During our first two evaluations at Pediatrics Plus with the occupational therapist there, Brian and I both noticed a lot of the items she was using were toys or things that would be easy to buy (if we didn’t already have them) for our home. In his eval, we spoke with Jamie (the OT) about how to practice with him at home in between therapy sessions and she gave us some pointers and objectives to work on with Liam at home. We went out and found or bought similar objects to the ones Jamie had used and a file box to keep them in so that when we were not using them to practice with Liam he couldn’t play with them or see them. (This helped keep his interest during the therapy sessions because they were toys he didn’t normally have at his disposal to play with.)Below are pictures of the items we found with explanations on how we use them for Liam’s Vision Therapy.
At home kit:
1. Brightly colored cup-any colorful container will do (we put smaller objects of contrasting colors inside it for Liam to reach in and use his pincer grasp to remove them)
2. Mardi Gras Beads- any bright reflective beads would work (Important: must be able to rattle and make noise and have flashy reflective surface) We work on saccadic movements with these. (rattle one to the right of his head and hold his attention there for 3 seconds, then switch to the other on the left dropping the right ones to shift his focus to the left ones for 3 seconds. Repeat going back and forth to practice quick focus shifting from one object to the other. This helps when one day he wants to drive so that he can look away for the road and quickly return his focus to the road.
3. Usborne Touchy-Feely Books- “That’s Not My…” texture books. Great textures on every page and great color contrasts. Great for visually impaired kids and there are dozens of them. (“That’s not my Monkey”, “That’s not my truck”, etc.) And they are only 5 dollars on walmart.com.
4. Wooden Squares- These range in size and color from 1cm to 2inch squares. We use them to work on Liam’s grasp and pincer grip. (picking them up from large to small with 1 or 2 fingers and his thumb.)
5. Colorful Connect Boats- work on pulling apart and picking them up. (Great for chewing on!)
6. Yellow and Black Peg Board and Pegs- We could only find a yellow peg board but since kids with Nystagmus do better with bright colors on dark backgrounds we covered one side in black and left the other yellow. This is used on Liam’s fine motor skills to get him to find the tiny holes and put the pegs in or take them out. Helps with grasp and pincer grip.
All of these things are easily found and can be put together to make your own at home Vision Therapy kit if needed. All of the toys/objects are used with certain tasks designed to improve Liam’s fine motor skills and he really likes the extra play time!! It’s so great to be able to help him at home and get some learning time in too!