Miss Jaime, O.T.’s Favorite Sensory Gifts 2018!

Sensory kids can be tricky. 

Different kids can like or dislike different sensations.  I like to recommend weighted things because I find that they can be calming and grounding for children who are sensory seeking, anxious, impulsive, or hyperactive. They can also be used as “heavy work” for kids who need to “wake up” or get moving.

Picking out a gift can be so frustrating.

This year I thought I’d make a quick list of my top favorite NEW sensory toys – ones that are unique and probably not already in your child’s toy box.

Affiliate links have been included for your convenience.

A Weighted Teddy Bear

This weighted teddy bear is too adorable.  It looks like a typical toy but provides a weighted sensation which can be comforting.  Check it out!

 

 

A Weighted Cap

This weighted cap is so cool! I love that it looks just like a regular hat, but it is weighted to provide extra input to the head.  Such a brilliant idea! Learn more here.

 

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The All In One Magic Magnetized Shoe-Tying Miracle

“How am I supposed to teach him to tie his shoes?”
The Occupational Therapy student’s cheeks were pink.  A concerned look creased her face.

Self-doubt was creeping in. I understood.

Sometimes you get a child on your caseload that seems to have a lot of obstacles to face, just to live a normal independent life.

This little boy was no exception.  Charlie was born with amniotic banding, a rare condition caused by fibrous strands of the amniotic sac entangling the limbs or other parts of the body, which can cause deformities in utero.  In Charlie’s case, he was born without his left hand.

How do you teach bilateral skills like cutting, buttoning, and tying to a child with only one hand?  

You adapt.   And you teach them to adapt.  There’s always a way.

    • Every child deserves to live a full and happy life.
    • They deserve to be independent.
    • And they deserve to accomplish typical milestones, such as tying their shoes for the first time.

I love to use adaptive tools to make these mountainous challenges just a bit easier for my little guys.    So I was super excited to tell my OT student about Zubits.

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For the Hardworking Therapists Who Work With Children with Special Needs

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I’m sure you’ve heard of Mom guilt, Daughter Guilt, and Irish Guilt, but have you ever heard of Therapist Guilt?

I may have invented it…

You’ve probably read letters and blog posts written toward the parents of children with special needs; talking about how strong they are and how hard they work to help their children.

It’s true.  But many of those selfless parents still have “The Guilts”.

WHAT ARE “THE GUILTS”?

When you have “the guilts”,  there is always something you feel guilty about.   It could be about not having a spic-n-span house, not being able to go to loud family events, or losing your patience with a child with special needs.  The guilt is always there.

It’s often there for therapists, too.

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6 Things You Should Know about Primitive Reflexes

I’m still buzzing from all the amazing things I’m learning in the Primitive Reflexes E-course. As an affiliate for the program, I can whole-heartedly recommend this course – not just for therapists but parents and teachers, too!

*This post contains affiliate links for your conveinence

Starting TODAY, there’s an early bird special for this course.

 The course is $97.00 until October 3rd, then it goes up to $127.00.

I’m the first to admit I didn’t know a lot about retained Primitive Reflexes – the school-based framework is more about “fixing what’s in front of you” rather than digging deep for the underlying causes of certain behaviors.

But I have to admit- I’m hooked.

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The Hidden Benefits of Flexible Seating

An exciting guest post from 4th-grade teacher, Jennifer O’Brien about the Hidden Benefits of Flexible Seating!

*This post contains affilaite links

Prior to implementing flexible seating in my classroom, I did A LOT of research. A flexible seating transformation is so much more than just buying new furniture. There are rules and expectations that must be clearly communicated to the students to ensure an easy transition. While I prepared myself for this change, I learned about some of the benefits of flexible seating: 

  • Comfort: Students are more comfortable, allowing them to focus for longer periods of time. This leads to higher academic achievement. 
  • Differentiated Seating: Flexible seating is essentially “differentiated” seating. There are many different choices, some options giving children the sensory input that they need.  
  • Improved Behavior: Students are less disruptive and are able to burn off energy throughout the day. 

flexible seating, alternative seating, The Hidden Benefits of Flexible Seating

The “hidden benefits”

When I made this commitment, I never would’ve thought that I’d see such positive changes (so quickly, too!) within my classroom.  

  • New Friendships

    With flexible seating, students aren’t tied down to one desk or seating arrangement. Throughout the day, they are sitting with different children. I have seen new friendships grow from this and I feel like it has only brought my students, and my class as a whole, closer.   

  •  Collaboration

    Tables replaced the desks that were removed from my classroom during this transformation. I’ll admit- I was nervous that this would lead to a much noisier room, but that did not happen. Instead, I found that there was more productive chatter around the classroom. Tables foster a much more collaborative learning environment. I feel that this has also led to the development of stronger social skills in many of my students. 

