Using Yarn for Therapy Sessions

  • November 11, 2021
  • Bilingual Therapies

yarn craft activitiesYarn is a simple supply to pick up and use in a variety of ways with children during therapy sessions across various disciplines (occupational, physical and speech-language). While occupational therapists focus on improving one’s ability to perform activities of daily living, physical therapists focus on one’s ability to restore or improve movements, strength, and range of motion.

School-based speech-language therapists assist a variety of age groups with communication challenges, such as processing, interpreting, and using language forms.

Yarn Therapy for Bilingual Students

Over the years, research has supported the many benefits of being bilingual. Having access to two or more languages has greatly supported increased cognitive brain function and increased mental flexibility. Additionally, just like bilingualism, research has greatly favored the use of calming techniques by way of the arts, such as using yarn. Yarn by way of an art form could help reduce anxiety levels, increasing self-esteem and encouraging relaxation. These are just some of the benefits of utilizing yarn during therapy in multi-disciplinary approach. Not only does it help one improve focus and helps calm kids, but it has given various therapists direction to access one’s executive function and processing skills.

While much of the research regarding attention and calming techniques is robust for the ADHD diagnosis, it too has included bilingual students. For example, just think of that one student that is an English Language Learner (ELL). They are learning a new language in probably a new structured environment. How much attentive and calmer would they be if provided yarn activity? How much more language could you elicit from them? By taking away the focus from the loaded task of communicating in a new language we may help our student gain confidence in using their second language.

The Benefits of Yarn Therapy

During therapy we can target speech and language skills using yarn by tying the material to a multi-step art activity to facilitate receptive language, executive function and assist in understanding how order helps us in our day-to-day activities. Occupational and physical therapists can use yarn to facilitate growth in the areas of fine motor and gross motor skills, respectively. By placing yarn in designated areas of a room, one could target various balancing exercises and/or other gross motor movements. Also, threading yarn using beads/buttons/clasps could help promote dexterity, range of motion and/or specific fine motor skills. All in all, you could use yarn to individually target a discipline or use it to target all disciplines by way of one activity.

Yarn Activities to use in your Therapy Sessions

  • Copying shapes
  • Beading
  • Friendship bracelets
  • Balance beam with yarn, success awaits at the end!

To start, check in with crafting stores, families, colleagues, and others to see if they have supplies that they may be able to donate. Craft stores also have sales from time to time. We hope we have given you a guide on a few ways that you can utilize yarn through specific activities.

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