The festive season is so often about excess. In an attempt to identify beneficial, meaningful and relevant toys for my children this Christmas, I reached out to Luke’s Occupational Therapist for her take on a wish list for Luke. Holly doesn’t know how lucky she is yet, as she is benefiting from the invaluable knowledge that I as a mom, have learnt and continue to learn through Luke’s therapies.
The below educational toys are by no means specific to children with special needs.
FOR PROMOTING BILATERAL AND FINE MOTOR SKILLS
Bilateral co-ordination is the ability to use both the left and right sides of the body at the same time or with alternating movements. A good example of this is tying your shoes laces, something which a lot of children battle with.
The ability to co-ordinate both sides of the body is an important building block for both gross and fine motor skills.
Gross motor skills assist a child to gain strength and confidence in their own body and are important to enable children to perform every day functions such as walking, running, jumping, effectively.
In therapy we are focusing on Luke’s fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are the coordination of small muscle movements, usually involving the synchronisation of hands and fingers, with the eyes.
At a basic level, fine motor skills are essential for performing everyday skills such as self-care tasks – managing clothing fastenings, opening lunch boxes, cleaning teeth – and pencil skills.
The below activities promote, encourage and practice fine motor skills.
Threading or lacing games.
Small connector shapes
FOR PROMOTING PERCEPTUAL AND COGNITIVE SKILLS
Perceptual motor skills are the movement related skills that are an essential aspect of human development and growth.
These skills work in complement with cognitive and sensory-motor development, and are largely responsible for an individual’s ability to engage in athletic activities and interact with his or her environment.
Cognitive skills are the core skills your brain uses to think, read, learn, remember, reason, and pay attention.
Below are idea’s of exercises that can be used to encourage and practice perceptual and cognitive skills.
FOR STRENGTHENING MUSCLES, BALANCE AND SENSORY STIMULATION