Setting your child up for success!

Written by: Lorell Marin, Erika Larson

Does your child have difficulty attending in class? Are you told your child does not stay with the group for circle time or a group activity? Does your child have difficulty attending to a task? Does your child engage with other kids? Many times we meet children or receive referrals from different programs because a child is having a difficult time attending or following the “rules”. Once we implement a few strategies some of these children are then able to take in information and learn alongside their peers.

We don’t all learn the same way…Therefore, we should not all be taught the same way! Here are several simple solutions to help adapt the environment and provide support to help your child succeed. Work with your child’s teacher to help share what works best for your child. Remember that learning modalities may be mixed to fit your child's unique needs:

  • Auditory learners - support by using “First…Then” language to help with comprehension and transitions.  Use increased affect to engage and encourage mutual interaction.  Singing songs and changing tone (rising and falling intonation).
  • Visual learners - use a visual schedule can help a child anticipate what is next.  Can use simple pictures and an “all done” pocket.  Use a small dry erase board to help process an emotional event.  Visual instructions can help a child to focus on the activity.  
  • Kinesthetic learners - have children participate and carry out an activity in a physical way, instead of just sitting a listening! Can learn letters while jumping on a hopscotch made out of bubble wrap.  Using a core disk or balance ball during sedentary activities.  Include movement activities throughout the day i.e. can be a special helper and make deliveries, stack chairs, wipe blackboard etc.
  • Social Emotional Support - faciliate peer interactions, e.g., Lunch bunch group.

Suggested strategies to help your child succeed:

  • Oral input - use a chewy tube during sedentary activities, chew gum, and eat crunchy or chewy foods. Can use straws for drinks or pudding/applesauce to help calm.
  • Tactile (touch) input - holding a squishy fidget object (Koosh ball, silly putty), weighted blanket over lap, playing with shaving cream, finger paint, and toothpaste.
  • Vestibular (movement) input - use an exercise ball to lie over while children are playing on the floor, sit on a ball instead of a chair, or use a core disk.
  • Auditory (hear) input - noise reducing headphones when covering ears or aversion to loud places, listening to soft mellow music (or alternatively, louder rock music).
  • Visual (see) input - provide pictures of daily activities to help feel more calm and organized.  Try these Picture Cards
  • Olfactory (smell) input - cooking projects (encourage smelling and tasting), painting with coffee grounds and glue, playing with shaving cream, smell different spices.
  • Emotional regulation - Make social stories for your child to help them to process emotional and social situations and interpret social interactions (i.e. going on the potty, meeting new people, etc.). 
  • Technology - consider using technology such as an ipad to help supplement or enhance learning.

Consider creating a guide for your teacher to help them better understand your child. Please consult an OT (Occupational Therapist) if you feel your child has difficulty with sensory processing.  Meet LEEP Forward and nearly 50 exhibitors focosed on helping children with developmental differences at NPN's 1st Developmental Differences Resource Fair - Sat. Feb. 4th - RSVP today!

Posted on February 01, 2012 at 9:20 AM