Does Your Child Get Angry, Upset or Easily Distracted? how to Recognise Sensory Processing Difficulties

What is sensory processing?

Sensory processing is the ability to interpret information through our sensory systems.  Difficulties with sensory processing can greatly impact upon a child’s attention and behaviour.  Despite what is commonly referenced, we actually have 7 sensory systems:

  • Tactile
  • Auditory
  • Visual
  • Taste
  • Smell
  • Vestibular (how we are moving)
  • Proprioceptive (how our body is positioned)

cheerful child with painted hands on white background

For each of the sensory systems we have an individual sensory threshold which is the limit for the amount of sensory input that we can tolerate.

Sensory sensitivity occurs when normal sensory input levels exceed a child’s threshold.  Many children in this category become easily overwhelmed or avoid sensory activities.  When they are exposed to sensory input that is beyond what they can tolerate a fight/flight/fright stress response can be triggered.

Conversely, sensory under-registration occurs when a child needs greater than normal levels of input to register.  Many children in this category tend to actively seek out additional sensory input.  If there is a mismatch between our sensory preferences and the environment performance can become unpredictable.

In the diagram below.  The green area shows the optimal range for a person with typical auditory processing.  The purple box shows the optimal range of a person with sensory sensitivity- noises that would typically be tolerable can elicit a stress response.

 sensory processing

 Signs your child might experience a sensory processing difficulty:

  • Cover their ears or become upset/agitate in response to loud noise
  • Become easily distracted/overwhelmed in busy environments
  • Avoid messy play
  • Hesitant to try new foods/very restricted diet
  • Bothered by clothing fabrics, seams in socks or wearing long sleeves
  • Dislike grooming tasks such as having hair brushed, washed or cut
  • Bump into or trip over things
  • Constantly moving/can’t sit still
  • Cautious on playground equipment
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Tantrums/ meltdowns
  • Poor attention

Many children can display these behaviours at one stage or another, however if sensory difficulties are interrupting their daily routines or disrupting learning, then intervention from an Occupational Therapist can be helpful.

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-Kate Kleinau, Occupational Therapist


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Preparing for the NDIS

With the roll out of the NDIS reaching Brisbane in July this year we thought we would re-run our post about how you can start to prepare for the NDIS.

What is the NDIS?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a new way of providing disability support.  It provides people with a permanent and significant disability, access to support to help them take part in everyday activities and to achieve their individual goals and aspirations.

ndis

What type of support can my child receive under the NDIS?

Supports must be deemed to be ‘reasonable and necessary’ and must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Help my child reach their goals and aspirations
  • Develop my child’s capacity to actively take part in the community
  • Foster greater independence for my child
  • Increase my child’s social participation
  • Represent value for money
  • Supports can assist your child with areas such as learning, daily living, accommodation, equipment/assistive technology, health, transport and hobbies.

What is the NDIA?

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is an independent statutory agency whose role it is to implement the NDIS.

When does the NDIS start?

The NDIS is being progressively rolled out across Queensland.  On the 1st July 2017 the NDIS became available in Ipswich and the roll out will reach Brisbane in July 2018.

Is my child eligible for the NDIS?

Your child may meet the early intervention requirements if:

  • your child is aged 6 and under and has a developmental delay which results in difficulties in one or more of the areas of self-care, receptive and expressive language, cognitive development or motor development.
  • your child has a disability that is likely to be permanent or early supports would reduce how much help your child needs to do things in the future.

If your child is over 7 years of age they may be eligible to receive an individual support plan if:

  • your child is an Australian citizen, a permanent resident, or New Zealand citizen who is a Protected Special Category Visa holder
  • your child has a permanent or significant disability that requires help from others to do things or requires the use of equipment or assistive technology.

Please refer to the NDIS access checklist to see if your child is eligible for the NDIS:  https://www.ndis.gov.au/ndis-access-checklist.  The NDIA can be contacted on 1800 800 110 to start the process and schedule a planning meeting.

