New Year’s Resolutions for Special Educators

Group of Students as a table with their teacher

The beginning of a brand new year is the perfect time to set resolutions for the year ahead. Are you hoping to develop more patience, take a professional development course, try a new teaching technique, or focus on personal growth? These are all worthwhile goals. Yet, setting resolutions doesn’t guarantee you will keep them. One goal setting method that many find helpful is the SMART method. SMART is an acronym that stands for the words: Specific; Measurable; Achievable; Relevant; and Timely. According to Chris Joseph, writing for Chron, “setting S.M.A.R.T. goals can help keep you motivated and provide a way to measure your progress during your journey.” Here are some examples of New Year’s resolutions for special educators:

Keep good records
Beginning Jan. 1, I will spend 30 minutes per day writing three sentence long progress notes on five students. By the end of each week, I will have completed progress notes on 25 students. Keeping regular notes on each student will make life so much easier when it’s time for parent conferences and report cards.

Take your lunch break
This semester I will take a 40-minute-long lunch hour at least three days a week.

As helping professionals, neglecting our own needs can be an occupational hazard. Yet, finding time to eat a nutritious and relaxed midday meal isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. Your students will benefit from your improved mood and higher energy.

Get out of the classroom
This semester, I will take a 20-minute walk to clear my head and get some exercise. Just as it’s important to eat well, it’s equally important to get fresh air and exercise. A brisk walk around the campus or the neighborhood surrounding your school can work wonders for your physical and mental health.

Be organized
On the last Friday of every month, I will spend one hour sorting through the paper on my desk and in my drawers to keep myself organized. We all know how overwhelming it can be when we can’t find the documents and supplies we need to do our jobs. Organizing our work spaces can spell the difference between feeling stressed and discombobulated and feeling empowered.

Keep learning
By Feb. 15, I will sign up for one continuing education class in a subject that will help me to grow professionally. It’s natural to be apprehensive about returning to the classroom as a student, but there’s nothing like professional development to give us renewed energy and inspiration for our careers.

Invest in personal growth
By March 1, I will register for a class or activity that will enrich my personal life. All work and no play makes Jack or Jill a dull (and unhappy) boy or girl. Make sure to get out there and do something special for yourself. Self-care will make you a much better educator.

A Time for Giving

Speech Therapist working with a student with special needs

On #GivingTuesday we can’t think of a better time to pay tribute to some of the most generous people we know — the therapists, teachers, medical providers and caregivers — who use our products and provide us with the feedback we need to make them better. These exceptional individuals give of themselves — not just on Giving Tuesday — but on every day to help the children and adults who need them.

It should go without saying that working in what’s sometimes called “the helping professions” is not appropriate for all of us. These professions require very particular skill sets and specialized training. Depending upon their roles, many helping professionals have studied for years to obtain the level of expertise they require to teach, treat and assist their students, clients and patients. Some have master’s degrees, doctorates and other postgraduate certifications. Yet, many of the traits that make these professionals successful cannot be taught. Rather they are innate.

For example, according to Special Education Degrees.com, special education teachers need qualities such as “organizational skills; creativity and enthusiasm; confidence and calm; a good sense of humor and easygoing personality; dedication and optimism.”

Chron. com says occupational therapists need “good communication and listening skills; organizational and problem-solving skills.” And physical therapists must have “science skills; interpersonal skills; motor skills; and organizational skills.”

Besides the qualities referenced above, effective helping professionals require loads of patience and tons of compassion. Those who choose to put their skills and talents to work with clients who are severely impaired may require even greater amounts of patience and compassion.

The vast majority of professionals who work with people with disabilities are employed at settings such as schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers and other nonprofit organizations. Many of these rely, at least in part, on donations from private individuals. This Giving Tuesday, why not consider making a contribution to a nonprofit institution that provides essential services for people with disabilities?  After all, ’tis the season of giving!

