ADLs (Activities of Daily Living)

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Activities of Daily Living, or ADLs are the tasks that you do every day, such as get dressed, eat food, brush your hair, brush your teeth, clean your house, play with toys, go to work, go to school, etc.  Average people take these activities for granted because they are able to do them easily and automatically.  A person with a disability may find it difficult to do some of these activities.  Occupational Therapists work with the core problems that are keeping someone from doing these activities, and work on ways to make these activities easier for the client to perform.

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ADLs include:

  • dressing
  • feeding
  • grooming
  • hygiene
  • toileting
  • home skills
  • school skills
  • work hardening

Below are some activities that work on ADLs.  They are listed in no particular order, and new ones are added often.

Greeper Laces Never Come Untied

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Tying shoes is an important skill to learn, and there are many tricks that can be used, which I have posted about before. At some point, you may decide that the process of tying is no longer the goal, but just having your shoes tied is the important part. Greeper laces are an awesome adaptation […]

Shoelaces to help with learning to tie shoes

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I love sharing products that were created by therapists.  Last year I did a post about some little practice shoes called Loopers Laces.  The practice shoes were not meant to be worn, but just meant to be practiced with and help with the process of learning to tie shoes.  Now there are new shoelaces made […]

Play with Scooping Ice Cream for Skill Development

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Scooping is an important skill to have, and can easily be worked on in a fun and playful way. I decided to have fun with it with an ice cream scooping session, using large home made pom poms as the scoops of ice cream. I neglected to make toppings which the child working on the […]

Loopeez 2 color laces and Give-away

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I have done several posts on tying shoes; shoe tying methods, tips and tricks for tying shoes, and printable practice shoe. In my post about tips and tricks, I mentioned Loopeez, but had never tried them. In the time since I wrote that post, Loopeez has sent me a sample of the product to try […]

Teaching Shoe Tying: Tips and Tricks

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Tying shoes is a very complex skill that can be very difficult to learn. There are so many skill areas that are used when tying shoes, that if you have a deficit in one of those skills, then you will have trouble tying shoes. Not only does it require fine motor skills, you need good […]

Shoe Tying Methods

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There are essentially two standard methods of tying shoes, (and then there is my own non-standard method). You have the one loop method, the two loop method (bunny ears), and my own version for kids that have significant delays, and can’t succeed with the other methods is the Push and Tie (PAT) method (I had […]

Shoe Tying Printable Practice Shoe

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When practicing shoe tying, it is best to have the shoe sitting in front of the child either on the floor or the table. I don’t always have a shoe with me (I have been known to take my own shoe off to use for practice), so I made a shoe printable and attached it […]

Practicing Tying Shoes with Loopers Laces

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Occupational Therapists create stuff. It’s what we do. I am thrilled to share products that have been conceived and created by other OTs. Today’s product is Loopers Laces, which was created specifically to help with working on learning to tie shoes. The Loopers Shoelace tying system comes with 2 little mini practice shes that are […]

Using a Visual Barrier When Doing Fine Motor Tasks

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The other day I was having a student practicing fastening some buttons, and he was very focused on tugging and pulling, and was not feeling the fabric and button with his fingers. I then covered his hands to try and get him to just feel where the button hole was and try to get the […]

I have Button Food and I’m ready to play

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Kids love to play pretend, and playing with pretend food is one of the most fun pretend games.  Felt food is fun to play with, but what if you could work on skills at the same time?  It has been about a year and a half since I first posted about my felt button food.  […]

The right bite feeding therapy tool

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How many kids do you work with that try to stuff a whole huge cracker into their mouth?  How many times have you been bitten when working on taking bites of food (never for me, but I have been bitten doing other oral motor activities).  Ark has just introduced a new product called the Right […]

Tying Ribbon to Make a Spring Tree

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I loved the activity that I did where the kids had to tie ribbon onto a stick to make a tree. The activity turned out beautiful, and it really targeted the tying skill, which is usually a pretty difficult skill to attain. Since then, I have been thinking about other activities that would target tying, […]

