Monday, April 30, 2012

Survey for Self Care Skills

There is an OT, Kristin Roll, from Minnesota who is collecting information on a child's ability to complete self-care and home/community related skills in order to create a standardized test.  She hopes that this test will assist families in getting occupational therapy services covered for their children.  She is self funding this study. Here is some background information and the link for parents to complete the survey.

From Kristin Roll, MA OTR/L:

"I am a mother of two toddlers (Xavier and Carsten) and pediatric occupational therapist working at Capernaum Pediatrics, in New Hope, Minnesota. I have been working as an occupational therapist for the past 7 years and was frustrated with the lack of standardized tests that asses a child’s ability to complete self-care activities. I wanted to do something to help the children and the families that I work with so I started this research project. I am looking for caregivers of children ages 2-18 years old to take a one time online survey about their child’s ability to complete self-care and home/community related skills. Information from this project will be used to create a standardize test to help children with special needs qualify for therapy services and support covered by their insurance companies. I am an independent researcher funding this project on my own. I am using Kwik Survey a free online survey company for data collection. When you click on the link below, you will be taken to Kwik Survey. There you will see my consent form, demographic questions (to make sure I have a diverse sample), and then the self-care and home/community skills questionnaire. The questionnaire is multiple choice and no questions will identify you or your child to the data. Please feel free to make comments at the end of the survey. Your input is important to me. Thank you for your support! Please feel free to forward this information on to family and friends.

Please let me know if you need any more information or have any other questions. I really appreciate your support!"

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Evaluating Interventions for Cerebral Palsy

Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology have made a free virtual issue entitled “Evaluating Interventions in Cerebral Palsy". The editors selected relevant and contemporary papers on interventions for cerebral palsy. There is free access to full text articles on many topics including internet based physical activity interventions, constraint therapy, supported treadmill training, context therapy, bracing, taping and more. You can view all the articles of the virtual issue here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Clay Monsters

How cute are these little monsters?  Practice some fine motor skills and hand strengthening making these cuties.  All you need is creativity, imagination and some clay/theraputty, googly eyes and cut up pipe cleaners. 

If you need more activities for clay check out these ebooks: Creative Clay Activities and Clay Play Mats.

Like the monster theme?  Check out these portable Monster Mazes.

Monday, April 23, 2012

CVS Community Care Grants

CVS Community Care Grants are once again available this year for children with disabilities. They support grants for children under 21 with disabilities.

The focus should be on at least one of the following: (1) health and rehabilitation services and (2) enabling and encouraging physical movement and play.

There are also separate grants for underinsured or uninsured and public school inclusive programs.

You can find out more information at CVS Community Grants.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pincer Grasp App - Chalk Walk

There was a new app released this week for the iPad titled Chalk Walk ($3.99).  It states that it helps children develop the pincer grasp.  After testing out this app, it does encourage the use of a pincer grasp in children.  It goes through various levels of visual motor patterns for a child to follow.  You have to bring the blue and yellow circles together using the thumb and index finger in order to move along the path.  The child collects various puzzle pieces to spell a word.

The 6 year old child I observed using it did use a pincer grasp while following the path rather than a typical touch with the index finger.  It was a little hard at times but in general she could do it maintaining the pincer grasp.  If you do not maintain it you can not follow along the path.   She preferred to watch the object go along the path and then trace.  It is a hard to immediately follow the path because if you are right handed your hand blocks the path.  The child enjoyed the video play back feature where you can watch what you just drew.

If the child has longer fingernails or bigger fingers it was hard to maintain the pincer grasp and the older children had to use the index and middle fingers to follow the path.

Overall, a nice alternative for younger children to the typical tracing apps since it does require a pincer grasp.

More information on Chalk Walk.  

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Increase Physical Activity with Choices

Recent research indicates that when children are given choices of what toys to play with physical activity time increases especially in girls.  One aspect of the study gave children one active toy to play with which resulted in boys increasing active play time by 1.3 times more than girls. Another part of the study gave the children a choice of active toys which resulted in an increase in physically active time by nearly 200 percent for girls, compared to an increase of just 42 percent for boys. The active toys that were used included mini hockey, bean bag toss combined with tic-tac-toe, mini indoor basketball and jump rope. In a second study researchers looked at the intrinsic motivation in children for physical activity time. Using exergames (ie Wii), the researchers concluded that combining choice with mastery of a game resulted in the greatest increase in physical activity time.

Reference: Medical Express. Kids get more active when given more toy choices, studies show. Retrieved from the web on 4/18/12 at

Need some active play ideas?  Check out our Sensory Motor ebooks and the Bilibo.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tai Chi and Wheelchair Users

Have you ever suggested Tai Chi as a form of exercise or physical activity for wheelchair users?  This is an excellent activity that most individuals can participate in to assist with postural tone, active range of motion, deep breathing and mind body connection.  Here are a few videos from You Tube demonstrating some Tai Chi.  Would be great for in class activities as well for all children.  One of the goals of Tai Chi is to focus the mind completely on the movements.

Watch how he crosses midline and visually tracks his hands throughout this exercise - cloud hands

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Online Workshop About DCD

 CanChild now has an online workshop available specifically for parents of children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD).  It is about 60 minutes long and offers extensive information on DCD.  It is broken down into 6 subcategories: describing DCD (including an exercise to see what it is like to have DCD), DCD at school, DCD at home, DCD at play, strategies and how to spread the word. 

