Saturday, May 12, 2012

Grab Bag of Therapy Ideas

If you read Ashi's Gift Blog, then you have already seen this sensory bin. Ashi took to it like a duck in water. Izaiah, on the other hand, took 6 weeks to warm up to splashing in packing peanuts. Once he did though, it was clear I needed a better idea,what a mess! I had packing peanuts everywhere!

So, I bought these soft, colorful balls and made him a turtle ball pit instead. This he liked immediately.  Not only did he enjoy frolicking, we've also been able to work on some other skills, like learning our colors.

Izaiah is a huge fan of counting.  An abacus is one of his favorite 'toys' especially when Mommy counts over and over and over and over again, sliding the beads. Counting balls is just as fun and organizing several balls into like colors is good too. 

We've also used the bin to learn to throw and catch.  Catching has been slightly easier, but throwing is coming along - even if it is backwards at this time! 

Here is a 'pillow cave' I made.  It was time to replace all of our old pillows, but instead of throwing them out, I washed and dried them all, and then I stuffed them inside a queen sized sleeping bag.  I used velcro on the tops of the bags to 'seal' the pillows in.  It's hard to get a good scope of the size of this cave, it's pretty large.  This is a fabulous sensory integration for kids who like to be squished or squeezed into small places. 

An alternative to the queen sized sleeping bag is sewing together 2 twin size sheets or using a duvet cover and sewing it closed.  I like the idea of using velcro at the top, or even large buttons, so I can add more to it if needed.

On the speech therapy side of things, we've been using a lot of books.  Izaiah is not a fan of flashcards, so those are tucked in for the same rainy day I waited for with Ashi - I guess my kids just don't do flashcards.  Anyway, I'm getting good results using Izaiah's favorite books.  I've gotten the words, "how", "da-da", "whaaaat" (water), "na-na" ( he's still nursing), "wheeeee", "elllla" (almost elephant) by reading and stopping to let him fill in the blanks. 

Plastic zebra with picture of zebra
Izaiah matched bear

Something else related to speech and recognition is placing a plastic animal on the correct animal in a book.  Izaiah can correctly identify a giraffe, elephant, zebra, bear, a tiger, a hippo, a gorilla, and a penguin by placing the plastic animal on the correct picture in a book.  This is an amazing way to see how many things our kids really do know, even though they may still be non-verbal.

Plastic penguin with pictures of penguins
Matching plastic elephant in book

Even though we're making baby step progress in the speech area, there are 2 things that are major accomplishments that will most likely help and that is:

1.) Izaiah is now smiling back at me when I smile at him - can I put age 2 years 7 months in his baby book for that?!

2.) He is now giving me kisses - very wet ones as he still drools quite a bit, but I just rub'em in that much better!

Encouragement from God's Word:  Have you ever wondered if all the work you do with your kids even matters or have you felt like nothing you do seems to help your child progress further?  I know I've sure wondered at times!

God's word shows us his desire for us to perservere in our trials. Hebrews 12:1 says...let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience (perserverance) the race that is set before us.  Isn't it easy to take on the weight of others' non-compassion or careless words?  Isn't it so easy to run with all that anger and gossip?  God wants us to lay all of that to the side because it only leads us to bitterness and sin which causes us to go backward instead of getting ahead. Sometimes we forget that most of us didn't know anything about children with special needs until we had our own.  Hebrews 13: 5 and 6 remind us that God will never leave us, nor forsake us, and he is our helper.  So, when we feel alone and like no one understands, remember, God set the race before us, he plans to use it in our lives to develop us as Christians. It certainly can be exhausting and frustrating at times, but we can turn to him to help us shake off those feelings that creep in and surround ourselves with likeminded people who build up, not tear down. Galatians 6:9 reminds us that at the right time, we will reap what we have sewn.  When we perservere, through thick and thin, our reward will come and progress will be made. Not even our heartache is wasted! Our suffering produces perseverance, which produces character, which produces hope. (Rom. 5:3,4)  That is the amazing hope you can help instill into others who will walk down the path after you.  So, your journey is needed, your time isn't wasted, your patience and perserverance is valuable, and James 1:12 says blessed is the man who perserveres under trial, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

from, Ashi in a Class all by Myself
Annie Eskeldson is a homeschooler and has two young autists at home, ages 8.5 and 2.5.  Currently her 2.5 year old is non-verbal and severly developmentally delayed. She writes for parents of young autistic children and has 3 published children's books about autism that also nurture parents.  They can be found at 

You can also check out therapy ideas you can do at home at


  1. Hope you feel encouraged today! ~ Annie E.

  2. Love that smile! Great ideas Annie!

  3. Thanks for the ideas for Benaiah. Here is Benaiah's blog about being a pediatric stroke survivor.

    1. Thanks Laurel!! Can't wait to read your blog :)