Monday, March 17, 2014

Vibrating Stringing Activity

I have been thinking about how to make a stringing activity that vibrates for a long time because the sound and vibrating sensation can be very motivating. It makes an ordinary activity exciting!

I cut that long white cord from a shampoo bottle, cutting it in a spiral direction, round and round. I attached a children's electric toothbrush to the top of the plastic cord by cutting a hole in the cord and jamming the head of the toothbrush into it. Then I covered it with duct tape. I cut the donut shapes to string out of detergent bottles and made them very small so that the person would have to push and manipulate with effort to get it over the motor. I had a particular person in mind who needs resistive activities with push and pull. The man in the photo is actually a different person who has hemiplegia, I would have preferred if the shapes fit on easily, but he was quite persistent and didn't mind putting effort into it.
Notice that I attached a little Velcro to the bottom, creating a loop so that the shapes dond't fall off while the person is stringing. When finished its easy to open the velcro to remove the donut shapes...

People often joke about me when I adapt activities to vibrate, but in the end-- these sensory activities work great and are well worth it!!!  

Friday, March 14, 2014

Glitter Bottles

I've seen some beautiful bottles filled with water, glitter and glitter glue on-line recently had to give it a try. I found it difficult to get good photos, but did my best. They have been recommended to use is visual timers. When the glitter falls to the bottle the time is up.
I see many uses for these with children and adults during therapy. First of all they can be heavy if you use larger bottles. So the person will be working on strengthening and bilateral hand use as they lift them up to shake or turn over.

The provide lovely visual stimulation for people with profound developmental delays or dementia. They are simply fun to watch. I put some plastic toys inside the larger bottle to see if they would float around.  The did sink but not as quickly so its fun to watch them go down after the glitter settles.
They can be used as part of an exercise program, simply moving them from one location to another or stacking them onto a cart to push.

I added the bells to the smaller bottle to encourage turning the head to see the bottle. I can envision incorporating them into various games that involve turn taking, naming colors, passing the bottles or seeing who can wait for the glitter to settle before speaking....

 You can also wrap them up in tape or rubber bands so that the person works on manipulation skills while removing the coverings. The bottle and glitter provides a natural reward after using the hands!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Suspending Sensory Items

I am lucky to be working with someone who also enjoys making activities for the clients and better at carpentry than I am.

Program coordinator Jeff Baehrend at Shore Educational Collaborative made a frame that clamps onto the wheelchair. He attached the cord to the 2 pcv pipes and then attached a sock filled with a supermarket bag and cat toy that makes sounds when hit.  

I plan on making a variety of objects that feel and sound good when the individual swats at them.

The close up of the clamp shows a bit of how he attached the pcv pipe. There is a hole in the clamp where the pipe meets it. He attached a bolt to the bottom  of the pipe and then attached it to the clamp with a nut.

I am hoping that he will make more in various lengths so that the clients can use it as a ring stack while either sitting or standing. I plan on making some rings made out of socks with a bit of sand and foam inside.

They will have to use both hands and a bit of force to push them down. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Adapted Hanger



A young man I work with  appears to want to hang his jacket up with the other clients but he does not have the motor planning skills to attach a jacket to a small hook on the wall or use a hanger. I noticed that  in another program room, the manager had these attractive hooks attached to the wall that are easier to use.   The client can push the jacket's collar or a hood on top of the loops (shown in the photo). He bought them at Ikea.

(Please excuse the fact that this blog does not let me rotate the pictures.)

Below is my attempt to see if my client can attach his jacket using a bottle that has a nice wide opening to push the jacket collar onto. Fortunately the coat wrack is located in a little nook where few people will see my weird adaptation. I still had to use hand-over-hand training so that he grasps the collar with both hands, but there are very few steps involved in positioning and then pushing the collar downward. It stayed quite securely.

I made this adaptation by cutting below the bottle's handle so that I could slip the handle over the bar in the closet. Then I wrapped a fabric strand around the handle and bottle to hold it more securely in place.

I think that one major hurtle in teaching someone to hang up a jacket is that they so easily slip off and fall to the ground. I think that this adaptation may  solve that problem.