Mixing straw drinking fun with fine motor fun

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How could you get any more OT than mixing an oral motor, ADL, and fine motor activity into one.  I found these build your own straws called Pipeline at Bed Bath and Beyond, and just had to try them.  They seem to be the same thing as the Strawz that I found on Amazon too. […]

Having fun with straw drinking

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Drinking from a straw can be a challenge for some kids, and it can be a scary thing for those who don’t know what to do or expect.  An OT friend of mine named Sharon mentioned that she and the kids love to use the Got Milk Magic Flavored Straws when working on straw drinking. […]

Ribbon Christmas Tree

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This ribbon Christmas tree activity is the most awesome therapy activity ever. It incorporates practicing tying into a nice craft that looks beautiful when it is done. The kids all loved it, and they were all very proud of what they had accomplished. Most of the kids started the activity by saying that they didn’t […]

Marshmallow Men

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We made some men out of marshmallows and toothpicks, and they were delicious.  We used multiple sizes of marshmallows for the different parts, and connected the parts with toothpicks. Some of these men were looking very funny, but they all tasted good in the end.  This is a fun food play activity to combine food […]

Pine Cone Bird Feeder and Spreading with a Knife

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Spreading can be a challenge for many kids, so here is a fun activity that helps practice. You use a pine cone and attach a wire or string to the top of it so that you can hang it once it is finished. You then spread peanut butter all over the pine cone. It can […]

Vibration For Oral Motor Stimulation

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I am seeing a little girl who enjoys eating, but she does not yet move her tongue to the side (tongue lateralization) in order to move her food around in her mouth. I will often use vibration in the mouth to stimulate more tongue and cheek movement. Sometimes I will have parents get a baby […]

Dycem: It’s the stickiest

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I haven’t used Dycem for years since I haven’t been in a clinic for years. When I work on my own and in other people’s houses, I tend to use whatever is available there. For those who don’t know what Dycem is, it is a sticky non-slip rubber that can be placed to stabilize objects, […]

Spaghetti Painting for Sensory Problems

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I have a few kids that I see who do not like food. I like to use food as a play tool in order to help make food their friend because they need to accept being around food,so using spaghetti noodles as a painting tool is a fun activity. Some kids love it immediately, and […]

Car Wash

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When the weather is warm, it is always fun to play in the water. Here is a fun activity that has water play, with some self-care skills and fine motor skills all mixed into one activity. When washing your hands, you use visual perception and motor planning to see and physically scrub the dirt off […]

Cooking For Therapy

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I am working on doing a feeding group and integrating some simple food play/cooking/interaction.  With the population that I am working with, there will not be a lot of full blown cooking involved, but we will have fun with food.  We will play with messy food, and make things out of food materials. In my […]

Cutting with a knife and fork

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Cutting with a knife and fork is more difficult than many people realize.  It requires good knife grip and positioning, which involves motor planning.  You must also exert the right amount of pressure on the knife, which involves sensory perception. Good toys for working on cutting with a knife are those Wooden Cutting food toys […]

Digital Piggy Bank

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I love using money in therapy, since it provides lots of opportunity to work on fine motor skills and visual perceptual skills. I had a little client that had a great time putting coins into this digital piggy bank. The benefit of this bank compared to a regular bank, is that in order for the […]

Practice Buttoning with Felt Sandwich

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I was inspired by making the buttoning pizza to make more food that requires buttoning. I see a whole line of fun button food in my future. Here is a sandwich that I made. It is very similar to the button snake and button oreo that I made, but it has more layers like a […]

Practice Buttoning with Felt Oreo Cookies

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I was inspired by making the buttoning pizza to make more food that requires buttoning. I see a whole line of fun button food in my future. Here is an oreo cookie that I made. It is very similar to the button snake, but looks like an oreo. One difference from the button snake is […]

