Category Archives: Uncategorized

2022 By The Numbers!

As we make the transition out of the year 2022 and into the year 2023, the team at Therapro took a moment to reflect on some of the many accomplishments that made the previous year great. The numbers say it all!

Four

Live and in person conferences started to gain traction again in 2022 and the Therapro team was excited to get back out there. Therapro joined attendees at 3 in person conferences and 1 virtual conference this year. In 2023 we hope to continue to build on that momentum. We are excited to explore new conference opportunities including ATIA 2023 where we plan to exhibit our latest and ever growing selection of assistive technology products.

Therapro had the opportunity to support 30 different organizations through donations in 2022. As a team of therapists, supporting our professional state organizations has always been one of our core missions. Through 2022 Therapro received requests for support from professional organizations like the Kansas Speech-Language Hearing Association, the Washington Occupational Therapy Association (WOTA), the Texas Occupational Therapy Association (TOTA), the Massachusetts Occupational Therapy Association (MAOT), and the New Hampshire Occupational Therapy Association. 2022 also brought us some unique opportunities to help. Boxes full of the games Trunks and Novenops made their way to to a group supporting the Marshall Fire victims in Boulder Valley, Colorado and many chews were sent to support a service trip to Belize.

Ensuring our professionals and parents have access to the most up to date products available is a top priority at Therapro. Over the last year, Therapro added over 115 new products to our website including Happy Senso, My Motor Mats, the Busy Bee Sensory Plush, Just Right! A Sensory Modulation Curriculum®, and Comfy Chairs. With this, we have expanded the selection of the products available in our articulation, social language, and math categories. We have also worked toward making sure the most updated versions of publications are available including, Is It Sensory Or Is It Behavior? 2nd Edition. New products are added often, be sure to check the new products section of our website regularly for updates!

Staying connecting is important to all of us at Therapro. Our many social media outlets have allowed us to stay up to date on what is happening on the ground and has provided us with the opportunity to share Therapro updates as they are happening. In 2022 we shared 600+ posts across our LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram pages. We have also sent out 50 Theragrams, our biweekly newsletter. Stay connected with us by following @Therapro and signing up for our Theragram!

600 plus

Therapro’s free webinar series launched back in 2019 and has been gaining attention ever since. In 2022 we covered topics including sensory, treatment strategies, conversational skills, bike riding, assistive technology, and math skills. This year we had 3,860 people register for the 10 free webinars we offered. The 2023 webinar lineup is shaping up to be another stellar year; we are looking forward to bringing you topics including apraxia, dyslexia, trauma-informed care, and many more sensory topics!

2022 has be a great year for Therapro and we are looking forward to all that 2023 will bring. Therapro wishes our many customers a happy and healthy New Year!

Activities That Build Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are vital for many functional activities like zippering our coats, writing our name, and opening lunch containers. In this post we will take a dive into fine motor skill development and explore toys and activities that are appropriate for every skill level.  

Level 1

Fine motor skill development begins with the simplest hand movements; reaching, swiping, and gross grasp. As development progresses things like visually guided reach, purposeful release, and a better ability to hold medium and small sized objects develops. Poking, pointing, and the ability to use the thumb and first fingers to hold small objects are major milestones during this period. For children at this developmental stage activities that support the growth of the proximal muscles (core and shoulders) are important because it is these muscles that will support later fine motor skills. Activities that are done while on the tummy and activities that involve pushing and pulling are great choices at this stage.

Level 2

The next stage of fine motor development is marked by the ability to begin to use simple tools like crayons, scissors, and spoons. Activities like the Smartmax games and Lock Boxes are still great choices but now simple arts and crafts, lacing, and building activities can also be enjoyed. These increasingly more complex activities will lend to the development of the hand skills that are needed for greater independence with self care activities like feeding and dressing.

Level 3

The next stage of development is marked by the ability to complete tasks that require the separation of the two sides of the hand; the ‘power side’ and the ‘skilled side’. The power side of the hand is what we use when we engage in activities that require strength like opening a jar; actions like squeezing a toy or playing in putty or playdough are great ways to develop these muscles.  The skilled side of the hand is what we use when we engage in activities that require refined movements like writing, tying, or fastening a button.  To develop these muscles we must engage in activities that predominantly require the use of the thumb and first two or three fingers; actions like winding the small knob on a wind up toy, using the first fingers to grab, grasp or manipulate objects, and using one finger to push a button or lever are all great ways to develop these muscle. The development of the separation of the two sides of the hands is important for academic and self care tasks.

Level 4

Hallmarks of this stage of fine motor skill development include the skilled coordination between the two sides of the body and a mature pencil grasp. Games like Froggy Feeding Fun and activities with Wikki Stix or Playdough are still great but now activities that require refined skill can also be introduced.

Choosing activities that are developmentally appropriate will ensure not only engagement but will also promote continued fine motor skill development.

Developing Sensorial Skills

Allyson Locke M.S., OTR/L

Porch, the home services platform, recently reached out to Therapro for help with their latest article, Expert Advice to Design the Ultimate Kids Playroom at Home. The question needing an answer was, what toys and products can help kids develop sensorial skills? Therapro’s team of experts had a lot to say on this topic! Read on to see what Therapro shared and be sure to check out the full article!

Sensorial skills encompass the five well known sensory systems tactile/touch, gustatory/taste, olfactory/smell, auditory/hearing, and visual/ sight as well as the lesser known vestibular and proprioceptive systems.  With so many different systems the answer to this question is quite extensive.

Fidgets and chews are typically well known and well associated with sensory and sensorial development. Chews, as their name implies, are a category of items that are designed to be chewed. Chewing provides great proprioceptive input through the jaw area; this type of input can be very helpful for soothing but also great in the development of this system.  Some chews have added textures (like bumps or ridges) that add a tactile component.  Therapro offers a free handy guide, Choose Your Chew, to help make it easier to find the perfect chew.  Fidgets are generally small objects that are held or manipulated. There are many fidget options available; depending on the fidget’s characteristics, they can help alert (wake up) or calm the sensory system.  Therapro offers a free handy guide, Find Your Fidget, to make it easier to find the perfect fidget.

Games and activities that involve movement and body position sense are great for targeting the vestibular, tactile, and proprioceptive systems. Some examples of games include; Trunks, Spark Action Floor Game, and the Body Awareness Fun Deck.  Movement based activities include playing with a parachute, riding a scooter board, completing sensory paths, doing yoga, and making obstacle courses with things like balance beams or stepping stones.  Adding music enhances the movement experience by adding an auditory component.  The resource Sensational Fun: Recreational Activities For Sensory Diets And Fun, includes over 100 activities for parents and teachers who are looking for some great sensory games using common objects found in the home and school (free sample activities are available!).

Games and activities that involve touching and feeling are great for targeting the tactile sense. Games and activities that have a specific tactile focus include; Tactile Search & Match, Feel ‘n Find, Sensory Collage Kit, Ruff’s House Teaching Tactile Set, and Gel Activity Pads. Playing with clay/ playdough is another great option and scented dough has the added benefit of bringing in the olfactory sense. 

Multisensory environments are another option for immersing in the sensorial experience. Unlike traditional multisensory environments, the Luminea line of products offers an interactive component through its app or optional switches.  With this, Luminea allows for true interaction between the user and components which is essential for sensorial development.

Play is a necessary component in the development of sensory skills. There are a vast variety of toys and products available to enhance the development of play. In choosing the most appropriate toy or activity considering a child’s interest, developmental level, and skill areas you wish to target are key!