Twiddles Sensory Toy

How to Improve Self-Regulation With The Twiddle® Sensory Toy

The Twiddle® Sensory Toy is the answer you’ve been looking for!

HOW TO USE THE TWIDDLE® SENSORY TOY 

I’m so excited to write about a new product I found called the Twiddle®.  This is a sponsored post, which means I was compensated to write about the product.  I only endorse products that I use personally in my practice, and the Twiddle® Sensory Toy is a new favorite.

Twiddles are soft, therapeutic activity/comfort aids that assist caregivers and professionals specializing in children with autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorders, developmental disabilities, and more.

This post contains affiliate links.

Twiddle® Sensory Toy

What is a Twiddle® Sensory Toy and what is it for?

The Twiddle intrigued me when I first saw it – what an awesome idea!  It’s a comforting, engaging tool that looks like a toy or a stuffed animal but functions as a sensory aid to keep a child’s hands busy and mind focused.

It has gadgets on the outside and a soft flexible plastic orbit ball on the inside; perfect for active hands that like to squeeze, pull, and play!

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#AOTA17

10 Reasons Every OT Should Attend #AOTA17

<#AOTA17 is a must!  See 10 reasons why you HAVE to go!>

#AOTA17

I’ve been an OT for seventeen years, but I’m embarrassed to admit that I’d never attended the AOTA conference until #AOTA15 in Nashville, Tennessee.

My excuses were:

  • It cost too much
  • I’d have to miss work
  • None of my friends were going/ I wouldn’t know anyone

Two years ago, my old roommate from college asked me if I was interested in attending #AOTA15 in Nashville.

YES!   I’d been dying to go to Nashville, it was a chance to hang out with my former partner-in-crime for a few days, so I was totally in.

That trip totally changed my perspective on the AOTA conference. 

Truthfully, I had no idea what I’d been missing!

Now, I can honestly say that I’ll make every effort to attend the AOTA conference each year. I decided to write this article to convince the Occupational Therapy practitioners who are thinking “hmm maybe…” to   “YES!” for  #AOTA17.

Here are 10 reasons YOU should go To #AOTA17 in PhilLY!

*This post contains affiliate links

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EZPZ for therapists

How to stop the disastrous mealtime spills!

Finding a new product that I can use with students to improve their time on task AND  limit messes is no easy feat.  In fact, it’s a bit of a miracle. EZPZ

I am so excited that I have become an affiliate for this amazing company – EZPZ!  So I’m able to give you a link to get an extra 10% off any EZPZ that you  purchase! (See below for links and discounts)

I have a lot of students on my OT caseload who are clumsy, uncoordinated, and distracted.

Then, there are the students who are impulsive, avoidant, and behavioral.

This leads to TONS of spilled paint, knocked over blocks, and (the worst) tiny items that end up ALL OVER my classroom floor.

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Best Baby Shower Gift Ever And It’s Not On The Registry

Baby shower gifts can be so dull and boring.  Finally, a different personal  baby shower gift that the new mom definitely didn’t register for, The Best Baby Shower Gift Ever


I have a confession:  I hate baby showers.

And bridal showers too.

I know it makes me a horrible  person.  And I am TRULY happy for my friend and their new milestone.  I just hate having to sit somewhere for four hours drinking punch with no liquor in it when I could be reading a book, going to yoga or cleaning out my closet.

I’m a terrible person.  I know.

BUT – I suck it up and do my womanly duty because it’s the right thing to do and I know my friend needs the loot.

Plus, I LOVE to give presents.  I always give my BEST EVER “Miss Jaime OT” baby shower gift. I’ve perfected it over the years and every one of my friends has gushed about how useful it was.   Plus, NO ONE thinks to register for it.

 I can’t wait to share it with you!

Every new mom registers for diapers, bottles, and sheets, etc.  They go up and down the aisles aiming their “gift gun” at all kinds of silly things that they may never end up using; noise machines, diaper genies, and special “baby” detergent.