If you currently receive disability services you will be contacted by the National Disability Insurance Agency before your area transitions.

What happens next?

The NDIS planning workbook is a helpful resource that can guide you through the 5 steps involved in developing a plan for your child: https://www.everyaustraliancounts.com.au/wp-content/uploads/NDIS-Planning-Workbook.pdf

  • Step 1 – Think about your needs and goals. Prior to your planning meeting it can be helpful to think about your child’s needs and goals.
  • Step 2 – Meet with your personal planner. It can be helpful to take your NDIS planning workbook with you to the planning meeting.  You can choose to have family, carers and friends accompany you to the meeting and assist in the decision-making process.  Your planner will assist you to develop a set of action steps to work towards achieving your goals.
  • Step 3 – Develop your plan and consider how to manage your supports. Based on the information gathered during the planning meeting your planner will determine which supports will best meet your needs.  You can choose to:
    • Manage your funding yourself
    • Nominate another person to manage your funding
    • Use a registered plan management provides
    • Ask the NDIS to manage your funding for you
  • Step 4 – Implement your plan. Following the planning meeting you will be sent a copy of your plan
  • Step 5 – Review your plan. You will review your plan with the NIDA at agreed review dates (approximately every 12 months). If your circumstances change, you can request a review at any time.

For more information please visit the NDIS website: www.ndis.gov.au

Upcoming events and information sessions can be found on the NDIS events calendar: https://www.communities.qld.gov.au/gateway/reform-renewal/disability-services/national-disability-insurance-scheme-queensland/ndis-events-calendarkate headshot

-Kate Kleinau, Occupational Therapist

Please feel free to ask questions or give me your feedback.

 

Learning Disorders – Helping Aussie Kids

“Mum, I don’t want to go to school. I can’t read and everyone else already can. I feel stupid”screamed Ricky, throwing himself on his bed in tears. Unbeknown to Ricky and his Mum, he had an undiagnosed learning disorder.

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School can be particularly hard for kids with a diagnosis of a “Specific Learning Disorder” (SLD). These kids have had the same opportunity to learn as their friends and have received similar support from their teachers, but still can’t acquire academic skills as fast as their peers. In fact, they are likely to be “well below average” compared to their class mates in one (or more) of the following areas:

1. Reading
2. Writing
3. Maths

Despite this, these kids usually have average intelligence and individual strengths. One boy I know had a SLD in writing but had still self-published a novel by the age of 9. Another 8 year old girl with a reading disorder had a special talent for sport and maths. Nevertheless, both of these kids needed support in school to keep up with their classmates so that they could reach their full potential.

Learning disorders are widely misunderstood, with some claiming that they do not exist. Others blame learning difficulties on a poor diet, ineffective teaching, bad parenting or plain lazy kids. This article aims to dispel the myths and clarify what learning disorders are.

How do I know if my child has a learning disorder?

The process of learning a school-based task (like reading) requires explicit instruction from teachers or parents. As a result, teachers are often the first to notice if a child is not picking up things in the classroom in the same way as others. If learning problems persist for more than 6 months, testing can be conducted by a psychologist to assess your child’s intelligence (IQ) and academic achievement. If there is a big difference between IQ and academic skills, then a specific learning disorder can be diagnosed.

Should I just wait and see as they might just catch up?

Research indicates that early intervention is the best, so if a problem is suspected, it is best to investigate it straight away so that your child can be supported in a way that will best support their learning. The brain is more malleable when kids are young, with new connections forming every minute of every day (known as “brain plasticity”), so it’s a perfect time to start interventions. As your child proceeds through school, each lesson is a building block for the next lesson. Therefore, it’s important to get the foundations right as doing so will make the rest of their schooling much easier for them. Just as it’s important to lay good foundations when building a house, it’s also important for foundational learning to be mastered before moving on to more complex learning tasks.

If my child has a diagnosis of a specific learning disorder, what support will my child be able to get at school?

