BLENNZ: Blind and Low Vision Education Network NZ

Te Kotuituinga Mātauranga Pura o Aotearoa

Homai Early Childhood Centre

March 24, 2014 by blennzict | 0 comments

Two children on the resonance board

Figure 1 Enjoying a music experience on the resonance board

Group music and movement sessions form part of the programme at Homai Early Childhood Centre. During some sessions we engage the children through Clonker Board activities (figure 1) and children and whānau alike are finding this a very social sensory experience. Continue Reading →

Understanding what is about to happen – wheelchair O&M

July 19, 2012 by blennzict | 0 comments

Having fun with Sam, on the airbed!

A tool for safe, fun movement experience and sensory-motor activities.

NB: Always check with medical and therapy team members when implementing a motor play programme.

Samantha, a student who normally uses a wheelchair and is blind, is laying on the airbed smiling

Figure 1 – Samantha is laying on the airbed smiling

What’s coming next?

Personal identifiers/object cues/signs or other forms of communication are important! As always, Sam is:

  • ‘Forewarned’ about what is coming up on their timetable, just before she goes to the airbed session.
  • She is encouraged to feel her ‘object cue’ that feels like the airbed surface. This gives her a sense of ANTICIPATION or KNOWLEDGE of what’s about to happen and provides her with CONTROL over her immediate world. Both of which contribute to self-esteem!
  • It is important that blind students, particularly those in wheelchairs, be given the opportunity to understand what is about to happen to them. Otherwise it’s just like being in chaos all the time, not knowing where you are going or what you are expected to do.
The O & M Specialist is helping Sam to feel her object cue that  lets her know where she is about to go and also gives her a choise to communicate whether she wants to go there or not

Figure 2 – Sam is using an object cue indicate if she wants to go there or not

Keep the same routes

  • Sam is then wheeled through the same route to get to the airbed that is positioned by the windows all the time she uses it.
  • It is again really important for the team to agree on a consistent route between destinations. This gives the student who is blind and in a wheelchair a sense of anticipation and control as she learns that to get to the airbed she does a 180 degree turn, pauses, is moved forward until she contacts the wall in front.
Sam is being pushed on route to the air bed session using the same route and using straight lines

Figure 3 – Sam is being pushed on route to the air bed session

  • Have someone firmly rub her right shoulder saying ‘turning right’ followed by a CLEAR and PRECISE ¼ turn to the right, pause then travel along the cupboards to stop at the airbed. Here the object cue can be given again to reinforce that she is at the ‘airbed’ and confirm that she DOES what to play!
The O & M Specialist is touching Sams right upper arm just before she turns Sams chair to that direction, to provide Sam with a sense of anticipation as to where she is about to go

Figure 4 – Touching Sam’s right upper arm just before making a turn

Motor activities are useful for many areas of development

  • On the airbed Sam is asked using hand signs and talking.
  • ‘Do you want to bounce?’ (Placing your hand under Sam’s and gently moving it up and down in a bouncing movement).
  • Sam loves to bounce!

If she agrees that this is what she wants to do, the two of you can bounce together on the airbed.

Sam and the O & M Specialist are playing on the airbed

Figure 5 – Sam and the O & M Specialist are playing on the airbed

Or she might like to bounce on her own. You can work on body/movement/turns/spatial relationships and so on.

Sam is smiling and bouncing on the airbed

Figure 6 – Sam is smiling and bouncing on the airbed

Or move about on her own and experience many positions and learn about her body through the movement.

Sam is working hard to move herself to sitting position. The O & M Instructor is helping by lifting the airbed corner a bit

Figure 7 – Sam is moving herself to sitting position

Sam also likes to explore different positions that she doesn’t get to experience in her chair, such as slowly moving her to sitting, without having to push or pull her. Just encourage her involvement using the airbed!

The O & M Specialist is pulling the top of the airbed up to help Sam sit up

Figure 8 – The O & M Specialist is pulling the top of the airbed up to help Sam sit up

She may like to roll, one way or the other. Ask her if she wants to do rolling by using the hand sign of hands ‘rolling together’. If she does want to roll, help her anticipate with way using the firm rub to her shoulder technique.

The O & M Specialist is using the firm touch to Sam's upper arm to ask her if she wants to roll to the right

Figure 9 – Using a firm touch to Sam’s upper arm to ask her if she wants to roll to the right

And then count three, lifting the airbed edge more until she rolls, or has fun resisting!

The O & M Specialist is lifting the airbed edge.  Sam is smiling and having fun.

Figure 10 – The O & M Specialist is lifting the airbed edge and Sam is having fun.

There are many movements and positions that can be explored on the airbed, as long as it is fun and safe!

The O & M Specialist is touching Sams back asking if she want to roll to lying down on her back

Figure 11 – Touching Sam’s back asking if she want to roll to lying down on her back

Sam rolls to near the edge of the airbed and the O & M Specialist quickly supports Sam's head

Figure 12 – Sam rolls to near the edge of the airbed and the O&M Specialist quickly supports Sam’s head

As well as using it for bouncing and rolling and learning about movement and the body that way:

  • Sam also enjoys us using firm holding to help her brain learn about and control her lower limbs.
Sam is pushing the O & M Specialist away with the legs. She has a smile on her face.

