Sensory Motor Activities for Active Children

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Refrain from asking a question or intimate by your tone of voice that you are asking a question! Stay on task, repeat to yourself, and purposefully ignore without comment if your student is not able to comply with requests. Instead, talk to yourself, repeating directions. If schedule booklets are part of the routine, be sure they are in the destination area.

Proceed to wrap one arm around student’s shoulders, moving in a 2-step mode in a forward direction, using supportive hand movements, so the student moves forward and not to either side. Move the trunk of your body forward, talking and moving in the straight-ahead position. The student stays in the straight ahead position in order to maximize use of arms, legs, feet and torso, facing the designation area where the work is to be carried out.

Carry the schedule booklet alongside and give control of it to the student. Arrange the school work area so the student works in the upright vertical posture in front of a blackboard, poster board, paper, etc. This forces concentration and reduces confusion and allows the student to breath normally. Breath control is very important throughout the day. Tell all students to breathe, teach them to laugh to get their breath up in the higher range of face, neck, and eyes and increase use of facial muscles.

When refusals occur, incorporate singing to give directions, instead of repetitive words. Change student’s position often, so the person learns to look and observe classmates and teachers as people, instead of objects.

Have availability in a nearby container sight and sound items, hand manipulation tools such as squeeze balls, baseball caps, vests with weights or disconnected earphones, earmuffs or other head gear to reduce external distraction and noise.

Most youth have a degree of cortical vision impairment and fail to process moderate or extreme sights or sounds, so find a recess area in which to set a fold up table that provides a quiet place to retreat and calm nerves, either under it or at the table.

Ask permission preparatory to any touch-to-touch activity, but do not accept withdrawal as a reason not to ask and proceed with gentle massage of fingers and arms in a peaceful environment as an opportunity to breathe. And relax.

Remember breathing and breath control are at the core of calmness. Lightly rub sides of hand, warming the skin slightly. Offer heavy, soft, hard, rough, and objects that fit together  or match, even at this older age.

For all students, regardless of disability. Offer two manipulative objects at the same exact time. As a teacher, use two hands at a time: offer two pencils, two papers, two books, two articles of grooming, two, and two…two…! This simple gesture is the most important method of teaching aversive and negative youth to focus, transfer visual regard, one eye to another, make choices, and make decisions in the classroom. Youth quickly adapt to forming mental “pictures” that remain valid as they learn to adapt and attach to persons in their family and among friends.

Ask Dr. Susan