Archive for February, 2012


What you need:

Therapy Corner:

When working on fine motor skills it is important that your child learn how to use both sides of his hand simultaneously and in a coordinated manner. In a nutshell, you want the first 2-3 fingers of the hand (which includes the thumb aka the radial side of the hand) to do the work/movement while the last 2-3 digits of the hand work as stabilizers (aka. ulnar side of the hand).

With that said, we work on:

Nesting Skills (i.e. picking up small items with fingers and placing them in the palm of the hand)

Retrieving Retrieving (i.e transferring small items from the palm of the hand to the tip of the fingers)

The Activity:

Ready to play?!! :) This activity is an excellent way to work on these important  in-hand manipulation skills. Your child will be working on nesting/retrieving skills during the set up and clean up of this game. First, place the empty apple on the table and provide your child with a minimum of 2 worms in one hand. If possible place as many worms that fit in the palm of his hand. (I recommend 4 in palm and 1 in his fingertips).

Retrieving: Have your child place one worm at a time in the apple by wiggling his fingers so that he can transfer the worm from his palm to the tip of his fingers. Make sure his palm is facing downwards. You will notice that your child will most likely try to use his other hand to help or use his body. In that case, I give the child something to hold with his other hand or I ask him to put the “working” hand up in the air when trying to retrieve the worms.

This can be very frustrating at first especially when the child has a hard time figuring out how to move his little fingers to transfer the items from the palm to the tip of his fingers. I usually cue them verbally by saying: “Wiggle wiggle…wiggle wiggle…to the tippy tip” (it helps :))

Pincer: Once all the worms are in the apple, use the adaptive chopsticks to pick up the worms. You can do it as a race if your child is good at it or you can play the game as it’s meant to be played where you get only the worms that match your color card.

Keep in mind that the chopsticks should be held with the thumb and first 2 fingers of the hand while the last 2 fingers of the hand stay in the palm.

Nesting: Use the clean up portion of this game to work on nesting skills. Have your child pick up 4-5 worms from the table with one hand only. He picks it up with his fingers and pushes it into the palm of his hand. Once he has 4-5 worms, let him replace them in the box.

Note: For younger children who have a hard time picking up moving worms from the apple with the chopsticks, I have them place the worms into the apple using the chopsticks. They then pick up the worms from the apple to nest them into their hand using their fingers. Once they have 4-5 worms they replace them into the box by retrieving them from the palm of the hand one at a time.


You will need:

  • Clear Plastic Sleeve (I purchased this one locally at ACE School Supplies)
  • Clear Plastic sheet protectors (Easier to find…You can purchase at any Office Supply Store)
  • Dry erase markers (use thick and odorless ones)
  • Paper and light-colored markers OR worksheets you’d like to be able to reuse

Trick of the Trade:

When working on worksheets with your children, place the worksheet in a plastic protective sleeve so that you can use it over and over again with a dry erase marker. I like to use this technique for TRACING activities. I write the letters of the child’s name on a piece of paper, place it in the clear sleeve and then the child traces the letters with a dry erase marker.

The one I use is made of thick plastic. I purchased it at ACE SCHOOL SUPPLIES however you can also use regular plastic sheet protectors that you can purchase at your local pharmacy or Office Supply store.  This is a wonderful trick that I use regularly in therapy sessions for several reasons.

I like that I don’t waste paper. Think Green!! :)

The smooth surface has less friction than paper/pencil and this helps young children with weak pencil grasps to complete writing tasks when just starting off with learning to write.

I also like this for activities such as MAZES so that children can easily erase when they make a mistake.


You will need:

The Activity:

There are certain games that I come across as a therapist that children absolutely adore and cannot get enough of. Spin-to-Win is one of those games. Kids ask me to play with this game over and over again.

I like to use it as a motivator or as a fun way to have children learn their spelling words!

This is how we play. Pick a word from your child’s spelling list. Then spin the tops and have your child spell the word BEFORE the top stops!

Your children will love to learn their spelling words! This is GREAT for HOMEWORK!!!

I’ve also used this game when teaching the letter X but you can do this to teach any letter or shape. I ask the child to keep track of our scores on a dry erase board by marking an X for the scoring.


You will need:

  • Little heart containers (I purchased these at Target)
  • Different colored heart shaped plates
  • Grabber (I purchased these at Target)
  • Paper and Pencil

The Activity:

Children love themes. I always try to come up with an activity for the Holiday that we are celebrating. This becomes very motivating to children. For this activity, I purchased mostly all the supplies at Target. Look around their inexpensive items at the front of the store. It is always filled with Holiday gadgets!!

First, have your child write one letter on a small piece of paper for every heart that you have. Then place one letter per heart container. Then place 2 different colored heart shaped plates on either side of the room and spread out all the little heart containers around the room.

Have your child use the grabber to pick up one heart at a time and carry it over to the matching plate. Using the grabber is a great way to improve your child’s hand and finger strength. The open/closing movement of the grabber is a great prep activity for cutting skills!!

Once your child has picked up all the hearts, let him chose one colored plate with hearts and you then get the other one. He must WIN YOUR HEARTs by guessing the letter in each container!

Give him a clue for each letter. For example, letter E is the first letter for an animal that is big, heavy and has a long trunk…an Elelephant…letter E!

You can also have your child practice his handwriting by copying this word or letter on paper. Continue until your child has WON YOUR HEARTs <3

Miss Mancy’s 2 Cents on AUTISM



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