Everyday Sensory Solutions: The Use And Benefits Of Fidgets

Fidgets are beneficial tools for reducing restlessness, managing stress, promoting relaxation, and enhancing fine motor skills. They provide a tactile outlet for nervous energy, making them particularly helpful for individuals with autism, stress, anxiety, ADHD, or other attention-related challenges. Fidgets also support sensory regulation and self-soothing, benefiting individuals in various settings like classrooms, offices, or leisure activities. They offer a discreet way to cope with restlessness or anxiety, helping individuals maintain focus and overall well-being.

Choosing non-toy-like fidget tools can further enhance their effectiveness. Opting for tools with an inconspicuous design allows individuals to discreetly engage with sensory stimulation. This non-toy appearance minimizes distractions and potential judgments from others, making it especially advantageous in professional or formal environments. Non-toy-looking fidget tools provide a subtle approach that maintains discretion and reduces social stigma while promoting self-regulation, focus, grounding and sensory engagement.

Sommerfly fidget tools, designed by our occupational therapist are known for their top quality construction and materials. Each product is crafted with meticulous attention to detail and made from premium materials to ensure durability and longevity. Sommerfly’s commitment to excellence in craftsmanship guarantees that their products maintain effectiveness and reliability over time, providing individuals with a consistent and superior sensory experience.

Sommerfly Go-Support Wrist Fidget:

girl writing with the Sommerfly’s Go-Support Wrist Fidget™  on her wrist, demonstrating  the Use And Benefits Of Fidgets

Sommerfly’s Go-Support Wrist Fidget™ is a set of two spandex wrist bands filled with calming beads. Resting on beads when typing or writing places the wrist in a neutral position which reduces strain on the hand and wrist that can help relieve symptoms from carpal tunnel syndrome.

Sommerfly Wristful Fidget:

girl sitting with the Sommerfly Wristful Fidget, demonstrating the Use And Benefits Of this Fidgets

Sommerfly Wristful Fidget is a revolutionary spandex wristband designed to promote focus and relaxation. Filled with soothing beads, this innovative accessory provides a calming sensory experience. Worn around the wrist or stretched into the hand, the Wristful Fidget allows you to discreetly fidget with the serene beads, helping you find a sense of calm and concentration.

Sommerfly Focus Fidgety:

Sommerfly’s Focus Fidgety is a practically designed hand fidget that has a wrist strap and finger loop to help our fidget stay on the body.  The Focus Fidgety has a non-toy look which further promotes focus. No more dropped or thrown fidgets!

It is important to note that all occupational therapists are trained in sensory processing and many have extensive experience and deep understanding in this area. Whenever possible, seek guidance from an occupational therapist for individualized sensory recommendations.

Stay tuned for our next installment of Everyday Sensory Solutions by Sommerfly.
For more information about Sommerfly Products visit Therapro.com.

Guest Blogger: Kristi Langslet, OTR/L

Kristi Langslet, OTR/L is the proud owner of Sommerfly, a company dedicated to providing individuals of all ages with sensory needs unique product designs that are meticulously crafted in the USA for optimal quality and construction. Most importantly, Sommerfly’s passion is to serve those who use our products.

Unlocking Potential: Assistive Technology for Cerebral Palsy

As March unfolds, the global community prepares to observe Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month dedicated to raising awareness and understanding about this neurological condition. Among the myriad of challenges faced by individuals with cerebral palsy (CP), assistive technology emerges as a beacon of hope, offering innovative solutions to enhance independence, communication, and quality of life. For parents of children with CP, understanding the role of assistive technology is paramount in supporting their child’s development and well-being.

Understanding Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a complex neurological disorder that affects movement, muscle tone, and posture. It is typically caused by brain injury or abnormal development during fetal development, infancy, or early childhood. The impact of CP varies widely, with some children experiencing mild motor difficulties while others face more significant physical and cognitive challenges.

The Promise of Assistive Technology

Assistive technology encompasses a wide array of tools and devices designed to mitigate the barriers faced by individuals with disabilities. For children with cerebral palsy, assistive technology offers tailored solutions to support their unique needs and promote active participation in daily activities.

Simple and Effective Assistive Technology Solutions

Let’s explore some assistive technology solutions specifically designed for children with cerebral palsy:

Adaptive Books and Learning Tools

Interactive Storybooks: These engaging books feature interactive elements such as sound effects, textures, and movable parts, catering to children with CP who may have difficulty turning pages or focusing for extended periods. Occupational therapist, Allyson Locke offers these pro tips for leveraging assistive technology to make reading more accessible:

Using wikki stix as a page lift

Wikki Stix!: Wikki Stix are simply wax covered strings that are often used in craft activities but they offer a simple and easy low tech solution for making page lifts.  Page lifts are used to ‘lift’ the pages of a book making it easier for those with fine motor difficulties to turn the pages of the book. To make page lifts with Wikki Stix simply roll a Wikki Stix into a spiral or ball shape and place it onto the upper right hand corner of the pages in a book.  Wikki Stix offer a non-permanent solution for making the pages of a book easier to turn.  

Communication Devices: There are numerous types of communication devices available, these devices are used to convey anything from a simple message to complex dialogs.  When leveraging these devices to enhance reading experiences I tend to focus on the simpler devices that have a record and playback feature.  For example, TalkingBrix2BIGmack communicator, or LITTLE Step-by-Step with Levels.   These can be used to record the words on the page of a book that can be played back by the “reader” with a simple hit of switch. This modification turns any book into an interactive one! 

