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AQUAFITNESS

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

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Keep your children active this summer season by using pool time for exercise. It’s fun, motivating, and a great way to stay fit. Join your child and make exercising fun for the whole family.

 

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Benefits

Water provides natural resistance, making it an excellent medium for building muscle strength and tone. It is effective as a cardiovascular workout, without placing stress on your body’s joints.

Aerobic activities with fun equipment

  • Water Relays:
    • Walk across the pool with huge monster steps
    • Walk backwards
    • Sideways shuffle around the perimeter of the pool
  • Pool Noodle games:
    • “Jump” rope forwards and backwards
    • Straddle the noodle like a horse, and race to the other side of the pool
    • Hold one noodle in each hand parallel to your body to create a “motorboat.” Turn it on by kicking with your legs
  • Kickboards:
    • Kick hard across the pool while resting chest and arms on the kickboard
    • On your back, hold the kickboard with both hands and flutter
  • Aquajoggers:
    • “Jog” in the pool (body vertical in the water) with your legs, while pulling the water towards you with alternating hands
    • Jog while holding a noodle above your head like a rainbow
    • While vertical in the water, hold a water barbell in each hand and do jumping jacks

Safety Tips

  • Be sure that your child can touch the bottom of the pool comfortable to stand up for a break when necessary
  • Use sun block liberally and re-apply regularly
  • Drink lots of water. Although your child is in the water, he/she will still need to drink frequently
This entry was posted on Thursday, June 16th, 2016 and is filed under Gross Motor Activities, Seasonal Tips.

Thanksgiving Turkey Treats for Sensory and Fine Motor Skills

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

I stumbled upon this fabulous rice crispy turkey treat recipe and cannot wait to try it out. The combination of temperatures and textures make for a rich sensory experience. It’s a great recipe for sensory seekers who love to get their hands messy and exciting enough to motivate sensory avoiders to get involved in the activity. The detailed décor provide lots of opportunity to practice fine motor skills. Lets take a closer look at the recipe:

Ingredients:

Rice Crispy Treats:
1/4 cup butter
10 oz marshmallows
6 cups rice crispy cereal
1/2 cup peanut butter (omit if making classic flavor)

Turkey Decor:
Candy corn
Cashews (split in half, and then broken in two)
Whoppers (or other round, brown candy)
Black frosting
Red licorice
More peanut butter for “glue”

Method:

  1. Melt butter in a pan, add marshmallows and mix. Once melted, remove from flame and mix in cereal –Stirring the thick mixture of marshmallows and rice crispies provides proprioceptive input to the arms and builds up strength.
  2. While still warm, use mixture to form small balls – The warm temperature and combination of textures provides tactile input to the hands. Proprioceptive and tactile input builds sensory awareness of the hands to prepare them for fine motor activities. Luckily this recipe has a built in fine motor component following the sensory input (see step 3)!
  3. Use peanut butter as glue (marshmallow fluff is a peanut free alternative). Tack on the candy corn (feathers), Whopper (head), beak (cashew), little red waddle (licorice), and then use black frosting to make the eyes – Here the child works on using a pincer grasp to grip the candies. Breaking the cashews in half strengthens the small muscles of the hands and promotes bilateral coordination.

Below is the link to the recipe page:
http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/peanut-butter-rice-crispy-treats/

Submitted by:  Ariela Warburg OTA &
Dr. Chaye Lamm Warburg, DPS, OTR/L, Director, POTS

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 and is filed under Fine Motor Fun, Seasonal Tips, Sensory Integration.

Helpful Hints for Halloween

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

halloween

Trick or treat! Halloween can be overwhelming for anyone, but for an apprehensive child or a child with Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD or autism who suffers from sensory sensitivities, the sounds, sights, and the way things feel can overpower and overshadow the potential for fun. Here are some tips to keep the focus on having a great time.

