Therapro is celebrating its speech language pathology authors and creators during Better Hearing and Speech Month 2023. Read on to learn more about these great speech language pathologists and their creations!
Deborah Fortin, MSPA,CCC-Speech is the author of Social Language Rules & Tools: A Preschool Curriculum. Deborah’s knowledge for this particular skill area derived from her many years working in an integrated preschool program. Social Language Rules & Tools: A Preschool Curriculum is a unique program that can be used to present highly interactive lessons to preschoolers. It was designed to be a collaborative approach between SLPs and classroom educators in order to encourage follow-up and carryover for incidental teaching all day long.
Mary Schiavoni, MS, CCC-SLP worked with Therapro’s Karen Conrad Weihrauch and Filomena Connor to create the Sensory Spoon. Mary Schiavoni is the creator of Chewy Tubes, a noted author and Pediatric Feeding Specialist. The Sensory Spoon is a unique tool that focuses on the development of self-feeding with infants as young as 7 months old. Its unique characteristics include a short, textured handle that offers sensory input to the palm for grasping, a natural “stop” that prevents gagging or deep insertion into the mouth, and a flexible, smooth texture.
Therapro is proud to support and promote the work of the many great professionals involved in the diagnosing and treatment of communication disorders, including speech language pathologist and audiologists. We wish you all a very happy Better Hearing and Speech Month!
Porch, the home services platform, recently reached out to Therapro for help with their latest article, How to Build a Sensory Room at Home, Tips from the Experts. The question needing an answer was, what are the best tactile sensory tools to include in home sensory rooms? 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.
Tactile sensory tools offer a rewarding experience. There are many options to choose from. Therapro’s top picks include:
Fidgets: Fidgets are small, portable and versatile tactile sensory tools that are a great edition to home sensory rooms. Fidgets can offer calming or alerting input depending on their characteristics. To help users better decide which fidget is best for them, the team of occupational therapists at Therapro has put together a free handy guide, Find Your Fidgetthat is available for download at therapro.com! Pro tip: Fidgets are also a great transition object to help with the move into and out of the sensory space!
Happy Senso:Happy Senso is a sensory gel that offers a unique multisensory experience. It can be sprayed directly into the palms of the hands or on a flat surface (like a table). Squish, press, and slide hands along the cool gel and listen to the crackling and popping sounds it makes. It is available in four different scents and colors for an enhanced sensory experience.
Gel Activity Pads:Gel pads are exactly what they sound like, gel filled pads that can be pressed and squished with the hands, fingers, or even feet! Available in four different styles, activity ideas are endless; play games (like tic tac toe) or simply enjoy the combined visual and tactile sensory experience. As an added bonus, these gel pads offer slight weight and so can double as a weighted lap pad!
Theraputty Microwavable Exercise Putty:Exercise putty is a great fidget option that can offer a calming/ grounding experience to users. Theraputty Microwavable Exercise Putty is a unique putty that is microwavable allowing users to experience a calming warmth sensation while they knead, roll, or squish the putty.
Calm Strips:Calm Strips are textured sensory stickers with a special reusable adhesive that are designed to be picked, touched, scratched, and peeled over and over again. These tactile sensory tools are a perfect addition to home sensory rooms. They can be adhered to any surface to add an additional tactile sensory experience and help regulate restless energy.
When it comes to building your sensory space, Therapro is the resource for families and professionals, be sure to check out all of Therapro’s sensory resources at therapro.com!
The school and classroom provide a wealth of sensory information. Whether or not your students have special needs, processing sensory information can be a real challenge and also impact their behavior (e.g. difficulty paying attention, sitting still, working cooperatively with others, etc.).
Sensory processing difficulties arise when the brain can’t sort, organize, or integrate sensory messages. It’s like a “traffic jam” in the brain, with a few snippets of sensory information “stuck in circulation”. When this happens, certain parts of the brain don’t receive the sensory information they need to do their job1.
Providing a sensory space helps students to calm down and is a way to avoid disorganization. It’s a simple solution for improving social-emotional behaviors and beneficial for cognitive development.
What is a sensory corner?
A sensory corner is a designated area inside your classroom that is dedicated to supporting the sensory development of all students. It allows the child to take refuge there completely independently. Their withdrawal into this space helps them regulate their emotions and energy level in order to be more available to learn and interact with others.
A sensory space stimulates the primary senses, sight, hearing, smell, touch, vestibular and proprioception without creating overload because the senses are chosen on a voluntary basis.
The benefits of a sensory corner
The very preciouses moments, lasting at least 15 minutes, improves mood management by taking care of one’s emotions, increasing feelings of security, and help reduce agitation and apathy (lack of energy). No wonder they allow for the improvement in attention and quality of concentration.
Regulating our senses is important in maintaining our mental and physical well-being and self-esteem. The sensory space allows for wonderful one-on-one or supports a moment of guided learning, if the space is sufficient to accommodate the adult and the child.
How to design a classroom sensory space
It must be welcoming, comfortable and a defined space. The area has boundaries and is large enough to accommodate at least one seat (armchair, cushion, carpet, etc.).
Make sure the child will be isolated from ambient noise or the hallway.
Make sure you can adjust the light intensity or filter it. Some children will seek intense light while others will benefit from dim lighting.
Try to find a corner of the class where the student can have some privacy, out of sight of their peers. To enclose this space, you could use a curtain or furniture such as a bookcase or shelf.
Ideally, provide storage for the items or equipment that your corner will offer. The space should not be overloaded with things.
The objective is to be able to immerse yourself in a “cocoon-bubble” atmosphere in order to experience better sensory stimulation and enjoy all the benefits.
The effectiveness of a sensory corner has nothing to do with your allocated budget. It’s therefore not necessary to invest in expensive and sophisticated equipment.
What equipment should you provide in your sensory corner?
Your sensory corner can evolve over time and according to the needs of your students. Here are some suggested items that can stimulate the senses.
You could display or make available inspirational thoughts, relaxing music, pictures to color, breathing strategies, a timer to give child perspectives about time.
And the most important part …
Once your sensory space has been established, take the time to show it to your students and teach them how to use it, when, and why so that they understand the purpose of this space.
It’s also important to display the tools and resources available in the space. Don’t hesitate, for example, to demonstrate breathing techniques in a large group so that they know how to repeat them when alone.
Having a space like this is a great way to implement social-emotional learning strategies in your classroom.
And now, play on!
-The manimo team
1Sensory Spaces in School 2021. National Council for Special Education, NCSE-Sensory Spaces in Schools