BUT THEY ALWAYS FORGET THIS ESSENTIAL ITEM.

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“Get Dressed!” How to modify your child’s dressing routine

 

“Get Dressed!”  How to Modify Your Child’s Dressing Routine  is part of a year-long blog hop called Functional Skills for Kids.  Each month, I will be working with other pediatric OTs and PTs to post on different developmental topics that impact functional skills for kids. I’m so honored to be working with some amazing pediatric bloggers to bring you a well-rounded blog hop that will ultimately result in a BOOK!

*This post contains affiliate links

This series will be a wonderful resource for parents, teachers, and therapists to learn about all the different activities a child performs each day.  Every month, each therapist will discuss different aspects of functional skills.  Each childhood function will be broken down into developmental timelines, fine motor considerations, gross motor considerations, sensory considerations, visual perceptual considerations, accommodations and modifications, activity ideas, and more.

April’s topic in the  “Functional Skills for Kids” blog hop is DRESSING, so check out the landing page for the rest of our posts and information on all things related to “Getting Dressed!”

#functionforkids

WHEN SHOULD A CHILD LEARN HOW TO GET DRESSED?

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10 Pet Peeves of a School-Based OT

Learn 10 pet peeves of a school based Occupational Therapist

10 Pet Peeves of a school-based Occupational Therapist

In the spirit of teaching the general public about OT, I’ve decided to share some of my “O.T. pet peeves”.  The teachers that I work with know me pretty well.  As a true Sagittarius,  I am a very easy going person, but some things drive me nuts! (Yes I believe in that stuff)

My pet peeves are all with good reason, I swear! Over the years, I’ve managed to rub my “O.T. ways” off on many of them.  Here are my pet peeves with explanations:

CUT THE CLUTTER

1) Over decorated classrooms –  A classroom with too much stuff going on can be really distracting for kids with attention issues.  Too much clutter, every wall covered, things hanging from the ceiling, desks covered with pictures and visual cues, etc.  Children who are easily overstimulated get distracted by all of these things.

Teachers wonder why so many kids have such poor attention – maybe all the clutter is what is distracting them?  Also, when children are trying to copy from the board, they need to change the position of their head (as well as their visual gaze) from looking at a vertical surface (board) to a horizontal surface (notebook). Think of all of the visual distractions in the path from the board to the notebook.  No wonder they have difficulty copying!

Check out my video with tips for “copying from the board” here.

This post contains affiliate links.

2)  Gluesticks – The teachers that I work with know that I NEVER want glue sticks if we are working on an art and craft project.  I prefer regular good old Elmers glue!  Why?  I know they can be messy at first, but that’s because children need to learn how hard to squeeze. They need to be able to recognize that the glue cap isn’t open.  They need to use their little hand muscles to squeeze, squeeze, squeeze.  Real glue, please!  Also – need a quick glue cap #OThack for little hands?  Use a Wikki Stix  (aka Bendaroo) on the cap so kids know where to pinch.  It also helps them to hold, so their little fingers don’t slide when they twist.

pet peeves of a school based Occupational Therapist

SENSORY PROCESSING

3)   Too many cushion seats – This one is in a special case.  Generally, if a teacher asks me for a cushion seat, I’m psyched.  I love that they are looking for a strategy to increase a child’s ability to focus.  BUT – when a teacher approaches me and says “I need five seat cushions”, my immediate reply (in my head, of course) is “Um, NO, you need to change your classroom routine.” If that many children are having difficulty sitting still or focusing, the classroom routine should be altered to include lots of brain breaks, heavy work, and changes in position.

A cushion seat should be the exception, not the rule. Kids need to move! 

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communication, therapists, schools

How to Improve Communication From Your Kid’s School Therapist

Communication: the key to success!