Sensory Tips:

  • Costumes aren’t essential: Do not force your child to wear a costume. It will backfire.
  • Let your child choose: If your child wears a costume, let him/her pick it out. Try not to be judgmental. The costume is not a reflection of you. Your child needs to tolerate the feel of the costume as well as how it looks visually.
  • Practice: Spend lots of time playing dress up with the exact same costume your child will wear, so the feel becomes familiar, and so you can mend uncomfortable areas.
  • Faces are sensitive: Do not insist that your child wear face paint or a mask. If your child wears face paint, bring baby wipes or make-up remover in case he/she becomes uncomfortable.
  • Fear: If your child is afraid of costumed people, do dress-up activities or read books in advance to prepare him/her.
  • Plan in advance: Knowing what to expect in advance often provides children with the control they need to allay their anxiety.
  • Create a visual: Provide your child with a pictorial or written schedule of upcoming holiday events. Indicate which will be indoors or outdoors, and which are expected to be crowded and noisy. Review the schedule so that your child knows what to expect.
  • Plan an exit strategy: Assure you child that if he/she needs a break from the fun, you understand and are on board. If possible, designate a specific place for you and your child to escape if an activity becomes overwhelming. Let him/her choose when to re-enter.

General Tips:

  • Don’t forget the bathroom: If your child wears a costume, make sure he/she can easily use the bathroom. It should be easy to remove and adjust to keep your child comfortable.
  • Sugar overload: To avoid sugar overload, arrange a deal in advance whereby you and your child agree on how much or what can be eaten and what needs to be saved for another time.
  • Be realistic: Acknowledge to yourself in advance that you may need to help your child more than other parents.
  • Less is more: Limit the amount of time you plan on spending at an event or doing an activity. A successful half-hour long outing trumps an unsuccessful 1½ hours.

Blog written by: Aviva Goldwasser, OTR/L & Chaye Lamm Warburg DPS, OTR/L

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 and is filed under Seasonal Tips, Sensory Integration, Sensory Processing.

The Edible Sukkah

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014


6d9ea80825881c5a2cdfc527cf17e575Since I was a little girl, I have always been interested in building a ginger bread house, but I have never had the opportunity to make one. This edible sukkah caught my eye as the perfect way in to indulge in a childhood desire, connect with my own children in a fun, hands-on way and ramp up their fine motor skills. As an Occupational Therapist (OT), I love to do hands-on activities because I know that when my children use their hands, it makes them more active participants in the experience and helps solidify the holiday in their memory.

As a working mom, it can be difficult to carve out “special” time with each child, so when I do it, I want to be sure they will remember it! Given the list of yummy ingredients, I expect to have my children’s full and enthusiastic participation, even though minor frustrations such as braking cookies and falling pretzels might derail them in a less appealing project.

You will need:

  • Graham crackers
  • Edible “glue” (I used Nutella, but you can also use chocolate spread, peanut butter, or marshmallow fluff)
  • Trix cereal or round jelly beans
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Parsley (optional)

Here are the steps to follow: (thank you biblebeltbalabusta.com)

  1. Use Nutella to secure the bottom cracker to the plate as your floor
  2. Spread Nutella along all the edges of the crackers to adhere the walls in place
  3. “Glue” the pretzel sticks on the top as the roof. To make the schach look more realistic, add some parsley for greenery
  4. “Glue” the Trix cereal or round jelly beans to the pretzel sticks for beautiful decorations

I am a Queen Multi-tasker, so turn this parent-child bonding experience into a skill-building opportunity as well by having your child do all the spreading. This way, you are practicing utensil use, pressure modulation and fine motor coordination as well. Using appropriate pressure modulation (a pre-writing skill) is crucial, since squeezing too hard will result in broken crackers or pretzels.

I hope you enjoy this edible sukkah as much as I did!

Blog written by: Aviva Goldwasser, MS, OTR/L

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 and is filed under Fine Motor Fun, Seasonal Tips.

Travel Tips: “Are We There Yet?”

