Pawprint - November 2015
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ASI 2020 Update
Update on the Ayres Sensory Integration 2020 Vision

Efforts to reach the goals of the ASI 2020 Vision are well underway.  Significantly, the goal to develop a free/low cost set of tests that will be standardized internationally is on track.  As of this fall, 4 new tests of tactile perception have been developed and field tested.  More than 60 therapists from all over the US are currently pilot testing the measures, aiming for a total sample of 400 children by this December. While these dedicated volunteers are donating their time and expertise to ensure that the tactile tests will be valid measures, 4 new tests of praxis tests are being developed.  Overall, the plan to have a complete set of tests which will measure important sensory integration constructs is on schedule, with worldwide normative data collection planned for 2017-2018.

Please see and for ongoing updates and information.

Therapist's Corner
Deanna Macioce
Keep Calm... Treat On
Deanna Macioce, MS, OTR/L

With the holiday season fast approaching, we begin to see the excitement build up in children.  This time of year seems to bring a bit more energy into the younger population, as the adults labor over their to-do lists and feel as if they have a decrease in energy.  At this time of year, this unbalanced energy supply can make it more difficult to keep children focused and on task during school and therapy sessions. For some of our children the lack of routine, increased stress, and extra excitement from celebrations and increased treats, makes it more difficult for them to get regulated.

As therapists, or other adults working with these children, we need to find a way to connect, keep them focused, and make our time together purposeful.  Here are just a few ideas to help keep the therapeutic purpose in our work during the holiday season.

Self-Examine:  First and foremost, you need to think about yourself and self-examine your behaviors during this time.  How are you dealing with the stress of the holidays, the ongoing list of things to do, and your lack of structure and routine?  When working with these children, you need to do your best to put on your "therapist" hat. You have this child for a short amount of time during the day, so give it your best to stay focused, patient, and connected. Utilize your own stress management techniques and try to carry that over to the child during their sessions.  You may find that, even as an experienced therapist now is a good time to have a developed activity plan versus 'winging' it.   

Use Calming Techniques:  You already have the tools, so use them.  Even if your child is not typically a high arousal child, the holidays may bring out that side.  So utilize the tools to address decreasing arousal and improving self-regulation.  Oral activities that encourage breathing, blowing, and sucking, such as blowing a Christmas-shaped marshmallow through a maze with a straw.  Use weighted items as needed, such as a weighted 'elf' vest, delivering Santa's weighted presents (weighted balls), or smashing their bodies with a rolling snowball (therapy ball).  Instrumental holiday music and brushing are other great additions to help calm, but still stay in a festive mood.

Be Creative:  Although you may feel that you cannot add another thing onto your plate, using the inspiration of the holidays to be creative and tie into your therapy sessions can be helpful.  This will also help you to have a plan, while still bringing in some extra fun to your treatment sessions.  Using activity books, Pinterest ideas, and other resources, it truly is not hard to alter activities to be holiday-themed.

Support Your Families:  During the next month, whether you treat in the schools, a clinic, or another setting, there will be days of shortened or missed sessions.  Help equip your families with ideas and suggestions that are needed for their child to maintain a home program that is reasonable.  Strategies and activities to help them find the peace and calmness in the holiday season will be the best gift you can give.   Many families have a difficult time during the holidays due to their child's sensory issues, so helping them with ideas, developing social stories, and working through ideas during sessions can be helpful. Make sure you take the time to have the conversation about the more difficult parts of the holidays so that you can be an active contributor.  

So, as we will turn the calendar page to December, let's not see the holiday season as a work stress...Keep Calm, Treat On!

Ideas Everyone Can Use!
Home Therapy Ideas
with a Rocker Board

Here's a quick video showing some creative and fun ways you can use a rocker board in your home to get the most of out it.

Product Spotlight
Fiber Optic Hemisphere Tile

Similar to our Fiber Optic Cascade but uses a hemisphere mirror to create an illusory effect. Provides visual stimulation with a new dimensional aspect to the ceiling as stars seem to float in space. It mounts securely in a suspended ceiling grid replacing one 2' x 2' tile.

Dimensions: 24"L 24"W

Activities with Alex
The Best Therapeutic Presents For The Holidays
Alexander Lopiccolo,  COTA/L, CPT, NC

When your child goes to their Occupational Therapy treatment session do they choose an obstacle course for their picture schedule? If so, the OT may prescribe a heavy work "sensory diet" that involves an obstacle course for a home exercise program to do 2-4 times daily for self-regulation, sensory defensive/seeking, transitions, frustration tolerance, self-esteem, strengthening, stability, coordination, and attention to task. Many parents are boggled by how they are going to motivate their child like an OT can in a sensory gym. With these 3 sensory items the holiday presents can be "therapy based" fun. These products are so universal and versatile that homework from therapy will never be boring again!
3 Recommended Products

Cloud Nine
Tunnel of Fun
Two-Way Sensory Stepping Stones

Here are 3 levels your child can perform with the obstacle course. Once they are done with their laps let them design a course for you to go through so you get experience the sensory adventure. It's very powerful input to your Central Nervous System so adults beware and take it easy!

Beginner Level
Jump off first step from bottom of stairs with a sensory ball in hand into the Cloud 9 -> Walk across zig zag path on dome side of Stepping Stones to throw into a target -> Crawl through a tunnel back to the start on the stairs.
Repeat laps for 8-12 minutes with safe "just right" engine.

Intermediate Level
Jump off second step from bottom of stairs with a sensory ball into the Cloud 9 -> Throw a sensory ball from Cloud 9 into a target -> Walk across straight path on dome side of Stepping Stones -> Crawl through a tunnel backwards back to the start on the stairs.
Repeat laps for 8-12 minutes with safe "just right" engine.

Expert Level
Jump off third step (no higher) from bottom of stairs while throwing a sensory ball into a target while moving through space then land into the Cloud Nine -> Walk across zig zag path on flat rocker side Stepping Stones -> Place blind fold on then crawl through a tunnel back to the start on the stairs.
Repeat laps for 8-12 minutes with safe "just right" engine.

Southpaw Products
Analogy Rocker  
Analogy Rocker

The Analogy Rocker offers the movement students need to stay alert and pay attention, in a safe and non-disruptive way. This chair is great for circle time, reading and collaborative learning discussions. While all students can benefit from the calming and organizing motion of the Analogy Rocker, children who have specific sensory needs may show an especially positive response. The rocker provides an oversized seat in three sizes.

More Information 
   Upper Back and Shoulder Wrap
Upper Back and Shoulder Wrap

The Upper Back and Shoulder Wrap provides calming sensory input. It is microwaveable so that you can add heat to your weighted therapy and stays warmer longer due to the new design. The wrap can be used as a weighted lap pad too. Colors and patterns may vary.

Weight: 5 lbs.

More Information
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