Ayub has been doing speech therapy for around a year at Oasis Place. His therapist…
Group Occupational Therapy For Kids Includes Jumping Off A Giant Barrel
Ayub had his first group occupational therapy session and from the get-go it was chaos. Again, his therapists at Oasis Place are the most patient and amazing people on the planet. Maybe it’s easier when it’s not your own child. I don’t know. Kids in general are annoying.
The session started off with a quick introduction for the kids and then they were let loose in the OT room.
Ayub has A LOT of energy and is just a super fit little dude. He was bouncing around and climbing on things and jumping and falling and giggling and just generally going full-blown bananas.
Exercise 1: Climbing on the giant barrel
The task sounds simple enough. Climb on the giant barrel. But omg trying to get three special kids to listen to instructions and then execute them is like trying to get one special kid to listen to instructions then execute them but three times worse.
If your kid is special needs, you will understand that last sentence.
Ayub kept crawling into the barrel and rolling around in it. Another would be climbing up the walls, while the last is bouncing around and touching everything. Then they would get distracted by something else and do that instead.
Finally all three were standing on the giant barrel.
Exercise 2: Designate a ‘pilot’
The pilot is the leader. One was very shy and reluctant, another was in another world, Ayub didn’t pay attention to anything. Someone got assigned as a pilot.
Exercise 3: The pilot counts down to 3
Not too hard. But yet… Lol. Countdowns from 20 take an awful long time.
Exercise 4: When the pilot yells ‘Go!’ everybody jumps off the barrel
Oh man. Ayub kamikaze-d off that barrel and attempted to propel himself into another dimension. Another clung on for dear life, and the last gently made his way down, hesitated, then got pushed off by the therapist.
Exercise 5: Repeat steps over and over and over again.
It wasn’t until the 4th or 5th round of this game that the kids were able to organise themselves, (kinda) work as a team, and (very kinda) get through the game smoothly.
By this point Ayub was just somersaulting off the barrel.
What was the point of this game?
It required listening, understanding, and following instructions. Also, there was a lot of communication and teamwork involved. And finally, the jump and crash forced the kiddies to use and control their bodies, connecting brain and body with purpose.
Post OT, his therapist said he did good. Buuuuut… he got so easily excited and didn’t know how to regulate or handle that excitement that the end result was that he went ballistic and 1) started throwing objects around the room 2) started hitting and pushing his friends and 3) started adding more to the game.
Discussing Zones of Regulation
After about 40 minutes of mayhem, the kids had to sit and discuss Zones of Regulation:
- The Red Zone is used to describe extremely heightened states of alertness and intense emotions. A person may be elated or experiencing anger, rage, explosive behavior, devastation, or terror when in the Red Zone.
- The Yellow Zone is also used to describe a heightened state of alertness and elevated emotions, however one has more control when they are in the Yellow Zone. A person may be experiencing stress, frustration, anxiety, excitement, silliness, the wiggles, or nervousness when in the Yellow Zone.
- The Green Zone is used to describe a calm state of alertness. A person may be described as happy, focused, content, or ready to learn when in the Green Zone. This is the zone where optimal learning occurs.
- The Blue Zone is used to describe low states of alertness and down feelings such as when one feels sad, tired, sick, or bored.
The boys were given paper and crayons to make their own ‘Zones of Regulation’ scale – like a speedometer.
What was the point of this game?
Using fine motor skills to colour with crayons and cut with scissors. Teaching them how to focus on their task and not get distracted. Following instructions. Communication and discussion. Self-reflection as they discussed what zone they were in throughout the previous exercise.
Ayub said is was in the Green Zone and sometimes in the Yellow Zone.
He did good. He focused. He’s a perfectionist. His arrow was perfectly cut straight. He completed his scale without getting distracted by the other two kiddies bouncing and walking around the room.
Good Ayub. 😀
Sulaiman and Aisha built their own OT room
The two mini-minions were not allowed in the OT room but obviously very much wanted to be. So we went to another part of the centre and they decided to build their own (terrible blurry photos ahead):
Aisha loves stacking and climbing. Sulaiman loves pissing off Aisha.