Tag Archives: Sendero Therapies

Every Moment Counts’ Comfortable Cafeteria

Every Moment Counts is a mental health promotion initiative developed to help all children and youth become mentally healthy in order to succeed in school, at home and in the community.   Children go to the cafeteria every school day for lunch and to socialize with friends. Many students look forward to lunchtime, but for some students, lunch in the cafeteria is not a good experience. The Comfortable Cafeteria program aims to help all students enjoy lunchtime more by creating a positive atmosphere which encourages positive mental health in students. What is the program? Comfortable Cafeteria is a six week long program that helps give lunchroom staff and students the knowledge needed to foster a positive atmosphere in the lunchroom through six weekly themed education days during a six week period of time.  The six weekly themes are, kickoff, friendship, conversations, including others, sensory input, and healthy foods.  All participants learn about these topics through interactive programs. Who implements the program? The program was designed by occupational therapists, however, it is implemented through the collaboration of many individuals including, cafeteria supervisors, parent volunteers, teachers, therapists, schools nurses, school psychologists, school counselors, and many more. Benefits of the Program Many schools have implemented this program and have seen numerous benefits during the implementation and after.  Children came away from the program with more knowledge of acceptance of peers, knowledge on how to build friendships and communicate with others, and how to make healthy.

Behavior Management Strategies

Now that the holidays are over, children may need a few reminders on how to interact in a positive way during therapy sessions, in the classroom, or at home when doing homework. Try reflecting on what behavior management strategies worked during the first half of the year and if there are new ones you may want to implement.  Below are some strategies that can help prevent problematic behaviors before they start to make it a great homework, therapy, or classroom session for everyone! 1. Set therapy rules and make them known at the beginning of each sessiowhole-body-listening-larry-postern. Post a list of “class rules” along with pictures so students know what is expected.   The rules can be positive statements like, “we will raise our hand when we want to speak,” and “we will listen to the teacher and follow directions”.  Keep in mind that some students may not know what it means to “listen to the teacher”. Social Thinking has a great visual called “Listening Larry” which teaches students what “Whole Body Listening” looks like. To learn more about this and to purchase the poster, visit https://www.socialthinking.com/Products/Whole%20Body%20Listening%20Poster 2. At the beginning of a session provide students a visual schedule of what will happen in therapy that day.  This way students see what is coming next and when the session will end.  You can create these on smart boards,.

Holiday Gift Picking Guide

Choosing a gift for a child during the holidays can be fun, but it can also be an overwhelming experience when you walk into the toy store and see so many different possibilities. You may often think, which toy is the best for my child?  Toys can help a child explore the world, gain new knowledge, increase fine motor skills, and improve language and social skills.  The American Occupational Therapy Association published a checklist about what to look for in a toy to further help develop skills. http://www.aota.org/~/media/Corporate/Files/Practice/Children/Browse/Play/toy-shopping-checklist.PDF Toy Ideas
  • Blocks- The possibilities are endless when using blocks.  You can practice fine motor skills by stacking, engage in pretend play by building houses, castles, etc., discuss colors, and use prepositions to talk about where you’re putting the blocks.  
  • Lacing Beads in a Box- By: Melissa and Doug- Practice fine motor skills by having your child string the beads on a string.  You can also talk about the colors, numbers, and shapes of the beads, take turns putting the beads on the string, and practice one to one correspondence while counting the items on the blocks.
  • Band in a Box Drum! Click! Clack! By Melissa and Doug- Kids can pretend like they are in a band, play the instruments along to music, dance.

Autism – Tips for Out of School Learning at Home

Autism  Out Of School Tips

Children with autism reap many benefits from receiving pediatric therapy services, including learning and developing new and helpful skills. When school is out or during seasonal break,  how can you ensure your child does not forget those skills over the break? Establish and Keep Routines Encourage your child to go to bed, wake up and eat breakfast at the same time each day. If your child has sensory feeding issues, use this time to introduce new foods, food combinations and textures. If you’re potty training your child, maintain a regular routine with scheduled meals, snacks and drinks. This can help you determine when she naturally needs to use the bathroom and make potty training more successful. Set Daily Goals into Everyday Activities Ask your child’s therapist to request a list of goals she is targeting and incorporate the goals into your routine.  For example, if your child receives occupational therapy services, you may include crafts such as finger painting or drawing into the weekly schedule. Make everyday activities, such as grocery shopping, a part of the weekly routine as well and use them as learning opportunities.  For example, if your child is working toward saying single words or phrases, name items aloud as you place them in your shopping cart to reinforce learning. Using Visuals Use pictures from the internet, magazines or newspapers to create a daily schedule. Use the same picture for the same activity consistently for each daily schedule. For example a picture of.