Therapro’s Free Activity of the Month: Banana Nut Bars

by Therapro

Look no further than your kitchen for some Sensory fun!

As therapists we constantly recommend sensory strategies and activities. The kitchen is full of sensory activities that can easily be incorporated into any child’s daily sensory strategies. 

Baking is a fun activity that a parent and child can do together. The recipe below will offer opportunities for tactile exploration, olfactory stimulation and more.

Prepare for the activity

Make sure you have a stool for your child to use so that he can reach the counter. You can also move the activity to the kitchen table for a more accessible location and this way the child can sit on a cushion while they help with the baking.

Have your child help gather the ingredients and the necessary tools for baking. Tell them what they are, how they are used and encourage them to smell and taste the ingredients.

Banana Nut Bars (If you or your child is allergic to nuts, you can substitute the trail mix with chocolate chips)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup trail mix 

 

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

2. Grease a 13 x 9 pan and set aside.

3. Have your child place the bananas in a resalable plastic bag and mash them using a rolling pin. A great way to provide proprioceptive feedback and bilateral integration.

 

 

 

4. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and shortening until light and fluffy.

5. Your child can stir in the mashed bananas and egg and vanilla.

6. Mix well.

7. Have your child add the rolled oats, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

 

 

8. Mix until thoroughly combined. 

9. Have your child stir in the trail mix. 

10. Have your child place the mixture in the greased pan. 

 

 

11. Bake just until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. 

12. Let cool, cut into squares and enjoy!

 

I have a Sensory Story for you

by Therapro

Like Social Stories, sensory stories are short descriptions of a situation which include specific information about what to expect in that situation and strategies on how to handle the situation. 

Sensory Stories are a method to allow children with sensory modulation issues - sensory integration disorder, sensory integration dysfunction - to cope with everyday experiences. They are in a format that allows children with autism to employ calming strategies throughout the course of specific daily activities like combing hair, going to the dentist and many common school or social activities. When read on a regular basis, Sensory Stories enable children to engage in life.

Our Sensory Stories can help in many different situations including:

  • Home - to help develop self-care skills (bathing, dressing, showering, bedtime, meal time)
  • School - social skills and academic skills (assemblies, cafeteria, circle time, desk time, recess, moving in the school, PE class)
  • Community- to help understand how others might behave in a particular situation (going to restaurant, store, parties, getting a haircut)

To create more stories get our Sensory Stories CD

Visit www.sensorystories.com for a free Demo - use “Guest” for the User name and password and you can customize the story below.

 

 

Eating Lunch in the Cafeteria

November 8 Seminar: Working Memory: An Overview and Implications

by Therapro

Diane Long, Ed.D, MOTR/L, presented our latest Therapro Saturday Seminar, Working Memory: An Overview and Implications, on November 8, 2014. In addition to her role as Chair of Occupational Therapy and associate professor at Ithaca College, she developed the Therapro publication, TRUNKS®: The Game of Motor-Memory. 

Diane met her objectives for the seminar by:

  1. Reviewing a number of theories about the developmental aspects of working memory;
  2. Discussing how working memory contributes to learning, socializing, and task completion; and
  3. Identifying strategies for improving working memory.

Her engaging presentation style made reviewing neuro function interesting and applicable. She pointed out that with working memory we form a “mental snapshot” of a task in the prefontal cortex. She noted that working memory is a slowly developing system that does not mature until we are in our 20’s. Its job is to assist in keeping information organized without having to rely on external cues. An important key for us to remember when a child is working on a memory task is to minimize distractions for them, including not talking to them as they work.

Some researchers have found that using games can increase attention and motivation, which can improve visual memory.  Diane has proposed that non-computer games (like TRUNKS) will improve working memory skills.  She concluded her seminar by actually playing TRUNKS with the audience…”Elephants always remember.”

Seminar attendees had many positive comments about this seminar:

“Material was presented in a fun and interactive way with extreme relevance to therapeutic practice with children.”  Molly F.

“Terrific and clear overview of working memory and the impact on learning. The working memory activities helped to apply the concepts.”  Denise L.

“Informative but also interspersed with activities to keep up interest and also enhance theories.” Anonymous.

“Interesting topic, well presented, interactive and relevant to my job.” Neha S.

Thank you, Diane!

Filomena Connor, MS, OTR/L