Meet an 8-year-old boy who is highly motivated to socialize with friends and play basketball. Let’s call him Michael. His diagnoses include spastic diplegic cerebral palsy and dysarthria of speech. He uses a manual wheelchair for mobility in school hallways and a reversed walker when in the classroom. Michael receives school-based physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and resource room support. He has therapy goals targeting core strength, dynamic balance/reach, ADLs (dressing and toileting), executive functions, and speech.
Michael’s needs impact his independence and ability to participate in meaningful childhood activities. As a result, Michael exhibits frustration and is overly dependent on peers for assistance with everyday classroom tasks. To help Michael, we can create interactive programming with the Dynavision D2™ board. Here are five tips to get started:
Develop a baseline performance prior to developing a treatment plan. Identify and target underlying visual, cognitive, and motor needs that are preventing the child from achieving their therapy goals.
2. Individualize Programming
Consider what the child is able to do, beginning to do, and unable to do. Select programming that is developmentally appropriate, as opposed to age or grade level content. Incorporate the child’s interests to increase buy-in.
3. Keep Challenges “Just-Right”
Program visual, cognitive, and motor challenges slightly above the child’s skill level to avoid frustration and allow for success. The intervention should progress from simple to complex. As new skills develop, gradually increase demands using tasks of graded complexity.1 Use objective reports to identify baseline performance and track change over time.
4. Prompt for Success
Simple visual, auditory, and tactile cues make learning easier. For example, it’s a good idea to model various button-hitting strategies such as using the palm, fingers, or back of the hand. When testing one hand, provide something to hold in the resting hand. Incorporate red and green gloves to assist with crossing midline, multi-step directions, and left/right directionality.
5. Transfer Learning
New skills are reinforced with time and practice. Transfer of learning occurs through:
- Trial and error
- Motivation for repeated efforts
- Refinement of skilled movements
- Frequent self-evaluation
- Near-far transfer
There is a complex relationship between vision, thought, and action.2 Dysfunction at basic levels impacts function at all levels. With specific task accomplishment as the overarching goal, intervention with the Dynavision D2™ aims to address underlying visual, cognitive, and motor needs to achieve functional goals.
This innovative technology is a fun and effective way to address multiple needs while at the same time embedding treatment into play.
- Schneck, C.M. (2010). Visual perception. In J. Case-Smith and J. Clifford O’Brien Ed. Occupational therapy for children (6th Ed). Maryland Heights, MO: Mosby Elsevier.
- Toglia, J. (2005). A dynamic interactional approach to cognitive rehabilitation. In N. Katz (Ed.), Cognition and occupation in rehabilitation: Cognitive models for intervention in occupational therapy. Bethesda, MD: American Occupational Therapy Association.