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Nicole Verret


LEI 4724

Citation Source: Hamill, C.M., Oliver, R.C. (1980). Therapeutic activities for the handicapped
elderly. Rockville, MD: Aspen.
Equipment Needed: Various size knitting needles or crochet hooks. Various yarns of different
weights and textures.
Activity Description: This activity would best be completed in small groups if there is only one
facilitator. If there are multiple co-facilitators the number in the group can be expanded, but
otherwise I would stick to a ratio of 3:1. The purpose of this activity is to develop a sense of
mastery, problem solving, and social skills as well as explore leisure preferences and creativity.
This group would be best structured as a multi session approach, which can be scheduled at
intervals that best work for the setting (i.e. in a setting where the participants live, this could
occur daily or several times a week; in a community setting it could occur weekly). Start with
introduction to basic skills, explaining the materials, and basic terms. Set small but manageable
goals for each session so that participants feel that they are able to leave the group mastering one
skill at a time. Build up to a small project, such as creating a washcloth. Start projects with the
least degree of difficulty, and work up from there.
Leadership Considerations: The leader will need to be able to be attentive to each participants
needs and should have some experience with what they are teaching, because students may ask
for assistance in the middle of a step, and it is important to be able to identify issues and talk
them through how to solve them. Additionally, you will want to have prepared variety of ways to
explain the same instructions this may involve picture instructions, video demonstrations, etc.
as different people learn differently.
Adaptations With individuals who have developmental disabilities the goal of this type of
activity would be to work on following directions, social interactions and manual dexterity.
Depending on skill level you could do adaptations such as larger size knitting needles or crochet
hooks which will be easier to hold and will also make larger knits, so that it is easy to see what
step you are in. If crocheting or knitting is too difficult, sewing could be an additional skill to
work on, using larger (and duller) upholstery needles with thick thread or yarn with thick lacing
board or cardboard with holes punched in it. For adults who are have experienced a decline in
visual functioning but have knitted or crocheted in the past this may be an excellent activity; as
much of this skill become muscle memory. It will be important to provide cotton or wool yarn
that is of a consistent shape.