Friday, September 18, 2015

Favorite product!

These are great!  So many of my students love to fidget with items in their hand to keep them focused.  This item is great on so many levels:
- hand strengthening - check!
- fidget - check!
- scented - check!
- affordable - check!
- non-intrusive - check!
- kid friendly - check!

Click on the picture below for a link to purchase some for yourself.

Monday, August 17, 2015

TPT store

Hey everybody!  Check out my brand new TPT store.  I have a couple freebies, and one OT welcome packet for teachers.  It took me FOREVER to put together, but it is chocked full of great info.  I plan to use this to introduce myself to the new teachers at my school, and to educate teachers about what OT can offer in the school system.

Joanna Verdone TPT page

Classroom Coping Skills

Back to school time is here!  I made this visual to help teachers to manage difficult behaviors in the classroom.  This tool does a few different things:
1. Helps the student to name and rate their feelings.
2. Gives the student tools in order to change their attitude.
3. Helps the teacher teach the student to manage their own behavior.
4. Gives the student and teacher concrete words and meaning for emotions.
5. Helps with self regulation for the student.

I am going to be giving this out to all my elementary teachers.  I will include the following directions for use:

You can use this visual in a few different ways:

  1. Go over the packet with the student at a time they are calm and open to instruction.  You will not be able to teach them when they are in the midst of being upset.
  2. Try to have the student either point or rate their emotions before and after they take a break or do an activity.  If they are too upset at first, have them think about how they felt before they took a break.
  3. Look for signs the student’s body is reacting to an emotional state: sweating, red face/cheeks/ears, dilated pupils, fast breathing, gritting teeth.
  4. When you see a student getting out of control, bring them over and read the packet together and have the student pick which activity they would like to do in order to calm down.
  5. After you have talked to the students about these activities, show one of the visuals to a student who is starting to become upset.  Have them perform one of the activities and then check in with you when they come back.
  6. Always check in with the student after performing a “cool down” activity.  Look for signs that they have regained control such as: slower heart rate, slower breathing rate, normal pupil size, calm appearance.
  7. Depending on the age of the child, you may be able to train them to perform these activities on their own in the hallway.  
  8. For older students (2nd-4th) You can use the “Take a Break Card” as a silent visual that the student needs to do something to change their mood.  Younger students will have to be supervised either in the classroom or in the hallway.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Check out a summer activity list I made.  I realized that lists and handouts of separate activities might fall on deaf ears.  So I tweaked some activities that kids love to do in the summer to add a social or academic component.

Click on the picture for handout.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Classroom movement / breathing breaks.

I find that students often need extra movement breaks throughout the day.  I made this handout for teachers to help get control of a class after recess or when they need some more movement.

Click on the picture for a link to the file.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The "bored" moment.

Because theory of mind is difficult for someone with autism, they do not realize they are being rude when they are stating they are bored.  We all have to deal with being bored at some time.  I have had my share of students yawning in my face, rolling their eyes, or bluntly telling me "this is boring."

Here is a lesson about how to "act" when you are bored.

Click on picture to download teacher guide and student handout.

It's always fun to have students role play expected and unexpected social behaviors so they can observe and practice expected behaviors.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


The students I have been working with all year have major issues with being proactive.  I realized that they probably did not even know there is an alternative to being reactive or inactive.  I wanted to empower them and make them realize they can take control of their actions and feelings.

Click on the picture for the lesson plan.