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

traveltipsarewethereyet

As I begin to plan my family’s summer getaway, I am bracing myself for the frequent (and dreaded) question “Are we there yet?” Young children generally do not have a good concept of time, and telling them how many hours and minutes are left is not necessarily meaningful. Instead, tap into their visual systems to give them a sense. I just read a fabulous idea on simplykierste.com that I will definitely be trying out. Using Velcro as your road, affix a matchbox car to the ceiling of your car. To give your child/ren a visual cue of distance traveled and miles yet to be covered, move the matchbox car every so often while you travel.

Submitted By: Aviva Goldwasser, MS, OTR/L

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This entry was posted on Thursday, July 17th, 2014 and is filed under Parenting, Seasonal Tips.

Travel Tips: “My Child Needs To Move!”

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Travel-Tips--“My-Child-Needs-To-Move!”

Road trips with children are challenging. Road trips with children who seek movement can be even more challenging because they need to sit still and stay belted during the car ride. Use rest stops to your advantage. Whether you’re breaking to fill up on gas or to use the restroom, allow your child/ren to get out of the car and encourage them to move.  Here are some movement ideas:

  • Stretching
  • Jogging around the building (if there is a sidewalk)
  • Running in place to a fast-paced sound
  • Jumping jacks
  • Hop, skip or gallop back to the car

Consider making a pack of “Get up, get out and move” cards before your trip with funky movement activities, including yoga poses, animal walks, races and break dancing. Shuffle the deck of cards and let each child pick up 1 card per rest stop.

Submitted By: Aviva Goldwasser, MS, OTR/L, and Chaye Lamm Warburg, DPR, OTR/L

Did you enjoy this? Check out www.potsot.com and like us on Facebook at www.facebook/potskids.com to continue receiving POTS latest tips, tricks and cutting edge information. 

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 17th, 2014 and is filed under Autism, Infants & Toddler Tips, Parenting, Seasonal Tips, Sensory Integration, Sensory Processing.

Use Pool-Time to Heighten Body Awareness

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

It is amazing how many sensory opportunities for heightening body awareness arise before, during and after pool time. I discover more every time I swim (especially during an aqua OT session)! Keep in mind, this is not about perfecting strokes. Our goal here is body awareness. Improving motor skills in the pool will be addressed in another blog.

Here are a few ideas to get you going:

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1. Start with Sunscreen. Aside from being a critical life skill, applying sunscreen provides tactile input all over the body. Make sure to label each limb and body part as you apply sunscreen, e.g., “Now lets do your right arm.” Turn it into a massage to provide calming, deep pressure. This is a great way to prepare the child that might be nervous about getting in the pool.

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2. Jump In! The sensation of flying through space (vestibular input), followed by the impact of crashing into water (deep pressure) ramps up body awareness and alertness. If you don’t believe me, try it. For your more advanced swimmers, diving in kicks it up a notch. Whenever the head is upside down, the vestibular system gets super powerful input, letting your body know where it is in space and how it is moving in relation to gravity.

The girl smiles, swimming under water in the pool

 

3. Swim & Play. Moving through water in ANY way heightens body awareness by providing consistent deep pressure all over the body, and proprioceptive input as muscles contract to resist the pressure of the water in order to move. How simple is that? All you need to do is bring your children to the pool and let them play, and already they are getting key body awareness input!

Ramp it up by encouraging hand-stands, somersaults, log rolling and a variety of strokes (side, back, front). This will add in that awesome vestibular input, an essential body awareness ingredient.

swimming

4. For Your Non-Swimmers. Kicking and splashing in the water while sitting on the pool steps, or walking through the shallow end counts as movement through water! Remember, water pressure + muscles working against resistance = body awareness. You can’t get your child as far as the steps? No worries, dump and fill lots of buckets with water to get that proprioceptive input.

5. Some Specific Games.

a. Catch the Rings. You will need pool rings. Drop a bunch of rings in the water for swimmers, on the steps for non-swimmers. Give instructions for how many rings to collect and how to get them. e.g., Get 2 rings on your right arm and 1 ring on your left foot. Start simple, and don’t use “left” and “right” in the instructions if your child is not ready.

b. The Whistle Game. You will need a whistle. Make a “whistle code” that is appropriate for your child’s pool skills and sequencing skills. For example: 1 whistle = jump in, 2 whistles = kick to other side of pool using kick-board, 3 whistles = handstand, etc. You can start with single whistle instructions, and work your way up to longer and longer sequences.

c. The Dolphin Game. Set up one or more hula hoops in the water. You can have hoops at a variety of depths if your child can surface dive. The goal is to get through the hoop/s without any part of the body hitting the hoop (this is the part that challenges sense of body position in space).

