There is no denying the fact that several children and adults suffer from cognitive, physical, or sensory problems. Many studies and research are frequently conducted by experts in the field of medical science. They aim to improve their living conditions by providing them with better care, training, and treatment.
Occupational Therapy (OT), for instance, is the health care branch that aims to address the problems of such people and enable them to live a more independent life. The emotional, mental, and social needs of differently-abled children are taken care of by trained occupational therapists.
They help children deal with those barriers which affect them. The ultimate aim of an occupational therapist at home is to help autistic children achieve the highest functionality in their day-to-day life. When devising activities for children, the occupational therapist must use his creative ideas to make them more effective.
The type of activities that normal children would enjoy might not always work for children with special needs. Therefore, while developing an activity, the underlying issues that the child face must be considered and steps need to be taken to address them. At the same time, these activities must create excitement in the children and make them glued to them throughout while being carried out. Here listed are five amazing OT activities.
Create a Sensory Bin
A plethora of diverse skills can be developed in children with special needs by creating a sensory bin and letting them explore it. Children’s tactile experiences are explored through the sensory bin activity. To make the sensory bin, all you need to do is to get a plastic container first, and then you will need to put a few household items into it. The items you can place in the bin include raw rice, raw beans, coins, popcorn, tissue paper, cotton balls, and more.
Once the bin is ready, ask the students to feel the items in the container and tell you the differences. Make sure that you keep a close watch on the sensory preferences of your children when conducting this activity and take note of it for your future references. Sometimes, the children may get overwhelmed when this activity is conducted. Make sure to stay with them and don’t lose attention.
Try Simon Says
There is probably no one out there who doesn’t know about the classic game Simon says. This game has immense scope to be played among special children, especially those with sensory, cognitive, and physical disabilities
As a result, Try Simon can be incorporated into in home occupational therapy. While playing the game, incorporate several activities which will allow children to become conscious about their body, memory, and more.
Oral motor issues are the major concern among children who suffer from problems with sensory processing. They will experience difficulty in coordinating mouth movements or differentiating the textures. By way of conducting a straw race, this area of the sensory region can be desensitized.
In order to conduct this activity effectively, you first need to get a plastic container and get it filled up with fresh water. After that, put a couple of lightweight objects in the water and ask the children to steer the objects by blowing through a straw at them. The child that moves the object faster and longer will win the game.
Design an Emotional Thermometer
One of the main challenges while dealing with children with autism is that it is hard to identify their emotions. Without any sign or warning, they may become over-frustrated or over-excited this is because they experience trouble in keeping track of their emotions.
Setting up an emotional thermometer and helping them use it is an engaging activity for them. It is also a good way for occupational therapists to keep watch of the emotional variations of those children. This method is considered to be one of the most effective occupational therapy activities for adults.
To make the thermometer, take a piece of paper and cut it into a cylindrical shape. Draw four columns on it and color each one differently. Dedicate each column to write an emotion – ranging from completely calm to ending with completely agitated or frustrated. Introducing this meter to the children a few times will help them get familiar with each emotion and associate separate colors for each emotion.
Swing for Targeting
Children like swings very much. Make a swing using a bed sheet or any other long cloth and let the child lay on their stomach in it. Get a few plastic containers and put them on the floor, around the swing. After that, provide the child with a few plastic or paper balls and ask them to place each ball in each container.
This activity is one of the most effective occupation activities for preschoolers as it helps them develop a variety of skills such as coordination skills, body awareness, muscle strength, and visual formation skills. Occupational therapy sessions need to be extremely engaging and interesting to the children. Before developing occupation activities for preschoolers, one must try to understand the special needs of the children and come up with a plan accordingly.