This is a common issue in 'OT-Land'! Parents frequently bring their children along with a number of concerns, and often pencil grip is in there somewhere. There can be a number of factors contributing to this........
* Children these days are often expected to use a mature grasp when they're very young and their muscles aren't yet ready, so they adopt all sorts of awkward positions, which end up as habit. Developmentally, 3 year olds use a dagger grasp pattern because that gives them enough strength! We need to let them. At 4 years they start to move their fingers down into a more mature position, but they still often need to use all their fingers and haven't developed the ability to isolate the little muscles in their fingers for finer control. Occasionally children haven't been shown how to hold their pencil, or they've been modelling their parents creative grip styles!
* However, often there are other reasons...
"Our therapist has recommended some daily activities to help our child. I know it needs to be a priority, but how on earth do we fit anything extra into our family’s hectic schedule?"
As a parent of kids who have needed to follow several home programmes, as well as a therapist, I feel very familiar with just how challenging this can be. At one point there we were working on a strengthening programme with one child and an articulation programme with another. Our family has had Speech Therapy, Physio and Occupational Therapy goals to work on at different times with each of our children. In my experience there are lots of ways to tackle this and. Like many things, it’s never a one-size-fits-all approach. A big determining factor is the nature of the therapy goal and the tasks themselves, then you’ve got variable like parenting style, your child’s personality, resources/equipment available, other...
We have daily phone calls from parents identifying concentration at school as a problem for their child. There can be all sorts of contributing factors, which is why a proper assessment of the situation is always a good idea. Mat time is often a tricky time as kids may have issues with:
* touch (eg hypersensitive to other kids touching them, constantly seeking tactile input for calming),
* movement (eg need movement to stay alert, difficulty maintaining their postural control),
* auditory or visual processing (eg easily overwhelmed in a more confined area)
* and there are more reasons as well, eg language comprehension.
Tactile seekers benefit by having access to a small container of fidget items, eg pieces of satin, a Continue Reading »My child seems to have trouble sitting at the table for longer than 10 minutes at home for dinner, and his teacher says it's the same at school. She said it might be low muscle tone. How do we know and what do we do about it?
Muscle tone is the amount of tension in the muscles, achieved by a continuous partial contraction of the muscles. This helps us to keep our bodies in a certain position. Muscle tone is different to muscle strength. Strength is more so a component of physical fitness. For example, if we pick up something heavy, our muscles exert force that gives us the strength to pick up the item.
There are a number of signs that can indicate low muscle tone:
- Does your child seem to tire very easily?
Research indicates that a student's academic performance is directly related to whether he/she is able to attend long enough to learn the information presented. Sitting in one position for long periods of time can be a real struggle for some children (and adults!) By providing children with opportunities to move and change position we increase a child's ability to pay attention by increasing the sensory input he or she is receiving.
There have now been a range of studies investigating the effectiveness of dynamic seating options on attention in class. They have all found that children demonstrated increased attention to task and improved academic performance by being permitted to move while still seated. Dynamic seating is a simple, practical, and relatively inexpensive strategy. There are a range of options available, all having different features:
* Move'n'Sit Cushion - We usually recommend this option...