Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A few new writing ideas

The first and last, I can lay no claim to, they were entirely prompted by my child, but in the aftermath of them I realized what an excellent fine motor activity took place.

Writing your own music

Basically get a piece of manuscript paper and the child writes their own music. You can either print a piece up online or buy a pad of it at the music shop. If you wish you can introduce the child to the concepts of whole notes, single, quavers or minims, but again not really necessary. We simply figured out what the notes were after he'd filled up the page. Then we tried to pick it out on the piano with difficulty until we received assistance from a more musical friend and voila! What a pretty piece of music it turned out to be.


Sort of like the concept of instant messaging. Instead of having a conversation take a notebook (this also works very well with the NEO keyboard) write a comment down about anything (could be something happening in the room, outside the window, or a bunch of compliments like "I think you're great" which will usually elict a smile) and hand it to the child to write a response. If the child resists writing then scribe for them or reply to what they verbalise. Eventually they tend to become curious and grab the pen. It helps to keep it humorous. If the child is more visual depict a cartoon instead. Draw a picture and pass the book over and let them draw the next one.


Take an atlas and photocopy several pages of various maps which depict oceans in between the continents. Give the child a pencil, coloured pencils or pens and encourage them to create shipping routes between the countries or simply doodle on the photocopied map. Maps are fascinating and it's a engaging activity where the fine motor activity is incidental to something that's more interesting going on.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Music links

Here are a couple of useful music links that have online composing opportunities for children to create with.

San Francisco Symphony kids pages

BBC Schools also have some fun interactive pages.

Study shows omega-3 helps ADHD sufferers

Study shows omega-3 helps ADHD sufferers

Omega-3 fish oil can help children suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a new study suggests.

Results from "the largest, clinical-based omega-3 and omega-6 trial of its kind" bolstered views that fatty acids relieved aspects of ADHD.

The tests were undertaken by the University of South Australia and an Australian government research body. They involved 132 children aged between seven and 12 with ADHD symptoms and the active fatty acid used was Equazen's eye q supplement.

To read full article click here

Monday, April 9, 2007

Progress on writing materials: Indispensable Staedtler products

My earlier post about the Dixon pencil has now been well and truly usurped by discovering the wonderful and frankly indispensable range of products that Staedtler offer. If your child has writing struggles they will find these pencils, pens, markers are designed to aide the fatigue factor.

My child initially tested a bunch of different writing materials in a specific writing class at school. The Staedtler triplus fineliner was the pen that he found most assisted him and the teacher encouraged me to seek the pens for him. We bought a packet of them from a local art shop for about 12-14 dollars and subsequently discovered Staedtler offer a bunch of other products that have generally made writing and colouring and drawing less onerous and plenty more joyful.

Can't recommend them enough. The quality of the products is represented in the slightly higher cost, but they are actually are good value overall because they are durable and well made. The most significant impact is the ink seems to come out faster and easier, thus relieving the need for heavy pressing and manipulation of the pens.

The ergosoft range of jumbo pencils have a lovely, rich tone to them. They are triangular in shape, easier to grasp and are packaged in a neat blue plastic box, which turns into a pen stand and means they do not end up rolling away under the couch never to be retrieved again.

They also offer triangular jumbo wooden pencils which have a softer colouring tone, and again nice ergonomic feel to them.

The MARS ERGOSOFT (again a jumbo triangular pencil) graphite pencil will help children with writing tasks. It has a soft, rubbery casing. If your child does not care for the rubber covered one there's a sister pencil which is identical in triangular shape, but has the ordinary casing on it.

I will be uploading links and pictures of these products when I find time. Please post comments if your child finds them useful. Also, if you're having trouble locating these pens and pencils drop me an email and I will try to point you in the right direction of suppliers etc.

To begin with you can read further about these pencils etc on their international website

The Canadian website is here

I hope your child enjoys as much joy as we have with these pens and pencils. The big progress has been that as soon as the child sees an improvement in representing their ideas on the page, some of the frustration can abate and hopefully a sense of achievement takes over.