Friday, July 29, 2016

Cut, Sequence and Draw Trucks

Cut Sequence Draw Transportation Freebie

Practice scissor skills, sequencing, glueing, following directions and drawing all with this one activity – Cut, Sequence, Paste and Draw Transportation. Download this truck freebie to get started with this no-prep activity.

Find out more information on the complete Cut, Sequence, Paste and Draw Transportation Packet.

Cut Sequence Paste Transportation

Looking for different themes?

Check out Cut, Sequence, Paste and Draw Alphabet where each pictures starts off with writing a letter of the alphabet.

Cut, Sequence, Paste and Draw Cover

Check out Cut, Sequence, Paste and Draw Monsters.

Cut, Sequence, Paste and Draw - Monsters

COMING SOON – Cut, Sequence, Paste and Draw DINOSAURS!!!!!

The post Cut, Sequence and Draw Trucks appeared first on Your Therapy Source.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Physical Exercise and Functional Outcomes in Children with ADHD

Physical Exercise and Functional Outcomes with ADHD

The Journal of Attention Disorders published a meta-analysis on the possible beneficial effects of exercise in alleviating ADHD functional outcomes in children.  After searching various databases, 10 studies for a total of 300 participants on the effects of physical exercise on motor skills and executive functions in children with ADHD were included.  The analysis revealed the following:

  1.  exercise had a significant effect on functional outcomes, ie executive functions and motor skills, in children with ADHD 
  2.  longer exercise intervention duration was consistently associated with larger effect sizes.
  3.  effect sizes were not related to exercise intensity, mean age of participants, or gender distribution.

Reference:  Ruta Vysniauske, Lot Verburgh, Jaap Oosterlaan, and Marc L. Molendijk. The Effects of Physical Exercise on Functional Outcomes in the Treatment of ADHD: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Attention Disorders 1087054715627489, first published on February 9, 2016 doi:10.1177/1087054715627489

Get Moving Flashcards



Get Moving Flashcards – Get Moving Flashcards is a collection of 5 physical activity breaks (jogging in place, marching, squats, jumping jacks and trunk twists) randomly placed between flash cards. Basically, the slides will move along, the child says the letter out loud, air writes the letter or writes the letter on paper. Anytime a movement slide shows up the child performs that movement.  FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION.


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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Developmental Progression of Community Skills

Developmental Progression of Community Skills

The Functional Skills for Kids is a 12-month long series written by occupational and physical therapy bloggers on the development of 12 functional skills for children. This month the topic is community skills and this post will discuss the developmental progression of community skills.  Each month throughout 2016, we will discuss the development of one functional skill in children addressing the many components of that skill.  The ability to complete the functional task of navigating the community develops along a continuum.  Children need motor skills, visual perceptual skills, balance skills and safety awareness to be independent in the community.  The developmental progression of the following community skills will be addressed: walking up/down ramps, curbs, different surfaces, bike riding, crossing streets and on/off different modes of transportation.


After children have moved through the developmental progression of rolling, crawling, standing and walking higher level motor skills begin to be mastered.  Children normally learn how to walk on level, flat surfaces.  When the flooring changes from hard flooring to rugs children need to adapt and lift those little legs just a little higher to clear the rug.  When a new walker heads outdoors, uneven surfaces require additional righting reactions and balance skills.  The feet tend to separate to widen the base of support and the knees may bend to lower the center of gravity.

Learning to walk on uneven surfaces


Around 18 months to 24 months+, some children will begin to step on and off a curb without a hand hold.  Jumping down from the curb (with one foot leading) quickly follows.  Children develop the ability to safely go up and down ramps around the same developmental age.  Children can swiftly and safely run up and down ramps around 2-3 years of age.

Developmental Progression of Bike Riding


First, children learn how to propel a ride on toy around 18-24 months with their feet and progress to pedaling a tricycle around 36 months of age.   Around 5+ years of age, most children have developed the coordination, balance and motor planning to ride a bicycle without training wheels.  At this age though, safety awareness is a concern in terms of avoiding obstacles and cars so close supervision is a must with significant practice time.  Around 6 years+ of age, children begin to develop improved safety awareness but are still at risk for injuries and can use hand brakes.  Around 9-12 years of age, children can shift gears on a bicycle and are fairly aware of traffic laws. Children under age 10 ride primarily on sidewalks, playgrounds, and neighborhood streets.  Bicycle riders over age 10 are more likely to be found on neighborhood streets, bike paths, or major thoroughfares.


