Friday, September 7, 2012

Saddlebag - a versatile material

Today I'm going to introduce you a material that I like a lot and is very useful. The saddlebag is composed by two bags - a bag on each side of the horse. It can be placed in front of the saddle or surcingle. Depending on the goal, it can be placed backward too. Mine has two hooks and two strips to attach it, as you can see in the picture below.

It is very versatile - we can use it in many activities. We can fill it with images or other visual stimuli so the child can name it and give to other person or do the image-object matching. We can ask to the child with autism to give us the object we ask (eg, mini brushes) wich he isn't actually seeing (a difficult task to some guys). The occupational therapist can adapt it with other locks (eg, button, velcro, shoelaces, etc) to achieve their goals. The child can transfer the asked object from one pocket to another. These are just some examples. The therapists can also save the material inside to next activity. You can associate the right bag to the tasks already done and left to the tasks which are not  done yet - for example, the child must pick up a picture from the left bag, name it (or something different)!  and put it in right bag. Beyond language/speech goals we are working sequential memory, improving attention and laterality.
I have been observing a funny thing: some children are afraid to put their hands in the pockets!

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