Jenny Clark


The Many Adventures of Telehealth in Pediatric Therapy

Telehealth is an adventure in which therapists encounter many new opportunities and challenges. It requires flexibility, creativity, and open-mindedness. In this podcast, Jenny offers some ready-to-implement activity ideas from her experience in telehealth to help make the telehealth adventure easier to navigate.

I know it is very scary to tackle teletherapy for the first time. I was nervous when I started practicing teletherapy 3 years ago. I needed confidence that I could navigate the technology pieces. I needed reassurance that I could be creative with limited resources. I learned a lot about how to effectively implement teletherapy, but it took courage and a sense of adventure.

So I ask you, what would Winnie The Pooh do during this time of COVID-19? Pooh bear is a simple bear with a childlike personality, full of wonder and exploration. He takes things as they come and lives life in a fun and spontaneous manner. And when he lives his life this way, it always turns out just fine. Remember to be like Winnie the Pooh so you don’t get stuck in the mud like Eeyore!

Telehealth truly is an adventure! You will encounter many new opportunities when using telehealth service delivery model for pediatric therapy. You will develop resiliency, just as the children with multiple challenges do in their lives daily. Be flexible, creative, open-minded and expect the unexpected.

Here are some ready-to-implement activity ideas to help make your telehealth adventure a little easier to navigate.

Ready-to-Implement-Activity Ideas

Activity ideas using a paper bag and crayons

  • Tear edges of bag to make fringe
  • Go on a scavenger hunt with paper bag
  • Locomotor actions – pick up a crayon and move across room to place in bag
  • Trace hand on paper bag with crayon
  • Identify objects inside bag without looking

Activity ideas using a couch, pillows, chairs

Good for proprioception input, motor planning and following directions.

  • Hop over a pillow
  • Jump & stop activity on couch
  • Bear walk, crab walk over pillows
  • Pretend turtle with pillow on back while crawling
  • Imitate Ninja moves with pillow

Activity ideas using pipe cleaners

  • String cereal
  • Twist together and jump over
  • Copy design for visual perception
  • Wrap around finger
  • Minute to win it, how many can you pick up in 1 minute

Activity ideas using a playground ball

  • Roll over bowling pins (could be empty plastic bottles)
  • Ball wall walk, don’t let it fall
  • Crab kick
  • Spell words for each catch
  • Over under game with adult assistant

Activity ideas using cotton balls

  • Draw a sheep or cloud on paper and glue cotton balls
  • Sponge painting with cotton balls
  • Pretend feed cotton balls to plush animal
  • While supine, pick up cotton ball with toes and bring to hands
  • Throw and catch cotton ball

Handwriting Strategies for Dysgraphia

Research shows that as many as 20% of school-age children have problems with handwriting.  Illegible handwriting, also known as dysgraphia, is the primary reason for referrals to therapists practicing in school-based settings. This is a significant problem because handwriting is important for many functional life skills, such as completing homework and school assignments. Dysgraphia is common in children with sensory processing disorder and children with autism. In this podcast, Jenny shares insights into handwriting problems and offers simple but effective strategies to support students with dysgraphia.

To purchase Letter Treasure Hunt handwriting game click here.

Research shows that 10%-20% of school-age children have problems with handwriting. Handwriting is important for many functional life skills such as: Complete homework, school assignments, achievement tests for getting into college, writing letters, completing a job application form, and writing checks just to name a few. Illegible handwriting, also known as dysgraphia, is the primary reason for referrals to therapists practicing in school-based settings. Dysgraphia is a neurological disorder in which a person experiences handwriting difficulties. Letter formation may be acceptable in very short samples of writing, but this requires extreme effort and an unreasonable amount of time to accomplish. Overall, written work is not readable, even if copied. Some Signs & Symptoms of dysgraphia:

  • Cramped fingers on writing tool causing hand fatigue
  • Excessive erasures
  • Mixture of upper & lowercase letters
  • Reversal errors (typical through first grade)
  • Inconsistent letter formation & slant
  • Irregular letter sizes & shapes
  • Misuse of line & margin
  • Poor organization on the page
  • Inefficient speed in copying

Here are some simple and effective strategies to support students with dysgraphia:

Let’s consider compensatory strategies:

  • non-sitting positions during handwriting such as prone on the floor, tall kneeling, or standing to assist with posture
  • Ball chair or air-filled cushion for sensory input
  • A slant board helps support the forearm and wrist during writing and positions the paper at just the right visual angle
  • Pencil grips can support and position fingers for the most efficient grasp
  • Adapted handwriting paper such as 2 lined paper to eliminate visual confusion, raised line paper to give a tactile cue for the baseline, or highlighted paper for easier visual target when writing

Here are some accommodations to consider:

  • Change demands of writing rate: Allow more time for written tasks
  • Change volume: Reduce copying by providing math worksheet with problems written 
  • Change tools: Graph paper for math problems, pencil grippers, adapted paper
  • Change format: Do not grade spelling on some assignments

Let’s look at some intervention ideas:

  • Theraputty to increase grip strength
  • Hand and finger warmups to handwriting such as finger thumb touching and squeezing the hands
  • Kinesthetic activities for handwriting such as practicing spelling words in shaving cream
  • Letter Treasure Hunt handwriting game from This is my original invention and kids have commented how fun handwriting is when they play this game!