Swimming: Mother Drying Off Child After Swim Time

6. Drying Off. Lets hear it for more tactile/deep pressure input! For children who lack the body awareness to dress independently and efficiently, here is a last dose of body awareness input to help meet that dressing challenge. Use the towel to firmly dry off each part of the body. Just as you did with the sunscreen, label each limb as you dry.

Happy Splashing!

Submitted by: Ariela Warburg Harcsztark, MA, OTR/L

This entry was posted on Monday, June 2nd, 2014 and is filed under Gross Motor Activities, Seasonal Tips, Sensory Processing.

Reap the Benefits of OT in the Pool at POTS

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

aquaot

Strengthening: Negotiating the water requires your child to use all of his/her muscles. Your child’s core, arms and legs, will become stronger while playing against the resistance naturally provided by the water.

Coordination: Swimming requires a lot of coordination! While each stroke is different, they all require simultaneous movement from your child’s arms and legs in many different combinations: symmetrical, asymmetrical, in-phase, out-of-phase, contralateral and ipsilateral. As your child moves through the water using arms and/or legs with various fun floatation devices, he/she will learn how to coordinate multiple movements in multiple body parts at the same time, which is fundamental to coordination and motor planning.

Sensory input: Swimming is a great way to get a lot of powerful sensory input in a short amount of time. The water itself provides deep pressure input to the whole body at once. The constant sensation of the water can help to decrease the tactile hypersensitivity that your child may experience out of the water. The water also provides proprioceptive input, which boosts body awareness and the sense of body position in space. Changing the position of your child’s head when swimming on the back, front, side, vertically and under water provides vestibular input, which also contributes to the sense of body position in space. Touch, proprioception and vestibular input are the building blocks of motor planning.

Social skills and communication: Eye contact and vocalization are often enhanced because of the sensory properties of the water and the natural boundaries of the pool.

Contact us at chaye@potsot.com or call our office at 201-837 9993 to explore whether pool-based occupational therapy is appropriate for your child.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 and is filed under Boost Gross Motor Coordination & Rhythmicity, Gross Motor Activities, Seasonal Tips, Uncategorized.

Cruising with Autism

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

AUTISMFRIENDLY

 

Kudos to  Royal Carribean, my favorite cruise line, for becoming the latest vacation destination to embrace families with autistic individuals. I am not surprised that the RC, who has been so graciously accommodating to kosher people, has stepped up to the plate.

Click here to find out more

 

 

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 17th, 2014 and is filed under Autism, Parenting, Seasonal Tips, The Special Needs Child.

Face Masks

Friday, March 7th, 2014

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I love the idea of making handprint masks because they will preserve a piece of your son or daughter’s childhood.

Here’s what you will need for this adorable craft:

  1. Construction paper in different colors
  2. Scissors
  3. Glue
  4. Chop stick

First, have your child trace his/her hands. You may need to assist with this, especially when tracing the dominant hand

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Next, have your child cut out the traced hands. Cut out a whole for the eyes. Be sure that the scissors are held with a thumbs-up grasp, and that your child’s “helping hand” (i.e. non-dominant hand) is holding the paper while cutting.

Then, paste the two hand cutouts together, and affix them to the chop stick.

Lastly, decorate the mask with paint, sequins, glitter, feathers, etc. to make it unique and beautiful.

Additional Tips:

  • To increase the longevity of the mask, you may want to laminate the two hand cutouts.
  • Be sure to date the back of the mask with the year since this will make a treasured keepsake

Blog written by: Aviva Goldwasser, MS, OTR/L

 

 

This entry was posted on Friday, March 7th, 2014 and is filed under Parenting, Seasonal Tips.