Sunday, April 1, 2012

When in doubt, use heavy work

This year I have dedicated a lot of time to developing a better understanding of my students' sensory needs. Throughout all of my research and my many conversations with regional occupational therapists I have learned these words to live by: "When in doubt, use heavy work." The use of heavy work (or proprioceptive input) provides a calming affect to kiddos exhibiting a variety of sensory behaviors.

The key is to incorporate heavy work continually throughout the student's school day. Therefore, you are continually meeting this sensory need rather than waiting for a meltdown to signal that you need to do more to meet that child's needs.

Heavy work should also ALWAYS be used following other sensory input such as vestibular (linear movement) or tactile (touch). This is true even for those low-register kids that you are trying to "wake up" a bit. This is because you have to walk that thin line between under and over stimulation. Therefore, even after you wake them up you may want to even them out with some heavy work input.

Here is a quick and easy reference list I made for my classroom to remind us of the tons of activities that fall under "heavy work". It also provides classroom modifications, jobs, and snacks that could provide this important input.

Click the link below and Enjoy!!


S. Parker said...

I love your blog. I will be reading and hope to learn from you.

MissAllison said...

Thanks! I am glad to have a new reader! I hope you find lots to enjoy and use!

Sarah said...

I just posted your blogspot on my Laughter, Could be the Missing Piece Facebook page and you can catch me on my blog where I hope to give families a chance to smile, laugh and find their bliss by allowing our kids to be kids.

nate said...

Hi there, would it be possible to get dimensions on that ramp you have there? And less important, a couple more pictures, just so I can get a feel for it?

Thank you in advance!

MissAllison said...

Hi Nate! That picture is not from my building so unfortunately I don't have the dimensions. Sorry I couldn't be of more help!

Waiting on Cloud 8 said...

Your Heavy Work list is awesome. I am a relatively new OT in the school system and am always looking for good handouts to provide to teachers for sensory diets. I love how you have categorized the various activities. It makes it very user-friendly. Thank you for posting this!!!