Friday, September 28, 2012

Building Attention and Focusing Skills on the Cheap!!

As school counselors, teachers often ask us to work with kids that lack attention and focusing skills.  With more kids being diagnosed with ADHD, we are seeing these kids more often.  I have come across some pretty cool and inexpensive things to help build attention and focusing skills.

Some of the things I have come across on the cheap:

Hasbro's Trouble Game.  I have used this game to help kids develop patience and waiting skills.  The Pop o Matic Button is hard to resist pushing!!  The game also requires that you wait to get a 1 or 6 to move your pawn!!!

Knock Knock, Who's There? Matching and Memory Game.  I found this at a yard sale!! It is a great tool to use with kids to build focus and attention skills!!! As the kids starting matching the pairs, their self confidence also shows immediately too!! Bonus!!!

Dollar store Puzzles!! I frequent dollar stores and often times find great therapeutic toys/items that I can use in my school counseling program!!  I get different sizes, various characters, 3D.  I found a great 48 piece 3d Star Wars puzzle that I have used with the younger boys!  When I presented the puzzle we talk about planning and sorting, and really paying attention to the picture on the box.  We talked about searching for clues and similarities, and all for $1.00!!! Score!!

Stay tuned for some other specific therapeutic games and activities that you can use for building attention working with ADHD kids!!

What cheap games or activities have you used with your kids to build specific skills?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pretty Cool Social Skills Apps!!!!

Our school just got 20 something iPad2 tablets that we are starting to use for all types of things at school!! (Since I am only familiar with iPad, I'm not sure if the apps are available for Android).  I have been downloading several social skills apps from The App Store at Apple iTunes to my own personal iPad to use in my small group lunch bunches and individual counseling!!

The kids (and I) are super excited to use the iPads!!!  Today in my 4th grade social skills lunch bunch we worked on inferencing and social clues!  I brought my iPad2 and downloaded the SuperDuper Inc. app What Are They Thinking? from the App Store at Apple iTunes and entered each of my students names.  The What Are They Thinking? app features Webber Photo Cards with 60 different cards with different scenarios.  The object can be for younger children to tap the speech bubble to hear what the person is thinking or it can be used to have older kids make a guess what they think the person in the picture is thinking using inference clues.  For some of my kids that struggle with social skills, this was a great tech-y way to think about what others might be thinking!!  When you enter in the names of the students, the app will also keep score for you and give you a percentage!!! Very cool for tracking progress!!!

Some other iPad2 Apps that I have downloaded but not had a chance to fully look at are:  Social Express Lite, Social HD, Understanding Inferences, Practicing Pragmatics, Listening for Absurdities, What Would You Do At School if..., and What's Being Said?  I can't wait to check those out and I will blog about those as well!!

What Apps are you using for building social skills?  I'd love to learn about more!!!