Memorial Day Sensory Activities

Memorial Day is an American holiday observed to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. Military. It originated following the Civil War and became an official holiday in 1971.

Memorial Day is also an opportunity to work on fun Memorial Day activities. Children and adults with special needs lean best when using a multi-sensory approach. This helps to stimulate learning and engage individuals on various levels of learning.

The activities and lessons that I have chosen focus on visual and tactile stimulation and includes both math and reading activities. The craft activities work to improve fine motor skills.

 

American flag on a pencil craft- Printable templates

Craft stick flag– U.S. flag made from craft sticks

Free Memorial Day packs- packets includes clip cards, word problems, fill in and missing numbers

Patriotic Pinwheel– Craft easy to make pinwheel

USA Wreath– Simple red, white and blue wreath made out of construction paper.

 

 

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Day Habilitation May Activities

May Observances, Celebrations, Events and Holidays To Use As Ideas For Your Day Habilitation Program.

You can download the PDF format here: May Day Habilitation Activities

Williams Syndrome and Teaching Strategies

Williams Syndrome also known as Williams-Beuren syndrome was discovered in 1961 by J.C.P. Williams, a Cardiologist from New Zealand. Williams Syndrome is a rare disorder with a prevalence of in 7,500 to 20,000 caused by the deletion of genetic material from chromosome 7. Williams syndrome symptoms include heart problems, low birth weight, l problems and developmental delays. 75 are diagnosed with mile to moderate intellectual disabilities or a learning disability.

Physical characteristics include:

Musculoskeletal

Almond shape eyes

Broad forehead

long neck

Longer upper lip

Puffiness around the eyes

sloping shoulders

Small chin

Small upturned nose

Wide mouth

Learning Characteristics

  • ADHD
  • Enjoys music
  • Developmental delay
  • Excellent long-term memory
  • Learning disability
  • Poor fine motor skills
  • Seizures
  • Tactile defensiveness

Teaching Strategies

Students with Mild intellectual disabilities will have difficulty with abstract thinking, executive functioning including planning, prioritizing, and cognitive flexibility. According to the Williams Syndrome Association Website, Children with Williams Syndrome face challenges with processing non-verbal information and displays difficulty with attention to detail.

Strategies should include:

  • Using short sentences
  • Repeat directions
  • Break task into small steps
  • Use concrete examples when introducing new words or concepts.
  • Teach one concept at a time
  • Use a multisensory approach which will help to stimulate learning
  • Utilize visual learning style including the use of flash cars, pictures, images, handouts and colors.

Reference

Williams Syndrome Association

Resources For Teaching Sequencing Skills

Sequence is defined as a set of related events, movements, or things that follow each other in a particular order. For many children and adults with developmental delays and disabilities, the ability to arrange thoughts, information and language may be a challenge due to issues with their executive function capabilities. The following resources, tips and strategies will help you teach sequencing skills.

How to teach sequencing skills at home

How to teach sequencing skills to children

How to teach sequencing to preschool children

Sequencing activities for students with autism

Sequencing skills teaching strategies 

Story sequence strategies

Strategies for teaching your child sequencing skills

Teaching sequencing skills

The importance of sequencing skills in a child’s development

Tips to teach sequencing skills in children

Teaching Strategies for Dyslexic Students

Dyslexia is the most common learning disability. It is defined as language-based learning disability. Research shows that 1 in 5 people are dyslexic. It is a myth that people with dyslexia see words backwards, rather, letters such as b-d are reversed due tp deficits interpreting left and right. The best way for children to learn to read is through a multi-sensory approach. The following links include tips, strategies and ways to accommodate a student with dyslexia.

