This post originally appeared on the blog The Autism Helper.
We simply don’t have the luxury to focus on one skill at a time in our classrooms. Our kids have SO.MUCH. to work on. And once we get some momentum, we’ve gotta roll with it and squeeze in every ounce of learning we can! I love incorporating fine motor skills into our academic learning. It also makes things more interactive and engaging for my learners. Check out some of my favorites:
The perfect marriage of the unifix cube and a sharpie. For some reason I seem to have a massive bag of unifix cubes in my classroom at all times. I think small school elves sneak in at night and replenish them or something. Time to put them to good use! I made some matching lowercase to uppercase sets and also some general matching letters. This task works on discrimination, letter recognition, and fine motor skills! I’ve also made number matching, numeral to word, and numeral to to quantity. All with materials I had laying around my classroom! Perfect for an independent work task.
I have been doing this activity with my students who are working on letter identification but also have some fine motor deficits. It’s like a lovely little elicit hook up between OT and academics. And it slows down my kiddo who just seems to FLY through all the work I give him. Seriously, slow down man. I can barely undo tasks as fast as this kids works. Here is what we did:
It’s a little painfully slow and we didn’t do loads of trials. But I felt like it was meaningful and structured. The students I have been doing it with are sometimes especially picky on work tasks and they seem to approve. The container is an old almond container (I know – I am a hoarder…) and I like it because it is long enough to get a good grasp on the container and the twist and untwist (untwist is harder for my kids!) mimics a toothpaste container which one of my kiddos is working on!
We also have been doing it with ice cube trays. Same process but student puts the letter into the ice cube tray. This is great because it gives a clear and concrete visual of how many trials the student will need to do. Things like this are awesome for your kids who have a lot of inappropriate and aggressive behavior to escape from tasks. I had gotten pinched quite a few times last week from this student and this system has really been helping this!
This simple & easy activity is always an insane hit! I threw a bunch of dots all around a piece of scrap paper and my students placed the stickers on the dots. It really takes of a lot of dexterity, concentration, and time to take off the small stickers and place them on the correct spot. Perfect for my guys who need all the practice they can get on fine motor skills!
Incorporate some letter and number identification into this task by writing letters instead of dots and prompting students to match letters or numbers as you say them. You can also work on following two step directions by saying, “put a blue sticker on letter D.”
Sasha Long, BCBA, M.A., is a board certified behavior analyst and certified special education teacher with nine years of experience in a premier autism program. Sasha also travels nationwide as a speaker and consultant providing individualized training and feedback to parents, educators, therapists and administrators in the world of autism. She is currently an adjunct professor in the school of Applied Behavior Analysis at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Visit her at her TpT store The Autism Helper, and check out her Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.