Weekly Themes

Simple Classroom Exercise for Improving Behavior and Written Output

The school year is upon us and I feel compelled to share a simple/quick strategy to help teachers achieve 3 objectives:

  • improve on task behavior in the classroom
  • improve volume of written output
  • improve relations with your students’ parents

My rationale comes from a basic premise that is grossly overlooked by the folks legislating how you need to teach and obtain test scores for your job security.  The strategy is based on a number of factors including:  30+ years as a pediatric occupational therapist (including a # of years as a school OT), feedback from parents in treatment sessions as well as from the kids themselves (especially the smart ones), observing our own 3 sons’ (ages 13, 15 & 17) and John Wooden’s book on his coaching philosophy. 

Sensory Processing Disorder and the Early Years

The following arrived in an email from the SPD Foundation and STAR Center dated April 9, 2013, describing the symptoms and consequences of Sensory Processing Disorder in young children. It provides a good introduction to SPD, a topic that most parents, educators, and sometimes medical professionals are unaware of...

Wow! The Stress of 3rd Grade (first semster)

The advantages of having parents actively involved in their child's occupational therapy session is priceless. The past week has been one in which I have at least 5+ kids/families facing the aftermath of the stress of the school day.  These children are smart, have great parents who love and fully support them.  They are doing well in school, at the top quarter of there class and are well behaved/mannered at school.

The Mini-Trampoline Victory

I have just recently had a huge "aha moment" with one of my favorite and most recommended therapy tools, the mini-trampoline.  I have been using this in the past for high quality, intense, and easily accessible proprioceptive input.  I have used it over the years to help kids potty train, cease chewing on their shirts, slow down crashing into everything, improve their ability to sit for meals, help with transitions, improve visual functions and lately improve their ability to sleep at night.

I have parents purchase a 42”-48” mini trampoline from a local sports store. I ask the parents to have their child jump for 60 seconds (longer if they desire) 3 times a day. First prior to eating breakfast or going to school, secondly prior to homework (if prior to dinner) for just 60 seconds, and the third time before bath/shower time (prior to bedtime); this last time I do not encourage going for more than 60 seconds.

The Sensory Smart Classroom

Excerpt from the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation Winter 2011 Newsletter

by Christina Sparker, MOT, MOTR/L and Tiffany Sparks-Keeney, MOT, OTR/L

Today's savvy teachers are aware of the importance of meeting students' sensory needs in the classroom and even know various strategies to address these needs. At the same time, these teachers can often have difficulty incorporating these strategies into their every day classroom routine. In actuality, it can be very easy to integrate sensory strategies in the daily schedule. Examining a day in the class of one fictitious 1st grade teacher, who is dedicated to running a sensory smart classroom for her 25 students, reveals relatively easy ways most teachers can begin to address their students' sensory needs in the context of the classroom.

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