This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. And Schreiber’s Occupational Therapy Department is using the occasion to add some moon fun to therapy sessions.
Eli Cole climbed to the top of a lunar hill (actually a huge pillow) and jumped into a small lunar lake (actually a big ball pit).
Wyatt Dennison turned a piece of paper into a rocket, slipped it over a plastic straw then had it blast off with a puff of air from his mouth.
Schreiber OT Bernie Hershey was the mission control commander who made all this lunar fun happen. Bernie likes to use current events to add a little spice to her therapy sessions.
Wyatt, 6, comes to Schreiber for OT and speech-language therapies. His mom Liz says Wyatt is on the autism spectrum, and he’s been coming to Schreiber for more than three years for help with his fine and gross motor skills and to work on sensory issues.
Wyatt Dennison and Schreiber OT Bernie Hershey launch their straw rockets at the same time to end Wyatt’s therapy session.
For the lunar crafts, Wyatt has to use fine motor skills to cut out the piece of paper that will become the body of the rocket, then cut out the fins. He then has to wrap the rocket around a pencil to form it, tape the fins to the body, then slip it off the pencil and onto the straw.
“The kids don’t really know much about the moon landing, so we’re incorporating our therapy goals into activities with a NASA or a moon-landing theme,” Bernie said. “NASA’s website had lots of ideas we were able to use.”
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory actually posted the instructions for the straw rocket on its website.
Eli works on his balance and core strength when he’s climbing the lunar hill. He also practiced his handwriting by pressing gently on “zero gravity” paper (paper on a soft surface that would allow for easy punctures).
Eli Cole jumps into a ‘lunar lake’ during a recent occupational therapy session. The exercise added an element of space fun to therapy.
Both boys also used a small hammer to smash “moon rocks” during therapy, another exercise that worked on hand-eye coordination, and walked in moon boots, that helps them practice balance and coordination.
“With everything that our families have to deal with on a daily basis, adding variety with a special theme improves motivation on even the most difficult task, like the handwriting practice,” Bernie said.
There is a little bit of the Apollo spirit in all of this, the creativity and the experimenting and the striving to be a little bit better.
And that’s a good thing. For Schreiber and for the kids.