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Occupational Therapy at Home School.

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Although 13 now, my son still needs support with fine and gross motor skills. Thanks to Father  Christmas we have been given some excellent ways  to practice fine motor skills.

My son loves playing with sand related kits and was given a gold panning kit which requires lots of patience with tiny minerals, tweezers etc., but the reward of the (fool’s) gold makes it all worthwhile!

 

He also loves sand art, which again comes in reasonably inexpensive kit form, or you could colour your own sand and collect some unusual shaped bottles or glasses to put it into. IMG_0003.jpg

Other activities that  we have had on the go, doing 10 -15 mins a day, are jigsaws based on my son’s interests, such as aeroplanes, advanced lego kits, or small ones for younger children which are more quickly done independently, and special interest kits made by    Airfix (look out for Airfix Quick Build, looove these, made a fab Bugatti with so little hassle). You could look for kits or themed items you can make that relate to games or special interests that your child might have, such as Minecraft or Halo. We’ve made a Minecraft board game for example. One of my son’s friends got us drawing happily using one of the many sites that are out there now which take you through how to draw a favourite cartoon character for example, step by step. Since then we have become more confident and tend to google characters, copy and draw them into situations, towards a comic strip, or make greetings cards.

I hope that this gives you a few ideas and the confidence to do some OT yourself at home.

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Launch pads.

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One of the things I love about home schooling is the ability to be flexible to follow your child’s interests, or to use material to explore new directions or make links with other subjects. To my glee my son loves the Willard Price books that I also read avidly when I was his age. Who wouldn’t be attracted to titles such as Volcano Adventure and Whale Adventure? Written by a real life adventurer and explorer in the 1950’s (beware some aspects of the books are a little dated, but this makes for some useful discussions), we have learnt a lot about wildlife, different habitats, natural phenomena and other cultures. We are currently reading Cannibal Adventure and this has led my son to research unusual animals such as the cuscus and taipan.  We have learnt about the geography  and climate of New Guinea, tribal markings and shrunken skulls, and discussed human evolution as a result of the tribe described in the book being still in the stone age. We hope to visit the Pitt Rivers museum in Oxford where another famous explorer’s collection of tribal artefacts and shrunken heads can be seen. Most recently we learnt a bit about witchcraft and powerful beliefs! I love home schooling, where your mind and imagination can be the launch pad to amazing places.

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30 Days Wild 2017

Love, love, love, this initiative from The Dorset Wildlife Trust  dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk

They send you a calendar, stickers etc and challenge you to do 30 acts of random wildness in June! So far we have rescued a bumble bee that got stunned by heavy rain and collected sycamore “helicopters” to revise seed dispersal, and to dry out for some fun later. It can be something as small as this, or much bigger like a nature walk identifying the plants and insects on their challenge sheet for example. Use your imagination. Make up your own chart and challenges. Have some fun in the big outdoors.

Raining again this morning, so we researched St Johns Wort, to identify out and about later. Tomorrow we are going to plant some seeds and go on a river walk. @30 Days Wild.

 

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Flexi Schooling. Does it work?

So our ASD son is now 12 going on 18, and is about to embark on the Summer Term of his Secondary School career where we have been flexi schooling him. Has it worked?

 

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Well, reader, it has!  You might remember that we embarked on this road with no small degree of trepidation. The Secondary School seemed enormously supportive, but previous experience had led us to discover that, outward appearances can be deceptive. Continue reading

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The Horse Course

file000978822164 (4)I cannot rave highly enough about this course, which our son was lucky enough to gain a place on via a social services referral.The course involves working with the horses to gain their trust, and understanding and empathising with them to enable them to do certain movements and tackle obstacles. The website explains all this much better than I am doing. http://www.thehorsecourse.org It is designed to help children and adults with additional needs such as ASD and has had a hugely beneficial effect on those who take part.

Watching my child working with these beautiful animals in a very calm environment was a wonderful thing. He had not worked with horses before, but quickly learned to interpret their body language and respond appropriately. He gained hugely in confidence in the week, and gained empathy and  better understanding of how others display emotion, and how to respond to this. His self-regulation improved, along with his focus and posture.

He also gained a certificate in horsemanship, for which he had to be videoed and tested. He took this totally in his stride, whereas normally any reference to tests would have had him tearful and refusing to take part.

A huge thank you again to those who work at the project, which I believe is now rolling out to other parts of the country.