 

Buddy-Building Programs for Special Education

Boy in Wheelchair talks to friend in a school hallway

Despite being mainstreamed, many students with disabilities feel excluded from their school communities. In response, some schools have developed peer-buddy programs that aim to create more inclusive environments.

Peer-to-peer buddy programs match special education students with serious disabilities with general education students for in-school and after-school activities. In an interview with Brookes Publishing, Carolyn Hughes, co-author with Erik W. Carter of  “Peer Buddy Programs for Successful Secondary School Inclusion” said, “We think of peer-buddy programs as a win-win situation for all students involved—those with and without disabilities.” Would you like to see a peer-buddy program in your school? Here are some steps to get the ball rolling:

 Do your research
Gather information about peer-buddy programs that have data to support their success. This will help you to determine what you would like your program to look like and will also help you when you approach your school’s administrative staff with the idea. For example, on its website, The Peer Buddy Program cites 10 studies that have “documented the important contributions that peer support interventions, such as peer buddy programs, can make to improving students’ interactions and friendships with their classmates.”

 Get buy-in from administration, faculty and staff
In order to build a successful program, it’s essential that all members of your school administration, faculty and staff understand what’s being proposed and are willing to participate in whatever way necessary. Come prepared with research data and an outline of what the program might look like. Hughes and Carter’s book which provides a 7-step process for designing a peer-buddy program may help you to create a strong case for starting a program at your own school.

Design your program
Determine whether your program will provide general education students who participate with credits or other incentives; Consider creating a course within your general education program where peer buddies can receive orientation and ongoing training in how best to approach their relationships with special education peers; Decide how much time can be allotted to program activities and 1:1 meetings; Come up with a list of suggested activities and a curriculum that peer buddies should follow; Create an orientation curriculum with ice breakers and tips on building a trusting relationship between peer buddies.

 Develop a recruitment strategy
Determine who will qualify for the program: Is there a minimum grade-point average to qualify? Are their particular qualities that a peer buddy must possess? Are a personal interview and references necessary? Publicize your program in school newsletters, assemblies and class presentations.

Evaluate on a regular basis
Make sure to gather feedback from all students and faculty involved in the buddy program regularly. This can take the form of one-on-one meetings between peer-buddies and faculty leaders; questionnaires that are completed at agreed upon intervals; and peer buddy group where general education buddies can share experiences and receive support from their fellows.

8 Ways to Ease School Anxiety

Girl in Wheelchair in front of blackboard that says "Back to School"

Temperatures are soaring, yet the fall semester has already begun for some students in the United States. Other students will return to classes in the next few weeks. Though some youngsters look forward to the start of a new school year, for others, it triggers significant anxiety. In fact, “More than a quarter of teens report experiencing extreme stress during the school year,” according to the American School Counselor Association.

For children with special needs, anxiety can be significantly higher. For example, a 2015 study in the Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders, found that “between 11 percent and 84 percent of people with autism also have an anxiety disorder.” Likewise, students with physical disabilities, who are unfortunately more likely to be bullied and stigmatized by their peers, may experience anxiety about the social pressures of school. What can parents do to relieve their anxiety? Here are some suggestions:

Check in with your child
This may seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes, in an effort to be up-beat, parents may gloss over their child’s concerns about the new school year. Before and after the school year begins, take time to explore your student’s feelings about school-related issues. If students exhibit more anxiety than seems appropriate, it’s time to work on a plan to address the anxiety.

 Be aware of signs of anxiety
Not all youngsters are comfortable discussing their anxiety and some may not even recognize feelings of anxiety. Various behaviors and complaints may be signs that students are anxious. For example, notes the American School Counselor Association: “School nurses are often the first person in a school to recognize that a student making frequent visits to the clinic doesn’t have a physical aliment but rather anxiety.” Other signs of anxiety include “problems concentrating, missed deadlines, decline in participation, absenteeism and tardy arrivals,” says the ASCA.

 Visit the school
Many students feel anxious when they don’t know what to expect. Visiting your child’s school and classroom and teacher go a long way toward reducing anxiety.

