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Ideas to help with coloring and drawing

Here are some tips for helping the child who has difficulties with coloring and drawing. This list was generated by several parents from the So Cal Autism Interventions Yahoo Group.

To Develop Tripod Grasp:

Start with sidewalk chalk, let him draw all over the patio! Then we moved to a Magna Doodle, which is just about as good as sidewalk chalk and he can actually take it places with him.

Break the crayons so they cannot be fisted. Use tiny pencils, tiny markers.

Try giving the child something to hold in the two fingers that curl toward the palm when using a proper grip (we used small toys).

Work on hand strength--use paper punches, scissors, moving small items with tongs, etc.

Make sure shoulder/arm/edge of hand are positioned so that child is not in a weird posture that may make him tire easily-elevated shoulder/elbow, for example.

Have child write on a dry erase board/chalkboard that is mounted on a wall--can't fist there.

Have him lay on his stomach and draw/color/write on paper on the floor. (OT suggestion)

To Motivate/Encourage Coloring:

Use pictures that have a black felt outline--they come with markers at Walmart. Use markers to outline the color crayon that should be used--this helps.

Start with SMALL simple coloring projects - a 2" small apple for example vs. a complex drawing on an 8-1/2 by 11" page. Highly reinforce completed activities. Work up to the 8 1/2 X 11" pages. Download stuff from www.disney.com or www.nickjr.com and print to black and white settings on the printer to make the coloring motivating and fun to what is "IN" for your child.

Use small coloring projects that have "glue" gunned borders so coloring "in the lines" can be done and easy to complete. Fade these borders asap. Wikki Stix (thin strings of colored wax that sticks to paper) can also be used. Buy at teaching supply stores.

Do coloring projects as part of the reinforcers - for example if he is working to GO TO a toy store, Chuck E Cheeses or outing - have the project be the movivation to GO THERE. For example: Color in a CHUCK E CHEESE PICTURE THEN GO THERE. Fade this of course or you will always be on an outing!

Put textures under the paper like leaves or sand paper for sensory input. use the weighted or "squiggly" pens as well. Sensory issues can be why a child does not like to color.

Try finger painting the pictures then crayons. (Sometimes it is the sheer task of it all and finger painting gets it done faster and fulfills the project.)

CRAYOLA has a cool coloring project called COLOR MAGIC. it is a package with a special coloring book and markers that fills in the picture with color but not outside the picture. It makes the end result very pretty and easy to do.

When child starts to color, put your hand on his elbow and move it forward and back in the motion similar to how you would color. This helped our son feel the back and forth movement necessary to fill in an area.

Get a Color Wonder set -- the magic markers you use on special paper, and whose color does not come out right away. My son thought these were MAGIC.

Where possible widen lines on border of coloring area to 1/4.

To Motivate/Encourage Drawing:

Get directed drawing books from Usborne to teach him the shapes used in drawing: a square, and a triangle make a house, many circles can make grapes, etc.

Writing/Drawing with his finger in Colgate shaving cream, GFCF pudding, thick paint.

Drawing pictures or letters with his finger -- on plastic storage bags filled with ketchup, or shaving creme, etc.

Give child very simple models of very simple things to draw that, once he learned all of them, could make a complete scene -- like the sun, fish, ocean waves, boat, bird, man, -- and then working through them with him, one-by-one. I.e., draw most of the sun, following the model, and then have child complete the last line or two, and color it in. Then, he does more the next time. Eventually the models are faded out, and, once he has all the items for the scene mastered, you draw the ocean scene together, and then in a variety of different ways.

Pair your child with therapist who is enthusiastic about art. Enthusiasm may wear off.

To Motivate/Encourage Writing:

Handwriting Without Tears. http://www.hwtears.com/ It works. Have it written in for your IEP.


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