Augmented Reality (AR) Learning Apps: AR apps provide immersive learning experiences, allowing children with CP to explore educational concepts through interactive visualizations and simulations.

Sensory Devices and Toys

Multi-Sensory Play Equipment: Sensory play is essential for children’s development, especially those with CP. Multi-sensory toys, such as vibrating cushions, textured balls, and musical instruments, stimulate different senses and promote sensory integration. Pro Tip: If decreased hand skills limits your child’s ability to hold these objects, occupational therapists Allyson Locke has a solution:

The Eazyholds silicone cuffs are a unique tool that gives children and adults the ability to hold onto many items with ease. They can be used on their own or in conjunction with the functionalhand when a more precise movement is desired (any Eazyhold with the large holes will fit over the handle of the functionalhand). Shake a maraca, bang a drumstick or wave a colorful ribbon with ease! To get more ideas check out Therapro’s Eazyhold, What Can I Adapt, handy guide

Switch-Activated Toys: Switch-adapted toys can be controlled using simple switches, enabling children with limited mobility to interact with and manipulate toys independently. Another pro tip from occupational therapist Allyson Locke; battery interrupters can be used to make most battery operated toys switch accessible! Learn how here!

Communication Aids

Schkidules visual schedule display

Picture Communication Systems: Visual communication systems, including communication boards and symbol-based apps, facilitate communication for children with CP who have difficulty speaking or expressing themselves verbally. 

QuickTalker 7

Voice Output Devices: Voice output devices allow children to communicate using pre-recorded messages or synthesized speech, empowering them to express their thoughts and feelings more effectively.

Supporting Cerebral Palsy Awareness

As we observe Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, there are several meaningful ways to show support and solidarity:

  • Educational Initiatives: Share information about cerebral palsy and assistive technology with friends, family, and community members. Raise awareness about the unique challenges faced by individuals with CP and highlight the importance of inclusion and accessibility.
  • Advocacy and Empowerment: Advocate for policies and initiatives that promote equal opportunities and access to assistive technology for individuals with cerebral palsy. Encourage schools, healthcare providers, and policymakers to prioritize the needs of children with CP and provide necessary support and resources.
  • Community Engagement: Participate in local events and fundraisers dedicated to cerebral palsy awareness and support. Connect with advocacy organizations and support groups to learn from and collaborate with other families affected by CP.
  • Charitable Contributions: Consider donating to reputable cerebral palsy charities and organizations that provide financial assistance, support services, and assistive technology to individuals and families in need. Cerebral Palsy Guidance is one such resource, offering valuable assistance to those navigating the challenges of cerebral palsy.

By embracing assistive technology and fostering awareness and support, we can create a more inclusive and equitable society where children with cerebral palsy can thrive and reach their full potential. Together, let us champion the rights and dignity of all individuals, regardless of ability, and build a brighter future for generations to come.

Therapro’s Low-Tech Assistive Technology Solutions Shine at ATIA 2024

The Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) 2024 witnessed a bustling Therapro booth, where attendees were immersed in a hands-on experience with a diverse range of assistive technology solutions. The spotlight, however, was on the low-tech assistive technology solutions, which stood out for their simplicity, ease of use, and practicality.

Assistive Technology for Reading and Writing

One of the highlights at the Therapro booth was the Reading and Writing Solutions Station, where attendees explored assistive technology solutions for various reading and writing tasks. Attendees saw the multi purpose abilities of the slant board first hand. The slant board is designed to optimally position the wrist during handwriting activities but it can also be a great way to bring reading material closer while minimizing visual distractions. Notable tools at this station included various pencil grips and adapted writing paper. The “Get a Grip on Grips” handy guide and the “Which Writing Tool” handy guide garnered appreciation for their practicality in determining the most suitable tools for different situations. Attendees also explored devices like the ultradome for magnifying text and the Step by Step for recording stories, engaging emerging readers effectively.

Assistive Technology for Participation

The Participation Solutions Station aimed at increasing access and participation in daily activities. The Functionalhand, a popular tool at the station, impressed attendees with its ease of use in aiding grip and grasp. The Eazyholds also gained attention for their user-friendly design, making gripping objects more manageable. The station featured adapted scissor options, from spring-loaded to mounted scissors, catering to various needs.

Switch Access Tools:
Taking a step into higher-tech solutions, the Participation Solutions Station also showcased switch access tools. Attendees explored a range of switches, from the tiny Spec Switch to proximity switches and the wobble switch. The display included an insightful demonstration of battery interrupters, transforming battery-operated toys into switch-adapted devices—a hit among participants. The PowerLink, a versatile tool, was another assistive technology tool demonstrated at the booth. The PowerLink is used to turn corded devices, like blenders, into switch-accessible ones. Attendees were intrigued by PowerLink activity ideas, such as creating an adapted bowling game using the Powerlink and a fan.

Assistive Technology for ADL (Activities of Daily Living)

At the ADL Solutions Station, Therapro presented classic tools designed to enhance users’ engagement in self-care activities. Weighted utensils, a rocker knife, adapted cups, and scoop dishes were among the showcased items. These tools are essential for individuals seeking increased independence in their daily routines.

ATIA 2024 was a great opportunity for Therapro to showcase a wide range of assistive technology solutions that cater to diverse needs. The emphasis on simplicity and practicality, especially with the popularity of low-tech options, reinforces the idea that effective assistive technology can be both accessible and user-friendly. As Therapro continues to innovate, the commitment to empowering individuals with disabilities through thoughtful solutions is evident.