Encourage healthy habits
Anxiety can increase when students miss sleep or meals. Help children to transition to a school-appropriate schedule of sleeping and eating in the week before school starts.

Teach self-regulation
Though not all students are capable of practicing relaxation and/or mindfulness techniques, those with the capacity to do so, can benefit greatly from positive self-talk, deep breathing exercises and even daily meditation practice. In fact, a 2016 study found that people with intellectual disabilities benefit from a structured MBCT (mindfulness-based cognitive therapy) group intervention and the improvements were maintained at six-week follow-up.”

Keep teachers apprised
If your child has special needs, advocating for him and his education is probably nothing new. Make sure your child’s teachers and therapists are aware of your child’s behavioral, intellectual and physical challenges and work with them to devise a viable plan to deal with them. If possible, meet with your child’s teachers and therapists before the start of the school year, so plans are in place before he begins school.

Address your child’s class
If your child is mainstreamed, and only if she agrees to it, consider making a presentation to her classmates about her disability. If she is able, your child may want to make the presentation herself, or may join you in making it. The Pacer Center finds “one of the best ways to teach children about a disability is to talk to them at school.” In fact says Pacer, “for many families, presenting at school is an annual event.” Presentations can include discussion of why your child may look different from her classmates; the ways in which your child is similar to her classmates; and tips on how classmates can interact with your child, says Pacer. Stigma and bullying are frequently the result of ignorance and fear. Once other students understand your child’s disability, they may be more inclined to befriend her, and less inclined to bully or exclude him.

Find help
If despite your best efforts your child’s anxiety continues to be a problem, don’t hesitate to seek help. Counseling and in some cases, medication, can make all the difference when it comes to controlling your child’s anxiety and easing the transition into the new school year.

 

 

 

Special Education Classroom Necessities Part 4 – Visual Attention and Tracking

Disabled Boy Playing with Adapted Penguin Roller Coaster

Welcome to Part 4 in our series on equipping your special needs classroom. This week’s installment will focus on toys that help students with visual attention and tracking. According to YourTherapySource.com, “Visual tracking is the ability to control the eye movements using the oculomotor system (vision and eye muscles working together). There are two types of visual tracking: maintaining your focus on a moving object and switching your focus between two objects.”

These skills are needed for following both moving and stationary objects and are necessary for proficient reading, body awareness, posture and coordination. Though visual tracking is more challenging for students with visual impairments, the right toys and activities can help them to improve their visual tracking and attention. Enabling Devices offers a range of toys and educational tools designed to develop these skills. Here are some of our favorites:

Penguin Roller Coaster (#300)Children will develop their visual attention and tracking skills by watching this toy’s adorable little penguins climb to the top of their iceberg and “swoosh” down the slide to the bottom. Works with a capability switch (not included).

Remote Control Thomas the Tank Engine (#2115)Students won’t be able to take their eyes off Thomas the Tank Engine as he moves backward and forward with the flick of their capability switch. As they play, they’ll be practicing their visual attention and tracking skills.

Wheee-mote Control Car (#1439)This spunky little car beeps, spins and flashes its lights, helping children improve their visual attention and tracking skills while they watch.

Bubble Mania (#2286)Every child loves bubble play! This visually entrancing toy provides hours of enjoyment as it promotes visual attention and tracking skills as well as eye-hand coordination. Great for use in a group setting or for solitary play.

Tube Tracker (#5061)One of our newest toys, the tube tracker provides tons of fun while it encourages visual attention, visual tracking and helps develop students’ switch activation skills. Simply hold down the tube tracker’s switch and watch its brightly colored balls move upward on a cushion of air. Includes six colorful ping pong balls.

