The 23nd Annual Ohio Institute for OT/PT School-Based Practice Conference

by Therapro

We were very happy to be invited back to The 23rd Annual Ohio Institute for OT/PT School-Based Practice conference in Columbus on August 10-11! This was my 8th consecutive year of attending as the Therapro rep, and I must honestly say that it was just as exciting as my first time. This conference is fresh and innovative from one year to the next. Attendees came in droves (650 of them!) from Ohio and surrounding states in anticipation of two days filled with invigorating workshops to ready them for the opening day of school.

Therapro author of the Drive -Thru Menu Suite of Exercises, Tere Bowen-Irish, OTR/L, was a conference presenter this year. Her dynamic, fun presentation, On the Floor and More, Movement and Yoga…Empowering Students Towards Mindfulness and Relaxation, had therapists raving about her workshop. Her Drive -Thru products including cards, laminated posters, Preschool & Kindergarten and Body Challenge card sets were difficult to keep on the shelves.  Therapists loved her book, Yoga & Me, Come Be a Tree and the introduction of her new CD, My Mindful Music.

Another distinguished therapist from the Boston area, and a renowned Therapro Saturday Seminar speaker, Teresa May-Benson, ScD, OTR/L, FAOTA, was also a conference presenter this year; her talk was titled: Advanced Intervention for Ideational Praxis – Affordances to Executive Functions. She is an author for the critically acclaimed publication, Autism Interventions.

As therapists, teachers, and parents stopped by the Therapro exhibit, it was exciting to hear lots sharing of information about Therapro and its products. Therapists eagerly traded information about products they loved including: Therapro originals: TracKit, Letter Treasure Hunt, Sensory Stories: Strategy Card Decks and Novenops.  All loved the opportunity to examine and try out new products like Ultimate Fidget Fidgipod, Bouncy Bands for Chairs and Desksand the Goal-Oriented Assessment of Lifeskills (GOAL). A whole array of new chew products was popular, including: Army Dog Tag Pendants, Zen Rocks Chewies, and Flip Flop Chew

Filomena Connor, MS, OTR/LThank you to Mary Kay Eastman, PT, MS and Molly Dodge, OTR/L, committee co-chairs, for planning and executing a terrific and relevant conference. Conference coordinator Holly Bartholemew kept things running like clockwork prior to, during, and following the conference. Your team’s talent for executing a seamless, meaningful conference is appreciated by us all! I look forward to returning again in 2016.

Sensational Brain: Using Fingers and Hands for Oral Input

by Therapro

Sensational Brain recently suggested 5 ways to gain appropriate oral input for children with feeding tubes.

#3 is our favorite, since our Magic Corn Cob Pipe is mentioned!

Read the whole article here.


Oral Motor

Saturday Seminar: Developing the Brain from the Bottom Up

by Therapro

May’s Therapro Saturday Seminar was a follow-up to last month’s seminar entitled: Developing the Brain from the Bottom Up! Pam Formosa, MA, OTR/L returned with her colleague and Co-Founder of Brain Fit Academy in Hopedale, MA, Christina Schlupf, MA Licensed Educator and ABA technician. They presented: The Listening Program and Reflex Integration: A Powerful Combination!

Brain Fit Academy uses a neuro-developmental approach to help students improve overall processing through Reflex Integration and to teach students skills to empower them for success.  The Listening Program ™ (TLP), based on the work of French ENT, Alfred Tomatis in 1944, has developed over the years and today, Alex Doman carries on Tomatis’ work, focusing on using sound, music, and technology to improve brain function. TLP can be described as an auditory stimulation therapy that uses music to train the brain by strengthening neurological pathways with the outcome of improving learning, communication, information processing, and more.

Pam and Christina clarified the essential differences among hearing, listening, and auditory processing. They explained that hearing is a passive function, listening is a dynamic function, and auditory processing is also a dynamic function that involves the brain using what it hears to make sense of what is being heard. With a thorough review of the auditory system, we learned how sound frequencies affect brain and body function in a hierarchical manner.  Pam and Christina shared an interesting fact about embryonic development: as early as 16 weeks gestation, the fetus responds to the mother’s voice and sounds outside the womb through bone conduction.    

TLP utilizes transmission of vibrations through bone, called “bone conduction.” It involves listening to personalized music 5 days per week typically over the course of 20-40 weeks. TLP uses headphones to transmit sound through air (ear canal to the cochlea) and bone (vestibular system) simultaneously. The merits of bone conduction can be seen in several crucial areas including improved vestibular processing, which manifests itself in improved postural control, improved sensory awareness; speech and language development; and stress reduction and regulation of the parasympathetic nervous system.  The potential benefits of TLP are astounding! 

Pam and Christina presented a case study of an 11 ½ year old child with a clinical diagnosis of Auditory Processing Disorder to illustrate how they might use Reflex Integration in conjunction with The Listening Program to achieve positive therapeutic outcomes.  Using formal checklist inventories to assess and quantify 6 areas of listening as a baseline of function before beginning treatment, and then again, following treatment, was examined.  Changes in the child’s function were quantifiable and impressive between weeks 2 and 20 of treatment.  Areas of significant improvement included Receptive and Expressive Listening and Language, Auditory Processing, Listening to the Body, Behavioral and Social Adjustment, Level of Energy, and integration of the Moro, TLR, and ATNR Reflexes.

The Listening Program ™ is one of many tools you’ll find in Brain Fit Academy’s tool box that can help remediate neuro-developmental immaturity. Used in conjunction with Reflex Integration, it is a powerful therapeutic modality with great potential to help students achieve improved functioning through brain “re-organization.”

Attendees shared their enthusiasm about the seminar:

“The information was enlightening and applicable to my work with preschool students with Autism.”  -Jo-Ann F., Teacher

“Understanding elements that we may be missing, yet can relearn. Hope at the end of the tunnel.” - Anonymous, Parent

“Excellent information & will leave with ready to use activities/tx.” - Jennifer P., Occupational Therapist

“I think teachers need to understand the basics of Primitive Reflexes. This can really impact a child’s learning and behavior in the classroom.” - Ann Marie H., Teacher

Thank you, Pam and Christina!

Filomena Connor, MS, OTR/L 

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