As children get older and begin to explore their communities, sometimes parents think children are able to handle traffic safely by themselves before they may be ready.  Young children cannot reliably and consistently accurately judge the speed or distance of oncoming cars.  Children under age 9-10 should cross the street with an adult.  From a young age, teach and practice with children to :

  1. look left, right, then left again before stepping into the street.
  2. cross the street at designated crossings.
  3. cross only when there are no cars coming.
  4. walk on the sidewalk.
  5. walk on the side of the street facing traffic if there are no sidewalks.
  6. recognize crossing signals.
  7. be extra cautious when crossing where cars are parked on the street.


By four years of age, most children can go up and down regular sized stairs without using a handrail.  To get on/off the school bus, children need to to be able to independently climb up and down taller bus stairs using the handrail.  Most children are able to do this by kindergarten age.  There are no standard, specific age guidelines for when children are developmentally ready to  wait, get on or get off a bus independently.  When children do start to ride the bus it is important to teach and practice with children to:

  1. stand at least three giant steps (6 feet) away from the curb.
  2. walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road until you are five giant steps (10 feet) ahead of the bus if you have to cross the street before getting on the bus.
  3. make sure the bus driver can see you and you can see the bus driver.
  4. never walk behind the bus.
  5. never try to pick it up anything you dropped until you get permission from the bus driver.

Children will develop at their own pace independence with life skills through education and practice.

Stop by to see what the other occupational therapists and physical therapists in the Functional Skills for Kids series have written on the development of community skills.

How to Support Your Child’s Core Strength Development Every Day | Miss Jaime, O.T.

Tips to Help “Sensory Kids” at Stores and Malls | Mama OT

Attention and Behavior Concerns and Independence in the Community | Sugar Aunts

Modifications for Kids with Special Needs in the Community  | Growing Hands-On Kids

Calming Games and Activities for Outings  |  The Inspired Treehouse

Working on following Directions When Out  | Therapy Fun Zone

Using Community Activities to Develop Your Child’s Social Skills  |Your Kids OT

This post is part of the Functional Skills for Kids: 12 Month series by Occupational and Physical Therapists. Read all of my monthly posts in this series HERE.

Need to track progress regarding an individual’s independence with various life and community skills such as safety awareness, transportation, community skills and more?  Check out Life Skill Checklists.

The 14 life skills checklists include: Dressing Skills, Personal Hygiene, Mealtime, Food Preparation, Chores, Safety Skills, School Routine (free!), Before and After School Routine, Personal Health, Interpersonal, Transportation, Self Advocacy, Community Life Skills and


Boyse, K (2009). Safety Out and About Walking, Biking, Scooter, School Bus and Shopping Cart Safety. Retrieved on 7/26/16 at

NHTSA.  School Buses.  Retrieved on 7/26/16 at

Rodgers, G. Ph.D. Bicycle Study – Consumer Product Safety Commision.  Retrieved on 7/26/16 at

Smith, T. (2002) AGE DETERMINATION GUIDELINES: Relating Children’s Ages To Toy Characteristics and Play Behavior.  Retrieved on 7/26/16 at

Teaford, P et al (2010). HELP® Checklist 3-6 Checklist. VORT Corporation.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

New Handwriting App – Handwriting Heroes Created By an OT

Handwriting App Handwriting Heroes Created by OT

Handwriting Heroes is a new handwriting app developed by Cheryl Bregman who is an occupational therapist.  You may be familiar with her from another amazing app she created Abilipad which is a customizable keyboard and adaptive notepad, with word prediction and text-to-speech.  I asked Cheryl to answer a few questions about her career and her development of apps from an OT perspective.  (This post contains affiliate links).

Q: First just tell a little bit about yourself – job experience, years on the job, etc.

After qualifying as an occupational therapist from UCT in South Africa, I moved to the US and have been working as a pediatric OT for the past 20 years. I love being an occupational therapist for the flexibility that one has to facilitate learning in non-traditional and multisensory ways. I am married, and have two gorgeous children.

Q: What made you come up with the idea of creating apps in addition to being an occupational therapist?

