Pincer Grasp and Finger/Hand Strength – It’s For the Birds . . .

. . . Chickens, I mean it’s for the chickens.

One things most books about teaching children with Down syndrome will tell you is that you have to make the lesson or activity you’re teaching relevant to the child. In other words, they need to see a real-life purpose and payoff to their effort. From experience I can agree that “because I said so” is not generally a good enough reason to get Noah motivated when it comes to learning something new.

Today after lunch Noah ran into the kitchen and pointed to the tortillas but signed chicken. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what he wanted, but Andres decided Noah must want to feed the chickens a tortilla. Whether that is what he really wanted or not is debatable, but Noah said his trademark “yeah”, took his tortilla outside, and promptly used a beautiful Pincer grasp to tear a strip off his tortilla and throw it to the chicken who was pecking at his feet.

A strip for the chicken, a strip for Noah – ew ew ew – patterning – check.

Holding tortilla in one hand and tearing pieces with the other – bilateral coordination – check; Pincer grasp – check; one more thing Noah can do independently – check.

I know what you’re thinking – like you’re really going to rush right out and buy a chicken for junior just so he can practice his Pincer grasp. Hmmmm. I’ve read your blogs – you might.

For the fainter at heart, how about a trip to the park to feed the ducks? Even the neighborhood birds might volunteer to entertain your little guy if you can attract their attention. For them, scatter the pieces on a bird feeder and keep an eye out from a window. If you already have feeders that birds use, this will be a breeze; otherwise, you may have to prime them with birdfeed for a couple weeks. Kids love the blessing of being a part of God’s provision for the birds and the beasts.

If no birds are available, make this into a snack activity. Have your child tear the tortilla into strips and then into pieces and then dip them into applesauce.

Another snack idea is to have your child use a dull knife to spread peanut butter on a tortilla they can then eat or roll and eat.

Of course, you can use bread for this activity, but the tortillas hold their shape when torn, so it allows for more precise hand and finger work.

This post comes to you today courtesy of Noah – I doubt I could have come up with this on my own. Thanks, Buddy.

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