My students need need activites for when they are in therapy sessions. Puzzles, clay, fidgets, and sensory toys help to calm them when talking about very difficult times in their lives and when learning to cope!
Working in a level 4 Day Treatment setting, I work with high needs, high risk children currently ranging from ages 6-18 years old.
Possible struggles these children have experienced prior to arrival at our facility are; child abuse, neglect, trauma, divorce, witness of domestic violence, chemical use, multiple homes, or multiple placements.
For other students, this might be their first stop outside of their mainstream or alternative school, where they have not been successful.
I hope to make a difference!
When talking about past trauma, it can be very anxiety provoking and it is often hard for children to stay emotionally and behaviorally regulated. Example: If a student enters my room, tearful and talking about running away...I can pull them in by giving them a calming tool like a Sensory Ball to start; eventually pulling them into a conversation to problem solve and make a healthier choice. If they are struggling to calm, a visual such as a Motion Timer could help students to see that when the timer is up, it is time to try using our deescalation and healthy coping tools again.
It is amazing to see how it calms a student to hand them a fidget to utilize like a Sensory Ball or give them a project to focus on like using Air Dry Clay to distract them in the moment by creating something they can be proud of.
Different Puzzles are a good way of praciting mindfulness also for several students experiencing intense emotions or feeling overwhelmed. Student's will be excited to see new puzzles to work on.
There are many art projects that require Pipe Cleaners, Construction Paper, and other art supplies. Students enjoy using their imagination to create an art piece or project. Quite often it results in an increase in positivity and improves self esteem. Working with these tactile items has also been observed to decrease feelings of anxiety, anger, sadness, or frustration.
These tools are a start to helping students learn healthy ways of coping and handling overwhelming situations in order to be successful in their day to day functioning.
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