The OT Toolbox

Classroom Accommodations for Visual Impairments

Visual Impairments such as convergence insufficiency, impaired visual saccades, or other visual problems like blurred vision can present as a problem in the classroom. Students with visual impairments will flourish with effective classroom accommodations for visual problems. Below, you will find strategies that school-based occupational therapists can use as accommodations for addressing visual needs while meeting educational goals.





Visual Impairment Accommodations for the Classroom The fact is…


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THE SENSORY LIFESTYLE HANDBOOK
We've been talking a lot about executive functioning skills here on The OT Toolbox recently. There's a reason why: so many kids struggle with executive function disorder or just are challenged by sills that make up the executive functions. Planning and prioritizing tasks is a big concern for many kids who struggle. These skill areas are essential for initiating tasks and following through with projects.

Use these tips and strategies to teach planning skills and prioritization skills, two executive functioning skills needed for everyday tasks in the classroom and home.

Teaching Kids To Plan and Prioritize 

We know the feeling of being stuck on a big project. It can be overwhelming when we are presented with a task so immense that we spin our wheels with fixing problems. Maybe a big house remodel or other multi-step project comes to mind. For our kids with executive functioning challenges, the smallest project or task can be overwhelming. Planning and prioritization are a big part of that.

In fact, many adults struggle with the skills of planning and prioritization, too. Recently, I've had many readers reach out in response to our free executive functioning skills email course. Several readers have indicated that much of the information applies to themselves (and adults) or other adults they know. Planning and prioritization are skills that can be difficult to establish well into adulthood. For the adult with executive functioning difficulties, these are common concerns and challenges. The information below can be a help to children, teens, and even adults.  

Kids that need help with planning and prioritization

You've probably seen the child that:

  • Can't get started on homework
  • Has trouble figuring out how to start a big assignment like a book report
  • Starts a project but then never finishes because they struggle with the steps
  • Has difficulty remembering and completing all of the steps to when getting dressed and ready for the day
  • Can't figure out the most important assignments to complete first
  • Has trouble when there are more than a few items on a "to-do" list
  • Can't sequence a project visually or verbally
  • Has trouble looking at the "big picture"
  • Can't figure out how to find the important items when cleaning out a messy desk
  • Overwhelmed when planning out the day


The activities listed below can help with the executive functioning skills of planning and prioritization:

Prioritization is another complex executive functioning skill that, when achieved, provides kids with the ability to achieve goals. Deciding on steps of a process and thinking through that process to work toward the most important tasks is a difficult skill for many kids.

When prioritization is difficult for a person, getting every day tasks like getting dressed, completing homework, or multi-step tasks can be nearly impossible.

Prioritization allows us to make decisions about what is important so we can know what to focus on and what’s not as important. Being able to discern tasks that are necessary from those that we should do is crucial.

Prioritization is a critical skill to have, but can take some practice to achieve. Try the activities listed below to support development of this skill.

Activities to Teach Prioritization


Provide opportunities to practice prioritizing by planning simple tasks. Talk about how to build a snowman, how to make a bed, and other tasks they are familiar with.

Discuss the most important steps of tasks. What must be done before any other step can be done.

Show kids photos,and ask for their opinions about what they found to be the most important detail or big idea.

Make to-do lists to help kids plan and prioritize. Once you have everything written down, rhen rank tasks in order of importance.

Make a list of assignments with due dates. Highlight the things that must be done first.

Create a calendar and schedule.

Create a daily task list. Check off items as they are completed.

Try easy projects. If something seems to "big", break it down into smaller steps. 


How to Teach Planning

Planning is an executive functioning skill that refers to the ability to create a plan or a roadmap to reach a goal. Completing tasks requires the ability to have a mental plan in place so that things get done.

Planning and prioritization are EF skills that are closely related. Additionally, skills like foresight, working memory, and organization enable successful planning.

Planning can be a stumbling block for many with executive functioning challenges. Try the activities below to support the ability to plan out tasks:

Draw out plans. The drawing prompts in the Impulse Control Journal can be a great exercise in using drawing to work on real skills and goals with kids.

Teach kids to create a mind map to plan out a multiple step project.

Teach kids to create lists. Using sticky notes can make planning easier and allow kids to physically move tasks to a "done" pile as they are completed.

Plan a simple task like making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Ask kids to write out the steps then check them off as they are completed.


