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We’re going on a bear hunt! Are you afraid?

By Hannah Da Rosa, MOT, OTR/L

MOSAIC Children’s Therapy Seattle

This month, kids at MOSAIC Children’s Therapy Clinic in Seattle have been enjoying the thrills of a bear hunt! Therapists are using this activity to help promote skill development in many areas including:

  • Strength and balance as kids climb the “tree,” cross the river in a “boat,” and walk over the “bridge”
  • Social skills as kids participate in the activity with peers
  • Fine motor skills as children create “Bear Hunt” art projects

“Coming to a bridge. Can’t go under it. Have to walk over it”

Bear Hunt climb to the top

“Climb to the top. Do you see a bear?”

Bear Hunt in the boat

“Coming to a river. Can’t go under it. Can’t fly over it. Let’s get in the boat”

Bear Hunt art projects

“Bear Hunt” Art projects

Bear Hunt Activities for Home

You can easily set up a bear hunt at home or at the park! Help your child decide what to use for each part of the bear hunt. You can sing the song together or find it on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzIcu6tbEko). Some ideas for home setup include:

  • Tape a line on the floor for the “bridge”
  • Sit crisscross on a couch cushion/pillow for the boat
  • Crawl over pillows for the “wheat field”
  • Climb up a play structure for the “tree” or climb onto the couch

If animal walks such as “bear walks” have been recommended to help your child build strength, you could spend extra time pretending that your child is a bear and needs to collect food. They can “bear crawl” back and forth between the “food” and their cave. They will be so busy thinking about how hungry the bear is they won’t notice just how hard their muscles are working!

You can further the “bear hunt” experience by reading We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen. This will encourage flexible thinking, as it is a slightly different version that includes squelching through mud and stumbling through a forest! Several activity sheets including coloring and making your own bear ears are available at: http://www.jointhebearhunt.com/play/.We Are Going On a Bear Hunt book

 

 

 

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The Benefits of Cursive Writing

Why Teach Cursive?

By: Hannah DaRosa, MOT, OTR/L

MOSAIC Children’s Therapy Seattle

If your child is having trouble with messy handwriting, learning cursive can help! Cursive can be a great solution for children in the 2nd grade or higher because:

 

 

 

  • It is easier to remember how to form letters as all letters start on the line
  • It is easier to space letters as each letter leads directly into the next
  • There are no mirror image letters (d and b, p and q)
  • It can be hard to relearn how to print letters correctly and is often easier to have a fresh start
  • There are fewer difficult diagonal lines
  • It is easier for children who have visual-spatial difficulties

In the samples below, you can see that this child is better able to form letters, space words, and write on the line when using cursive.

cursive blog image of print

cursive blog image

Our therapists use the “Loops and Other Groups” curriculum to teach cursive. This curriculum focuses on building “motor memory” for each letter with fun visuals such as the “clock” to show you how to move your hand.

cursive image with clock

Eventually children can write letters without even thinking about what their hand is doing. This allows them to focus on their thoughts and ideas when writing, not on how their writing looks.

In the picture below, a child first wrote the alphabet with their eyes open. The second time the child wrote the alphabet with their eyes closed! This child has developed excellent motor memory for how to create each letter.

cursive alphabet

Summer is a great time to learn cursive as there are fewer demands on kids and their families. Consider scheduling an evaluation at MOSAIC Children’s Therapy Seattle, where therapists will evaluate the following:

  • Your child’s hand development
  • Your child’s core, arm, and hand strength
  • Your child’s grasp
  • Your child’s handwriting

If your child qualifies for therapy, your family can begin working with our trained therapists to build foundational skills and learn cursive in a fun, engaging, and motivating environment.

Call our Seattle clinic at 206-388-3751 or visit our website http://www.mosaicrehab.com

 

PROMPT Technique for Children’s Speech Therapy

Recently, two more of our pediatric speech language pathologists completed a course to be trained in the PROMPT Technique.

At MOSAIC, we have speech-language pathologists who are PROMPT trained and certified and able to treat a variety of speech difficulties that are also frequently present with different disorders, including cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, cleft lip and palate, autism, and many more. PROMPT is a therapy technique that utilizes tactile-kinesthetic cues to provide information to the child about how speech sounds are produced. For more information about PROMPT and whether it may be appropriate for your child’s speech difficulties, please contact MOSAIC to set up an evaluation with a therapist. More information about the research and theory behind the technique, please visit the PROMPT Institute website: http://promptinstitute.com/index.php.