It was not planned. I developed my handwriting methodology over many years and had excellent success helping children. Given that it is that it is based on interactive stories, I felt that it would be well presented in an animated form. So, when iPads were first introduced, I found a programmer to work on it. At the same time, I was working with a young student who had autism, who enjoyed writing on the iPad but would become “stuck” because the keyboard keys were in upper case and his words were being typed in lower case. I decided to hold off on my handwriting app, and to “quickly” make a lower case keyboard, named Abilipad. Abilipad ended up taking three years because users kept asking for additional features. Once Abilipad was completed, I was able to refocus on Handwriting Heroes. It has been tremendously beneficial to my therapy and to my apps to be able to do both in sync.

Q: Your previous app, Abilipad, was a real game changer are you hoping for the same with Handwriting Heroes?

Abilipad’s impact in the world of assistive technology was to significantly decrease the cost of literacy support (i.e. word prediction, text-to-speech, adapted keyboards). Since it was the first adaptive notepad and keyboard on the iPad, larger companies had to follow suit with their pricing.

Handwriting Heroes is my absolute treasure. For fear of being overstated, it encompasses over a decade of practice-based research and development, and every ounce of creative energy that I have. My hope is that Handwriting Heroes will revitalize handwriting instruction, by making it easier to teach handwriting.

Q: You have been in the “app business” for several years which is considered a long time. Have things changed considerably since you first started?

The ability for users to find one’s apps is significantly harder because the app store has become far more congested.

Q: If a therapist has an idea for creating an app, what is your number one tip to get it developed?

Marry a programmer! Unfortunately it is becoming extremely hard to find and afford experienced developers. I have sourced most of my developers (and artists, animators, voice-over artists, composers, etc.) from

Q: Handwriting Heroes only addresses lower case; is there a reason for that?
Most of the students who are referred to me with handwriting problems write with upper case letters or mix their upper and lower case. So, my goal in focusing on lower case is to avoid confusion by solidifying the students’ knowledge of lower case before introducing upper case. Since lower case is used in 95% of writing, I feel strongly that it ought to be prioritized.

Upper case is often taught first because these letters are easier to form; and therefore it is also no surprise that students would defer to upper case. Lower case letters are however more efficient to produce since there are far fewer pencil lifts.

Q: You describe Handwriting Heroes as being suitable for children of “all abilities”. Is handwriting important (relative to other interventions) for children with delays?

Yes! I like to distinguish between handwriting and letter formation though. With handwriting one produces letters by hand using a writing implement. Letter formation, on the other hand, relates only to the stroke sequence used to produce a letter. Some of my students, who have significant motor delays, may never be fluent at handwriting. However, it is still important for them to learn the steps for forming the letters – whether following the animations with their eyes, writing the letters in the air or tracing large letter models with their finger. It is my, as-yet-untested theory that the benefits of handwriting including – “better perception of letters which transfers to reading, training the orthographic loop and improved serial organization” (Virginia Wise Berninger, Strengthening the Mind’s Eye) – applies to letter formation as well.
That said my app does provide three levels of difficulty. The easiest allows the user the lift their finger from the screen while the hardest requires the user to complete the letter using a continuous stroke i.e. without any finger lifts.

Q: Where can we find more information about your apps?

Abilipad can be found at

Handwriting Heroes can be found at

Here is the Handwriting Heroes app in action –

The post New Handwriting App – Handwriting Heroes Created By an OT appeared first on Your Therapy Source.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Sensory Processing Styles and Mindfulness

Sensory Processing Styles and Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the ability to live in the moment with an open mind and attention to the present.   In order to  live in the moment, one must be able to bring attention and awareness to all of the sensory, cognitive, and emotional aspects of the current experience.   Focused breathing, meditation and yoga are a few examples of how one can practice mindfulness.

The British Journal of Occupational Therapy published research examining the relationship between mindfulness and sensory processing
styles.   Since mindfulness involves paying attention to the sensory components of daily experiences, it would be expected to vary across sensory processing styles. For example, sensory styles characterized by reduced awareness of sensory inputs would be expected to be associated with less mindfulness during daily experiences.  The study included 151 healthy individuals ranging in age from 18-60.  Each participant completed the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS), Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale – Revised (CAMS-R) and the Adolescent/Adult Sensory Profile (AASP).  The results indicated the following:

  1. low registration sensory processing style was negatively correlated with both measures of mindfulness.
  2. sensory sensitivity and sensory avoiding processing styles were also negatively correlated with mindfulness, but only in the frequency of mind wandering episodes.
  3. sensory seeking style did not significantly correlate with either mindfulness measure.
  4. increased low registration, sensory sensitivity and sensory avoiding scores significantly predicted mind wandering and distraction.