Take planning and prioritization a step farther

Want to really take executive function skills like planning and prioritization to the next level of success? The Impulse Control Journal is your guide to addressing the underlying skills that play into trouble with planning and prioritization. 

The journal is an 80 page collection of worksheets and prompts to discover what's really going on behind executive functioning skills like planning, organization, prioritization, working memory, and of course, impulse control. 

While the guide was developed for students of all ages, this printable workbook is perfect for adults, too. It can help you discover strategies that make a real impact for all of the skills needed to get things done. 

Here's the thing; Everyone is SO different when it comes to struggles related to executive functioning and everyone's interests, needs, challenges, strengths, and weaknesses are different too. All of these areas play into the challenges we see on the surface. And, this is where the Impulse Control Journal really hits those strengths, weaknesses, and challenges where it matters...in creating a plan that really works for kids of all ages (and adults, too!)

Check out the Impulse Control Journal, and grab it before the end of February, because you'll get a bonus packet of Coping Cards while the journal is at it's lowest price. 



There is a SALE on The Impulse Control Journal happening only through February 28th, 2019! The Impulse Control Journal has been totally revamped to include 79 pages of tools to address the habits, mindst, routines, and strategies to address impulse control in kids. 

More about the Impulse Control Journal:
  • 30 Drawing Journal Pages to reflect and pinpoint individual strategies 
  • 28 Journal Lists so kids can write quick checklists regarding strengths, qualities, supports, areas of need, and insights 
  • 8 Journaling worksheets to pinpoint coping skills, feelings, emotions, and strategies that work for the individual 
  • Daily and Weekly tracking sheets for keeping track of tasks and goals 
  • Mindset,Vision, and Habit pages for helping kids make an impact 
  • Self-evaluation sheets to self-reflect and identify when inhibition is hard and what choices look like 
  • Daily tracker pages so your child can keep track of their day 
  • Task lists to monitor chores and daily tasks so it gets done everyday  
  • Journal pages to help improve new habits  
  • Charts and guides for monitoring impulse control so your child can improve their self confidence
  • Strategy journal pages to help kids use self-reflection and self-regulation so they can succeed at home and in the classroom  
  • Goal sheets for setting goals and working to meet those goals while improving persistence  
  • Tools for improving mindset to help kids create a set of coping strategies that work for their needs  
  
This is a HUGE digital resource that you can download and print to use over and over again.  






Here, you will find fun mindfulness activities to help kids with creative mindfulness exercises that can help kids feel better, reduce stress, address anxiety, and have a greater awareness of their body and mind. Mindfulness activities for kids can be used as a self-regulation tool or a coping strategy. The sky's the limit!

Looking for more ways to teach mindfulness? Here are winter themed mindfulness activities that kids will love. 


These FUN Mindfulness activities are helpful self-regulation tools for kids.






Fun Mindfulness Activities


First, let's talk about what mindfulness means.


Mindfulness activities for kids can help kids with attention coping, learning, self-regulation, and more!

What is mindfulness?


Mindfulness is the ability to bring your attention to the events happening in the moment. It allows us to carefully observe our thoughts and feeling, to develop a sense of self awareness.  Mindfulness can be done anywhere. It does not require special equipment. It can be as easy as sitting and thinking or visualizing a place in your mind.


Who is mindfulness good for?


Mindfulness is great for any age, including kids. School can be a very overwhelming experience with expectations, rules, noises, crowds. Being able to do fun mindfulness activities can be a good way for children to self-regulate, focus and feel better emotionally and physically. Learning how to self-regulate (being able to manage your own emotions) is an important skill to learn at a young age.

Mindfulness is a helpful tool in addressing executive functioning skills needs in kids.



Mindfulness activities for kids


Listed below are some easy, beginning mindfulness activities to try with kids.
Looking for more ideas? Here are some mindfulness videos on YouTube.


Mindfulness Activity #1: Mindful Breathing- 

Taking deep breaths is so important in relaxation it brings awareness to your body. There are many different ways to teach kids to take deep breaths and then blow out. Using a pinwheel, blowing bubbles, blowing out candles, picturing a balloon opening and closing with breath. Even having your child breath in while you count to 5 and then breath out.


Mindfulness Activity #2: Body Scan- 

Have your child lay on his/her back. Tell them to tense up all muscles from head to toe and hold for 10-15 seconds. Then have them release and relax, ask them how they feel. This exercise helps kids to recognize how their body is feeling in a tense vs. Calm state.