With a diagnosis, your school will be able to adapt learning to best suit the needs of your child. The strategies that your psychologist recommends will be determined by your child’s individual learning profile. For example, some kids benefit from one on one instruction in classes, small group support, scribes, extra time, quieter working spaces, computer or iPad support, multi sensory learning (MSL), speech pathology interventions, occupational therapy, and so on. Importantly, psychological test results will also identify your child’s strengths. Parents and teachers can support the development of their child’s strengths by providing opportunities for them to practice and demonstrate their knowledge and ability. Doing so can help to bolster self-esteem, which can sometimes be negatively affected if kids start thinking they are dumb.

What support can my child access outside of school? 

Tutoring

With an appropriate and qualified provider, this is an excellent form of outside support for students with a SLD who:

  • are slightly behind in a specific area
  • have had time away from school
  • have come from a different learning background
  • do not have consistent support at home to complete their homework and assignment tasks
  • lack confidence in learning
  • have an interest in a particular area such as a second language, technology or drama

Deliberate Success

Very often when a child has been diagnosed with a learning difficulty their sense of academic self-esteem has been knocked around – they often do not feel that they are good at anything, they do not feel that they are making progress in learning and quite frequently, they do not want to go to school. For these children it is essential to find a strength or interest so that deliberate measures can be made for them to succeed.  A recent example of this occurred when a young girl who was diagnosed with attention control difficulties and dyslexia commenced circus training in out-of-school time. This gave her the chance to burn energy and gave her the satisfaction of success and enjoyment of doing something that she was good at. Her teacher also gave her the opportunity to share this success with her class.

Positive family routines

  1. Read, Read, Read!

  • Support your child to always have a book to read and the next one planned
  • Don’t just read the book … discuss the pictures, ask what they expect will happen next, spend some time helping kids to understand unfamiliar words, check that they understand the story (comprehension) by asking questions
  • Join the council library and make regular visits
  • Let your children see you reading
  • Share your favourite books from childhood
  • Listen to your child read aloud all through primary school
  • Make sure that your child reads a variety of books – fiction and non-fiction
  • Share interesting articles from the internet, newspapers and magazines
  • Play word games and do puzzles
  1. Homework- some but not too much!

  • Supporting your child to do a small amount of homework each day will not only strengthen their ability to develop their own routines, it will lead to better learning outcomes. The child who does a small amount of reading and homework each day will make better progress than the child who does it all in one long sitting.
  • Take some time to plan the week with your child so that they are aware of what days and times of their commitments and when they will have some down time.
  • Try to make homework fun. For example, read while sitting on a picnic rug, practice writing in sand or on a white board, play snap or scrabble together as a family.
  • Make sure that homework is balanced with plenty of unstructured, outdoors play. Rest, recreation and sleep are essential for brain development.

Amy-Kelly

-Dr Amy Kelly, Child Psychologist, Whole Heart Psychology.

http://www.wholeheartpsychology.com.au/


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Is my child ready to start toilet training?

Occupational Therapists regularly assist with helping children to become independent in managing their self-care tasks.  Toilet training and making the transition from nappies to using the toilet can be challenging for many children.

toilet training

How do I know my child is ready?

The following behaviours are good indicators that your child is ready to commence toileting training:

  • Stays dry at least 2 hours at a time during the day or is dry after naps
  • Bowel movements become regular and predictable
  • Follows simple instructions
  • Undresses themselves independently
  • Shows discomfort or takes off dirty nappies
  • Is comfortable sitting on the toilet

Once your child is showing the above signs you are ready to start teaching them about the process of going to the toilet.

Top 5 strategies to assist with toilet training:

  • Trace an outline around your child’s body on butcher’s paper. Outline on the diagram what happens in our digestive system, all the way from eating food to it being turned into wees and poos.
  • Use dolls and a doll’s house to role play the process of going to the toilet.
  • Make a homemade story book that includes your child’s favourite fictional character and how they learned to use the toilet.
  • Tom’s Toileting Triumph is short cartoon animation on the ‘Are You Ready’ DVD. It clearly explains the toileting process and how to recognise the sings that they need to go to the toilet. https://service.sa.gov.au/health/1195-are-you-ready-an-animated-toilet-training-resource-dvd.html
  • Incentive systems are really important. Use a sticker chart to reward small steps and work towards a larger prize.kate headshot

-Kate Kleinau, Occupational Therapist


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Developing Letter Formation for Handwriting: 5 Fun Ways to Practise Letters 

Handwriting is a very complex task with many different parts of the brain required to work simultaneously.

