I received the Harkla weighted lap pad for free in exchange for a review.
Ever felt calm after a big hug with a loved one? That is because research has shown that applying gentle deep pressure to the body can result in a calming effect. It can help a person calm their body in order to sleep better or increase their focus/attention for participation in functional activities. Deep Pressure Therapy has demonstrated benefits for individuals suffering from disorders such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and ADHD. With such benefits it is no wonder we have seen the rise in popularity of the weighted blanket. As of late, weighted blankets have been featured in gift catalogs, shopping guides, and in celebrity social media accounts. Even pet stores have begun carrying weighted items. There are many brands out there but, the Harkla family of products really stands out for their quality and affordability.
I received the 5 pound weighted lap pad in the mail and was instantly impressed with the quality and functionality of the product. The weighted lap pad is perfect for children living with Autism or diagnosed with sensory processing disorders. As it can help regulate their bodies in order to increase attention, improve sleep, and reduced self-stimulatory behaviors. The lap pad is machine washable, and can be easily transported making it perfect to use in the classroom.
Harkla is dedicated to making great products that will become a resource for families raising children living with special needs. 1% of every sale at Harkla goes to the University of Washington Autism Clinic to help fund research and therapy for local children. Head on over to their site right now to check out all of their amazing products and receive a digital copy of their guide “The 10 Best Ways To Improve Your Child’s Autistic Symptoms” with your purchase.
Correcting a student’s grasp on a writing utensil can be a tricky endeavor. Each child is different and presents with different needs. Pencil grips are a handy tool often used by occupational therapists to help with this issue. Pencil grips can be used as a training tool or as an adaptation. Out on the market there is currently a large variety of grips that can be purchased. As many OTs do, I have a few favorites that I love to use with my students. Though, I am always on the hunt for new and improved models.
Today I would like to share with you the WriteRight pencil grip. I first saw this grip at AOTA earlier this year and was eager to test it out with my students. I was sent all three sizes by the company in order to review them, and I must say that I would definitely recommend this product.
My students have found it fun to use and really enjoy its cool shape. This grip does a great job promoting a tripod grasp while still providing comfort (each finger has a place). The material is durable, comfortable, and easy to clean. I also love that the pencil that comes with the grip is mechanical making it easy to work on different skills with my students such as graded pressure. The grip can also be transferred to another regular full-sized pencil if that is something you would prefer. To read more about the WriterRight pencil grip make sure to click the following link ------- thewriteright.com
As occupational therapy clinicians we know the importance of empathy all too well. In order to help individuals achieve optimal functioning within their lives, we most see the world from their perspective. OTs are often faced with situations where we must provide support, comfort, and/or motivate others. This is why it is crucial for OTs to understand the difference between showing sympathy or being empathetic towards someone. This year's AOTA conference was extremely insightful and filled with valuable information. During one of the lectures I attended, this video was played. It does a good job describing the difference between the two. Enjoy!
I must admit that I am a trendy girl! I often fall victim to the latest trends and believe all the hype. Hence, I recently found myself at Michael’s, at 7 pm on a Tuesday stocking up on the latest coloring books. If you have not heard of the adult coloring craze by now. You have definitely been living under a rock! It is supposed to clear your mind and relieve stress. It is all the rage, but did not work for me. I found myself getting worked up about coloring an instagram worthy page, rather than using it as a tool to calm down. For me, adult coloring is a creative outlet rather than a stress reliever.
This is why, when I came across the Mandalynths booth at AOTA16 my curiosity was peaked. Mandalynths are Celtic Art focus tools you trace with a stylus. Basically, you trace over a colorful beautiful pattern. In tracing as opposed to coloring, there are no decisions for you to make. Making the experience quite relaxing.
I have enjoyed tracing these Mandalynths while I listen to guided meditations. Having something to focus on while doing breathing exercises has definitely helped me clear my mind. An aspect of meditating I used to struggle with. I recommend this product for personal use and as a therapeutic tool as well.
As occupational therapists we often work with our clients to practice mindfulness. This would be a great tool to use in our practice. Everyone from children to adults with different cognitive levels can work with these patterns. Mandalynths are also useful to work on figure-ground, visual perceptual, and eye-hand coordination skills.
There are currently 3 different types of Mandalynths:
Open Mandalynths are relaxing to trace. They are best for stress, anxiety, anger an panic attacks.
Medium Manalynths are slightly engaging to trace. They are best for attention issues, autism, or relaxing mental challenge.
Tight Mandalynths are difficult to trace. They are not relaxing. Instead, they are very challenging. Great for intense mental involvement.
If you are interested in learning more about Mandalynths and celtic art products click on over to the Celtic Art Store and check them out. For Mandalynths on the go, download the app available on google play or apple store. Tracing is the new coloring!
**I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.
Sensory Processing Disorder is a complex topic and can be quite confusing when you are first exposed to it. In my every day practice I often recommend this book to parents. It helps them expand their knowledge and understanding of the terms I use during their child's therapy sessions. This book does a good job explaining the different types of sensory processing issues and gives lots of examples of activities that you can incorporate in the child's life. I highly recommend this book as an easy resource to refer to.
If you have read this book, please comment below. I would love to hear your thoughts.
Why did the school-based occupational therapist discharge my child, when it is clear that he/she will still benefit from occupational therapy services ?
This is a question I get often from parents who do not understand the reasoning behind this decision. It is normal for parents to feel frustrated, and disappointed in this type of situation. Most of these feelings can be avoided through proper communication between the individuals involved in the child’s care and education. There is a definite difference between school-based OT and private OT services, but most parents/caregiver(s) are unaware of this difference. Below I have provided a brief summary explaining the two services, in hopes of helping families gain insight of the process.
Serves as a supplemental service which focuses on assisting the child in accessing all parts of the school environment. This is done through direct intervention, provision of adaptive equipment/technology, and collaboration with school personnel. It strictly follows the child's
individualized Education Plan (IEP), and the goals that the teacher has created. OTs working in the schools collaborate with school personnel in order to support those goals. Once the child has met the goals on the IEP or is able to assess the school environment (cafeteria, playground, classroom, etc) they are discharged from occupational therapy services. However, this does not mean that the child can no longer benefit from OT intervention. This is when private occupational therapy services are beneficial.
Focuses on developing the child’s developmental skills in order to improve their quality of life and successful engagement in activities of daily living. OTs in private settings can collaborate with the family, teacher, and other professionals involved in the child’s care. Private OT has the freedom to work on activities that are not restricted by the school environment and the IEP. They can offer a more tailored intervention that targets underlying factors affecting the child's performance. Some skills OTs can work on include visual-motor, visual-perceptual, sensory integration, self-regulation, balance and coordination, fine motor, gross motor, and behavioral issues.
Still have questions? Feel free to leave a comment with your questions, or send me an e-mail.