• KS Services, LLC

Updated: Oct 28, 2020



Many students across the country are going to school virtually this year, and caregivers are looking for ways to support their students from home.  It is important to recognize that support can come in many forms and does not always have to be a complicated process.  One simple way to support your student is to include the use of fidget toys into their school day.  Although the use of fidget toys has been scientifically documented to improve cognitive processing with students diagnosed with ADHD, the application of this research can be carried across the classroom (or in this case - the home).  Studies have shown that increased movement in children (specifically in this study children diagnosed with ADHD) results in increased attention, correct responses, and memory (Hartanto et al., 2016).  Research further indicates that using a sense (such as touch) that is different from the primary task (such as listening) can increase attention to the primary task.  In the classroom that means that having something tactile to manipulate and touch can lead to increased focus on the listening that needs to happen when the teacher is giving instruction. 


So where do you find these fidget toys?  No worries.  Many different items can be used.  


Putty and Play-Doh (putty does not stick to most surfaces and can be less messy than Play-Doh) are great for manipulation.  


Stress balls and kneadable squishy toys work well and are easily found in most discount stores.


Puzzle balls and fiddle links make auditory sounds that can be satisfactory for sensory engagement and also provide tactile feedback.


A few guidelines may need to be in place when using these in virtual learning.  Remind your student that they cannot throw or juggle them as this may be distracting for other learners.  It also is helpful to give your student as much choice as possible.  Consider having a basket out with a few options so your child can choose the tool that they need after understanding the various purposes each “toy” serves.  Empower your kiddo to take control of their environment and utilize the tools they have to alleviate stress and distraction. 


If you have questions about where to find these items or questions about individual customized suggestions, please contact KS Services here, and we’ll be happy to schedule a free consultation and provide any information you may need.


And for more information, make sure you check out Laura's video on KS Services, LLC's YouTube channel. It's a quick watch and packed with lots of great examples to help students and parents!


References:

Hartanto, T. A., Krafft, C. E., Iosif, A. M., & Schweitzer, J. B. (2016). A trial-by-trial analysis reveals more intense physical activity is associated with better cognitive control performance in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Child Neuropsychology, 22(5), 618–626. https://doi.org/10.1080/09297049.2015.1044511


Laura Waller, MS

https://www.keystoneservices.biz/laura-waller-ms

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  • KS Services, LLC

Updated: Oct 16, 2020



Understanding the balance between leisure and work helps promote overall well being and quality of life no matter what our age (Goel, 2008).  Teaching teens useful time management strategies equips them with resources needed to achieve that work/play balance and ultimately move towards overall well being.   In my work with teens, I find that time management is an important conversation in session.  Poor time management skills can lead to increased anxiety and frustration when approaching academics and emotional well being. 


As a counselor, it is my responsibility to have many “tools” in my “toolbox.” Each client I work with comes with varied personality traits, abilities, and skills, and therefore, each client may prefer one “tool” over another when working towards treatment goals.  When approaching time management techniques, my role as a counselor is to help the teen find the tool that is most effective for the specific situation and modify it as needed.  


One time management strategy that I often use as a starting point with teens is the Pomodoro Technique.  If you have a pre-teen or teen needing a bit more guidance in time management, this technique may be one worth implementing in your home as well. 


The Pomodoro Technique is based on the premise that breaking large tasks down into smaller pieces helps make them seem less insurmountable.  Just knowing that we only have to work on a large task (like writing a paper for our language arts class) for just twenty-five minutes before we take a break seems more do-able. The time management technique also limits distractions.  For the twenty-five minutes that the timer is set, the only thing that can be paid attention to is the task at hand. If we are writing a language arts paper and an email comes in requesting something, it cannot be attended to until the twenty-five minutes is up.  We do not check social media; we do not answer phones.  In the twenty-five minutes that we have set to work, we are solely focused on one task. After twenty-five minutes, there is a five-minute break before the second twenty-five minute set begins. Pomodoro Technique guidelines recommend that four pomodoros (25-minute work sessions with a five minute break) are completed before taking a longer twenty to thirty minute break.


When working with adolescents in session, the goal of introducing the Pomodoro Technique is to increase resources the teen has at their disposal for time management.  Ultimately my goal is to empower the teen so that they can not only identify their needs but feel comfortable implementing strategies to address the needs as well.  As a parent, you can put these same ideas into practice at home.  Introduce the idea of the Pomodoro Technique and explain the reasoning behind the strategy.  Have your teen practice the skill and identify things that went well and things that need to be modified. Give your teen the opportunity to modify the technique to fit their own goals.  When we let our teens be a part of the solution, we are not just teaching them one technique, but we are teaching them how to identify and solve problems, and that is a skill that lasts a lifetime.


Laura Waller, MS

https://www.keystoneservices.biz/laura-waller-ms

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Pull up a chair to the kitchen table and join the conversation between Lauran Thomas, Licensed Professional Counselor, and Michelle Dillard, Director of Women's Ministry at Burke Community Church. Lauran shares some practical strategies for approaching life during this interesting and challenging pandemic season.


Would you like YOUR question answered on their next episode? Shoot Lauran an email at women@burkecommunity.com And make sure you subscribe to Burke Women's Ministry YouTube channel so you don't miss the monthly episodes of Kitchen Conversations!



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