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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.

App of the Week: 30/30

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

app-of-the-week-3030

Multitasking. It is the buzzword for this generation. From adults managing their hectic work and family schedules, to children managing their homework, after-school activities and social schedules, we are constantly running, and rarely make time for a break. Some people are better organized than others, but getting organized is consistently one of the top five New Year’s resolutions.

As a group, children and adults diagnosed with ADHD have greater challenges with organization than most other people. Their minds, and sometimes bodies, are constantly racing and they have difficulty focusing for any length of time. I recently went to a conference and learned about a wonderful new tool to assist both kids and adults to stay focused and organized. It is called the 30/30 app, and it is available for free from the iTunes store for iPhone and iPad.

The premise of 30/30 is that one should work for 30 minutes on a single task without any distractions, next take a 30 minute break, and then repeat the cycle again, hence the name 30/30.

This scheduler is visually engaging, user friendly and customizable. Just by looking at the user interface you will intuitively be able to figure out how to set up a schedule. With just a couple of taps and swipes you can set up a daily schedule specific to your needs in a matter of minutes. Time on task can be set from 1 minute to 1 hour. At the very top of the screen is a visual timer that counts down the time left in the task, which is a wonderful aid in assisting someone to stay on task until it is completed. To maximize the benefits, place your device close by so you can see how long you have left. You can quickly add or subtract minutes depending on how quickly you are progressing in your work.

Features include the ability to set up as many tasks as you want, color code and add icons. You can color code each task or set up a pattern such as, all work yellow, all breaks blue. You can also assign each task an icon. The app provides a large array of icons and colors, which makes this very easy. Additional icons can be purchased in-app in the settings tab.

At the end of each task a chime will go off and the device will buzz, giving you auditory and tactile cues to move on to the next task or break. Besides keeping you on track for work, 30/30 can also be used to set up a sensory diet. Just list the tabs and times you want for each activity and the app will alert you or your child when to move on. This can be very helpful in having your child becoming increasingly independent in maintaining their own homework schedules, morning and evening routines, sensory diets schedule and more. Overall, this is a wonderful free tool that has many applications. For any comments or suggestions I can be reached at gershon@potsot.com.

Submitted By: Gershon Kravetz ,MS, OTR/L 

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This entry was posted on Thursday, July 17th, 2014 and is filed under Getting Ready for School, Parenting, Sensory Integration, Sensory Processing, The Special Needs Child.

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.

Do Weighted Blankets Improve Sleep in Children and Teens with Autism?

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Do-Weighted-Blankets-Improve-Sleep-in-Children-and-Teens-with-Autism-

In this article, Autism Speaks discusses a study recently published in the journal Pediatrics, that concludes that weighted blankets do not significantly impact in sleep in children with autism.

Here’s what we think!

A weighted blanket, like any isolated sensory strategy is not a magic pill. Difficulty falling asleep is often the result of over-responsiveness to sensation THROUGHOUT THE DAY. 

​Weighted blankets ​will only be truly ​effective as part of a comprehensive sensory diet. A sensory diet is proactive, and includes consistent sensory input throughout the day, not only at the time that the challenge arises (in this case, bed time). Think of a typical diet. Eating an apple for snack might be a healthy, nutritional choice, but you will only achieve a healthy lifestyle, and start to see a difference, if you choose healthy foods (and eliminate unhealthy foods) throughout the day. It would be silly to eat one apple in the evening, and potato chips the rest of the day, and then conclude that eating apples has no positive impact on weight loss.

So, don’t throw out your weighted blankets so quickly. If your child prefers it, this is a good sign that you chose an appropriate sensory diet activity for him/her. Work with your occupational therapist to combine it with additional sensory activities, such as Therapeutic Listening and heavy work, and you might start to see some real changes.
This entry was posted on Thursday, July 17th, 2014 and is filed under Autism, Sensory Integration, Sensory Processing, The Special Needs Child, Therapeutic Listening.

7 Reason to Climb UP the Slide

Monday, May 19th, 2014

7 Reasons to Climb UP the Slide

BLOGART_Climbinguptheslide-01

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Climbing up the slide is right up there with other age-old controversial parenting issues. Here are seven reasons why you should encourage your child to indulge.

  1. Climbing up the slide strengthens the arms, legs and trunk
  2. The sensation of heavy work improves body awareness
  3. Figuring out how to turn around and slide down is a great motor planning activity
  4. Alternating arms to climb up improves reciprocal movement
  5. Children learn how to use their bodies and interact with the physical environment by experimenting and taking risks. The playground is the perfect (and one of the only opportunities) for this
  6. Figuring out who goes up or down the slide first is a great opportunity for negotiation and social interaction
  7. It’s so much fun to defy gravity (and the rules!)

Now, to address the danger issue: technically, climbing the ladder to the slide is more “dangerous.” It requires more balance and coordination to climb using two feet than it does to crawl on all fours. Most toddlers can climb up a slide, but not all can climb the stairs. Additionally, tumbling from the steps takes you straight down to the ground. Falling down the slope of a slide is far gentler.

 

This entry was posted on Monday, May 19th, 2014 and is filed under Gross Motor Activities, Infants & Toddlers, Parenting, Sensory Integration, Sensory Processing.

Dyspraxia Infographic

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Check out our new infographic: Dyspraxia

Click on the image to see it full size. Dyspraxia_infographic

This entry was posted on Friday, May 16th, 2014 and is filed under Autism, Parenting, Sensory Integration, Sensory Processing.

Infographic: Triggers for Kids with Autism and SPD

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Check out our new infographic: Triggers for Kids with Autism and SPD

triggers-autism-spd

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 and is filed under Autism, Sensory Integration, Sensory Processing.

Sensory Friendly Dental Environments?

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

dental

 

For children with Sensory Integration challenges, going to the dentist is particularly daunting.  However, research on “Sensory Adapted Dental Environments” may help soften the experience in the future. Click here to learn more.

While it is rare to find a pediatric dentist with a sensory friendly environment who is keenly attuned to the needs of children with SPD and those on the autistic spectrum, in Bergen County we are fortunate enough to  have a dentist with an environment replete with spa music, nature sounds, smells and tactile toys to calm the senses of parents, employees and doctors. A shout out to Purnima Hernandez who has been an advocate, sensory star and recently became a BCBA. Check out her practice here: www.Bergenpediatricdentistry.com.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 and is filed under Autism, Getting Ready for School, Navigating the system, Parenting, Sensory Integration, Sensory Processing, The Special Needs Child.

Is it Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) or ADHD?

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

 

SPDORADHD

When parents inquire about how occupational therapy  can help children with perplexing behavior, often  their first question “Is it sensory, ADHD or behavior?”  This question is critical, not just academic. An accurate diagnosis is the first step to effective treatment.  The primary intervention for SPD is occupational therapy. For children with AHDH who have sensory processing challenges, occupational therapy is a critical intervention. But children with ADHD often require a team of professionals, which include neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, behavioral specialists and occupational therapists boost their behavior and skills.  Carol Kranowitz, author of the Out of Sync Child, helps us distinguish between the symptoms of SPD and ADHD.

To read the complete article Click Here

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 17th, 2014 and is filed under Sensory Integration, Sensory Processing.