When my daughter was young, I did not have the worries of running from therapist to therapist and paying big bills to do so. I didn’t have that option. With guidance from an OT, I would be given a skill to work with her on and then I would invent my own way to conduct it using everyday items I had in the house or could find easily at a garage sale or second hand shop. After time I got very creative at even combining several skills into one activity.
For example, when I needed to work with Sophia on the skill of sorting and number and color recognition I resorted to handy deck of UNO cards and the infamous cotton rug that was her play mat. To start, remove any special cards so that only numbers 0 through 9 remain. Take out all of the reverse, skip, draw 2, wild cards. Depending on the skill level you are already working with, you may want to start with a 3-4 cards for each color and add more as they advance. Lay one card for each color at the top of the rug and mix up the others at the bottom. Teach the child by showing them how to sort the remainder of the cards by color. As you lay down the color, say the name of the color each time. This will teach them to recognize the color by name as well as pronounce the word.
Once this skill is developed, lay one row of cards across the top of the rug in numerical order. Now show them how to sort the remaining cards by number. Again, say the number as you lay down the card. As with any skill, consistency is most helpful. Leave this activity out for at least a month. Work it into your routine, maybe immediately after dinner. Don’t wait for the dishes to be done, just jump right to it so they begin to expect it.
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