Figure 13 – Sam is pushing the O & M Specialist away with her legs

  • Again using the airbed to encourage her to position so she can ‘shove’ me away with her legs and feet.

Adding firm but gentle pressure to her legs, held in the right position, gently assisting her to bed them, can help her develop awareness and strength and control.

The O & M Specialist is gently holding Sam's legs against her stomach so Sam has them bent up a bit

Figure 14 – The O&M Specialist is gently holding Sam’s legs against her stomach

To push me away and have fun.

From the bent leg position Sam is pushing her legs out to push the Specialist away

Figure 15 – Sam is pushing her legs out to push the Specialist away

Check with your local Resource Teacher: Vision for more information.

Developed by Moving Forward Ltd and BLENNZ, 2014.

This resource is available for download in both Powerpoint and Word versions.

 

Motor play and Developmental Orientation & Mobility (DOM)

July 19, 2012 by blennzict | 0 comments

Student and his teacher aide playing under an airbed

Figure 1 – Student and his teacher aide playing under an airbed

NB: All motor activity programmes need to be checked to ensure they are safe for the student.

DOM is moving with confidence and purpose

Students with vision impairment have less motivation to move, in a scary world and therefore are at risk of problems with moving well later on.

Child walking on a balancing trampoline at a playground

Figure 2 – Balancing on a trampoline in the playground

Good posture and gait later on is dependent on loads of early movement.

Child on playground stepping from one shaped platform to another

Figure 3 – Stepping from one platform to another

Encouraging the child with vision impairment to want to move and play, actively is extremely important!

Child and O & M instructor crawling on an airbed

Figure 4 – Crawling on an airbed

Motor Play Ideas

  • Rough and tumble, as much as possible, from as early on as possible.
  • Talk about the different movement and body parts as you play!
  • Bounce on trampolines, rock and swing.
  • Crawl, climb and go through obstacle courses often.
  • Have the child move for himself, actively ‘helping’ with daily/dressing tasks. Give oodles of TIME to respond and engage.
  • Encourage children to do as much for themselves as possible, engaging their body and the world around them.
  • Have fun!
A young child playing on a spring rocker

Figure 5 – Playing on a spring rocker

Motor Play helps the child:

  • Organise and develop the brain.
  • Learn about the body and how to move it efficiently.
  • Learn about space.
  • Master the environment.
  • And it’s fun!
Young girl in mid air, attached to a bungy trampoline

Figure 6 – Young girl on a bungy trampoline

Two children rolling on top of their dad, rough and tumbling

Figure 7 – Rough and tumble with dad

Kids with a vision impairment sometimes need to have a bit of guidance to want to move and have fun with motor play.

Child being rolled around on an airbed by O&M instructor

Figure 8 – Child being rolled around on an airbed by O&M instructor

So join in and have fun! Talk and move and push and roll together!

‘Sensory’ and ‘motor’ play have positive impacts on development of body image and motivation to move and engage.

O & M instructor holding up an airbed while child pushed against the airbed

Figure 9 – Holding up an airbed while child pushed against the airbed

It is especially important when there is a vision impairment!

Sensory Motor Play is important because it:

  • Is interactive and you communicate heaps – visually, through speech, tactually – while playing.
  • Helps you learn about HOW your body moves by actively moving it and labeling those moves.
  • Provides fun opportunities to learn things like ‘beside’, ‘in front’, ‘behind’, ‘left’, ‘right’ and so on.
  • Primes the brain for learning!
Child crawling on an airbed while the O & M instructor holds and moves the airbed around

Figure 10 – Child crawling on an airbed

Motor play helps develop body image

Body image is:

  • Knowledge of the body and its parts.
  • Knowledge of how to move with efficiency and ease – ‘doing without thinking’.
  • Promoted by vision (it can be lacking if the child is vision impaired’.
  • The foundation for learning about space and relationships of things in space.
  • Crucial for relating the self to the environment.
  • Developed by motor activity.

Poor body image can lead to:

  • Inability to move body parts efficiently.
  • Lack of desire to move because it is too hard to think through.
  • Difficulties with dealing with the environment because the child cannot relate to it because he hasn’t organized himself first.
  • Lower fitness, strength, balance ability, than peers.
  • Passivity, acting out, tactile ‘defensiveness’ (selectivity).

Poor body imagery can present as:

  • Being clumsy.
  • Not wanting to or able to engage or follow tasks involving movement or seeing.
  • Opting out of doing things normally fun for their age group.
  • Unable to follow movement directions.
  • Being lost in space.

Not seeing well early on can lead to risks in all movement areas because the world is scary!

A blurred image of steps in a school playground

Figure 11 – A blurred image of steps in a school playground

Would we want to move when steps look like this?

  • So kids with a vision impairment often don’t learn about their bodies and space and master their worlds as easily as their peers.
  • Especially if they have other disabilities, like being in a wheelchair.
  • So movement is ESPECIALLY important for kids with vision impairment.