In summary, “aspects of mindfulness associated with attention and awareness were significantly negatively related to sensory processing
patterns associated with passive behavioral strategies (low registration and sensory sensitivity)”.

Reference:  Karen R Hebert. The association between sensory processing styles and mindfulness. British Journal of Occupational Therapy 0308022616656872, first published on July 18, 2016 doi:10.1177/0308022616656872

Yoga Cards and Game Ideas

This download is a collection of 30 full sized yoga cards (8.5″ x 11″) with directions, Sun Salutation sequence and over 20 game ideas with small size yoga cards (4″ x 5″). They are reproducible for the clients on your caseload or students in your classroom. Send them home for carry over activities. FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION ON YOGA CARDS.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Summer Olympic Games Freebie Activity

Summer Olympics Freebie

The Summer Olympic Games are only a few weeks away!  This Summer Olympic games freebie activity, Find and Color, is a fun way to encourage visual discrimination and visual motor skills with a Summer Olympic theme.  Find the medal winners and color them the correct color.  This visual perceptual puzzle is just one from the new Summer Olympic Games Packet that is filled with sensory motor and visual perceptual activities and games.  There are 40 Summer Olympic sport cards including:

  1. archery
  2. badminton
  3. basketball
  4. boxing
  5. canoeing
  6. diving
  7. equestrian dressage
  8. equestrian jumping
  9. fencing
  10. golding
  11. gymnastics male
  12. gymnastics female
  13. handball
  14. judo
  15. karate
  16. mountain biking
  17. road cycling
  18. sailing
  19. shooting
  20. swimming
  21. synchronized swimming
  22. table tennis
  23. tennis
  24. track cycling
  25. trampoline
  26. weightlifting
  27. wrestling
  28. soccer
  29. volleyball
  30. running
  31. high jump
  32. javelin
  33. long jumping
  34. hurdles
  35. discus
  36. shotput
  37. hammer
  38. gold medal
  39. silver medal
  40. bronze medal

Summer Olympic Cover

Use the posters and cards in the Summer Olympic Games Packet to encourage literacy, physical activity and just play some fun games!  The packet includes 7 game and activity ideas.  Make watching the Summer Olympics even more fun this year with this download.  FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION about the Summer Olympic Games Packet.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Homemade Play Dough Recipes and Activity Ideas

Homemade Play Dough Recipes and Activity Ideas

Pediatric therapists, parents and teachers use homemade play dough recipes daily. Here is a collection of fun ones from the Internet to explore.

1. Recipes for Sensory Fun: This is a nice 5 page download created by a therapy company to hand out to parents.

2. Nuture Store – Let’s Play with Dough – includes three recipes, suggestions to add to your dough play time and learning activities with play dough.  This would make a great parent handout.

3. Gluten Free Dough Recipes: Anyone who works with or has children on a gluten free diet here is lots of suggested products and recipes.

Need some suggestions and activity ideas to use the clay or play dough? Check out:

Creative Clay Activities

1. Creative Clay Activities – Includes the following activities: Animal Charade Cards, Food/ Drink Charade Cards, Snowy Clay, Rainy Clay, Steamroller Clay, Snake in the Woods, Clay Patterns, Clay Scavenger Hunt, Four In A Row and 26 Letter Sheets to promote tactile kinesthetic awareness of letters.

Clay Play Mats2. Clay Play Mats – This is a collection of 6 clay play mats that encourage: muscle strengthening of the hands, fine motor skills, visual memory,
counting and number identification.

Clay Faces

3.  Clay Faces – Free download to create clay faces on templates.


4.  Hedgehog Clay game – directions and pictures to play this fun fine motor game.


5.  Copy the Clay Monsters – Copy these clay monster cards to encourage finger and hand strengthening, visual spatial skills and fine motor skills.

The post Homemade Play Dough Recipes and Activity Ideas appeared first on Your Therapy Source.

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