Andy Just Couldn’t Sit Still…Even In The Classroom

???????????????????????????????????????In this video, Miriam Manela talks about Andy, a client who couldn’t sit still and also had problems expressing himself, especially when he was feeling strong emotions.  Miriam discusses the improvements his teachers, parents, and even his siblings have seen since he’s been engaging in creative and helpful techniques based on the Thrive OT integrative approach.

Later this week, I’m going to post an article with a list of important links to helpful sites and creative ideas for kids who can’t sit still.

Continue reading “Andy Just Couldn’t Sit Still…Even In The Classroom”

Top Three OT Exercises To Stimulate Your Child’s Brain

Though classroom and homework seem worlds away, your child’s brain still needs stimulation during the summer months. I recommend three easy and effective BrainGym exercises that not only stimulate your child’s brain but also offer other benefits such as preventing car sickness reducing anxiety, and increasing balance, focus and attention. And best of all, Continue reading “Top Three OT Exercises To Stimulate Your Child’s Brain”

In The (Sensory) Garden: The Five Senses And Mindfulness

iStock_000008664639SmallIt seems everyone’s interested in learning about all things sensory, and I’m so glad.  Sensory integration is an area that is often misunderstood, yet vital to understanding the causes of children’s difficulties at home, in school, or with friends.

One of the exciting ways to explore senses is by visiting a sensory garden.  Continue reading “In The (Sensory) Garden: The Five Senses And Mindfulness”

The Hugging Regimen

teddy bear open hugI often send people I care about a virtual “deep pressure hug” through a text message or on WhatsApp…but that sure doesn’t beat the real thing!

What will lower blood pressure, increas oxytocin levels, decreas stress, and boost immunity?

What will lead to deeper sleep and greater happiness and even a stronger sense of security?

It’s not a drug, a diet, or even an exercise plan.  It’s The Hugging Regimen. Continue reading “The Hugging Regimen”

Simple Steps To Help Your Child Tolerate Touch

baby handDanny is a sweet fourth grade boy who loves to play sports –especially contact sports like tackle football.

(I can’t imagine choosing to play a game where I’d willingly be tackled.)

But, although Danny enjoyed the crude
physical crashes of his chosen sport, he didn’t allow either of his parents to come close enough to touch him.  Even though he was comfortable dressing and undressing in front of his parents, touch was just out of the question.

Danny’s parents were warm, loving, and supportive.  They didn’t want to cause Danny discomfort but they were concerned about his seeming extreme sensitivity to fine touch.  Danny’s parents understood how important healthy touch is to physical, emotional, and mental development, and they wanted to help him learn to be comfortable with touch so that he could access the positive developmental benefits.

Together, Danny’s parents and I decided to tackle this problem, starting in Danny’s sleep.  We followed a structured procedure that you can apply to your own child to help him or her develop a tolerance for fine touch.

The Touch Tolerance Progression

  • Start with the limb that’s least sensitive to touch. Hold by cupping your hands around the limb, and apply rounded, loving squeeze pressure with your palms (not fingers!) for 7-10 seconds. Do this in at least 3 places on every limb while the child is sleeping.
  • Begin changing the massage regimen little by little, and adding more types of massage while your child is sleeping.
  • The first two steps typically take anywhere from 1-4 weeks. When you feel that your child is ready, it’s time to progress by following the same regimen during the day, when your child is awake and relaxed. Continue carrying out these massages for a good few weeks, or months.
  • When your child can tolerate the limb massages, you proceed by brushing different materials along his or her arms, legs, back, belly, chin area, or the areas he or she will tolerate. Try using fur, silk, a soft washcloth or bath gloves, or a soft brush.
  • You can also use different types of dish washing materials including sponges, and different types of paintbrushes from your local hardware store painting aisle. Be careful not to brush against body hairs as this sensation can be uncomfortable.
pink satin
Silky Fabric
Roughly-textured Carpet
Roughly-textured Carpet

Continue reading “Simple Steps To Help Your Child Tolerate Touch”

Sensory Integration & Your Child

What is Sensory Integration?Ball pool boy

Sensory Integration (SI) describes the brain’s ability to absorb information from our senses, organize it, and respond appropriately. In essence, it is the organization of the senses that provide each of us with an understanding of ourselves and the world.

When our sensory integration is functioning well, our perceptions of taste, touch, smell, sound, sight, balance, motion, and bodily awareness are simultaneously combined and organized by our brains to give us a clear “picture.” This complex process typically takes place on an automatic level, meaning that usually we don’t need to think about it.

But, it is challenging for those who have difficulty processing sensory stimuli to Continue reading “Sensory Integration & Your Child”