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 Tactile Sensory Ball.
All activities should be engaged in with a caregiver or teacher in attendance. Develop static (non-moving) and dynamic (moving) balance skills. Start by having the child or teenager simply try to maintain their balance while their feet are on the ground. Move the ball in different directions and have the child adjust their balance accordingly. Start with slow movements and gradually increase to more challenging movements.
- Have the child or teenager sit on the ball and try to maintain balance with their feet off of the ground.
- Lying on the belly, have the child perform wheelbarrow walks. Make sure their legs are together and supported as they walk forward and backward on their hands.
- To increase upper-body strength, have students try pushups with their feet or legs supported by the ball. The pushups can be graded by having less and less of the leg supported as the child or teenager walks out on his/her hands.
- From a sitting position, have the child or teenager perform situps while maintaining their balance, have them lean back as far as they can support themselves, or with a spotter supporting them, then bring themselves back up to a sitting position.
- Use the ball as a chair for increased attention. The ball can be used at a desk or table during fine motor or academic tasks.
- Use the ball as a balance challenge for gross motor play such as balloon volleyball or catch. For the teenager, there are a variety of resistance activities that can be done using the ball as the balance device while performing normal weight training movements.
- For increased sensory input, have the child or teenager lie on his/her belly and use the ball as a roller, applying pressure over the back.