The team at Achievement Products asked our consultant, Occupational Therapist Scott Russo, to provide some activity suggestions for incorporating some of our favorite items into daily classroom activities or curriculum. Scott has provided some really great and creative ways to use items (that may have been originally designed for typically developing children), in special needs environments. Today we will look at the Gel Spiral Pad.
The Gel Spiral Pad provides a fantastic overall sensory experience while increasing finger and hand strength, and improving visual-motor control. The texture of the gel combined with its bright but soothing colors provides the perfect combination of tactile and visual input in a non-threatening manner to the sensory defensive child. The gel provides resistance for finger and hand strengthening as well a visual-motor challenge as the child tries to maneuver the embedded plastic pieces through the maze.
- Use the pad for sensory exploration. Have the child free play with fingers and palms across the surface of the pad. Cool the pad in a refrigerator before use for increased sensory input.
- Place the Gel Spiral Pad on a light table for added visual stimulation, to reduce boredom and increase attention span.
- Use the pad to develop finger isolation and strength. Indicate a finger for use on each hand and have the child use only that finger to move the plastic pieces, or simply to trace the spirals. Switch fingers at random intervals or when fatigue is noticed.
- Time the child and see how fast he/she can get the plastic pieces through the maze.