Southpaw Enterprises
May 2012
New Product Spotlight 
  Floor Cushion

Southpaw's Floor Cushion

It is time to relax! Our giant Floor Cushion offers the ideal place to have your clients hang out and relax, and is perfect for any setting. Designed with the comfortable, durable materials you have come to love from Southpaw, the Floor Cushion offers the ability to be positioned for clients with various needs.

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 Discussion Topic
Playing with a Parachute
With the summer fast approaching, today we are discussing activities that you utilize to get the little ones outside to enjoy the weather.  Come join our discussion on Facebook now.  We want to hear what you have to say!

Click here to read what others are saying and add your ideas.
Therapy Talk
Deanna Maciole
Cutting Through Scissor Skills
Deanna Macioce, MS, OTR/L
Very often we are driven to address working on a particular skill with merely just practicing what it is we are trying to achieve.  It seems as if today, in all realms of life we are always trying to get things accomplished fast, forgetting that if we paid attention to the components, and took small steps to achieving a goal, we would get there faster.  For example, if you wanted to run a marathon, you would not start off running the 26.1 miles the first time you laced up our shoes.  Rather, you would follow a training program that would equip you with the strength and endurance to achieve a run of that distance. And the same is true for so many of the skills we are trying to get our children to achieve.  Therefore, if we take the time to work on the building blocks of a task, building up a child's attention, strength, endurance, etc, success will be achieved. Scissor cutting requires a great deal of individual skills in order to accomplish this task, including ideal attention, core stability, fine motor strength and dexterity, visual motor, and bilateral coordination skills. This month, as we begin to transition into the summer months, we are going to look at how we can work on the building blocks of scissor cutting, so that we are not just merely trying to find success with cutting on a straight line, but focus on the quality of how the skill is achieved so that it can be mastered.

As with any sit down fine motor task we present before our child, one of the first areas we need to look at is attention and self-regulation. For many of the children with Sensory Processing Disorder, this may be the main component to the success with cutting.  Therefore, working on a sensory diet that helps achieve a regulated state is key.  Very often this will include providing proprioceptive input through 'heavy work' activities.  These may include tasks that require pushing and pulling, performing animal walks (bear walk, crab walk), jumping activities, climbing up a slide or rock wall, completing an activity prone on a scooter board, taking a trip through the Steamroller or Resistance Tunnel, or carrying heavy items, such as groceries or weighted balls.  In addition, using weighted items during the activity may also help achieve good focus and attention.  These items could include a weighted lap pad, Bear Hug vest or weighted vest.

Having a strong core is key to the success of many fine motor tasks.  Without a strong trunk or shoulders, children appear floppy and lack the muscle endurance to perform these complex tasks.  In addition to some of the above-mentioned activities for heavy work, have children swing on a variety of suspended equipment including a  bolster swing, disc swing, or your standard sling swing.  Completing activities while sitting on a therapy ball or t-stool, such as throwing bean bags at a target will also help work on these core areas.  To strengthen shoulder stability, performing tasks in vertical will help.  These include standing to draw, write and color, or even washing windows.  You can use some classic activities such as dropping clothespins into a coffee can while standing or performing spoon races, where you have a child carrying an item, such as a marshmallow on a spoon with an outstretched arm and race to the finish line without dropping it. Child yoga activities, swimming, and the martial arts are also ideal for achieving core stability.

To assess a child's core stability in regards to cutting, encourage the child to cut away from a tabletop surface, without resting the paper on the table.

Fine motor strength can be addressed through common activities such as using Theraputty, a variety of squeeze balls, and pinch grasp activities.  To strengthen and encourage proper use of the radial (thumb) side of the hand, place a small object, such as a cotton ball, into the ulnar (pinky) side of the hand during fine motor activities that require a pincer grasp or three-finger grasp. In addition, complete activities of picking up and placing small objects using a variety of tongs, fun tweezers, or strawberry pickers to work on hand strengthening, especially of the thumb-side of the hand.  When working on pre-scissor skills, ripping paper is a great way to encourage the thumb, index and middle fingers to work together.  This is a fun way to allow a child to help get rid of all the junk mail you receive. In addition, have children practice cutting play-dough strips, as well as paper of different thickness such as, construction, card stock, sand paper, etc.

Overall improvement of visual motor skills will help strengthen a child's ability to cut.  Participation in a variety of ball activities will address this, including catching a ball and tossing one at a target.  Zoom ball is also a great way to incorporate visual skills while also working on bilateral coordination. In addition, traditional paper visual motor activities, such as mazes, word finds, and completing interlocking puzzles are also beneficial.

Scissor cutting is truly an activity that uses both sides of the body.  With one hand holding the paper and the other manipulating the scissors, both hands have to work together to cut and rotate paper at the same time.  Many of the activities listed in the above sections tie into improving bilateral coordination skills, but encouraging your child to use both hands during activities is key.

Once you have worked on the building blocks to improve cutting, motor planning comes into play, as well as using the correct tools.  There are a variety of scissors available to help meet your child's needs including loop/squeeze, self-opening, the Benbow Learning scissors, and standard Fiskar scissors.

Cutting, like handwriting is not an activity many children will choose to pull out and work on this summer, but take the time to find various ways to work on the different building blocks and see the transformations that will take place.

AOTA 2012 Annual Conference Recap
 Southpaw at AOTA 2012

The AOTA Conference in Indianapolis this year was a great success. Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth.  We are looking forward to seeing all of you in San Diego next year!

To see more pics from the conference, check them out in our AOTA photo album on our Facebook page.  If you have any pics from the conference, feel free to post them on our page.
More Great Products from Southpaw
Classic Southpaw Original!

Southpaw's Steamroller

Southpaw's Steamroller Deluxe

Southpaw's Steamroller is often imitated, but never duplicated in quality and value!

Some children crave deep pressure, and the Southpaw Steamroller is a fun way to get it!

Your children will love the challenge of crawling between the "roller" and being "flattened" by the Steamroller. Other children will "hang out" for a while as the rollers provide the input they need to calm their bodies before sit down activities.

The Steamroller can accommodate a small child up to an average sized adult. Tension can be increased or decreased by adjusting the tension springs. Adult supervision is recommended.


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Bungee Trapeze Bar  

Bungee Trapeze Bar

This piece of equipment comes as an idea from a therapist in New York. Like any Trapeze Swing, the Bungee Trapeze Swing addresses a child's upper extremity strengthening, core stability, motor planning and bilateral coordination. The bungee adds increased vestibular input and an increased challenge for balance. It is also good for teaching timing and body control. The trapeze is challenging as the bungee adds an element requiring more focus than physical strength..

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