An Occupational Therapy Program
Kendall showed a little different tempo of learning than many of her peers. Sometimes it seemed that the world was at the wrong speed: either too fast or too slow. Often, Kendall was working too quickly and too slowly in one writing sample. Her pace of fast, slow, stop, start was fatiguing on her brain. Not surprisingly, Kendall looked as though she was very tired of “trying again”.
At school we decided to work with Kendall on rhythm and timing without any need for performance anxiety. We want her to recognize that things have a certain pace. When you open a door for an older adult it may take longer or more of your time than when you open a door for a younger person. These subtle judgments and decisions become easier with experience, but need to be practiced in Kendall’s case.
Start with a tennis ball counting to 10, using gentle tosses and catching the ball with both hands. The moment the ball hits the ground say the number out loud and count to 10. Do not allow the counting to occur at the wrong time.
Once Kendall has achieved this bouncing and catching rhythm and timing, change the activity to tossing the ball upwards and catching with 2 hands. Resume the counting to 10. Progress this by bouncing with 1 hand as well as tossing and catching with 1 hand. When Kendall has succeeded at this rhythm, then challenge her to spell her name as she bounces the ball.
Talk about “steady body” “steady brain” when you invite Kendall to maintain a more equal pace. Use this same language in other instances at school and at home. We are reinforcing Kendall’s steady pace of rhythm and, at these times, we are not as focused on perfect technique, we are focused on perfect sustained rhythm and timing.
Like exercising a muscle, sometimes requires her to follow a steady rhythm, no matter what the performance. At other times, exercise the brain “muscle” by focusing on neatness and accuracy, not speed of performance. Students need to know how to do both to succeed independently in the classroom.
Read more on this topic through my blogs on this website and by purchasing my book (CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE), Unique Reader Solutions.