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Friday, December 28, 2018

Fidget Tools for Sensory Processing and Anxiety Disorders

Excerpted from my book: From Flapping to Function: A Parent's Guide to Autism and Hand Skills

Many children and adults focus better when fidgeting with something; for example, jingling coins in one's pocket, pulling a zipper up and down, or tapping a pencil. Grasping and manipulating objects in these ways may be calming, alerting, or both. Many commercial "sensory" products are available to provide this kind of hand stimulation.
Fidget tools may be considered primarily a
 1) sensory fidget or
 2) quiet fidget tool.

The following video demonstrates both "sensory" and "quiet" fidget tools. At the bottom of this post, I share Associate Amazon links to products .....

Sensory Fidget Tools

Sensory fidget tools provide deep pressure stimulation to muscles and joints as they are pulled, squeezed, or pushed. Choosing sensory fidget tools requires individualization and some trial and error-one child may quietly pull on a stretchy toy while another might shoot it at peers.

Possible sensory fidget tools include these:
  1. Stretchy book covers, socks, coiled bracelets or key chains, rubber bands, or elastic hair bands. Children may enjoy stretching elastics around a ball or crunched-up paper to make a rubber-band ball. 
  2. Squeezing putty, modeling clay, or stress balls. You can make your own squeeze ball by pushing play dough inside a large, strong balloon (or plastic glove). Knot the balloon, then double its strength by inserting it inside a second balloon. This is easier to do if you cut the knot end off of the second balloon. (see picture below)
  3.   A kneadable eraser is enjoyable to mold and use, and may appeal to older children who do not want to look different than their peers. 
  4. Attach  a strip of Velcro or loop fastener to a table or desk. Then attach pieces of Velcro fastener to a couple of blocks or similar objects. The child can repeatedly attach and remove them while working. (see Velcro Railroad tracks photo below)
  5. Toys that make sounds, light up, or vibrate when squeezed, pulled, or pushed may be especially fun and stimulating. 

Quiet Fidget Tools

Quiet fidget toys fill the sensory needs of children who focus better while quietly moving their fingers. A quiet fidget tool might be a smooth stone, pen cap, marble, strand of beads or a paper clip. Advantages of quiet fidget tools are that they are generally not disruptive to other children and can be easily replaced when lost. A child can easily put the object down when engaged in a hand activity, or may be able to tuck it under the ring and pinky fingers while doing puzzles or even writing.

This client grasps small, smooth rocks between her fingers In each hand- all the time, including while eating, washing and inserting objects into containers. She finds it calming and becomes upset if they are removed! 

I try to create activities that meet the person's sensory needs while at the same time developing hand skills and having fun. For me that includes kneading dough to make bread or knitting. The following videos demonstrate activities that meet the sensory needs of my adult clients with   developmental disabilities.

Source: Adapting Velcro Activity for Sensory Processing Disorders by RecyclingOT

Pulling, shaking and squeezing materials at the "sensory table" help decrease hands in mouth behaviors.

Source: Sensory Table for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities by RecyclingOT

Source: Busy Bottles for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities by RecyclingOT
Source: Stretchy Ring and Ball Activity for Children with Sensory Processing Disorders by RecyclingOT


Friday, December 21, 2018

Animal Holiday Cheer

I love seeing wild life when I vacation at Myakka River Park in Florida.

I hope that these videos bring a smile to your face!!!

urce: Birds and Alligators at Myakka River Park by RecyclingOT

Source: Woody Wood Pecker at Myakka River Park by RecyclingOT

Source: Hungry Begging Bird! by RecyclingOT

Source: Oh..... Dear! by RecyclingOT