Motor play is a fun way to develop

  • Body image/concepts.
  • Strength, endurance fitness.
  • Spatial awareness/concepts
  • Control over self and environment.
  • Ability to use vision you have better.
  • Interactive and communication skills.
  • The ability to plan ahead.

These are all areas not seeing well can impact on.

Child and adult laying on an airbed, playing

Figure 12 – Child and adult laying on an airbed, playing

So what is the sensory part and why is it important?

  • We learn about our body and how it moves primarily via seeing it and feeling how it moves.
  • When we can’t see it well we need to rely more on the ‘feeling it’ part.
  • We FEEL how our body and its parts move most precisely and clearly when we move it ourselves with our body weight on it – this is through our proprioceptive sense.
An adult holding a childs legs on an airbed helping the child to sense movement of their body

Figure 13 – An adult holding a child’s legs on an airbed helping the child to sense movement of their body

Proprioception is

  • Developed by weight bearing or resistance play, such as crawling, climbing, push pull games.
  • The firm pressure helps our brain to learn about our body and how to move it efficiently to get what we want and where we want. Try waving your arm in the air and ‘feeling’ where it is. Then push down on it gently. The feeling of where it is, is clearer!
A child and adult pushing on another person in between an airbed, making a 'sandwich' of the person

Figure 14 – Making a ‘sandwich’ of the person

Think of a baby. He…

Learns about his arms and how to move them with greater control via:

  • First propping or putting weight through the shoulder and arms and hands over and over again. His brain is learning how to use his muscles and arms to push up. He then learns how to crawl by repeatedly weight bearing through his arms and legs, teaching his brain how to move their bits in increasingly efficient ways to get to the position and place he wants to get to!
  • This weight bearing sends great message to the brain about how to move better and better!
A baby crawling on a hard floor

Figure 15 – Crawling on a hard floor

A child crawling on soft matting in a playground

Figure 16 – Crawling on soft matting in a playground

We can use this proprioceptive sense to help the kids with vision impairment learn their body image. They can learn about how their body moves, even when they can’t move much themselves – by this firm sense of pressure.

An O&M instructor holding a child's legs on an airbed, helping the child to sense movement

Figure 17 – An O&M instructor helping the child to sense movement

NB: Always check with the team involved with the student before commencing any motor programming.

More proprioception play ideas

  • Pushing yourself on an office chair.
  • Playing in a tunnel or blanket wrapping.
  • Playing push n shove game.
  • Playing animals in a zoo.
  • Doing tasks at home.
A child in a classroom with their body across an chair with wheels, pushing the chair with their legs and 'chasing' their teacher

Figure 18 – A child in a classroom with their body across an chair with wheels, pushing the chair with their legs and ‘chasing’ their teacher

Child with a spade cleaning up sand outside a building

Figure 19 – Cleaning up sand outside a building

A young child climbing up a playground slide

Figure 20 – Climbing up a playground slide

The sensory part also includes the VESTIBULAR sense

This is sensory input that kids get from:

  • Swinging.
  • Rocking.
  • Hanging upside down.
  • Spinning and going round and round.
Two children on a rotating peice of playground equipment being watched by an adult

Figure 21 – Two children on a rotating piece of playground equipment

The vestibular sense helps to:

  • Develop motor skills and control-including reflex integration.
  • Develop balance.
  • Increase arousal and attention/focus.
  • Promote exploring of the environment.
  • Control head and eye movements.
  • Develop use of vision (fixation, movement).
  • Define the ability to turn.
  • Promote language and emotional development.
  • Increase spatial awareness.
  • Increase attention to a task (i.e. stimulates, calms and sets brain up for attention).
Two children on swings in a playground

Figure 22 – Two children on swings in a playground

(Sources include:  Schiffman, 1982;  Daly & Moore, 1997)

Vestibular play ideas

  • Rolling down hills.
  • Spinning on an office chair.
  • Rough and tumble.
  • Rocking and bouncing.
  • ‘Simon Says’.
  • Anything that has the head position changing.
Child and teacher aide in a classroom, bouncing on fitness balls

Figure 23 – Bouncing on fitness balls

Child spinning on a playground carousel

Figure 24 – Spinning on a playground carousel

Motor play – we all need it!

  • Kids love it and it’s important for ALL children – especially for those with sensory issues (especially vision impairment!).
  • Kids are RIGHT! Rough and tumble, running around and climbing are not just fun they are developmentally NEEDED!
Boy zooming down a waterslide

Figure 25 – Boy zooming down a waterslide

A child jumping on a trampoline

Figure 26 – Jumping on a trampoline

So enjoy

Two children and their dad laying on their fronts spinning on a playground carousel

Figure 27 – Children and their dad spinning on a playground carousel

Two children laying on top of their dad on the floor playing, rough and tumble

Figure 28 – Playing rough and tumble with dad

A child climbing up the steps of a playground

Figure 29 – Climbing up the steps of a playground

A child laying on their tummy on a swing

Figure 30 – Child laying on their tummy on a swing

Check with your local Resource Teacher: Vision for more information.

Links

Developed by Moving Forward Ltd and BLENNZ, 2014.

This resource is available for download in both Powerpoint and Word versions.

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