Mindfulness Activity #3: Visualization or Guided Imagery–

This is a relaxation technique that is used to promote positive mental images. You can find guided imagery scripts online, pertaining to many different subjects from nature to emotions. Start by having your child close their eyes, while seated or lying down. Slowly read the script and have them visualize the image in their minds, then have them draw a picture of that place and keep it in their desk or at home as a reference to a calm place for them.


Mindfulness Activity #4: Take a Walk- 

Being outside and taking a walk is a great way for your child to be present in the moment. Point out the different sounds heard from birds chirping to leaves rustling. Notice the smell of the fresh cut grass or flowers. Feel the different textures of sand and rocks. Notice the sun, wind and clouds. Bring a blanket and lay on the grass, look up at the trees, look at the clouds.   Walk over to a pound and listen for frogs, look for fish and throw rocks in to make a splash.


Mindfulness Activity # 5: Stretching/Yoga- 

Taking deep breaths and stretching can be a very calming and teaches you to be aware of how your body is feeling.  Turn the lights down, put on relaxing music and help guide your child through bedtime relaxation stretches for kids.

Use these mindfulness strategies for kids as a coping strategy, to help with attention in the classroom, to impact learning, or to address self-regulation needs. What's very cool is that each awareness activity could be themed to fit classroom or homeschool lessons, the curriculum, or seasons. Make these mindfulness activities fit the needs of your classroom, clients, and kids!

Mindfulness is a coping strategy used in The Impulse Control Journal.

The Impulse control journal is a printable journal for kids that helps them to identify goals, assess successes, and address areas of needs. The Impulse Control Journal is a printable packet of sheets that help kids with impulse control needs.

Read more about The Impulse Control Journal HERE.

There is a SALE on The Impulse Control Journal happening only through February 28th, 2019! The Impulse Control Journal has been totally revamped to include 79 pages of tools to address the habits, mindst, routines, and strategies to address impulse control in kids.


More about the Impulse Control Journal:
  • 30 Drawing Journal Pages to reflect and pinpoint individual strategies
  • 28 Journal Lists so kids can write quick checklists regarding strengths, qualities, supports, areas of need, and insights
  • 8 Journaling worksheets to pinpoint coping skills, feelings, emotions, and strategies that work for the individual
  • Daily and Weekly tracking sheets for keeping track of tasks and goals
  • Mindset,Vision, and Habit pages for helping kids make an impact
  • Self-evaluation sheets to self-reflect and identify when inhibition is hard and what choices look like
  • Daily tracker pages so your child can keep track of their day
  • Task lists to monitor chores and daily tasks so it gets done everyday
  • Journal pages to help improve new habits
  • Charts and guides for monitoring impulse control so your child can improve their self-confidence
  • Strategy journal pages to help kids use self-reflection and self-regulation so they can succeed at home and in the classroom
  • Goal sheets for setting goals and working to meet those goals while improving persistence
  • Tools for improving mindset to help kids create a set of coping strategies that work for their needs

This is a HUGE digital resource that you can download and print to use over and over again.  







These fun mindfulness activities for kids can help kids in so many ways!


About Christina:
Christina Komaniecki is a school based Occupational Therapist. I graduated from Governors State University with a master’s in occupational therapy.   I have been working in the pediatric setting for almost 6 years and have worked in early intervention, outpatient pediatrics, inpatient pediatrics, day rehab, private clinic and schools. My passion is working with children and I love to see them learn new things and grow. I love my two little girls, family, yoga and going on long walks.
Wondering about what are executive functioning skills? Today, I'm very excited to share a mini course that I've been working on behind the scenes. This Executive Functioning Skills Course is a FREE, 5-day email course that will help you understand executive functioning and all that is included in the set of mental skills.

Executive functioning skills course for understanding executive function skills in kids.


So often, therapists are asked to explain executive functioning. Parents are looking for insight and how to help kids who struggle with the underlying areas that play a part in attention, organization, working memory, impulse control, and the other executive functioning skills. Teachers are looking for strategies to use in the classroom while understanding exactly what makes up executive functioning and how to help disorganized kids in the classroom.

Does any of these scenarios sound familiar?



This executive functioning skills course will cover all of the above and describe strategies to help.


Executive functioning skills are a set of mental skills that work together in learning, safety, and functioning through self-regulation, self control and organized thoughts.

