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Cody's poor fine motor skills, problems working with a group, and sensitivity to loud noises were making it hard for him to learn in school – and creating problems for the rest of his kindergarten class. His teacher noted that Cody held his pencil with a fisted grip and could not cut with scissors. He walked around the classroom during lesson time, covered his ears during the morning announcements, and became upset when there was a fire drill.
To help Cody, an OT worked with the teacher to find ways to improve his fine motor skills and classroom participation, and reducing noises. They taught him different hand-strengthening activities and provided vertical surfaces for drawing and small broken crayons to develop his pencil grip. They also gave him loop scissors to make cutting easier.
The OT suggested a visual schedule to help Cody follow the classroom routine. At circle time, round vinyl placemats were used with the whole class so that each student knew where their seats were and to teach respect for personal space. To help Cody sit for the entire circle time, each session began with a quick movement activity. Tennis balls were put on chair legs to reduce noise and a retreat spot was set up where Cody could go if he needed time to "chill out." In case noise levels got too high, protective earmuffs were made available to all students.
The result? Cody seems much happier now than he was at the start of the school year, reports his teacher. At the same time, she says, the OT’s plan for Cody has also helped other students in the class.
The outcome of these OT interventions? Cody seems much happier now than he was at the start of the school year, reports his teacher. At the same time, she says, the other students in the class have also benefited from these strategies.