hunker down

One of my 3-year-old students has all of the early warning signs for autism. It’s my first experience working with a child who likely has autism, and I’m happy to try any strategies other teachers and educational professionals are willing to share. I was thrilled to stumble upon this post about weighted lap bags, and thought it sounded easy enough to try myself.

I went to Petco and bought a large dog toy (originally with squeakers) and a 5 lb. bag of aquarium gravel. I tried to find a dog toy for “hunting,” because that meant it would have less stuffing to pull out. I grabbed a pair of sharp scissors, needle and thread.

There were four squeakers in my toy, so I cut the seems on the side of my lion’s limbs (I probably only needed to cut one, and could cut out all of the squeakers from one hole, but I didn’t realize that until later). Teddy Roosevelt, my dog, was obsessed with just these squeakers, but I was a little nervous about him choking, so I kept a close eye on him.

Then I sewed up all of the other holes but one, where I would pour the gravel. I had WC hold the lion while I slowly poured in the gravel. My student, A, is small, even for a 3-year-old, so I only used about 3 pounds of the gravel.

Since the weight of the gravel is more than the original design had considered, I then sewed along the inside seems to reinforce them.

Now I’m just hoping the sensory input from the lion helps A focus on the carpet!


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