Luke was only able to go twice a month instead of weekly, but we saw improvement nonetheless. His handwriting is better and he had a blast working on throwing and catching, climbing and crashing. All the toys and activities are an active kid’s paradise.
Ms. Janet, Luke’s wonderful [former] OT, gave me tools to create calm. If only I had known such tools and activities existed, I would have asked in the beginning! Here are the activities she suggested we try:
1. Brushing: Sounds crazy, I know, but you can actually brush your child and it helps to calm them. Here are a couple photos of the special brush she gave us, it’s actually a surgeons scrub brush. You make long, firm strokes down the tops of their arms and legs, palms, and feet to instill calm and alertness. Luke loves this! On the way home from therapy in the car, he asked me to brush him. We tried it before bed that night. He told me I wasn’t doing it quite right. I felt a bit unsure about how much pressure to add (the instructions say 80% of your force).
3. Proprioceptive Input: Some children need more proprioceptive input to feel grounded in space. Someone who seeks this input might: not be able to keep their hands to themselves, enjoy crashing into things (this is Luke’s favorite part of therapy), bite fingernails (definitely Luke), or enjoy aggressive play. The best way to engage your child’s proprioceptors is to engage in resistive, heavy work activities. Here are some examples:
- carry heavy items (groceries, box of books, laundry basket, etc)
- chew gum, eat crunchy foods
- push/pull full boxes across floor
- let them crash onto a pile of pillows
- yard work like raking leaves, pushing the wheelbarrow, shoveling
- climbing activities at the playground
- jump on a mini trampoline
- jumping games
- tug of war
- wrap child tightly in blanket
- pile pillows on child’s body to add heaviness