Establishing consistent letter formation is the first step towards developing automated writing.  Once children have achieved this they are then able to dedicate more cognitive energy towards other elements of writing tasks such as spelling, sentence structure, content and page layout.

Children are deemed to have achieved automated writing when they can write the alphabet in less than 60 seconds.

It is helpful to practice letters in groups based on similar formation:

Bounce letters: b h k n m r p: These letters all start in the same fashion.  They start at the top, go down and then bounce up when they get to the bottom.

Magic C letters: a c e d g q oThese letters all start with a ‘c’ shape, with the exception of the letter ‘e’ which finishes with a ‘c’ shape.

Slider letters: f i j l s t x z: These letters start at the top and slide in a downwards direction.

Cup letters: u v w y: In the Queensland Script, each of these letters begin with a ‘cup’ shape.

Reinforcement of the formation of letters can be done without having to pick up a pencil! Children are much more likely to engage in the task and practice more frequently if learning letter formations is approached through a play-based manner.

5 Fun ways to practise letters: 

  1. Write with their finger in a tray of Hundreds & Thousands or sand.
  2. Make the letters out of Wiki Sticks or pipe cleaners and then trace over with their finger.
  3. Use stamps to go around letter tracks.
  4. Drive a toy car through letter tracks.
  5. Embrace technology! Handwriting apps such as Red Writing and Letter School can be highly motivating. Red Writing even has the Qld Beginner Font.

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-Kate Kleinau, Occupational Therapist

 

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Please feel free to ask questions or give me your feedback.  I am always more than happy to answer any emails personally.


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8 Simple Activities That Provide Body Awareness Input

Proprioception (also known as body awareness) is one of the body’s internal senses and allows us to feel where we are positioned in space.  We use our body awareness for activities such as:

  • Swimming
  • Sports
  • Gymnastics
  • Riding a bike
  • Sitting still

Proprioceptive receptors are located in the joints, muscles, and tendons of the body, including the jaw and spine.  These receptors are activated by activities that place the muscles under strain, provide compression through the joints or deep pressure touch.

Children who have difficulty processing proprioceptive input can often appear clumsy.  They also have a tendency to compensate by seeking out addition touch and movement input which can affect attention levels.  Incorporating appropriate ways of gaining body awareness input throughout the day can assist kids to reach and maintain a calm and alert state.

Deep Pressure:

  1. Hot Dogs
  • Roll your child up in a blanket, pretending that they are the sausage and the blanket is the bread.
  • Provide deep pressure massage down their body as you pretend to apply the sauces.
  1. Sandwich
  • Turn your child into a sandwich, pretending that they are the fillings and the cushions are the bread.
  • Ask your child to lie on a cushion or mattress and add another on top.
  • Apply deep pressure as you squeeze them between the cushions.
  1. Pizzas
  • Ask you child to lie down on their stomach.
  • Use a large ball to roll over your child’s body as you pretend to turn them into a pizza, rolling out the dough and apply the toppings.

Joint Compression:

  1. Jump and Crash
  • Ask your child to jump on the spot 10 times and then jump onto a bean bag or mattress.
  • If space allows, you could use a small rebounder trampoline.
  1. Arrow Patterning & Jumping Game
  • Make up some simple arrow cards.
  • Place the arrows in different directions on the ground to create a pattern.
  • Ask your child to follow the arrows and jump in the different directions.