Visual Light Experience Kit (#4075)Go for the whole shebang! This huge assortment of toys includes everything you need to help students develop their visual perceptual skills including visual tracking, scanning and attention. Kit contains:
Adapted Musical Crystal Ball #1690
Magical Light Show* #1672
Fiber Flash Lamp #319
Spinning Light Show* #145
LED Genesis Egg #9224
Twinkles To Go Octo #9213
Nature’s Fire #3283
Go Anywhere Light Show #3331
3-Color Changing Balls #9222
Double Disco Ball * #1685
Laser Jet Kaleidoscope #2269
Bright Red Switch #262
Infinity Mirror #1683

*Not to be used with seizure prone individuals

Click here to find more toys for students with visual impairments.

 

Special Education Classroom Necessities Part 3 – Fine Motor Development

Little Girl Painting with Watercolor

Welcome to Part 3 of our series on equipping your special needs classroom. This week’s installment will focus on toys that improve students’ fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are small muscle movements in the fingers, thumb and hands that work in coordination with the eyes to perform important tasks such as writing, dressing, eating and toileting. According to Kid Sense, they’re “essential for performing everyday skills… as well as academic skills. Without the ability to complete these everyday tasks, a child’s self-esteem can suffer, their academic performance is compromised and their play options are very limited. They are also unable to develop appropriate independence in ‘life’ skills (such as getting dressed and feeding themselves) which in turn has social implications not only within the family but also within peer relationships.”

Many children with special needs require extra practice to develop their fine motor skills. Enabling Devices designs and adapts many toys and training products that offer fun ways to improve their fine motor skills. Here are some of our favorites:

Kits

NEW! Fine Motor Kits (#4395 and #4396) each contain nine fun and engaging products to strengthen muscles, improve dexterity and grasping, and develop eye-hand coordination. Two age appropriate kits (child and teen) are great for Occupational Therapists and Special Ed teachers to use in a school setting.

Tactile Manipulatives  (#1365) This set of nine fun and therapeutic manipulatives helps students strengthen and gain tactile awareness of their hands and fingers, improve fine motor skills while it also relieves tension and improves focus and attention.

Toys

The Pull Ball (#416) encourages children to practice reaching, grasping and pulling. Designed like a whiffle ball, the multicolored pull ball is perforated with holes that allow a child’s fingers to easily slip in, grasp and pull. Even the gentlest tug activates the toy’s music and lights. Children will be motivated to reach out, grasp and pull again and again.

Chunky Tic Tac Toe (#3602) Perfect for children who have difficulty with fine motor, dexterity or grasping, this special take on a classic game has large easy-to-hold shapes and giant knobs.

The Therapeutic Manipulator (#2304) encourages fine motor development while also teaching other important skills. This colorful and versatile activity center helps students develop finger isolation, reaching and grasping skills while it also offers tactile, visual and auditory stimulation and teaches cause and effect. Children will love pulling the manipulator’s “wiggle people” to hear their wacky sounds and rotating the blue and green worm to see a lightshow with music and vibration. Turning the manipulator’s knob and pushing its green button provides even more sensory surprises.

Drop-in-a-Bucket (#349) This uniquely designed shape-sorter has a low profile that’s ideal for players with limited reach. The toy helps children learn their shapes while they improve their fine motor skills. When players fit the right shapes into the right openings, they’re rewarded by music and lights.

Training Products

ADL Boards (#7006) give students valuable practice with the fine motor skills they will need to dress themselves – lacing, buttoning, zipping and snapping.

Finger Isolation Button (#716) The recessed button on this uniquely designed, colorful switch encourages practice of fine motor and finger isolation skills needed for mastery of computers and touch screen devices.

 Weighted Hand Writing Glove (#3974W) This versatile weighted glove provides proprioceptive input and compression that helps students perform a variety of fine motor and self-help activities. A must for any classroom.

 

For more toys and training products that improve fine motor skills, click here.

Special Education Classroom Necessities Part 2 – Circle Time

Student with Special Ed Teacher using Big Talk Triple Play during Circle Time

The second installment of our series on outfitting your special education classroom will focus on toys that enhance young students’ experiences with “circle time.”

The importance of circle time cannot be underestimated. According to Judith Colbert, Ph.D., reporting for Earlychildhood News.com, “circle time fosters a sense of community.” What’s more, circle time has great value to participants regardless of their developmental level, verbal or physical capabilities.

