Sensory Activities Using Magnetic White Board
Using vertical surfaces has always been a popular occupational therapy strategy used in school systems and pediatric clinics. I work with adults with developmental disabilities who continue to benefit from vertical plane activities. I notice that in many of the program rooms these fantastic therapeutic materials (AKA white boards) are filled with schedules, photographs and organized to be attractive as well as functional. However I believe that whiteboards can be functional, therapeutic and as well as beautiful!
This video demonstrates just one of many simple therapeutic activities that uses 3 common materials: Magnetic white boards, dry erase markers and magnets.
Benefits of this activity for young children and/or adults with developmental disabilities include:
1) Visual attention is easier when materials are right in front of the face
2) Standing, reaching high/low and moving back and forth between magnet container and white board is more aerobic than sitting and movement provides sensory stimulation. Unfortunately, many of my clients who are obese and sedentary may find this activity an endurance challenge.
3)Students or clients developing social skills as they work together to perform one of the 3 main steps (i.e. drawing circles, placing or removing magnets and cleaning the board)
4) Learning to clean the board helps them to improve similar motor and daily living skills such as wiping tables or drying trays.
5)This activity encourages using both side of the body at the same time. My client in the wheelchair who had a brain injury avoids using hands together and crossing midline. This activity was fun and fairly simple so he was willing to use one hand to control the wheelchair and the other hand to do the task.
6) This activity can be easily adapted to work on cognitive skills such as color matching, picture identification or counting.