All posts by Therapro

Minnesota School-Based OT/PT Institute, October 2-3, 2017

Therapro was delighted to receive an invitation to exhibit at the 2nd Annual School-Based OT/PT Institute in Minneapolis. Registrations for the conference more than doubled from the conference’s inaugural year in 2016, with over 400 attendees! Mary Kay Eastman, PT, MS and her efficient team, including Tanya Grabinski, PT, DPT, MHS, PCS, Margaret Knebel, MEd, OTR/L, and Michelle Schlueder, PT, DPT ran a well-planned and well-orchestrated conference that won rave reviews all around.

The Keynote speaker, Kathy Flaminio, MSW, opened the conference with “Taking Care of Yourself Inside and Out: Nourishing Your Mind, Body and Heart.” Speakers presented on a variety of timely topics including “Meeting Sensory Needs in the General Education Classroom,” “Effects of Mobility on Cognition,” “Emerging Evidence in Pediatric Brain Injury: Role of School-based Services.”

Attendees visited the Therapro exhibit with many positive comments that warmed our hearts. Therapists told us “I love Therapro – my favorite place to get therapy supplies!” and “It’s good to have a conference where vendors are zeroed in on what we need!” We enjoyed helping the therapist who is working at a brand new Charter school with no therapy materials. We helped her select “must have” items such as Pencil and Hand Gripper Sampler 1, Raised Line Paper Assortment, Fine Motor Olympics, Fidget Kit, and Drive Thru Menus, and much more!! Therapists told us they were excited to try out our products and examine books they had only seen in the catalog.

We love getting feedback on Therapro products that therapists use and love. We heard that Learn to Dress Monkey is a big hit in a preschool class in which students love to dress and undress the adorable stuffed animal while practicing 11 dressing skills including zipping and buttoning. Frog and Turtle Beanbags were popular with both PTs and OTs who use them in many creative ways. The one that stands out involves launching them from a platform by having a child stomp on a connected spring device. So clever AND fun!

Therapro’s I Can Work! 5-module prevocational curriculum drew much interest for therapists who work with middle school and high school age students. Having the manual available now in printed form along with the CD was a bonus for therapists.

Our experience at this conference was outstanding. We loved the opportunity to share ideas and receive feedback from our colleagues in the Midwest. We hope to see you next year!

Filomena Connor, MS, OTR/L

AOTA Conference & Expo 2017

 

The AOTA Annual Conference & Expo in Philadelphia this year surpassed expectations with 14,000 therapists convening at the Convention Center!  The opportunity to celebrate the 100th birthday of Occupational Therapy drew revelers from around the world. Therapro brought a team of 5 seasoned therapists, including Karen, Ginger, Linda, and Kim, and me, who worked together like a well oiled machine setting up our huge and colorful Therapro exhibit display, and for the following three days, discussing Therapro products, problem-solving with therapists, and enjoying the constant traffic and spirited interactions at our booth.  This year, once again, we shared our booth with authors, Carolyn Murray-Slutsky, MS, OTR, C/NDT and Betty A. Paris, PT, MEd, C/NDT, along with Carolyn’s husband, Herman. Their publications: Autism Interventions, Is It Sensory or Is It Behavior?DTI: Laminated Card Series – Sensory Modulation & Positive Behavioral Strategies, and the new Sleep ‘N Sync materials flew off the shelves!

Here are a few of the exciting new products we introduced:

Therapists loved the newly revised products: Fine Motor Olympics and Drive Thru Menus. Some other HOT items included Progressive Grip Kit, Farm Sticks, Yoga Cards the Game, Fidgets and Wind Ups, Crayon Rocks, Sensory Connection books, Follow the Leader Maze and Dolphin Diving Maze, Letter Treasure Hunt Game, Chew Necklaces, and Trackit.

The Therapro team was exhausted after our Philadelphia adventures, but still had enough gas in the tank to declare – “Let’s do it again next year in Salt Lake City!”  Our commitment to occupational therapy was reinforced over and over in Philadelphia and remains unwavering!!  AOTA, we wish you continued growth and development as we begin the second hundred years!

Filomena Connor, MS, OTR/L

Saturday Seminar: An Introduction to Yoga and Mindfulness in the Classroom

The energy at Therapro Headquarters was palpable on Saturday, April 8, in anticipation of Meg Durkin, MS, E-RYT, RCYT’s seminar: An Introduction to Yoga and Mindfulness in the Classroom: Tools to Improve Self-Regulation, Learning, and Classroom Climate. A totally different feeling in the room was achieved after Meg led a group experience of several yoga and mindfulness exercises in a sample “Morning Meeting Sequence” that included: Chime Listening/Pass the Chime which helped focus attention in the moment; Mountain, Washing Machine, King Dancer, and Imagination Vacation.

Meg is a licensed Yoga 4 Classrooms instructor, ChildLight Yoga Trainer, and founder of Yoga Magic 4 Kids. She is a registered adult and child yoga teacher through Yoga Alliance. She teaches workshops to elementary school teachers about integrating yoga into the classroom. Her skills include mindful breathing, standing yoga poses, seated yoga poses at the desk, imagination vacations, be well topics, and mindful games. She has trained in Brain Gym and yoga for children with special needs.

According to Meg, increasing numbers of students lack the critical life skills of self-regulation, impulse control and focus that negatively affect their behavior, ability to learn and overall well being. In her seminar, she demonstrated how students can learn these skills. In her practice, she utilizes yoga and mindfulness techniques especially designed for the classroom that are convenient, effective and fun. Integrating yoga movement, breathing and mindfulness can be used in a variety of ways.  They can be used as an activity in and of themselves, and/or integrated in the typical class day, throughout the day. For example, she suggested that students could put their heads on their desks as they listen to Mindful Meditations read to them. The result is a positive, peaceful, and productive classroom climate for all students who are then in a better “learning-ready state.” Specifically in the Yoga for Classrooms curriculum, the focus is on providing a simple, accessible, sustainable whole child health and wellness program that includes 67 yoga and mindfulness based activities specifically designed for the “space and time-crunched classroom.”

We appreciated Meg citing research to support the use of yoga and mindfulness in the classroom setting. An interesting pilot study she discussed in which Yoga for Classrooms was used with 2nd and 3rd grade students was conducted by an Exercise Physiology Department and measured salivary cortisol levels, performance on an attention network test, and teacher surveys.  Overall results in perceived improvement occurred in a broad number of areas including social interaction, attention span, ability to stay on task, ability to deal with stress/anxiety, etc.

The classroom is a busy, bustling environment.  Meg taught us that taking “yoga breaks” is an effective way to refocus students and the energy in the classroom. Meg’s skill as a yoga instructor was apparent to all of us today who left with a more calm, focused energy to tackle the rest of our weekend.

Here are some comments from attendees:

“It’s very practical in today’s fast paced world – I have integrated both breath work and yoga asanas into my classroom and have seen the improvement in my students.” Kristine P., Teacher

“I learned great activities to help my students to focus and concentrate.” Anonymous, SLP

“Interesting. I like the positive attitude and incremental approach offered; not a ‘do it all or nothing’ message.” Maura, Teacher

“Great way to get additional ideas to incorporate into OT sessions (groups & classroom). Definitely could see incorporating “count down to calm” & “imagination vacation” into sessions that typically only include Zones of Regulation. I like the emphasis on movement at accessible level.”  Meredith, Occupational Therapist

Thank you, Meg!

Filomena Connor, MS, OTR/L