“…Each child, regardless of ability, can experience a feeling of belonging to the group during circle time,” writes Colbert in Earlychildhood News.com’s Ask the Experts: “Circle Time: A Tool for Supporting Children’s Development.”

During circle times, children also practice listening, communication and socialization skills. Enabling Devices develops communication devices and adapts many toys that are ideal for facilitating these skills during circle times. Here is a sampling of some of our favorites:

Big Talk Triple Play (#4202W)
Our sequential communicator allows a child to be the day’s leader during circle time. Multiple recordable messages allow the student to introduce the day and date, review the weather, and say good morning to everyone in the circle. Great for encouraging children with speech impairments to participate in classroom activities.

 Lighted Vibrating Mirror (#358-M)
Children love to take turns looking at themselves and then passing this multisensory mirror around the circle. Designed with two handles so it’s easy to grasp, the mirror offers visual and tactile stimulation while it encourages grasping and increases hand and finger strength.

Music Machine (#703)
Another great option for circle time, our music machine includes a variety of instruments including cluster bells, castanets, jingle bells and drum sticks. Just attach whatever instrument the class chooses, add a single switch and give each child an opportunity to make beautiful music. Great for developing auditory skills, teaching cause and effect, as well as music appreciation, this toy is ideal for children who cannot grasp instruments on their own for long periods of time.

Ring Around Bells (#23)
Let each child in the circle take a turn making this switch-activated toy’s colorful, precision-tuned bells twirl and play the musical scale while its multicolored LEDs blink. This toy encourages listening and grasping and increases eye hand coordination, all while teaching children to appreciate music.

 Bongo Drums (#756)
Equipped with two capability switches, our bongo drums can be played by two children in the circle at once. Pass it around so that every child has the chance to practice sharing, cooperation and listening skills while learning cause and effect and music appreciation.

Vibrating Animal (#9300W)
Is one child in the circle having a hard day? Our vibrating animal will help him to relax so he can attend to whatever’s being taught during circle time. Alternatively, pass the vibrating plush bunny rabbit or seal around the circle so that everyone can enjoy the tactile stimulation and calming effect of holding this soft, cuddly friend!

Special Education Classroom Necessities Part 1 – 6 Toys That Teach Cause and Effect

Boy Playing Drumbourine

Whether you’re setting up a new classroom for children with special needs, or just updating your existing classroom, the possibilities are endless! Enabling Devices offers everything you need to outfit you with the highest quality, most innovative adapted toys, electronics, and communication devices. But before you order, there’s so much to know. We hope this post — the first in a series of informational blogposts about special education classroom necessities — will help you to determine what best meets your teaching needs and the needs of your special students. This week’s focus? Toys that teach cause and effect.

The Basics:
Learning about cause and effect — the relationship between one action, behavior or event to another — is crucial for understanding how things work and ultimately, for making one’s way in the world. Toys that teach cause and effect help children to develop intentionality and a sense of control over their environments, which in turn, increases self-esteem. Understanding cause and effect also helps children in academic pursuits such as reading, math and science. For children with motor challenges, toys controlled by capability switches are wonderful vehicles for teaching these skills. Enabling Devices has many adapted tabletop toys that can be used with or without switches. Here are five of our favorites:

 The Five Function Activity Center (#510) Children learn cause and effect by activating any of this toy’s five functions: Press the bright yellow plate to play its built-in AM/FM radio, the red plate to feel vibration, the wooden roller to sound a buzzer, a pull ball to turn on the music box and the orange one to turn on the light! In addition, this toy helps children to develop sensory awareness and improves eye-hand coordination.

The Drumbourine (#872) Just activate your switch and the striker will hit the tambourine, playing a strong steady beat. Release the switch and the music will stop. The radiant light graphics on the instrument attract all children.

