Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dealing with the Wiggle Worm

Wiggle Worms. Hyperactive. Whatever you call them, these kids have their engines running too high to settle down for school work. Children use their own coping methods when this happens, but often their methods are not socially acceptable.

An occupational therapist gave our homeschool support group tips for working with the wiggle worms.
  • Before you begin school work, use firm touch to calm them down. For most people, firm touch is soothing, and light touch is irritating. (So tags in clothing bother some children.) Have the child stretch out on the floor while the parent rolls a large therapy ball over him. This puts weight on as much skin as possible and activates receptors in the brain that calm.
  • Use a weighted vest (a google search will give you companies that sell these) or lay heavy afghans on them.
  • Tell them to play “burrito” and wrap them in a light-weight sheet. They can leave their arms out, lie on the floor, and do their reading or school work. Get feedback from your child. They will tell you what feels good to them.
  • Have your child sit on a therapy ball instead of a chair. This allows the movement they crave and still allows them to do seat work. (Warning, give them opportunities to sit on the ball before you want them to actually work so the newness will wear off!) I know of one child who went from a five minute attention span to a forty minute attention span by sitting on a ball.
  • Give them training for track before you begin to work. One mother I know sends her son out for a long run every morning before her son begins to work.
Please give us suggestions that you use to calm a over-active child.

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