It is free so worth a look for providers and parents.

You can view it at the CanChild website.

Monday, April 16, 2012

New Freebie - Brain Breaks Game

Download this latest freebie - Roll Some Brain Breaks for use in the classroom or home.  Check out the entire ebook at, only $1.99 through 4/29/12.

Shared this at the Get Kids moving Link up.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sleep Duration and ADHD Symptoms

Pediatrics published research on sleep duration and behavioral and ADHD symptoms in healthy 7-8 year old children. The results indicated that children who had short sleep duration (less than 7.7 hours) had higher hyperactivity/impulsivity scores, higher attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder total scores but similar inattention scores compared with children sleeping 7.7 to 9.4 hours or >9.4 hours. Many therapists serve children with behavioral problems and ADHD.

Do you inquire about sleeping habits when you evaluate or re-evaluate?  Speaking from experience, sleep duration can turn children into different people. I have seen children meltdown, exhibit erratic behavior, be inattentive and basically lose it from lack of sleep. Why do you think parents dislike sleepovers? It is not the night of the sleepover it is the day after!

So therefore just a suggestion - next time you are evaluating a child who is inattentive, hyperactive or exhibiting behavioral problems don't forget to ask how many hours of sleep per night the child has had over the past week.

Reference: E. Juulia Paavonen et al. Short Sleep Duration and Behavioral Symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Healthy 7- to 8-Year-Old Children. Pediatrics May 2009; 123:5 e857-e864; doi:10.1542/peds.2008-2164

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Build a Bear Grant for Children with Special Needs

Build A Bear has starting accepting grant applications for children with special needs. The grant awards range from $1000-$5000 with an average of $1500. You must be a tax exempt organization. They fund:
"Individual Project grants – These grants are generally for one-time purchases or to fulfill a short-term need, such as the purchase of materials or equipment. Organization Program grants – These grants fund start-up or operational costs for ongoing programs. Examples include funds for research, health and wellness educational programs, or financial assistance for children and families in-need".
You can find out more information at the Build A Bear website.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Modifying Motorized Cars for Powered Mobility

Pediatric Physical Therapy is offering free access to an informative article on how to modify off the shelf motorized cars for early powered mobility for children with physical disabilities.  The article is entitled, Modified Ride-on Toy Cars for Early Power Mobility: A Technical Report, and it describes a variety of car models along with how they differ.  It provides suggestions on how to modify seating, steering and drive systems including how to use a push button switch to drive!  All the suggestions appear to be simple to carry out with a few tools and readily available supplies.  This article is awesome if you are considering early powered mobility for young children.  So detailed and wonderful pictures.  You can view the article at Pediatric Physical Therapy.   

Reference: Huang, Hsiang-Han OT, ScD; Galloway, James C. PT, PhD. Technical Report Modified Ride-on Toy Cars for Early Power Mobility: A Technical Report. Pediatric Physical Therapy:Summer 2012 - Volume 24 - Issue 2 - p 149–154 doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e31824d73f9

Monday, April 9, 2012

Listening Game

Here is a fun listening game that requires following movement directions that are provided in code.  Read how to play at

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Feedback Frequency with Children

Physical Therapy will be publishing research on the frequency of feedback that you should provide for children when learning a motor task.  Previous research with adults indicates that providing feedback 100% of the time when learning a new task is less effective than when less feedback is provided.  In addition, previous research has indicated that children with cerebral palsy benefit from less feedback whereas typical developing children benefit from more feedback.  For this research, children threw beanbags for accuracy at an unseen target while walking or while standing still. Knowledge of results was provided 100% of the time and 33% of the time. Retention tests without feedback were performed 5 minutes later and then one-week later. Also, transfer tests were completed to check the generalizability of learning.

The results indicated the following: learning was improved on the easy version of the task when knowledge of results was provided 33% of the time during practice and learning was improved in the difficult version when knowledge of results was provided 100% of the time during practice.

The researchers suggest that when teaching motor skills to children one should provide feedback based on the complexity of the task.

When you are teaching children new motor skills do you take into account how difficult the task is and how often you provide feedback?  In my opinion, I find it to be human nature - when a child is struggling to learn a new task I provide more feedback and if the task is easier you do not need to provide as much feedback.  

Reference:    Sidaway B, Bates J, Occhiogrosso B, Schlagenhaufer J, Wilkes D. Interaction of Feedback Frequency and Task Difficulty in Children's Motor Skill Learning. Phys Ther. 2012 Mar 15. [Epub ahead of print]

Thursday, April 5, 2012

New Freebie - Speech Bubbles

After seeing this on Pinterest, I thought this would be a great idea for children to practice handwriting or add in some physical activity (a silent game). You can download the free speech bubbles to use and some ideas to go along with them over at

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Brain Gym Warm Up Video

Found this Brain Gym video over on Pinterest.  This video offers some great visuals for bilateral coordination warm ups that require no equipment.

Need more ideas for bringing movement into the classroom?
Check out , Imagination Action Journeys and Classroom Activity Posters.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April Digital Magazine

Here is the latest digital magazine issue with articles on cerebral palsy, OT month and activity ideas. If you can not view it below visit for a pdf copy.
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