The Twirling Bead Chain (#6470) Press the bright red gumball switch and the carousel will twirl while lively music plays and lights sparkle. Release the switch and the carousel stops. Great for teaching cause and effect, this toy also encourages reaching, and provides auditory and tactile experiences.

Shooting Stars (#2001) teaches cause and effect by rewarding the child with flying stars, music, lights, and vibration when he or she pushes its textured oval. Added benefits include auditory, visual and tactile stimulation.

Our ATL Bundle (#4089) will go a long way toward outfitting your special education classroom and teaching your students about cause and effect. This carefully assembled classroom kit contains five of our newest and most popular adapted toys and five of our bestselling switches.

Nothing says cause and effect like a jack-in-the-box. Students will adore this switch activated Curious George Jack-in-the-Box (#614) that brings to life the beloved literary character.

Keeping Kids Safe

With every passing day, the list of celebrities accused of sexual harassment and assault grows. But celebrities aren’t alone in their proclivity to be abusers, and those in contact with them aren’t the only people at risk. These facts were made abundantly clear by the #MeToo campaign, which began in mid-October. A social media campaign that went viral, #MeToo encouraged millions of women and some men to come forward and acknowledge that they had been victims of sexual assault and/or harassment, bringing international attention to the epidemic of sexual abuse.

Though the #MeToo campaign was groundbreaking, it failed to draw attention to the shocking statistics about the sexual abuse of people with disabilities.

According to  Disability Justice “People with disabilities are sexually assaulted at nearly three times the rate of people without disabilities.” And, says Disability Justice’s website, “A 2005 survey of people with disabilities indicated that 60 percent of respondents had been subjected to some form of unwanted sexual activity…” and “Eighty-three percent of women with disabilities will be sexually assaulted in their lives.” What’s more said the survey, only 3 percent of these incidents are ever reported. What can we do to prevent such abuse from happening? Here’s a start:

Educate yourself
When adults who care for children understand what is developmentally appropriate, they are more likely to pick up on cues that something may be wrong. Stop it Now.org has tip sheets that provide examples of behaviors that may indicate a child or teenager is being abused. For instance, younger children who are being abused may regress to behaviors they have already outgrown such as wetting or soiling accidents. Other signs include, having “new words for private body parts… resisting removing clothes for baths, bedtime, toileting or diapering, asking other children to behave sexually or play sexual games and mimicking adult-like sexual behaviors with toys or stuffed animals.” Older children, may exhibit the following behaviors: “writing, drawing, playing or dreaming about sexual or frightening images … developing a new or unusual fear of certain people or places, exhibiting adult-like sexual behaviors, language and knowledge, and leaving ‘clues’ that seem likely to provoke a discussion about sexual issues.” In teenagers, self-harming behaviors such as cutting, substance abuse, compulsive eating or anorexia, depression and suicide attempts may indicate that sexual abuse is happening.

Educate children
Adults should speak to their children in developmentally appropriate ways about the differences between healthy and abusive sexual behavior. For example, says Stop It Now, “Teach children the proper names for body parts and what to do if someone tries to touch them in a sexual way. Make sure young children know that no one has the right to touch their private parts (unless for medical reasons) and that they should not touch anyone else’s private parts.”

Respect children’s boundaries.
Don’t force children to hug and kiss people if they aren’t comfortable doing so. Knock before entering a teen’s room, and give them privacy in the bathroom, or when they’re changing clothes.

Keep lines of communication open
Let children know they can talk with you or another trusted adult and that no topic is off limits.

Says Stop It Now: “Research shows that having someone to talk with and confide in plays a key role in how well a child will bounce back from stressful events. Having a safe, responsible and consistent adult for a child or adolescent to turn to is critical.”

 Familiarize yourself with community resources
Know where to turn if you believe that a child may be being harassed or abused. When a child is being hurt by an adult or family member, it can be painful to face up to that fact. We may wish it wasn’t happening, or try to deny what we believe to be true. Sometimes, our suspicions are wrong. But don’t let your wishes or fears keep you from getting a child the support he needs. Reach out and do all you can to protect her.

