It's neat to create something, and then to have people use it in ways you never thought about.
Such is the case of the Ball of Whacks.
We recently received the following delightful letter from Monica Ciurej, MSW, who is a school social worker. She writes about using it with her ADHD students.
I am a school social worker and have used the Ball of Whacks to demonstrate the ability to re-organize, calm, increase self-esteem and cope with difficulties.
In teaching re-organization to students with ADHD, I've found the Ball of Whacks to be a good teaching tool. You break the ball down, and then you put it together one piece at a time, just as you would complete one problem at a time on a worksheet. And before you know it it's put together or done.
Secondly, I use the ball to distract kids from anger, crying, and agitation. Even if they "break" it they can put it back together. Applied to their emotions, they see how one blow-up can be fixed and life gets put back together and we keep on "rolling" on.
Students are encouraged to try making different objects and shapes with the Balls pieces. After they've successfully made a new shape, their self-esteem improves.
Lastly, the Ball of Whacks is great at teaching coping strategies for kids who might be anxious or nervous. This helps keep their hands busy and is quiet enough for the classroom environment and is not disruptive.
When the students feel like things are "broken," the Ball of Whacks is a great visual of how we can fix things with a little support (magnets) and keep making mistakes and start over.
It's also a great ice-breaker for kids I'm meeting for the first time.
Monica Ciurej, MSW
Thank you, Monica. Good luck to you and your students!