Friday, October 2, 2015

Step By Step Pictures to Teach How To Catch a Ball

Catching freebieHelp children learn how to catch a ball with these step by step visual instructions.  This is a freebie from the latest packet – Teaching Catching, Throwing and Kicking Skills.  You can download the picture cards here
Teaching Catching, Throwing and Kicking Skills from
Get more information on the complete download here

Norms for Core Strength in Children

Norms for Core Strength in Children - Your Therapy Source IncI frequently get asked where you can find norms to measure core strength in children.  As pediatric therapists, we sometimes use supine flexion, prone extension, modified sit ups and push ups as measures of core strength.  I don’t usually refer to the norms but more look at the quality of how the exercise is performed and  progress over time for each individual child.  I do realize though that parents, teachers and administrators do like to understand norms to compare what a child should accomplish.  The norms used for supine flexion and prone extension are older but seem to be the most referenced articles.  If anyone knows of more updated, larger studies I would love to hear about them.
Supine Flexion – for each age group there were 40 participants.  Lying in supine, children were instructed to hold the following position: cross arms, flex knees to 90 degrees and “roll into a ball” by flexing neck, upper trunk and hips.   The results were recorded comparing boys to girls with the standard deviations ranging from 6.7 to 39.7.
AGE IN YEARS                                    BOYS (SECONDS)                             GIRLS (SECONDS)
3                                                              15.5                                                        15.8
4                                                              17                                                           20.1
5                                                              27.4                                                        29.5
6                                                              55.4                                                        52
Reference:  Marsha B Lefkof. Trunk Flexion in Healthy Children Aged 3 to 7 Years. PHYS THER January 1986 66:39-44
Prone Extension – There were 26 four year olds, 28 six year olds and 30 eight year olds in the study.  They were instructed to lay on their stomach and lift up head, chest, arms and legs off the floor with knees straight and elbows bent.  The standard deviation ranged from 5.67-13.45.
AGE IN YEARS                                    POSITION HELD (SECONDS)
4                                                              18.15
6                                                              28.93
8                                                              Every participant held position for 30 seconds
Reference: Harris, N. Duration and Quality of the Prone Extension Position in Four, Six and Eight Year Old Normal Children.  AJOT. January 1981Vol 35 No 1.
PRONE EXTENSION 6-9 YEAR OLDS (BOWMAN & KATZ RESULTS) – 153 right hand dominant participants
AGE IN YEARS                                    POSITION HELD (SECONDS)
6                                                              76.32
7                                                              77.72
8                                                              110.82
9                                                              115.14
Reference: Bowman, JO and Katz, B. Hand Strength and Prone Extension in RIght Dominant 6-9 Year Olds. Am J Occup Ther. 1984; 38(6):367-376. doi: 10.5014/ajot.38.6.367.
PRESIDENTIAL YOUTH FITNESS PROGRAM – The program uses FITNESSGRAM®, which provides an efficient way for physical educators to perform evidence-based health-related fitness assessments.  Here is more info about the program and directions –
5 and 6                  ≥2                                                           6-12                                       ≥3
7                              ≥4                                                           6-12                                       ≥4
8                              ≥6                                                           6-12                                       ≥5
9                              ≥9                                                           6-12                                       ≥6
10                           ≥12                                                         9-12                                       ≥7
These result go all the way to 17 years plus which you can view here –
Reference:   The Cooper Institute (2010).FITNESSGRAM® for the Presidential Youth Fitness Program.
Play Strong from
By: Your Therapy Source  
Summary: Download of electronic book with activities to promote muscle 
strengthening in children.  FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Indoor Recess Game Packet Freebie

Indoor Recess Packet from are a few freebies that work great for indoor recess when you need something in a hurry. They would make a fun back to school gift for teachers – print them off, toss them in a file folder and teachers have some “go to” activities for when the weather takes a turn for the worse.  You can download the entire packet here –
  1.  Imagination Action Journey Triathlon – encourage literacy and physical activity with the imaginative movement journey.  Download here
  2. Q and A Body Game – Promote body awareness, motor skills and listening skills with this simple game that requires no equipment.  Print the directions here
  3. Peanut Butter and Jelly – Grab a soft ball  and encourage eye hand coordination, motor timing and motor planning.  Practice self regulation skills as well with this fun but challenging game.
  4. Roll Some Brain Breaks – Roll some dice and get moving.  Great activity for small spaces and to keep everyone active.  Download the activity here
  5. Be A Robot – Cut out some circles, grab a partner and start some motor planning and physical activity.  Download here
  6. Color Ball Game – Encourage following motor commands, motor memory and coordination skills.
  7. Social Red Rover – Promote motor skill development, cooperation and social skills with this active group game.
  8. Listen for the Code – Encourage listening skills, following motor commands, self regulation skills and left right directions.
Want to download ALL of these indoor recess games at once???  Head on over to Your Therapy Source to get your copy to distribute to teachers or go to