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    FREEBIE: Choosing the Right Alternative Seating Option

  • Improved Self-Monitoring Skills

    The purpose of flexible seating is to give students the power of choice. They should be comfortable and ready to learn. This has been one of the more challenging skills to master but it has helped my students develop a necessary awareness throughout the school day. When I ask students to choose a “smart spot”, they know what is expected of them. It has been amazing to see them mature with this concept, understanding what both concentration and productivity should look like. When students feel like they cannot focus or that need to move, they may do so.   

  • Stronger Classroom Management

     Since I was rolling out this transformation mid-year, I knew that my classroom management had to be strong. Clear rules and expectations are critical and must remain consistent. Seeing my students understand the daily routine and take responsibility for their learning has been incredible.  I’ve learned so much through this experience, and I believe it has made me a stronger, more effective teacher.  Stronger classroom management is definitely a hidden benefit of flexible seating!


Interested in learning more about Alternative Seating?  Check out:

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It’s almost Back to School time! Get 50% off the Guide to Alternative Seating for the Classroom until the end of August. Use Promo Code: BTS50


The Hidden Benefits of Flexible Seating

Jennifer O’Brien has a Master’s degree in Literacy from St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue, N.Y.. She is General Education and Special Education certified birth-6th grade. Jennifer has been a public school teacher on Long Island for 3 years. In her spare time, she enjoys creating supplemental resources for her students to use as well as reading and going to the beach!  Check out Jennifer’s Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

 

 

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Sensory Theraplay Box

Do you know a child who just LOVES Sensory toys?  I mean gooey, flashy, squishy, squeezable and spinnable toys that stimulate their senses of sight, taste, touch, smell, and hearing.

As a pediatric Occupational Therapist, I have to admit that I have a LOT of students who love sensory stimulation.  And I have a bunch of sensory toys that I use routinely in my therapy sessions.

But it’s very easy to get stuck in a rut. 

My kids get bored with the same toys over and over.  But I don’t have time to go scouring for new sensory toys all the time.  And the families that I work with aren’t sure what to get or where to get the perfect sensory toys for their children.

But there’s a solution!

Sensory toys, SPD, sensory processing,

I recently discovered Sensory Theraplay Box, a subscription sensory play box that’s delivered to your doorstep!  This is such a cool idea – a box full of new sensory toys specially hand picked by a pediatric Occupational Therapist delivered to your house during the first week of the month.

Each box is different! It’s filled with toys to help develop important sensory-motor skills & stimulate the senses.  These are perfect for getting your child to engage in sensory play!

Here are the details:

  • A variety of toys to engage your child in fun, silly sensory play!
  • Boxes ship out the first week of each month
  • Items are therapeutic & can be calming or help manage anxiety
  • Curated for children with autism/ sensory needs in mind, but suitable for children of all abilities
  • Each month’s box is carefully assembled by a licensed occupational therapist and includes a description card inside

You know when you are looking for the perfect gift and you just don’t know what to get?

It’s the worst.

This is the perfect gift for a child with Sensory Processing difficulties.  Or a child who thrives on engaging sensory play.  Actually, it’s the perfect gift for any child!

The Sensory Theraplay is a wonderful gift idea for birthdays, holidays, or other special occasions.   It’s an amazing way to get a child actively playing with sensory toys, using their imagination,  and learning how to self-regulate.

THE PERFECT GIFT FOR A CHILD WITH Sensory Needs, AUTISM OR ADHD

The Sensory Theraplay Box is filled with engaging, appropriate toys that encouraged children to functionally play and use their hands.   The boxes are designed for children who have sensory needs, but they are fun for any child!

I have to say, I am impressed with the quality and range of toys that were included in my box.   I brought them to school and my kids were psyched!

“Where did you get this?”

“Can I keep this?”   

The variety of toys included in my box appealed to all of my students.  Those who needed alerting activities were excited with the stimulating toys, and those who played with the calming activities showed improved self-regulation.

CHECK OUt Some Sensory Theraplay Boxes:

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sensory, spd, Sensory Processing Disorder

 

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The real reason your students can’t sit still…Poor Core Strength!

Poor core strength is often the reason kids can’t sit still…

“Do you mind taking a look at one of my students?  He just can’t seem to stay in his chair…”

As a school based Occupational Therapist, I hear this question at least twice a week.

For the most part, kids are expected to sit at their desks in the classroom. There are times when the class breaks up into groups and move around to sit on the floor, etc., but for the rest of the day, they are supposed to sit in their seat.

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