School Days, school days…

The first weeks of a new school year typically bring excitement, exhaustion and for some children — especially those with special needs — a fair amount of anxiety. Certain products available through Enabling Devices can help take the edge off that anxiety, helping students to calm down, focus and attend to their classwork. In turn, these products can decrease the likelihood of disruptive behaviors, and increase the likelihood of positive social interactions. Here are some suggestions for products that encourage success in school. Some are sold in classroom kits while others can be purchased individually.

Classroom Fidget Kit (#4393)
According to Occupational Therapy for Children, “Fidget toys are often used to provide sensory input in a less distracting way. They can help improve concentration and attention to tasks by allowing the brain to filter out the extra sensory information (e.g. listening to a lesson in the classroom, paying attention to a book during circle time). By having a fidget toy, a child may be able to better ‘filter out’ excess sensory information in their surroundings and their own body, which is causing distraction, and encouraging this sensory information to be focused on a toy in the hands.”

Enabling Devices’ fidget kit comes with 13 different small and discrete fidget toys that help students become calm, focus and regulate their nervous systems. Students can choose from fidget toys including our Desk Buddy Sensory Bars, finger squash its, gel bead balls, pencil finger fidgets and many more.

Therapeutic Balls Kit (#9085)
Like fidget toys, therapeutic balls help students to feel calm, help to regulate their nervous systems and quiet all the noise in their heads. Writes Craig Kendall for the newsletter of the Aspergers Society, it’s important to change therapeutic balls frequently. “Your child may get bored with them and then they will not hold his attention anymore. Save the really good fidget toys for situations in which attention is extremely important, and take them away after the situation is over.” That’s where Enabling Devices’ kit comes in handy. With 13 different varieties of therapeutic balls, including Digi-squeeze balls in five different firmness levels, koosh balls, sensa-rings and mini porcupine balls, students will never grow tired or bored and the balls will continue to serve their purpose over time.

Large Textured Therapy Ball (#9070)
Does your student have difficulty sitting quietly in a chair? He may have more success, if he sits on a ball. According to Sensoryprocessingdisorder.com, “An exercise ball chair is the best seating solution for children (or adults) with issues regarding balance, postural control, attention, and sensory seeking behaviors of the vestibular and proprioceptive sense.” Enabling Devices’ therapy ball has hundreds of small bumps making exercise ball activities even more stimulating.

Chew Pack (#3039)
Ideal for children with oral motor problems, these tools “provide direct sensory input and oral stimulation for the mouth (perfect for those kids who put inedible objects in their mouth in order to seek oral stimulation),” explains Occupational Therapy Children.com. “Chewing provides lots of proprioceptive (body awareness) feedback to satisfy the sensory input that children may be seeking in their mouths. Chewy items also indirectly provide calming and attention regulation through the trigeminal nerve pathways.” Enabling Devices’ Chew Pack includes ten different chews in a variety of shapes, textures and hardness levels. Included in the kit are our Chew Stixx Tough Bar, Chew Stikk, Sensory Stixx, Textured Grabber, Grabber, Car Chew, Butterfly Chew, Stem Chew, Tri Chew, Tuffy Chew, Vibrating Oral Massager.

Weighted Vests (#3953L, M or S)
Enabling Devices’ weighted fleece vest creates deep touch pressure (DTP) and is a great way to keep kids feeling warm, cozy, and secure. Its inside pockets hold weights that can be easily changed. According to Friendship Circle’s Casey Ames, “There are quite a few studies that show that using DTP in the classroom can help improve children’s performance. One study found that children with ADHD improved their in-seat behavior, attention, and task completion while wearing a weighted vest,” says Ames. “Another study looked specifically at fine motor activities like writing and found that DTP had a positive effect on on-task behavior. It’s also been shown that children with autism specifically have better in-seat behavior when using DTP.”

Here’s wishing your child a wonderful school year! Let us know if we can help you to identify tools that will help your child find success and comfort in the coming months.