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Innovative Games Improve Reversals and Poor Body Scheme

This week I’m pleased to introduce you to guest blogger and author, Mary Moynihan. Mary is a registered and pediatric, board-certified occupational therapist with 38 years of experience in the field of pediatrics. She has worked in a variety of settings including developmental education centers, neonatal intensive care unit, early intervention and preschool settings, as well as public schools and clinics. Most recently, she published, Fun Kinesthetic Games to Improve Gross Motor and Perceptual Skills, one of our newest downloads that is available at Dyslexia Materials.
I’m sure that over the years you have known children who appear a little “lost in space.” These are the children that bump into every desk on their way to the front of the room, don’t realize they have fallen out of their chair till they land on the floor, and continually rub against the walls as they walk down the hallways. They may be able to stand on one foot when their eyes are open, but if you ask them to close their eyes, and take away visual input, they crumble to the floor.

What Causes Children to be “Lost in Space?”
Most likely these children are receiving poor proprioceptive feedback from their muscles, so they rely heavily on tactile input from the floor or walls, and visual input from looking at their environment to stay oriented. When one crucial form of sensory input is diminished, it requires more concentration to function during the school day.

How Can Children Develop their Body Scheme?

We all receive proprioceptive input from our muscles throughout the day. This input lets us know if our muscles are moving or not, and how fast or strong we need to contract our muscles to coordinate an activity. This feedback, when it is well integrated, is subconscious, so a child doesn’t need to concentrate on using their muscles to sit up straight during circle time, instead of leaning on the student next to him, while trying to pay attention to what the teacher is saying. Many children who process proprioceptive input poorly can benefit from seeing an occupational therapist to improve their body scheme. With a well-developed body scheme, the child will know, on a subconscious level, how all the pieces of his body can work together.

What are the Benefits of a Mature Body Scheme?
A mature body scheme is the building block for more complicated skills. Think how taxing it can be for these children to coordinate activities like catching a ball, or forming letters on a page, when they can’t receive information about how their arm or hand is moving. When a child doesn’t understand how their own body is oriented, they have difficulty orienting letters such as b, d, p, and q without reversing the positions on the page. They may be asked to print their name on the top right corner of the paper, but they don’t know their right from their left yet. These issues can be very discouraging for the student, and often hinders their academic progress.

What are Some Activities I Can Do at Home or in the Classroom?
If these children are able to receive occupational therapy (OT), treatment will most likely concentrate on using heavy work patterns, tactile input, and movement to improve proprioceptive input and overall body scheme. However, there are activities you can do in the classroom, or at home to improve body scheme. The e-book Fun Kinesthetic Games to Improve Gross Motor and Perceptual Skills can provide these children with exciting and interactive activities they can practice to feel more confident, engaged and oriented when presented with academic challenges. When their body feels less “lost in space” they can spend more time concentrating on enjoying the learning process, from a well-grounded perspective.

                                    Written by: Mary Moynihan.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post! We would love to hear your thoughts.

Cheers, Dr. Erica Warren

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator, and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.
· Blog: www.learningspecialistmaterials.blogspot.com
· YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/warrenerica1
· Podcast: https://godyslexia.com/
· Store: http://www.Goodsensorylearning.com/ & www.dyslexiamaterials.com
· Courses: http://www.learningspecialistcourses.com/

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