Tuesday, December 2, 2014

In My Therapy Bag | Dr. Anne Zachry

Today I'm happy to welcome Dr. Anne Zachry! Dr. Zachry is a pediatric occupational therapist with over 20 years of experience. Dr. Zachry has written for numerous online magazines, including Parents and Babble. Dr. Zachry has also published research in peer-reviewed journals, and has even published a book! Her book, Retro Baby, is a great resource for parents and professionals to help cut back on the use of baby gear and get back to the basics of play and development. She is truly an inspiration! Read on to find out a basic item that she always keeps in her therapy bag.

What's in my therapy bag?

Buttons! I always keep a small container of buttons handy in my therapy bag.

How do I use buttons in therapy?

Manipulating buttons is a great way to work the small muscles in the hand and improve eye hand coordination.

Picking up and placing buttons into a container requires in-hand manipulation skills. Imagine your hand is divided into two separate sides. The pinky and ring finger side is for stability. The thumb, index, and middle finger perform manipulation skills. It is important to be able to separate the two sides of the hand when it comes to fine motor skills.

As you can see in the photo below, I am stabilizing two coins using my pinky and ring fingers, yet I am still able to manipulate a quarter using my thumb, index, and middle finger.

In the following video, I am performing translation skills. When I pick up the buttons and bring them into my palm, this is called finger-to-palm translation. As I bring one button out to my fingertips at a time, while stabilizing the others in my palm, this is called palm-to-finger translation with stabilization. This is a great exercise for working on hand skills! A similar activity is to have your child put coins into a piggy bank. Another therapeutic activity is to stack coins or buttons.

Lastly, a fun visual perceptual activity is to draw patterns on a piece of paper and have the child place the buttons on the corresponding color or shape outline. This is also great for visual motor control and precision hand skills!

Connect with Dr. Anne Zachry:

Twitter: @AnneZachry
Amazon: Retro Baby

Be sure to check out all of the other great posts in this series to find out what must-have items therapists have in their therapy bags!!

Do you have an item in your therapy bag that you'd like to share? I'd love for you to share it in an upcoming post! Just send me an email, AbbyPediatricOT {at} gmail {dot} com for more information. Open to all therapists! You don't have to be a blogger to participate!

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