Heavy Work:

  1. Tug of War
  • Ask your child to grab hold of one end of the towel while you grab the other end.
  • Challenge them to pull as hard as they can!
  • Complete this whilst standing, sitting or kneeling as different variations.
  1. Human Wheelbarrow
  • Ask you child to kneel with their hands and feet on the ground.
  • Lift up your child’s feet and see how many steps they can take with their hands.
  1. Crab Walks
  • Ask your child to sit on their bottom with their hands and feet on the ground.
  • See if they can raise their bottom off the floor and walk across the room like a crab.

-Kate Kleinau, Occupational Therapist

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Please feel free to ask questions or give me your feedback.  I am always more than happy to answer any emails personally.

 


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Tools to Help Manage Difficult Behaviour in kids with Autism

Managing behaviours in any child can be difficult, managing behaviours with children with Autism may sometimes seem impossible.

I recently attended a course by Professor Tony Attwood and Dr Michelle Garnett from Minds and Hearts on “Challenging Behaviour in Classic Autism”. This one day course covered a range of areas that children have difficulties with, including communication, sensory processing and emotional regulation. They provided a “tool box” to help manage and reduce behaviours resulting from difficulties in these areas.

Every person has triggers that can frustrate, upset or anger the individual. We all reach a point or have a threshold where we can no longer cope. Children with Autism can often have “explosions”, where rather then letting things accumulate; they can “erupt” following exposure to a trigger and often have difficulties regulating themselves back to a settled state.

Triggers can be a range of things, including sensory stimulus (noise, smell, touch, sight), being told no, losing or being wrong, social situations, transitions, lack of routine and unexpected environment changes.

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It is important to recognise your child’s triggers. Keep a diary/monitor when behaviours occur and identify what were the events prior to/what was the environment like. We can then avoid these triggers or aim to prepare the child and minimise the outcomes.

Professor T. Attwood and Dr M. Garnett identify “tool boxes” to help avoid, minimise and regulate challenging behaviours.

Physical Tool Box
We can use physical activity to help manage anger and depression, these can be used at critical times to help self-regulation. Activities might include:

  • Physical exercise such as running, jumping on a trampoline, going for a walk
  • Sports including basketball, light weight lifting, dancing, swimming
  • Playing on a dum kit
  • Going on swings and slides

happy kid

Relaxation tool box:
Relaxation tools can be implemented daily, in aid to reduce or delay/ behaviours from occurring. Activities might include:

  • Solitude or chill out time
  • Massage or deep pressure
  • Sleep
  • Time with a pet (patting/stroking)
  • Jigsaws
  • Drawing/craft
  • Stress ball
  • Lavender oil or relaxation candles (trial different smells, each child has different preferences)
  • Listen to music or an audio tape of reassurance from a parent
  • Time in nature
  • Mindfulness/deep breathing
  • Mediation

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Sensory Tools
Many behaviours are a result of being overwhelmed to sensory stimuli. It is best to avoid or minimise exposure to these. Tools that can be used include:

  • Sound: Ear plugs, noise cancelling head phones
  • Light: Sun glasses, Irlen lenses, hat
  • Tactile: Seamless socks, being aware of the material and fit of clothing

Please feel free to contact us at the clinic to discuss how to manage complex behaviours for children with Autism. hannah lynch uniform

Hannah Lynch , Occupational Therapist


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9 Fun Activities to Develop Scissor Skills

This semester Synchrony OT has been lucky enough to be involved with the final year OT student projects through the University of Queensland.  Our students were able to put together some great activity ideas that you can use at home to develop your child’s scissor skills.

For early year’s students, cutting with scissors can make up a big part of the day.  Many classroom activities involve a cutting and pasting component.  The following activities can assist your child to develop their scissor skills to ensure that they do not fall behind during the school day.

