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Some low tech ideas from an OT view to help: Fine motor skills, attention & organization, and visual perceptual skills

Fine motor ideas

If you see : Try this:

letter reversals

Poor letter formation

  • use adapted paper with dark lines, only middle 2 lines, drop space paper-- whatever works, just try it!
  • graph paper underlays: take your regular writing paper, darken every other with a marker, and put blank paper on top (clip, tape to desk or clipboard) to accentuate bottom lines and t doesn't look any different
  • for younger kids, keep alphabet on wall in reach where students can trace
  • Handwriting without tears is a great program , cursive or print
poor spacing
  • use dark graph paper under regular to practice spacing, use other adapted paper
  • for younger students: make a 'Spaceman' (decorate as an activity) use a tongue depressor to help learn spacing and also anchors the paper too- just a little more fun and visual reminder than just using finger
erases often

or presses too hard

  • try variety of pens, mechanical pencils, fine point, pens with no erasers
  • encourage structured error fixing (ie: do 2, then fix, gradually increase)
  • try writing on softer surface (extra paper, notebook)
awkard grip

or "hooked hand"

  • try variety of pencils and grips - IF THE GRIP IS DIFFERENT BUT WORKS AND IS EFFCIENT (SEE PICTURES)-LEAVE IT ALONE! (see graphics)
  • write on slantboard or notebook to increase wrist extension and visibility
  • use rubber band on wrist and hook it on end of pencil to pull down ( in a supervised setting!)

Some low tech ideas to help with attention and organization skills: back to top

If you see : Try this:

 

 

Fidgeting,

poor posture,

attention issues

  • first check chair/desk size, position in classroom, lighting. Backs to window provides a more natural light, sitting at a table , or on a stool are good options
  • encourage 90-90-90: knees over feet, shoulders over hips, some programs call it "stacking your blocks"
  • have "freeze" moments to make kids aware of their positions
  • allow different positions depending on the activity: if it doesn't impact performance, allow a fidgeter to sit 'pretzel style' in the seat, wrap feet around chair legs, or swing/tap feet (without noise) if it helps,
  • let kids lay on floor to do work if possible- it increases arm stimulation and strength and provides trunk support
  • try dicem (or non-skid rug material) on chair to decrease sliding, also seat cushoins that provide slight movement help increase focus ( see picture)
  • allow for fidget toys if possible: no person is made to stay completly still! allow a student to fiddle with small object like eraser in one hand if it helps
  • completely against school rules- GUM! it is actually good oral stimulation, along with sour candies and may help some children attend

Poor organization skills

  • use adapted paper, graph paper underlays
  • try graphic organizers to write, such as Inspiration or Smartdraw
  • color code class materials and folders
  • the more structure the better!

Low tech ideas to help increase visual percpetual skills: back to top

If you see : Try this:

poor visual scanning

  • grade activities from near point skills, to further - have fill in the blank notes, them provide a set to copy on desk , then later have student copy from board
  • provide visual anchors on desk, paper: ex- colered line on desk, dark line on paper, or put work on colored paper so there is a colored edge all around . purpose is to give a visual cue that you've 'gone too far'
  • writing an angle/binder may help increase visual field
  • try high contrast settings on word processor to decrease harshness of screen
  • try colored keys caps, large letters to increase familiarity
  • higher tech options as a later resort include modifying keyboards to ABC order
  • increase skills with the "I Spy" game
  • try an erasable highlighter ( available in the whiteout section of Staples) to highlight in school owned textbooks

Poor visual closure

  • use different colors to see visual differences in strokes
  • any multisensory method to reinforce awareness of closure- tracing, sky writing, rhymes, highlighting
poor figure ground
  • have minimal distractions on board and desk
  • to practice & increase skills, ask student to retrieve objects for you ex:" get me the scissors on the top shelf by the games " and gradually get less specific with directions
  • see also high contrast settiings for computers, or black on white key caps
  • try an erasable highlighter ( available in the whiteout section of Staples) to highlight in school owned textbooks
poor copying skills
  • check seating position and location first, inquire on vision status ( many kids have glasses but don't wear them)
  • remember to take into consideration if students are unable to read cursive
  • provide copy of notes to highlight as given, require that something has to be written or students can loose interest
  • grade activities from near point skills, to further - have fill in the blank notes, them provide a set to copy on desk , then later have student copy from board
  • try writing on softer surface (extra paper, notebook) or on an angle