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Gift Guide 2018: Occupational Therapist Recommended Toys (with links)

With the holiday season quickly approaching, we wanted to share with you some of our favorite toys and gifts that can help your little one develop their fine motor skills. There are so many toys out today that can be great therapeutic tools, however, the kids never have to know about that… they just think they are playing and having fun!!!! This is just a few ideas of some gifts that come with the added benefit of fine motor development.

Creative Construction Toys

The ever popular construction toys are a favorite among children and therapists alike. This could include Lego’s, Duplo Blocks, wooden blocks, magnetic tiles,  pop beads, and one of the many connector type toys on the market.

Why are these good you ask?… many reasons. They help to develop your child’s grasping patterns (see image below for a guide to the developmental progression of grasp patterns by age). On a basic level, these types of toys can help develop and strengthen the muscles of the hands that are so important for skills such as managing buttons and zippers to legible handwriting. They can be used to help with color identification with the younger ones. They can help develop visual motor skills by having the child see both a printed design on the box or a 3-d model you create and show them, and then they have to attempt to duplicate the design.

Board Games

There are many different board games out there today but there tends to be some tried and true commonalities between them. There is almost always turn taking in board games. This can help your child develop the socially appropriate skill of taking turns, letting others have a try, listening and waiting. Typically the players get their turn and have to either: roll the dice, spin the spinner, or pick a card. Rolling a dice is a good way to encourage bilateral coordination as both hands need to come to the midline to accomplish a goal.

A person’s midline is nothing more than an imaginary line down the center of the body. Crossing midline is an important skill because it lets us know that the two sides of the brain are communicating, as well as so many daily functions that require this skill (putting on your socks, writing, swinging a bat…).

Many games include some type of fine motor manipulation skills, such as: picking up small pieces and moving them, twisting and turning knobs, and pushing buttons (just thinking about how that can help your child button their pants and shirts, zip their coats, wash their hands, and even writing makes my heart smile)! Here is a list within a list… (I know, right?)… of some games to target some of the specific skills:

Grasp Patterns: Connect Four, Pop the Pig, Battleship, Perfection, card games like Uno.
Hand strength: Pop the Pig, Operation, Cranium (they get to use molding dough), Soggy Doggy (they have to twist the bathtub knob).

Visual Challenge Toys

While some of these may seem a bit more therapeutic and a little less fun and gamey… the kids love them anyways! Some examples of visual challenge games include: Spot-it, Eye Found it, Where’s Waldo, Guess Who, and Memory Match. These are great toys to use to help develop your child’s visual perceptual skills.

Visual perceptual is simply put as the brains interpretation of what it is seeing. These skills are used for a wide variety of things, such as: getting dressed, being able to find that one specific sock on the floor covered in many other clothing items and toys, reading, writing, coloring, drawing, completing math problems, depth perception, driving… and so many other things that we take for granted.
I hope you have found some of these suggestions useful and helpful when heading out among the masses to fine that perfect gift, or when watching the processing wheel go round and round after you clicked the checkout button. Just remember most every toy and game out there has some form of fine and/or visual motor skill development built into it, just play, have fun, and enjoy your time with your kids!

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Patient Reviews

LLA Therapy

Patient Reviews

Crystal Scheibe

Great place, glad we found them. Been going to Medina over 2 months now and he loves Lauryn and Kyler. Wish they had more ABA therapy places available... live in Wooster and long drive everyday.

Karrie Swan LaRock

My 11 year old son has dyslexia and has made noticeable gains in working At LLA THERAPY. Katie is strong in her approach toward him and also keeps him comfortable enough to perform well. We will continue visiting both the Fairlawn and Hudson offices and recommend them highly.

Ron Monroe

My 9 year old just completed about 9 months of weekly speech sessions (due to his stuttering) with Matt Hagge at LLA and we are thrilled with the experience and results. What I thought might be a negative (what kid really wants to go to speech class?) was made very positive by Matt, and my son never hesitated or complained when we talked about class. He really enjoyed it and really took what Matt taught him to heart. His speech has been greatly improved and we definitely recommend LLA. Thank you so much!

Heather Dougherty-Pantoja

My son’s Occupational Therapist, Jess, is an amazing OT! She gives practical tips on working with my son at home and school!

Terri Apgar

I cannot say enough good things about LLA Therapy. My daughter was a client of Teal Simmons’ for approximately 2 years and was just released from speech therapy! She was diagnosed with Apraxia in 2015 and worked with Teal twice a week. Through Teal’s application of PROMPT therapy, my daughter had age-appropriate speech after one year. All of the staff we interacted with at LLA were absolutely wonderful. They really care about what they do and making sure your child achieves their goals.

Kelli Geisler Davisson

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for my son as well as my family! My son always asks, "When can I go see Ms. Jeannine again, is it Monday??" He has also made huge gains in only 5 months! I would highly recommend LLA and have already shared my experience with friends looking for services!

Victoria Hansford-Price

We are so grateful for our Speech Therapist Ms.Teal. We have seen a great improvement with our sons confidence and communication abilities since we have started "Prompt" therapy. What we love the most about LLA and Ms. Teal is that Kohl feels comfortable and relaxed which has played a critical role in his progress. Thank you Ms. Teal for all you have done.

Laura Lee Hogsett

They have helped in numerous ways. Speech, OT and behavioral. I've had numerous compliments on my son's progress thanks in very large part to LLA. I would recommend LLA before I recommend our local children's hospitals, though they are good, they don't have the staff that LLA does.

Amy Furukawa

We had a great experience with Matt Hagge at LLA! Our Middle School age son was becoming very conscious of his voice, which is nasal due to a cleft palate. Matt helped him to better form his sounds and project his voice in a way that makes the unavoidable nasality less noticeable.Our son is more confident and outgoing & even took on a speaking role in the church play. Matt has the perfect personality to relate with our son, and we would recommend him to anyone needing speech therapy services!

Jessica Havalotti

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for our daughter. I would highly recommend LLA. Miss Grace was so amazing and I can't believe how quickly our daughter showed improvement. Thank you!
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