**Please note all ideas shared in this blog post are to be done at your own risk or discretion. It’s recommended to have an engineer or contractor assess your ceiling structure to determine whether it is safe and sturdy.
We usually visit family in Canada for the holidays. It’s a nice way to come back to London feeling refreshed and relaxed. It’s also always exciting to hear about everybody’s holidays, and see the new things the kids I work with are up to after a break.
As most families know, I usually return to London with new goodies for my OT sessions. Last year, it was the PeaPod and Ziggle which have been great except that my PeaPod received a lot of love and ripped already.
This year I’m really excited about these items:
1) An aerial yoga hammock swing from Yogapeutics – it looks and feels lovely. Can’t wait to relax in it myself and try some new moves in it. I know my little guy will love it too.
2) Air-lite bolster swing from Fun and Function – I was planning to make a bolster swing but these kind of projects take a long time especially when you have a little one and aren’t as handy in the DIY department. This one looks to be easily portable and just the right challenge I’m looking for.
3) Dreampad by Integrated Listening Systems – I’ve been wanting to try this for myself, my son and kids I work with. Hoping it will help with sensory regulation, calming, and sleep. You can read more about it here.
4) New CDs for my Therapeutic Listening Library
Sometimes I’m not sure who is more excited about the new games, me or the kids! 🙂
Wishing all of you a Happy New Year filled with peace, joy, light, prosperity and fun.
When I moved from NYC to London, half my boxes must have been full of toys and books! Whenever I see a new toy shop I must see what’s inside. Usually, I love the old classic toys mostly in thrift shops or on eBay now.
Occupational therapists love toys, activity analysis, figuring out what skills toys are working on, or how to adapt them to suit a child’s individual sesorimotor needs while offering just the right challenge. We also love finding interesting ways to use these games such as via an obstacle course, combined with therapy ball exercises, or from various gross motor positions. Talk to your OT to learn how best to adapt games to address your child’s goals.
I often use games from my childhood. 🙂 How many of you remember playing thumb war, French skipping, throwing balls against the wall, playing Jax, or making cootie catchers and cats cradle.
For birthdays and holidays, parents will often ask me for gift ideas that will address their child’s areas of need and that they will find fun. I love doing this. It’s like making a secret special super wish list for the child.
I have now created an Amazon store open to everybody. Toys and equipment are broken down by age group into the following categories with my anecdotes:
Visual Motor and Perceptual
I receive a little something should you buy from my store. All proceeds will be used for charity or therapy toys for those in need.
Have a look. I’d love to hear if you have any favourites.
**Disclaimer: All content on this website is my professional opinion and for your information only. It is by no means a substitute for medical or individualized input from an Occupational Therapist.
I use Integrated Listening Systems (iLS) Therapy to improve children’s sensory processing, motor skills development, auditory processing, attention and regulation.
I have found that iLS and Occupational Therapy together make a good pair and help children progress faster. It is also effective as part of a home program for many children.
iLS is unique in providing bone conduction in the headphones. This is highly beneficial as it offers additional vestibular (movement) input to the child working on a neurophysiological level.
WHAT IS iLS?
iLS is built upon the techniques and theories developed by Alfred Tomatis, M.D., and has been refined by Dr. Ron Minson over many years. It is based upon the theory of neuroplasticity, strengthening and creating neuronal maps that support sensory processing, movement, attention and learning. iLS is a sound-based multi-sensory program that combines movement, visual and auditory input.
HOW DOES iLS WORK?
Classical music has been digitally manipulated to specific frequencies and vibrations that stimulate various parts of the brain to improve the neurological foundation for sensory integration.
Music is delivered via a portable iPod through specially designed headphones with bone conduction (a small transducer). The bone conduction unit is inside the top of the headphones and provides specific vestibular and auditory stimulation.
