Finish up by showing/calling out the flash cards again, and you’re done!

You can continue to create new books with the same topic and new sight words, or create books with new topics.  In addition to the Minions book, I also created a book about a baby doll, to help teach some verb vocabulary (Baby Eats, Baby Sleeps, Baby Drinks, Etc).

Once we read the book and review the vocabulary, we get to play with the baby!

I hope you enjoy making your own personalized books!

Blog by: Rebekah Greer

For further information please contact us at 941-360-0200 or visit our website at www.pediatrictherapysolution.com

 

For more information about Manasota BUDS, visit their website: http://www.manasotabuds.org/

For more information about Natalie Hale and Special Reads for Special Needs, visit her website at: http://specialreads.com/