Here parents, educators, and therapists come together to share ideas to help children of all abilities function at their utmost potential. Useful information and tips regarding the challenges that children can face, as well as fun, educational crafts and games for children to do are covered here. Some of the topics addressed are sensory, fine motor, school readiness, autism, strengthening and crafts.
So, it's that time of year again- Kindergarten registration time, that is. And, it's at this time, when parents register their children for Kindergarten, that some notice that their children may not have all of the skills needed to succeed in Kindergarten. We OT's tend to get referrals for kids that the parents want a "quick fix" for so that the kids are ready for school in the fall. Because of this, we think our first area to address should be getting your children ready for school. We will address what we see as the most common school skills that children are lacking when going into Kindergarten and we will offer some activities and suggestions for you to try at home. Kindergarten has changed since we parents went. Back when we entered kindergarten, there were not as many prerequisites needed to be successful as we started our school careers. Our days consisted of some academics, a nap and a snack before heading home. Kindergarten was the year that prepared the children to start school in the first grade. Not so today. Most kids today have been in some sort of preschool for years prior to going to kindergarten, so have a basis of school skills such as writing their names, with some being able to write their first and last names. Some children are able to recognize all the letters of the alphabet, both upper and lower case. Some are even able to form all of the letters, both upper and lower case. Children are able to sit for longer periods of time to concentrate on school tasks. But, don't panic if you think your child does not have all of the skills that other future kindergarteners have. There is still time to help them get ready. First, in order to succeed with hand writing, your child will need a good grasp on his/her writing implements. Kids start by holding their crayons in a fisted grasp and gradually progress to a mature, tripod grasp. A good grasp is important not only to be able to form legible words, but in order to write at a speed that will allow your child to keep up with the class during assignments. We won't go into the technical terms for all the grasps, but will start by offering suggestions to progress your child to a more functional grasp. TODAY'S OT STRATEGY: Break your crayons into tiny pieces, about two inches long, and have your child use only those pieces to color. Your child will not be able to "fist" small crayon pieces and will start to hold the pieces in a more mature manner. Do this for a couple of weeks so your child becomes accustomed to holding a crayon in a different manner.