Executive Functioning Skills Course

If you have ever wondered how to help kids who struggle with:

  • Disorganization leading to impulsive actions and inattention in the classroom
  • The child that struggles to plan ahead and be prepared for the day
  • The child that lacks insight to cross a busy street without looking both ways
  • The student that loses their homework and important papers every day
  • The kiddo that just can't get simple tasks done like cleaning up toys on the playroom floor
  • The child that focuses on other kids rather than a classroom assignment and then doesn't finish in a given time
  • The kiddo that is constantly late because he can't prioritize morning tasks like brushing teeth, eating breakfast, and getting dressed.


Do any of THESE scenarios sound familiar?
Easy strategies to help with executive functioning in kids in this free executive functioning course

So often, we KNOW kids are struggling with mental tasks that limit their functioning, safety, and learning. Here's the thing: executive functioning skills develop over time. Kids aren't instinctively able to organize, plan, prioritize, or use self-control. These skills occur with age, time, and use.

But, for the child that struggles in any one area, so many tasks that require executive functioning skills suffer. As a result, we see problems with social-emotional skills, self-consciousness, frustration, anxiety, or more!

Executive functioning skills course for understanding executive function and strategies to help

Information on Executive Functioning Skills, right in your inbox!

So, if you are wondering about executive functioning skills...or want to know more about how executive functioning skills work together in learning and everyday activities...join us in the free 5-day executive functioning skills email course!

Understand executive functioning skills with this free executive functioning skills course.

A little more information on the executive functioning skills email course:


  1. This course is entirely email-based. All you have to do is open your email and read!
  2. You'll discover the "why" behind executive functioning, what to do about impulsivity, tips and tools, and loads of resources related to executive functioning skills.
  3. We'll cover impulse control, including how we use all of the executive functioning skills along with self-control and self-regulation strategies to "get stuff done".
  4. This email course doesn't have homework or tests. This mini-course is informative and low-key.


Take this free executive functioning skills course to understand self-control, attention, working memory, and more.

Click the link below to confirm your subscription to the email course and you'll be on your way.


Know a child who struggles with impulse control, attention, working memory or other executive functions?
Let's talk about what's going on behind those impulses!

FREE Email Mini-Course

    We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.
    Disclaimer: This email mini-course does not provide continuing education units or professional development units. The course is not intended to treat or evaluate any executive functioning or impulse control needs. This mini-course is intended for information purposes only. The reader is responsible for any action or consequence as a result of strategies listed in the email mini-course or on this website. The OT Toolbox and it's author are not responsible for any results of actions taken as a result of reading this website or it's email or social media outlets.

    Know someone who would be interested in this free executive functioning skills course? Share the images below and let them know!

    Free email course on executive functioning skills

    Understand executive functioning skills with this free email course for parents, teachers, and therapists

    Take this free executive functioning skills course to understand attention, self-control, and other executive function skills

    Improve executive functions with easy strategies after understanding what's happening behind behaviors and actions.

    What is impulse control and what is normal development of impulsivity in child development?

    Speaking out of turn. Pushing into a classmate in the bathroom line. Interrupting adult conversations. Grabbing a toy from a friend. Impulse control in kids can look like a lot of different things. But what is normal self-control in kids and what is considered impulsivity that interferes with social interactions and emotional wellness? Below we’re going to discuss what is impulse control and how to begin to work on impulsivity strategies so kids can succeed in learning and social situations. Helping kids learn impulse control can be tricky! It helps to understand what impulsivity looks like, what is normal development, and other considerations.

    You may want to check out this toolbox of tips on how to teach kids impulse control.



    Helping kids with impulse control and self-control happens in normal child development. But when you think about what is impulse control and how to help kids with interactions, these impulsivity strategies can help!

    What is impulse control?

    The definition of Impulse control is as varied as we are as individuals. The thing is, we are all driven by different desires and internal ambitions. Impulse control generally refers to the ability to control oneself, especially one's emotions and desires. The way these impulses present is expressed as actions, thoughts, behaviors and can occur in any situation but especially in difficult situations.

    Here are easy ways to improve impulse control in kids.

    Impulse control requires self-regulation, internal drive, coping strategies, and other internal skills in order to filter impulses as they present in various situations.

    Impulse control disorder


    In order to present with a diagnosis of an impulse control disorder, a set of specific symptoms and signs must be present. These specific symptoms vary depending on the individual and other factors such as developmental level, age, gender, internal drive, and other considerations. However, the signs and symptoms of impulse control disorder generally include different behavioral, physical, cognitive, and psychosocial symptoms. The specific diagnosing factors are not going to be discussed in this particular post but it is worth mentioning that these can present in many different ways. For example, some kids may have aggression, lying, stealing, risky behaviors, low self-esteem, irritability, impatience, and other presenting factors.