In my practice, after I assess a child I determine whether iLS will benefit their program. We then create an individualized listening program along with sensory, movement, visual and auditory exercises based on the child’s goals. Generally, the program is administered approximately 3-5 times a week for 30-60 minutes. For the first 15-20 minutes, the child participates in their home program exercises and for the remainder of the program, they either relax or complete fun projects. I either use iLS during the child’s treatment sessions or offer units for rental for intensive home programs.
Sensory processing, body and spatial awareness, motor skills coordination
Motor Planning, sequencing
Attention and following directions
Auditory Processing, sound sensitivity
Visual Motor Skills
Sensory regulation, calming, sleep
iLS can be used for children who have various diagnoses including:
Sensory Processing Disorder
Autism, Asperger’s syndrome
ADD / ADHD
FURTHER iLS RESOURCES-
Research and case studies:
Free parent webinars:
Online videos and talks by Dr. Ron Minson about iLS:
Study by the Spiral Foundation regarding the effectiveness of home-based iLS therapy:
How iLS influences sensory processing
Parents’ account of using iLS and music therapy with their child:
Tips on introducing headphones to a sensitive child:
Isn’t it amazing that kids often love to play with what’s simply laying around the house versus a fancy toy? I often find that babies and toddlers prefer to play with a cardboard box or kitchen towel roll instead of the flashing, music-making, popping-up toy. 🙂
I love homemade toys for two reasons:
1) Recycle, Reuse, Renew! It’s great for the environment. Save those kitchen towel rolls, cardboard boxes, and empty water bottles to make fun toys or do interesting crafts.
2) For children with sensory and motor impairments, it’s oftentimes easier to make a toy that is just right for their motor abilities and coordination. For example, if a child who has limited fine motor skills, you can use larger objects such as making a giant pegboard with water bottles. To add a sensory component, make a textured board with different sponges, fabrics and materials. Using objects found at home, you can make a toy that’s just the right size, shape, or texture to suit a child’s motor, sensory and cognitive skills.
A couple of my favourite resources for homemade toy ideas are:
Personal favourites are the ball board, curler board and eggs in a can.
2) The Recycling Occupational Therapist – Check out her Facebook page or YouTube videos for ideas for homemade toys.
Go buy some stick-back Velcro, magnetic tape, and start saving those cardboard boxes and empty plastic bottles. Have fun!
Infants and children must have good posture while laying down, sitting or standing so they have a good foundational base from which to move their arms and manipulate objects as well as attend and learn at school. If a child has to concentrate on holding up their body, this will take away from their ability to grasp and manipulate objects and concentrate and learn at school.
Therefore, it is critical for babies and children to be well supported at their chairs and tables at home, daycares and schools during feeding, reading, writing and learning tasks.
If a child is unable to maintain good posture while sitting in their chairs at home or school, it’s important to consider whether these difficulties are contributed to by poor balance, body awareness, trunk and upper body strength, or sensory processing difficulties.
Here is a great article which describes how a child should be sitting in their chair, alternate sitting positions, and ideas for movement breaks. Do share with teachers, family and friends.
Many years ago, I won’t say how many, I had the chance to observe children with physical disabilities at a Therapeutic Riding program. I was amazed by all that they could do while riding a horse, so I’m a huge Therapeutic Riding fan.
I just read an interesting story from the NY Post about twin girls who were born prematurely and now, at 4 years of age, go for Therapeutic Riding in NYC.
Oftentimes, reading an article gets me thinking about ‘what else’? Being relatively new to London, this article made me wonder what Therapeutic Riding programs are available in London. I discovered that there is a Riding for the Disabled Association in the UK and they have a list of Therapeutic Riding (Equine Therapy) programs in the UK by location. I’ve seen great results with children I’ve treated in the past who’ve gone for Therapeutic Riding and wanted to share this with you.
For ‘homework’, I often recommend parents make homemade Play Dough with their kids. It’s great for little ones who need to work on hand skills but eat everything! And a fun activity for older kids to practice sequencing the steps to a task, messy play, as well as hand strength and coordination. A fun activity for both young and older children to enjoy together.