Home Therapy Program Essentials
By Editorial Staff
Contributed by Info Guru Terri Wallace
Families with special needs children know that there are certain items that simply make life easier.
When you finally find that one item that can help overcome an obstacle, make the day go a little smoother, or provide assistance to help a child achieve their full potential, the item quickly becomes indispensable. Here are some home therapy essentials to help support and encourage those with special needs.
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10. Weighted Lap Pillow
Those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), or an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ADS) often benefit from, and are comforted by, the gentle pressure of a weighted lap pillow.
9. Chew Tubes
Chew tubes, and other chew items, were originally created for children to help ease the transition from pureed foods to solids. However, these chew tubes are also beneficial for those with cleft palate, as well as other conditions that affect the ability to chew and serve as an oral motor tool to assist those requiring oral motor therapy, such as those recovering from the effects of a stroke.
8. Sit Wedge Cushion
Wedge cushions are seats that encourage dynamic movement, even while sitting. Not only does the wedge encourage proper posture, but it is also beneficial to those with ADHD, Autism, or Sensory Integration Dysfunction. The wedge is similar a therapy ball and allows for the same type of activation of the core muscles (but without the temptation to roll around, which is an inherent risk with the therapy ball).
7. Sensory Swing
The sensory swing provides a safe and comfortable place for reading, playing, and relaxing. The swing provides a cozy nest, or cocoon, which provides those with sensory processing disorder who require vestibular input (movement and balance) and proprioception (a sense of how your own limbs are oriented in space).
6. Sensory Center
Encourage your child to explore the senses with a sensory center. Whether you incorporate a water center, sand station, or other medium that encourages tactile stimulation, the sensory center provides a safe and structured environment for exploration.
5. Tactile Cube
Like the sensory center, the a tactile cube or mat encourages sensory exploration. The cube encourages children to practice their motor coordination as the amble around the cube, and explore the patterns which are specially designed to provide tactile stimuli of varying degrees of intensity.
4. Skills Centers
Skill centers are a useful tool to encourage children to develop real world skills. The centers encourage manual dexterity while providing tools to help a child to master dressing skills. These centers can be particularly useful for special needs children who need to work on finger strength and dexterity in a fun and constructive manner.
3. Round-a-bout Board
Much like a lazy susan, the Round-a-Bout Board is a disc shaped board that allows children to spin around. The board allows for the incorporation of vestibular stimulation activities in locations when larger, suspended equipment cannot be mounted.
2. Sign Language Rug
Sign language rugs are useful for more than just decoration or comfort—these rugs also provide assistance in communication. The signs incorporated on the rugs are phrases which are useful for early signers and allow them to simply point in order to express their needs to their caregivers, and the rugs also provide visual reinforcement of commonly used signs.
1. Tactile Balance Disks
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Tactile Balance Discs and other manipulatives targeting fine motor skills are utilized to allow children to differential between textures and encourage tactile exploration. The rubber discs provide various textures and can be utilized in various ways in order to provide age appropriate games, such as: memory games, matching games, or general recognition.
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