8 Free Fall Themed Fine, Gross and Visual Motor Activities

8 Free Fall Printables from www.YourTherapySource.comHere are 8 free printables for fine motor, gross motor and visual perceptual activities with a Fall theme.
  1.  Leaf Animals – Print and create some leaf animals to practice fine motor skills.  Download here
  2. Pumpkin Patch Fine Motor Game – download here
  3. Handwriting Hunt for Autumn – getting moving and writing with this activity.  Download here
  4. Fall Handwriting Practice – Download the Free Fall Handwriting Practice pages –
    double line and dotted line styles –
  5. Falling Leaves– practice fine motor, gross motor, balance and coordination skills with this activity.  Download here
  6. Fall Handwriting Words, Lined Paper and Football Visual Motor Task – download here
  7. Pumpkin Multisensory Handwriting Page – download here
  8. Raking Maze to practice visual motor, visual spatial and motor planning skills.  Download here

Brain Activation, Handwriting and Learning to Read

Effects of Handwriting on Reading from www.YourTherapySource.comDid you know some research indicates that brain activation when identifying letters is influenced by previous handwriting of letters?  Researchers at Indiana University have published several research articles on visual perceptual skills in children.  One article that was published in Trends in Neuroscience and Education examined 15 preliterate, right handed children (ages 4.2-5 years old).  During functional MRI scanning, each child was shown a letter or shape on an index card and asked to draw, trace or type the item without it being named by the experimenter.
The following results were recorded:
  1.  after self-generated printing experience, letter perception in the
    young child recruits components of the reading systems in the
    brain more than other forms of sensori-motor practice (tracing or typing).
The researchers concluded that “handwriting is important for the early recruitment in letter processing of brain regions known to underlie successful reading. Handwriting therefore may facilitate reading acquisition in young children”
Reference:  James KH, Engelhardt L. The effects of handwriting experience on functional brain development in preliterate children. Trends in Neuroscience and Education (2012),
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Physiological Functioning and Seating System

Comparing seating systems Physical Therapy published a single case study comparing physiological functioning, communication switch activation, and response accuracy in a 19-year-old young man with quadriplegic cerebral palsy and neurological scoliosis using 2 seating systems within the school setting. A alternating treatment design was used recording data from the following conditions: baseline (standard planar inserts), using a custom molded back with original seat and again at baseline.
Data collection included oxygen saturation (SaO2), heart rate (HR), respiration rate (RR), body temperature (BT), processing time to activate switches, and response accuracy.
The following results were recorded:
1. SaO2 levels increased from “distressed” to “normal” – variability decreased.
2. HR, RR, and BT fluctuations decreased with the custom-molded back.
3. Processing time decreased with increased variability, affected by subject’s motivation.
4. accuracy improved slightly.
5. social approachability and student-initiated communication increased.
The researchers concluded that SaO2 increased and HR, RR, and BT fluctuations decreased with a custom-molded back and recommend graphing data to help clarify the effects of different seating systems with complex clients.
Lephart, Kim PT, DPT, MBA, PCS; Kaplan, Sandra L. PT, DPT, PhD. Two Seating Systems’ Effects on an Adolescent With Cerebral Palsy and Severe Scoliosis. Pediatric Physical Therapy. Fall 2015 Vol. 27 – Issue 3: p 258–266

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Alphabet Hunt Movement and Learning Activity

Scavenger Hunt Freebie from this free Category Scavenger Hunt.  Write a letter in each box on the left.  Find objects that start with those letters.  Write down what you find.  TIme yourself to see how quickly you can find the correct objects.  You can download your free copy here
Get more information about the complete Scavenger Hunts.

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