BCSD Occupational Therapist Authors Book

BCSD Occupational Therapist Authors Book
Posted on 03/11/2021
A veteran occupational therapist of two decades, Binghamton City School District’s Kim Wiggins saw a need for easy-to-apply lesson plans for parents, therapists and teachers. Ideas that would allow them to approach sensory issues with children in grades K through 5, helping them past obstacles and allowing the children to move on to other areas of learning.

Because of a constant increase in the numbers of children with such sensory issues – exacerbated further by the pandemic – Wiggins and her colleague, Gwen Wild, put pen to paper and published “Just Right: A Sensory Modulation Curriculum for K-5.”

The book contains 16 lesson plans, 28 full-color handouts, lists of materials, lesson-prep instructions, hands-on activities, links to video demonstrations, and so much more. The book officially went on sale March 1, and Wiggins said they have sold copies to 21 states and Australia.

Wiggins and Wild began tossing the book idea around a while back, but around a year ago, COVID afforded them some additional time to get serious.

“For years I’ve been teaching strategies to teachers, and one of my friends and fellow national presenter colleagues (Wild) already had developed a sensory diet tool product,” Wiggins said. “So, we decided to create a specific curriculum that will help kids learn different types of sensory strategies that can help them focus.”

One aspect of the book, Wiggins said, should be a big help at home and in the classroom, is the personalized sensory diet tool that each student will create.

“A sensory diet tool is where students can choose sensory strategies,” she explained. “They choose their own plan, and how they can focus better in school. There are things for touch, smell, vision, taste, movement, and body awareness. For example, a student might fall out of their chair on purpose, or bump into the wall, craving that input all the time, and sometimes they’ll do things inappropriately.”

Knowing what tools or approaches will help each individual is an important part of solving these puzzles for the children, Wiggins said.

“First you may notice a behavior. Something that impacts their ability to focus like being really sensitive to a noisy classroom or running around a classroom,” she said. “This raises a red flag and the teacher can usually make a referral, but now they can try this curriculum first!”

Wiggins said a lot of times a child with Autism has sensory issues, but it’s not just children with special needs.

“Really, we all have sensory issues of one magnitude or another, but most of us have figured out how to appropriately handle them,” she said.
Wiggins said some students may not be able to adequately handle loud echoes in a bathroom, as an example. Because of that, a student might hold their urine all day at school and develop an illness or infection. Some of the tools suggested in her book can help parents and teachers navigate such things, opening clear avenues to learning.

“Occupational therapists are specialists in this area, but the thing is, we’re seeing more and more sensory issues every year,” Wiggins said. “Now you add the past year with remote learning, students on computers more, locked into a six-foot line of separation, and it’s really gone off the charts.”

Wiggins said her goal with this book is to get as many kids sensory modulated as possible. Then, OTs can get more focused on the kids who have a harder time.

“Obviously, if these children can focus better, they can do so much better with learning and social skills,” she said.

This book realizes there are all different types of children in various settings, Wiggins said. With that in mind, the 16 lesson plans each contain six different modifications. And while this book is focused on school-aged students, Wiggins said she and her co-author (Wild) have discussed writing more, specifically mentioning a possibility for pre-K children, as well as students in middle school and older.

“It’s really hard to write a book,” she said. “There’s so much involved, things you don’t think of. But expanding the reach is definitely a possibility.”
To learn more about the book and curriculum visit www.OTKimWiggins.com 
 
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