Button Snake

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When learning to button, it is easier to button large buttons on fabric that you are holding rather than fabric that is on your body. In order to practice this skill, I made a “button snake”. It is a very simple activity of squares of fabric with button holes in the center. I then stitched […]

Button Push Ins

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When working on buttoning skills, there is a progression of skill mastery. Pushing buttons or coins into a container is the first step. Putting coins into a piggy bank slot is the easiest, and then pushing buttons or coins into a recycled butter tub is the next. One reason using the butter container is good […]

Felt Pizza to Work on Button Skills

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I have a client that needs to work on buttoning skills, and I found that I do not have many buttoning activities that are appropriate and fun for older kids. When I heard another therapist mention that the pepperoni pizza buttoning activity is her favorite, I searched the internet and came up blank. I therefore […]

Marshmallow Painting for Fine Motor Skills

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Painting is often good therapy, but you can kick it up a notch by using marshmallows as the painting tool. You can grade the type of grip used by using the large marshmallows or the mini marshmallows. You can use regular paint on paper and just dip the marshmallow in and make designs on the […]

Peanut Butter Playdough Recipe:

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Playing with playdoh is fun, and if you can eat the playdoh when you are done, it can be even more fun.  It is also a good way to play with food for kids that have problems with eating. Ingredients: 1 cup of smooth/creamy peanut butter 2 cups of powdered sugar 1/2 cup honey Mix […]

Ice Cream Cone Christmas Trees

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One of the Kindergarten classes that I visited today was making Christmas Trees out of ice cream cones. First you get a sugar cone, the kind with the pointy tip. Then you spread green frosting all over the cone. You can use red licorice strings as garland, and sprinkle it with colored sugar sprinkles. This […]

Cake Pops, a cooking activity with sensory and fine motor

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I have seen these cake pops around the internet, and they look so cute.  I thought that it would be fun to have a holiday party and decorate cake pops.  Instead of a cookie party, we would do cake pops.  As I was making them, I was thinking about the therapy involved.  You could only […]

Graham Cracker Gingerbread Houses

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When I used to work in an outpatient clinic environment, I used to have the kids make these gingerbread type of houses out of graham crackers.  It was a fun, christmasy activity that was good therapy at the same time.  It was also out of the ordinary, and the kids loved it.  You use graham […]

Toddler age Potty Training Tips

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· Have some “naked time” at home when able to be well supervised. You want your child to feel what is happening and feel the sensation of getting wet. Wearing a pull-up or diaper all of the time makes it difficult to associate the sensation of wetness to how it happened. · Have your child […]

Why bouncing is good for eating skills

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When talking about oral-motor skills and eating, you don’t usually think immediately of bouncing on a ball as a treatment technique. Well, think again. Bouncing on a large therapy ball, either supported or unsupported, stimulates muscle co-contractions. These muscle contractions are all over the body to achieve stability while bouncing, so the bouncing on the […]

Using Stickers in Therapy

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When pulling up pants or getting your shirt aligned, or trying to get your socks on, sometimes it is just hard to reach some spots. I am not sure why, but stickers are a big motivator for kids. Some children with tactile hypersensitivity do not like having stickers put on their skin, which of course […]

Quick Tip; necklaces to simulate dressing

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Use Necklaces to simulate getting a shirt over your head, and bracelets to simulate getting a sock on toes.

Fasten-ator

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Here is a therapist who created the fasten-ator.  Her website is www.school-ot.com, and the page for her fasten-ator is www.school-ot.com/My%20Products.html.  Her name is Jennifer Dodge.  Here is what she says on her site about her product. “I designed and sewed up the prototype (in the picture above) for this after trying to work with a […]

Gag reflex or not?

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I have done many evaluations for feeding and oral motor skills where I am called in because the child is gagging on solid food.  Many times this is the case, and we have to work on desensitizing to lumpy food, and work on oral motor skills so that they can move the lumps around in their […]

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