Sensory Integration Therapy

ot-kiddo-with-tania-sensory-regulation-parent-auth-to-use-vanessa-poznanski

Sensory Integration Therapy

Sensory Integration Therapy is a treatment approach in a sensory-rich environment which provides just the right challenge to foster active, meaningful and functional activities in a dynamic and family centered environment. MOSAIC therapists engage both parents and their child in sessions to learn, adapt, grow, and achieve success in therapy that can be translated into the home and community setting.

Our occupational therapists utilize many Tools for Self Regulation. In this photo, we show a body working through a bottom up approach to bring this little girl’s body and mind into an alert and focused zone.

All day, every day our bodies fluctuate between low energy, just right energy, and high energy.  The optimal state of performance typically occurs in the just right state.  A bottom up approach is anytime we use our bodies to regulate our mind, as opposed to thinking of a solution on how to calm down or wake up.

The Lycra swing provides increased tactile feedback into the body’s joints and skin as the child moves around. The body also receives feedback from the stretchy fabric engulfing it. Feedback into the joints is sometimes a reason why adults will go to the gym to “blow off steam,” it helps regulate them to a just right state and is a bottom up approach.

The large therapy ball is an added feedback for timing, rhythm, and more input into the body. Most kids love having their bodies bounce into the ball to come flying back out, without knowing that their neurological system is processing so much: anticipation of hitting the ball, feeling a time frame of when to expect the hit, and deep input into joints that provide an awareness of body in space.

All this input, depending on how long you do it, how fast the swing swings, and how hard the kids bounce off the ball, can bring a child to their just right zone where they will be ready to sit and complete work or know where their arms are in relation to their body in order to get dressed.

-Tania Gorsky, MS, OTR/L

MOSAIC Children’s Therapy Clinic, Bellevue, WA

 

Winter Themed Snow Room Therapy

Pediatric therapists are always looking for ways to engage children in the therapy sessions and the best way is to make it FUN!

This year our team of physical, occupational, and speech therapists have created a variety of hands on, completely engaging activities to utilize with the children.

Kids can create snowmen/snowladies and decorate snowflakes, while working on their fine motor skills.

Then, dress up to take a ride on our “sleigh”, while on our “horse” improving balance, and tolerance of movement all while having fun driving the sleigh.

driving-the-sleigh

strap on ice skates to skate around,

skis

experience snow as a sensory experience of touch,

or for those wishing to eat our pretend edible snow, we have mashed potatoes,

mashed-potato-snow-edible

make lots of paper snowballs to build a snowman/lady,

Or, for the most fun of all……………………..have a snowball fight with your physical therapist 🙂

collage-snow-ball-fight-with-kiddo-and-janelle-pt

 

 

Board Games Recommended by MOSAIC’s Speech Therapists

Game Recommendations for Speech Therapy:

*trade secret, speech therapists NEVER follow the rules in board games.  You can modify almost any game to include a speech or language target, or teach to a variety of language levels.

Hedbanz

At a basic level, Hedbanz provides a wide variety of vocabulary cards.  You can increase vocabulary by working on labeling or sort cards in to different categories such as foods or animals.  Children can place the card on their head and work on guessing when given a description OR can give a description of the card on their opponents head.  As language levels increase, you may choose to play the game as the rules describe by working on deductive reasoning.  The child has to ask questions to determine what picture is on their head.

I Can Do That!

I Can Do That is a great game for preschoolers.  It targets motor skills and receptive language skills.  You can work on a variety of spatial concepts using the “trick-a-ma-stick” including over, under, around etc. You can modify the cards and work on 1, 2 or 3 step directions. To increase the challenge, you can also use items around your house.  Instead of crawling under the trick-a-ma-stick have your child crawl under the table.

Guess Where?

guess-where-game

This game is intended for use with children ages 6 and up. Similar to Guess Who and Hedbanz, it helps children develop deductive reasoning. However, this game can be modified to accommodate children younger than 6. A modification I frequently employ is instruct children to simply ask “Where is the dog?” or “where is the cat?” I have found this can help reinforce the idea that “where” questions ask about places. I have also found that this game can also help encourage the development of theory of mind. For instance, if my grandmother piece is in the kitchen, yours might not be. If I can’t see your house, I can’t know where you put your family members. I use vocabulary such as “I am thinking…” or “I am wondering….” to help encourage the development of theory of mind.


Written by the Speech Therapy Team at MOSAIC Children’s Therapy Clinic-Seattle. mosaicrehab.com/seattle

How Does Jumping Help a Child?

Jumping is naturally something that most kids will do on their own, however, when development is delayed or if a child has a need for physical therapy to help them meet the developmental milestones, there are many ways to incorporate jumping into therapy and at home. Strength, coordination, and balance are some of the benefits of jumping.

jumping-mosaic-kids-master-pt