Writing Skills and Autism, ADHD and Other Developmental Delays

Here’s help about writing skills and autism, ADHD and other developmental delays. Given the right environment, handwriting can be fun. You may be familiar already with the Handwriting Without Tears kits, available from Therapro <www.therapyproducts.com> or 1-800-257-5376. Let’s look at four other programs designed to help children who strive to write legibly. 1) Callirobics (from CALLIgraphy and aeROBICS) is a series of simple exercises set to music. This self-guided, creative approach, devised by handwriting expert Liora Laufer, is for home or school use. The multisensory exercises improve: eye-hand coordination fine-motor skills self-esteem and work habits Many children succeed with Callirobics because the activities are brief (one to three minutes apiece), and the task of tracing abstract shapes is easily grasped. Exercises are set to appealing music such as “Danny Boy” and “London Bridge,” as well as to original melodies. Each program comes with a workbook and audiocassette. Two levels of Callirobics are available: Pre-Writing Skills with Music (ages 4-7), and…

Farm Therapy: A Natural Approach to Improve Sensory Integration

by Lois Hickman, OTR Occupational therapy on a farm, with real jobs that must be done regularly to maintain the land and the animals, improves sensory integration, self-awareness, and relationships with others. Farms, like children, involve growth, nurturing, hard work – and down-to-earth fun! The connectedness inherent in this way of life can promote healthy change at all levels for children with developmental delays. The interconnection of the natural rhythms of weather, seasons, daily responsibilities, play, music and dancing, story and song can bring especially important life experiences to individuals with physical, emotional, or intellectual challenges. Children with an aversion to touch may overcome this defensiveness when the goal is preparing a soil bed for flowers or carrots, or brushing angora rabbits to collect hair for spinning and weaving. An incentive for conquering the fear of being off the ground may be climbing the ladder to the barn loft to get cartons before gathering eggs. Children with physical challenges or…

Music and Autism: Making the Connection

by Rita Whitaker-Haun and Sheldon Haun As a music specialist in the public schools for 16 years, I have had orchestral and general music experience with children from kindergarten through twelfth grade.  In 1992, my new teaching assignment included an autistic preschool class; I had not worked with music and autism before, and it became possibly the most rewarding experience I have had in those 16 years. I learned from the classroom teacher that the previous “formal music class” had not engaged the children: the songs were too sophisticated, the children didn’t play any instruments, they didn’t do any movement…they were not involved. I realized that I would need an approach that appealed to the whole child, with each class including both fine and large motor movement as well as listening, chanting, singing, and playing instruments. I would also need to make sure that there were ample opportunities for communication and interaction between the children and adults.  We scheduled the…

Powers of Visualization

Powers of Visualization

Powers of Visualization

This article was reprinted with permission from “Efficient Vision”, a newsletter of the Optometric Extension Program (OEP). For further reading on visualization try Using Your Powers of Visualization by Emily Bradley Lyons. When you recall a memory, daydream, or picture an event, you are using visualization.  Visualization is one of the most important visual skills.  When somebody tells you a story or gives you instructions, do you often say “I see” when you mean “I understand?” That’s because your ability to understand others often depends on your ability to visualize or actually “see” what they are saying.   These processes use the part of the visual system called the mind’s eye.  Your mind’s eye can be a useful tool in many academic activities including reading, spelling, arithmetic, organizing, and especially abstract thinking. Spelling requires very strong visualization.  Because the English language is confusing and the same sounds can have a variety of spellings, it is necessary to visualize the word to…