9 Fun Activity Ideas: Download example cutting templates here

  1. Get Set Up!
    • Teach your child which one is their ‘Doing Hand’ and ‘Helper Hand’.
    • ‘Doing Hand’ holds the scissors: Thumb on top in the smaller hole, fingers on the bottom and scissors pointing forward.
    • ‘Helper Hand’ holds the paper: Thumb on top and turns the paper.
    • Use a scissor rhyme: “Fingers on the bottom, Thumb on top, Open up your hand, and Chop-chop-chop!
  2. Playdough Snakes
    • Using both hands, roll playdough into a long snake.
    • Get your child to make lots of snips down the length of the snake.
  3. Lion Paper Plate
    • Make single snips around the edge of a paper plate to make a lion mane.
    • Then assist your child to draw on a face and colour the mane.
  4. Lollipops and Flowers
    • Draw some lollipops or flowers into the middle of a page.
    • Draw a long stem on each of the lollipops or flowers.
    • Get your child to cut along each stem.
  5. Haircut Salon
    • Get your child to draw a face on the toilet roll.
    • Get your child to cut down into the length of the toilet paper roll, so as to create strands of hair.
    • Finally they can give their character a hair cut.
  6. Roger Robot
    • Print out a template or draw some shapes on a page to make up a robot using rectangles, squares and triangles.
    • Get your child to cut out the shapes and put together the robot.
  7. Collage Creations
    • Find an old pile of unwanted magazines or newspapers.
    • Choose a theme (e.g. red, sports, things that fly).
    • Get your child to cut out things they find relating to that theme.
  8. Balloon Strings
    • Draw some balloons into the middle of a page.
    • Draw a long curved string to each of the balloons.
    • Get your child to cut along each string to the balloon.
  9. Snakes and Snails
    • Find a cut-out template of a curled up snake or snail shell.
    • Get your child to cut around snake in a spiral towards the middle.

-Kate Kleinau, Occupational Therapist

kate headshot

 

Please feel free to ask questions or give me your feedback.  I am always more than happy to answer any emails personally.


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3 Simple Tips to Develop Your Child’s Social Skills

“She doesn’t notice when others are talking to her”, “He tends to be bossy and gets upset if things don’t go his way”, “She can play well one on one but struggles in a large group”, “He always calls out in class”.

Any of these sound familiar?

Many of the children that we see here at the clinic find social situations challenging.  I recently attended a two-day course on Social Thinking which provided a great insight in to the complexity of social challenges. The course highlighted that a child’s social capabilities are integral to their success in life; socially, academically, and professionally.

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Social skills are much more than just language. At this course, social thinking was defined as a skill that allows us to apply the four social competencies to social situations. These competencies are:

  • Socially attending to the information that we are receiving. This is the ability to read facial expressions, body language, gestures and what is happening in the situation.
  • Interpreting what others might be thinking or how they might be feeling based on the information we have gathered. This can also include self-awareness of predicting how our own behaviours might be interpreted by others. We have to understand that others have thoughts about us, even if they don’t say these things out loud.
  • Problem solving so we can make decisions about how we should respond. This could be deciding what words to say, what tone of voice to use and how to behave.
  • Creating an appropriate social response. Ideally we want to choose a response that considers the thoughts and feelings of those around us. 

If we use the iceberg analogy, we can only see the tip of the iceberg when it comes to social skills.  In order to interact appropriately, we first have to consider what situation and context we are in (social input) and then adapt our skills and responses (words, gestures and facial expressions) based on our understanding of the situation (social output).

ice berg

Some children are able to tell you everything that they should do in a social situation, but due to a breakdown in social competencies, they find it difficult to implement them in a real situation.  Challenges with social competencies can lead to difficulties with a child’s ability to interact with their peers and participate appropriately in class.

3 simple tips to develop your child’s social thinking skills at home:     

  • Model your own thought processes out loud. For example, if you are at the shops you could say “I can see that there is a line.  We can line up at the back of the cue and wait our turn. This will make the other people happy that we didn’t push in”.
  • Reflect on how situations could be changed for next time. For example “This morning when your friend came to play, I saw them ask for a turn using your dinosaur toy.  You yelled and said that it was your toy and you wouldn’t let them have a turn.  This made them feel sad and they might think that you aren’t their friend.  What do you think we could do next time?”
  • Discuss what characters might be thinking and feeling when you are reading stories or watching cartoons. Ask your child how the characters thoughts and feeling might change if the scenario was different.  See if they can predict what might happen next.

