Looking for a simple way to use PECS (picture exchange card system) or photos to help your child communicate by making choices without having to be an arts and crafts expert or buy expensive laminating supplies/velcro/photo pages? Take any size egg carton, turn it upside down and cut small slits in the bottom of each egg receptacle – just small enough to fit a photo or “playing card size”. Use the slits to place PECS or photos in a upright position and allow your child to make choices about their lives either visually or via fine motor skills (pointing, taking, or grasping). Use smaller count egg cartons if just starting out with choice making so as not to overwhelm the child with too many choices. Use an old deck of playing cards to mount photos or PECS so that you have a sturdy surface that will stay upright.
Do you have some left over plastic plates from a BBQ, picnic, or special occasion? Why not put them to good use and create a sensory wall activity for your child with special needs to explore? Make each plate it’s very own sensory experience by using various textures glued onto the plates. You can glue beads, corn kernels, rice, pasta, soft sand-paper, wool, faux fur, wooden sticks, bubble wrap, marbles, yarn, carpet, pieces, aluminum foil, craft pom poms, or whatever you desire. Once the plates are dry you can glue them to a large piece of heavy corrugated poster-board, plaster paneling, or even suction cup/velcro them to plexiglass so you can change up the order. Add magnets to the back and use them on your refrigerator, perfect reach for a toddler or seated child.
Has your child’s speech therapist, feeding therapist, or occupation therapist encouraged you to purchase a “Nosey Cup” for your child? This can be an expense some families just cannot afford especially if the cup is being used on a “trial only” basis, so why not try making your own with a simple disposable bathroom cup (wax treated are more sturdy) to practice at home. Just cut out the right size for your child, and dispose/remake as needed. Then, if the cup is a good solution spend the money on a reusable one.
Re-purpose old sponge curlers by using them to make adapted grippers for your child who needs a little extra “something” to help them hold onto pencils, markers, toothbrushes, and even utensils. This is an inexpensive and EASY way to adapt pretty much any small item your child needs hold onto for school or for their daily routine. The spongy curler makes for a great sensory experience as well, especially if you can find them in different colors/sizes.