    For more information on impulse control disorder and if you think this is a concern that should be addressed in an individual, please reach out to a physician.

    Impulsivity definition


    Medically speaking, the definition of impulsivity refers to an inclination to act on an impulse rather than a thought. Those of us who are generally impulsive in most situations, have difficulty curbing their immediate reactions or think before they act. This can look like the child that speaks without raising his hand in the classroom. It can be a hasty decision. It can be inappropriate comments.

    Impulse control development


    The thing is, impulse control is a HARD skill to refine. All of us have trouble with impulse control at one time or another! Think about that last time you received an unexpected bill. Maybe you grabbed a cookie or six to calm your nerves. What about when you ran over a pot hole and ended up with a flat tire on the freeway. Did an expletive escape your lips? Impulse control is hard when our minds and body’s are dealing with difficult situations.

    The thing is, that we learn to deal with the everyday stuff without eating dozens of cookies or yelling obscenities at our car radio. We filter information, adjust to situations, and make behavioral, mental, and psychosocial responses accordingly.

    How does development of impulse control happen?


    Impulse control skills reside in the prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain doesn’t fuly develop until we are in our twenties. It’s easy to see why impulsivity is such a common theme up through early adulthood!

    Additionally, sensory modulation, emotions, outside situations, difficult environments, illness, stress, anxiety, and so many other issues can compound impulsive acts.

    In fact, impulse control doesn’t begin to develop until around age 3.5- 4. 

    We will be covering development of impulse control more thoroughly in an upcoming blog post.

    What does impulse control look like?


    We’ve talked about how impulse control looks so different for different people. We’ve covered the fact that different situations can bring about different impulsive responses.

    The thing is, impulse control is so varied!

    Here are some examples of impulse control in kids:


    • Keeping negative thoughts to oneself
    • Not saying exactly what one is thinking about in the moment
    • Controlling anger and using a coping strategy instead of physically acting out
    • Raising a hand instead of speaking out in the classroom
    • Standing in a line without pushing or shoving
    • Asking to join a friend’s game or activity instead of jumping right in
    • Asking to look at or share a toy instead of just taking it
    • Being patient when having to wait
    • Waiting for instructions on an assignment before starting right away
    • Resisting distractions in the classroom or while doing homework
    • Waiting until dessert to eat a sweet or special treat
    • Not giving up when things are hard

    And these are just SOME examples!

    Don't forget to join us in this FREE email course on executive functioning skills and impulse control.

    Stay tuned for more information on impulse control coming very soon. We’ve got some great resources and tools to share with you!

    More impulse control activities and ideas you will love:




     How to Teach Kids Impulse Control

    What is Modulation?

    Easy Ways to Improve Impulse Control

    Free Executive Functioning Skills Mini Course


    Wondering what impulse control means and what impulsivity looks like in kids? Kids develop impulse control over time, but there are ways to help kids with impulse control!




    Executive Functioning Skills- Teach Planning and Prioritization
    Executive Functioning Skills- Teach Planning and Prioritization

    We've been talking a lot about executive functioning skills here on The OT Toolbox recently. There's a reason why: so many kids struggle with executive function disorder or just are challenged by sills that make up the executive functions. Planning and prioritizing tasks is a big concern fo…
    Fun Mindfulness Activities
    Fun Mindfulness Activities

    Here, you will find fun mindfulness activities to help kids with creative mindfulness exercises that can help kids feel better, reduce stress, address anxiety, and have a greater awareness of their body and mind. Mindfulness activities for kids can be used as a self-regulation tool or a coping stra…
    Executive Functioning Skills Course
    Executive Functioning Skills Course

    Wondering about what are executive functioning skills? Today, I'm very excited to share a mini course that I've been working on behind the scenes. This Executive Functioning Skills Course is a FREE, 5-day email course that will help you understand executive functioning and all that is inclu…
    What is Impulse Control?
    What is Impulse Control?

    What is impulse control and what is normal development of impulsivity in child development?

    Speaking out of turn. Pushing into a classmate in the bathroom line. Interrupting adult conversations. Grabbing a toy from a friend. Impulse control in kids can look like a lot of different things. But what …