12 tips to help kids with dyslexia learn sight words

A dyslexic child in the classroom

Accommodating students with dyslexia in a classroom setting

Dyslexia in the classroom: What every teacher needs to know

Helping your student with dyslexia learn to read

How teachers can accommodate the dyslexic student

Strategies for teachers

Teaching students with dyslexia: 4 effective lesson plans

Free Lesson Plans That Teach Money Skills

Money skills teaches more than identifying coins and bills. Teaching children with disabilities also helps to strengthen fine motor skills, task initiation, and sequencing skills.

The following websites provide activities and lesson plans which are free to download on a variety of activities:

Education World- A money math match activity where students will learn that different combinations of coins can represent the same amount of money.

Money Instructor– Free lesson plans on basic money skills including counting money, money math, vocabulary, coloring, handwriting, tracing activities and money games.

Practical Money Skills– A website designed to teach money skills including special needs children and adults. Includes lesson plans on making decisions, shopping, banking services and understanding credit. The website includes a teacher’s guide, student activities and PowerPoint presentations.

The Teachers Corner– A generated money worksheet. The worksheets allow you to choose from different currencies.

United States Currency Education Program– Offers a wide range of free education and training resources including money coloring sheets and printable play money

United States Mint-Produces circulating coinage in the United States. This webpage includes lessons for grades K-12 with lessons on each of the coins which are free to download.

Shopping Center Teaching Activities For Children and Adults With Special Needs

Shopping Centers (or malls as we call them in North America) provide a great way for customers to walk from one store to another without the hassles of having to leave one store in order to go into another. Through the years, Shopping centers  have added on movie theatres, arcades, and food eateries. This has led to a variety of ways of teaching children and adults with disabilities a number of skills.

 

Money Management.

Increasing money skills can be used in almost all areas of a shopping mall. Opportunities include stores such as banking, clothing , restaurants, etc. examples of items to teach include:

  • Will identify coins
  • Will identify money
  • Will count change
  • Will create a budget
  • will fill out deposit slip
  • Will fill out a withdrawal slip
  • Will use an ATM
Sensory

A shopping center provides a low-cost and effective way of arousing more of  more of the five senses (hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch). Yankee Candle offers candles with a variety of fragrances including apple pumpkin, apple spice, beachwood, black cherry, etc.  Bath and Body Works also provides samples for both olfactory (smell) and touch. Samples of fragrances include lotions, cream, massage oils and fragrance mist. Window shopping is an additional opportunity to enhance visual cues with teaching a number of basic skills.  Other places include day spas, massage chairs and nail salons. Examples of sensory teaching activities include:

Window Shopping (Visual)
  • Will describe the color of the outfits
  • Will identify which items cost the most
  • Will describe how many of the outfits are the same, different
  • Will describe the various shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangular)
  • Will count the number of items in the window
Olfactory (Smell)
  • Will identify a good smell
  • Will identify a bad smell
  • Will identify the smell (i.e. smells like apples)
Tactile (Touch)
  • Will identify the object
  • Will tolerate hand massage
  • Will touch the object
  • Will describe the shape of the object

***  Be mindful some children and adults may have sensory processing issues and can be oversensitive to sights, textures, flavors and smells.

Social Skills

Teaching social skills involves communication, decision-making, self-management and relationship building. Locations in a shopping center to develop these skills includes, eatery and restaurants, banks, department stores and movie theatres. Samples of teaching social skills includes:

  • Will greet the store associate
  • Will say thank you
  • When promoted, will ask for help
  • Will wait patiently
  • Will make eye contact
  • Will use appropriately voice tone
Teaching Prompts

A few guidelines in teaching new skills:

  • Teach a new skill at least 2-3 times. The shopping center allows multiple opportunities to work on a number of skills including money management, and social skills.
  • Allow the person to think for themselves use prompt levels to help navigate levels of independence: Independent, verbal, gestural and physical.
  • Allow for real choice-making. Choice is more realistic when it involves at least 3 items or more. Choosing a new outfit or an item from a menu are perfect examples.
  • Always remember to praise!

