Pawprint, June 2014

Some questions we often receive are:"What kind of mats do I need?" "How  thick should they be" and "How many do I need?"  Our answer is invariably to get the best, thickest mats that you can afford and get as many as possible.  Matting is often an afterthought when it comes to purchasing S.I. equipment, but if safety is a priority (and it should be) then proper matting must be considered up front.

Southpaw Landing MatWhat kind of suspended activities do you do with your clients?  Do you do mostly linear swinging, rotation, or a mix?  Do they swing very high?  Where do these activities take place?  Once you have answered these questions, you will have a good idea of the floor space you will need to cover with mats during the child's swinging activities, and how thick the mats should be.
Therapist's Corner
Deanna Maciole
Filling Our Sensory Buckets at the Beach
Deanna Macioce, MS, OTR/L

Summer has arrived, and we are often found filling our days with trips to the beach to soak up the sun, water, and sand.  Going to the beach is a great way to embrace summer. It offers so much fun for children of all ages, despite developmental needs, and much peace for adults.  When looking at the beach experience in terms of sensory inputs, we typically hone in on the tactile benefits that it offers. However, it provides the perfect landscape for meeting the proprioceptive/heavy work needs of any child.

As we sit back and watch the joy that comes on many of the faces of the children playing in the sand, we are taken back to our own childhood.  The laughing, giggling, and excitement reminds us of a time when we were able to let go of any inhibition of sitting in the sand, having it all over our bodies, and in our suits to just have a little bit of pure fun.  The best part of playing in the sand is definitely the end product of the castle that is built or the hole that is dug, but in working hard to achieve this our little ones' sensory systems are being fed buckets full of proprioceptive input.   As they dig through the sand with any type of shovel, or even the use of their hands, the resistance of the sand to fill their buckets or dig a moat provides a good amount of feedback.  And typically, those buckets need to be carried or dumped which helps to offer some great 'heavy work'.  Since this is pure fun, you can watch your child do this over and over again, unlike when Mom or Dad tries to achieve getting this input at home (with those 'great' sensory diet activities provided by their OT)!  Running to the shore to fill up buckets of water, or the wet sand (which build the best castles) intensifies the input our children receive.  So next time you want to help carry that bucket, take a step back and let those sensory systems be fed. For those who like to dig, digging a hole just the right size for some body burying in the sand, not only is a nice tactile experience, but it is a built-in weighted blanket!

And to beat the heat, or remove all that sand from our bodies, 'diving' right into the water is another great way to meet our proprioceptive needs. Swimming alone provides a full body experience.  Whether you are at the ocean or a lake, the swimming, bouncing, and just overall movement within in the water offers great benefits.  And when those waves come crashing in, our bodies get a rush of proprioceptive input.  Water play is especially ideal for our older children, so grab a ball or Frisbee, and play some catch in the water...with all the fun that is happening they will not even realize the 'work' their bodies are doing.  In addition, using a body board can also help those older children work through some motor planning needs.

Therefore, whether you are lucky enough to have a beach near your home, or you are packing up the family car for vacation, it is great to see that a trip to the beach is not only fun and relaxing, but also very beneficial for our sensory systems.  It is not just the heat that tires our children it out, it is all the excellent 'heavy work' they do while having fun!
Southpaw Products
Southpaw Steamroller
   Steamroller Deluxe
Some children crave deep pressure, and the 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.

Play Loft by Southpaw
Play Loft by Southpaw
We designed our Play Loft with many thoughtful details and accessories to provide a variety of sensory experiences and provide that "Just right" challenge.

Children of all ages are drawn to it.The creativity of play that the loft encourages allows the child with the most limited of play skills to succeed and have fun. They can become king or queen of the castle, captain of the ship, or the mama bird bringing worms up to her babies. The loft can help to calm the most disorganized child.

ICE Star Infinity Panel

 ICE Star Infinity Panel
This new ICE panel gives the impression of an infinite field of stars that can either slowly change color or connect to a wireless switch for greater potential. The panel is lightweight and easily attaches to a wall. With low-voltage, LED technology the unit is virtually maintenance-free!

Easily paired with a Power Cube or Super Switch to provide the user with a full range of opportunities for interactive activities.

MSE Training
Southpaw Sponsors AAMSE Certified MSE Training

Southpaw MSE has created a new state-of-the-art showroom highlighting their equipment is sponsoring  MSE Basic Training and Advanced Training courses at their facility in Dayton, OH.  The training courses have been designed by the American Association of Multi Sensory Environments and participants will receive AAMSE certification upon completion of all course requirements.
Training is designed to give the participant "Core Concepts", leading to the understanding and practice of a Multi-Sensory Dynamic Systems Approach. The courses and requirements will be geared to giving the student the knowledge and experience necessary to have a solid foundation in the Multi-Sensory Dynamic Systems Technique.
Linda Messbauer, MA, OTR/L or an Experienced Certified Trainer from AAMSE will conduct the training courses.  Linda Messbauer is one of the world's leading experts on Multi-Sensory Environments. She has over 30 years experience and was the first person to create a Snoezelen/MSE room in the United States. Her mission is to assist organizations, groups and individuals who wish to utilize Multi-Sensory Environments to provide treatment and quality care to the people they serve. Linda is a recognized International Trainer and Founding member of the American Association of Multi-Sensory Environments.

  1. Understand basic complex neural networks of the brain and their impact on the use of MSE with people with special needs
  2. To understand interfering stress, its detrimental effects on the human being, in relation to age, stage and quality of life as it impacts our memory ability to focus, and attend
  3. Understanding the Relaxation Process and how the MSE can reverse and prevent the detrimental effects of stress by using the joy / pleasure response
  4. To understand the use of changing arousal to facilitate attention and focus
  5. To understand and be able to demonstrate setting up MSE Equipment protocols and basic Sensory Diets
  6. To develop, understand and write specific individualized outcome measurement strategies.
A Certificate of Attendance upon Completion of Basic Training course will be awarded with contact hours.

Choose from one of the three scheduled sessions:

September 5 & 6
September 14 & 15
October 5 & 6

Training will be held at the Southpaw  MSE Showroom:
617 N Irwin Street
Dayton, OH  45403

Cost for the 2-day training session is $395 + membership in AAMSE.  Registration can be made through the website or contacting Linda Messbauer at or Tom Marshall at

If you need to fly to Dayton for the training you will use the James A. Cox International Airport.  There are a number of hotels near the airport.  The Fairfield Inn by Marriott has a shuttle from the airport to the hotel and Southpaw will provide transportation from the hotel to the training site.

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