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A Great Counting Activity That Develops Writing & Daily Living Skills: Academic + OT Intervention.

Updated: Jun 28, 2020

#parentsastherapists #math #counting #numbers #earlyintervention

An Activity that build Finger Isolation and Counting Skills

Occupational Therapy for Autism Seremban tips finger isolation

Wait a Minute..What is Finger Isolation?

It is separating our fingers to perform activities such as pointing, picking up tiny objects, counting with our fingers and writing.

It is also necessary for daily living skills such putting on socks, buttoning up a shirt, tying shoelaces and more.

To go straight to the ''Feed Hungry Sally Activity ", please scroll to the bottom...

How does Finger Isolation develop?

Is my child developing Finger Isolation according to her age?

Finger Isolation usually starts when your child is around 6 - 7 months old. At this stage your child is able to isolate only her thumb. She uses her thumb together with the rest of her fingers

(which are not separated) to pick up objects. (see the images below)

Occupational Therapy for Autism Seremban using shells

Your child then gradually progresses to using her thumb and her index finger to pick up small items such as shells or cereal.

She is now able to isolate them from the rest of her fingers. This is called the pincer grasp (see pic below).

This ability together with pointing (isolating only the index finger) should be fully developed by the time she is 1.

Occupational Therapy for Autism Seremban using cereals

As she grows into a preschooler she gets increasingly better at Finger Isolation.

She is soon able to isolate her 3 fingers:

  1. the thumb,

  2. the index finger and

  3. the middle finger

Why do I need to work on my child's Finger Isolation now?

To prepare your child for the skills that she WILL NEED in her near future.

It is SO IMPORTANT that your child has:

1) a solid Finger Isolating ability,

2) good control of her finger movements, and

3) strong finger muscles

What future skills are we talking about?

Some of the future skills include the ability:

- to grip a pencil properly in order to write well,

- to do activities such as beading, cutting & pasting, and

-to perform daily living activities such as fastening buttons, tying laces, combing hair, making a sandwich .....the list goes on ....

Louis Centre Occupational Therapy Service Autism Seremban Gadgets


Although kids use finger isolation while interacting with gadgets, they only isolate one finger.

This does not really help much as no pressure is applied on the screen. The child just touches the screen.

We need the child to develop his little muscles too.

Lets Start Creating the ''Feed Hungry Sally Activity " Now

Louis Centre Occupational Therapy advice Autism Seremban hungry sally box

It's easy to create and you should be able to find most of the materials at home.

Occupational Therapy steps for finger isolation at Autism Louis Seremban Centre

Steps to the Make Hungry Sally Activity Set

1) Wrap the box with plain paper so that your child is not distracted.

2) Attach the googly eyes

3) Cut a small piece of "velcro" (the rough side) and stick it on as a nose. We will be sticking flashcards on it during the activity.

(you can also use 'blu tack' instead of 'velcro')

4) Draw a mouth, use a blade to make a hole that is big enough to fit the buttons that your child will put in.

5) Make plain flashcards: Numbers 1-10 or more, depending on your child's ability.

6) Paste small "velcro" pieces ( the soft side) behind each flashcard.

How to conduct the activity?

Set up the activity as in the picture below.

Occupational Therapy Seremban steps for finger isolation at Autism Louis  Centre Pincer Grip

Step 1: Hold up the flashcard, and ask your child " What number is this? "

Step 2: Stick the flashcard onto the box, and say "Look, it's number 2"

Step 3: Next give your child this instruction " Feed Sally 2 buttons " At first, count together ", two !! Good Job! ".

(Try not to make the mouth too small or too big, we want your child to steady her hands and find it a little challenging to insert the buttons in)

Repeat the process with different numbers. Once this activity becomes too easy for your child, try adding an adjective when giving instructions.

For example:

"Feed Sally 2 BIG buttons" or

"Feed Sally 2 RED buttons.

I hope that you find this activity useful. If your child enjoys this multisensory approach to learning, do check out our other posts under the Academic Intervention Category.

Below are more post that combine Math and Occupational Therapy.

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