Please feel free to contact the clinic and chat to us about how we can assist your child in Katt Matthewsdeveloping their social thinking skills.

-Katt Matthews, Occupational Therapist


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10 Fun Ways To Develop Hand Strength Using Theraputty

This semester Synchrony OT has been lucky enough to be involved with the final year OT student projects through the University of Queensland.  Our students were able to put together some great exercises that you can use at home to develop your child’s hand strength.

Why is hand strength important?

Hand strength is an important area of child development. Children are constantly using their hands throughout the day and require strength for tasks such as:

  • Getting dressed
  • Brushing their teeth
  • Tying shoe laces
  • Using a knife and fork
  • Cutting with scissors
  • Climbing
  • Doing up buttons
  • Drawing
  • Handwriting

It is important for your child to strengthen their hand and finger muscles so that they can complete these tasks effectively. Just like exercises and fitness, hand strength takes time and practice to develop. It is recommended that the following exercises are incorporated into your child’s daily routine to assist in developing their hand strength.theraputty

Theraputty is a resistant material that can be purchased from www.sensorytools.net 

Theraputty Exercises: Click on the links to see corresponding videos of how to complete each activity.

  1. Hide & Seek: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dR3z4VOUqJY
    • Hide small items/marbles/coins inside the theraputty.
    • Challenge your child to find them as fast as they can using both hands.
  2. Spider Web: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZ03dDq58F8
    • Have your child begin by putting all 5 fingers together.
    • Place the theraputty on the tip of the fingers.
    • Have your child spread their fingers out, like making a ‘spider web’.
    • Bring fingers close together and repeat.
  3. Pinch The Snake: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2D-5gX71k3I
    • Being with the theraputty in a long flat piece.
    • Using their thumb and index finger, ask them to pinch the ‘snake’ as they work their way upwards.  Make sure finger dents are visible on the theraputty.
  4. Fingerprint: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_600Mg8C6w
    • Have your child roll the theraputty into a ball
    • Have them place the theraputty in their palm of their hand.
    • Direct them to squeeze it as hard as they can, with all 5 fingers at once, to leave ‘fingerprints’ in the theraputty.
    • Repeat the process.
  5. Pinch and Pull: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vC4fMF2VdGk
    • Have your child roll the theraputty into a ball
    • By using all 5 fingers, have you child pinch and pull apart the theraputty.
  6. Twist itt Like Liquorice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qemuk7Wt31c
    • Have your child grab each end of the theraputty using all 5 fingers.
    • While pulling the theraputty, have your child twist each end of the theraputty in opposite directions, resembling liquorice.
  7. Finger Walking: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXvW4yn6Tec
    • Have your child roll the theraputty into a snake.
    • Have your child place their fingers on the theraputty and walk along the putty (using 2-3 fingers) digging the fingers deep into the putty.
  8. Crack The Egg: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muA_1VVOmn8
    • Have your child roll the theraputty into an egg.
    • Have them place the egg between the fingers and ask them to squeeze the egg using only those two fingers as hard as they can to ‘crack the egg’.
    • Repeat the activity for the other fingers.
  9. Make Your Own Marbles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoQk5JEO5CM
    • Have your child pinch and pull a marble sized piece of theraputty using their thumb, index and middle finger.
    • Using only those 3 fingers, have your child roll the theraputty into a small ball using a rotation movement of the fingers until the theraputty resembles a marble.
    • Continue steps 1 and 2 until all of the theraputty marbles have been completed.
  10. Spiky Caterpillars: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvDJsbib5S4
    • Have your child being by rolling the theraputty into a snake and flattening it with either their palm/fingers.
    • Have your child pick up the sticks/popsicle sticks/pipe cleaners using 2-3 fingers and push in into the top of the theraputty.

-Kate Kleinau, Occupational Therapistkate headshot

Please feel free to ask questions or give me your feedback.  I am always more than happy to answer any emails personally.


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