Since it’s the beginning of the school year, I’ve decided to share my best advice for improving communication with your child’s therapist. Parents sometimes feel helpless because they don’t know what their child is doing in OT, PT, or Speech.   You can’t be with your child all day long, so you don’t know if they had therapy that day, if it was cancelled, if he/she did a great job, etc.  If your child is non-verbal it’s even more of a mystery.

 

Communicate from the beginning!

My best advice for starting the year off right is to communicate with the therapist.  I like for parents to send in a notebook so I can write a short blurb about what we worked on.  I like to give handouts for suggestions at home and let them know how their child is progressing.

 

However, some therapists don’t like notebooks.  For example, my sister-in-law is a speech therapist. She sees children in groups of five. That means that at the “end” of her session, she would need to write in 5 different books.  With 7 therapy periods a day, that would be 35 notebooks a day. Now, what is more important? Writing in the books or working with the kids? You can guess the answer.

 

For me, I see children individually or in a group of two. So it only takes a few minutes to jot down what we worked on and how the child did.  I have some parents who write me back or put a checkmark every time I write.  Then I have a few others who don’t do anything.  Now I don’t know if they read my note  or even saw it.  Did the book even go home? After a few of these, I have to be honest: I am less motivated to write in that book. Because 1) why bother if you are not reading it and 2) it takes time away from your child.

Communication Notebooks don’t always work

Sometimes parents send in a book and then they get annoyed when the therapist doesn’t write in it. Here is my advice for that:

1)  Write to them first.  Tell them you want to communicate and would love feedback about how your child is doing.  You would love suggestions for home, etc.

2) If it’s been a few weeks and you haven’t heard from your therapist, write a note to the teacher.  Maybe the book is lost or maybe your child sticks it in his desk instead of his backpack.

Sometimes the schedule (the therapist’s or the child’s) interferes with writing in the book, too.  In Long Island, most districts do not have their own OT’s and PT’s.  So the therapists are from contract agencies, working in multiple buildings and even multiple districts in one day.  This means that sometimes they eat lunch in their car in between schools.  Life is chaotic.

Anyway, my point is that a day in a therapist’s life is often rushed and scheduled down to the very minute.  So is your child’s.  They have to fit your child’s OT or PT session around lunch, literacy block, other therapies, resource room and specials.  This means they may pick up your child straight from music and then bring them right down to lunch. Maybe they go straight off the bus to the OT room and then the class picks them up on the way to art. The child isn’t in their classroom and therefore they couldn’t grab their notebook.

Communication: Don’t believe what you hear!

Then there is also this scenario:

Mom: “What did you do in OT today?”

Johnny: “We colored”.

The OT: “Johnny colored in a color-by number sheet to work on visual perceptual skills and matching while laying on his belly to increase upper extremity strength and stability.  He is working to increase his endurance for writing.”

Mom: “What did you do in OT today?”
Johnny: “We played games!”

The OT: “We’ve been working on visual perceptual skills and fine motor skills. Johnny has trouble tracking from left to right when copying from the board.  We played “Battleship” because it works on all of those skills at once. We also played it laying our bellies to improve Johnny’s shoulder stability.”

See the difference?  Kids work hard to sit it school all day, so OT and PT are a great chance for them to move and “have fun”.   So most therapists try to work on their therapy goals while incorporating movement and fun for the child.  To the outsider it looks like all fun and games.  But there is some hard work going on.

Your therapist isn’t going to tell your child all the things they are really working on. So your child won’t tell you.

Communication is KEY to progress and carryover.  Your child’s therapist wants them to succeed and so do you.  If the notebook doesn’t work, ask if you can email. Some districts don’t want teachers to email, so if that’s the case ask for monthly updates or a phone call once in a while.  Keep in mind that your child’s therapist may have between 20-60 other kids on their caseload.

Do you have any tips for communicating with your therapists? Please share!

Miss Jaime OT

Have a great year! ~Miss Jaime, OT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Other Posts You May Enjoy:

spacing, spatial awareness, handwriting
 Miss Jaime Blog Post back to school
 jumbo crayons, developmentally appropriate

 


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