 

 

4 Tips On Task Initiation For Children and Adults

Task Initiation is often a challenge for children and adults with an executive functioning disorder. For a child, it may be lack of initiative in doing homework while for an adult, it may include forgetting or putting off paying bills. Children and adults with task initiation issues generally have a diagnosis of autism, ADHD, Intellectual disability or a learning disorder.

Signs of a task initiation impaired executive functioning skill would be someone having difficulty in getting started on a task and keeping the effort needed in order to complete the task. A child or an adult require external cues in order to complete the task. Also, it will require understanding what is expected and understanding the task. Here are a few strategies:

  1. Limit Distractions. In the classroom any type of added sensory input can defer the student from getting started in their school work.
  2. Create a List. Visual support will help to increase getting the work done for a school-age child, you may want to create a to-do list which the steps are broken down into smaller steps. When a person with an executive function is given a task, it may be overwhelming, making it more difficult to get started.
  3. Use Cues. A clock or a timer will help the child or adult stay on time and understanding the amount of time it will take to complete a task
  4. Break task down. Create where the work is done in chunks so that the work will not be as overwhelming for the student.

Free Asthma and Allergy Training Modules

Before Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month ends, I wanted to post links to free training modules on asthma and allergy. Below you will find a few that are all self-study which you can review on your own time. I included one for teachers and parents that focus on created a lesson plan for children which would be great for child with and without asthma and allergy issues.

Asthma and Nutrition Training Module– Developed by the University of Florida Pediatric Pulmonary Center, this course provides participants information on asthma and nutrition that may be used in assessing and counseling clients. This is a self-study module in a PowerPoint format with audio capture.

Asthma on Wheels Teacher Training Module– Created through the Mecklenburg County Health Department Asthma Education Program. This teacher training module provides a lesson plan to students with discussions of asthma and learning activities and list ways to educate students about asthma being a controllable condition in which students can live actively healthy lives.

Asthma Program- Indiana State Department of Health– Website includes information and resources for healthcare providers including a printable asthma medication poster and an asthma guideline implementation steps and tools.

Continuing Education for Healthcare Professionals– A free online course presented by Cross County University. This course focuses on information on assessment and monitoring, control of environmental factors, medicine management and patient education.

Food Allergy School Staff Training Module– A 30 minute module is designed to assist the school nurse in staff training and increase food allergy awareness for all staff including teachers, administration, aides, specialist and coaches.

Social Skills Resources for Parents and Special Education Teachers

For some autistic children, social situations can be overwhelming and cause a great amount of anxiety. One of the characteristics of having an autism spectrum disorder is social interaction. Dr. Lorna Wing described social interaction as:

  1. not paying attention to others
  2. being aloof, distant and uninterested
  3. being alone and withdrawal
  4. difficulty in making and sustaining relationships
  5. a lack of social skills

social-skills

Social skills vary from conversation to friendship skills. The following links provides social skills resources on a variety of topics:

5 tips for running a social skills group ages 7-11. This site provides tips on increasing social skills via working in a group.

12 activities to help your child with social skills. This article by the Friendship Circle describes 12 ways to help improve social skills

101 ways to teach children social skills. Written by Lawrence Shapiro, this ready-to-use reproducible activity book (pdf) contains information on communication, being part of a group, caring about yourself, and problem solving.

Building social skills through activities. Danny Pettry created an e-book that focuses on various activities that will increase social skills for children.

Kind words sensory lesson friendship activity. This article includes information on why kind word are important through sensory play.

More tools for teaching social skills in school. Examples of role-plays, worksheets and student behavior.

Social skills activities. Free printable activity sheets on developing and practicing social skills.

Social skills lesson activities. Developed by special educator Angela Cardenos, this website includes various lessons on social skills and friendship

Social skills lessons on friends. A lesson plan and activity on identifying the qualities of a friend and naming behaviors that a friend may exhibit.

Social Skills Worksheets. This site includes printables for social skills designed to develop appropriate social skills.