Save 15% on All Air Cushions!

Air cushions are perfect for children who cannot sit still! These cushions provide the “squirmy” child with the means to meet his or her movement needs in a chair without disrupting the learning environment.

Through July 31, you can save 15% on all Air Cushions! The offer is good while supplies last so don’t miss out!

See below for more information!
email_07_17_13 1Check out more of our Active Seating product assortment and save 15% on your Air Cushion order before July 31!

The Benefits of Yoga

Every Occupational Therapist has his/her “bag of therapy tools” from which they can pull. This bag contains the individualized tried and true therapeutic techniques and activities that each therapist can use to address any given set of challenges. For a rapidly increasing number of therapists, one of the most frequently used “tools” in this bag is becoming the use of yoga.

Little Girl Doing Handstand

Yoga and OT are a natural fit as both disciplines focus on the individual as a whole person not just the part that may be a particular challenge. The use of yoga as a therapy technique provides many benefits for adults and children alike and the beauty of yoga is adaptability. It can be performed almost anywhere by almost anyone and the benefits can be long lasting. Yoga provides a medium for developing physical strength, flexibility and body awareness. It provides a medium for developing stress release and relaxation as well as focus and concentration. It can be a both a powerful social activity or an activity that can be performed in solitude with similar benefits.

Physical development is inherent in yoga as it is an active technique. However, the depth of the physical development goes far beyond muscle strength and flexibility. Yoga also works on motor planning skills as each pose requires a separate plan to execute. For beginners, physical imitation skills come into play as most often they are making their own bodies copy either a picture or an instructor. As the skill level progresses and familiarity comes into play, the individual can execute a pose based on the memory of the picture, the instructor in the pose or simply the name of the pose increasing the complexity of the motor plan and utilizing muscle memory. Yoga also allows the participant to develop better overall body awareness as executing and sustaining a pose requires intimate knowledge of one’s body in space to perform correctly.

Kids Instructional Yoga DVD

Yoga is one of the most powerful methods available for stress reduction and relaxation. The concept of deep breathing can itself be used without the poses to relax but when combined with the physical demands of the pose, the relaxation effect is enhanced. The focus and concentration required to execute and sustain the poses allows the individual to center their attention and thereby further their stress reduction or relaxation. Physical exertion in and of itself has been shown to have a beneficial stress reduction or relaxation power. Yoga provides a means of combining poses that require a significant amount of physical exertion with poses that are relaxing by nature. The combination of physical exertion and relaxation serves to provide deeper relaxation at the conclusion.

The power of yoga can be perfectly provided with the Kids Instructional Yoga Mat and DVD. This set provides the perfect method of engagement for any child. The soft textured mat is lightweight and easy to carry which allows for easy transport and use in a variety of settings. The provision of a non-slip surface allows for a safe work surface in almost any setting.

Kids Instructional Yoga Mat

The mat was specifically designed with appealing pictures of animals and the corresponding pose in order to capture the attention of the child and encourage engagement in the yoga activity. Each picture is labeled which provides a multi-modal learning method for the child. The inclusion of step-by-step instructions in the DVD in combination with the labeled pictures will help the child develop skills crucial for success in the educational setting, at home, or in the community such as following instructions, sequencing, and attending to task while providing another layer of multi-modal learning by engaging both the visual and the auditory systems. Overall, the Kids Instructional Yoga Mat and DVD are the ideal yoga companion for any child.

Take a look at these other yoga products:
Yoga for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Step-by-Step Guide for Parents and Caregivers (AP84318)
“Bal Yoga for Kids” by Glenda Kacev and Sylvia Roth – Book with CD and DVD (AP9555)
Yoga Pretzels Activity Cards (AP97819)
“Frog’s Breathtaking Speech: how Children (and Frogs) Can Use Yoga Breathing to Deal with Anxiety, Anger and Tension” by Michael Chissick (AP84819)
YogaKids® DVD Set (AP9880)
Angel Bear Double CD Set (AP90063)

*This post was written by Scott Russo and was brought to you by Achievement Products®.

Activity Guide – Tactile Sensory Ball

The team at Achievement Products® asked our consultant, Occupational Therapist Scott Russo, to provide some activity suggestions for incorporating some of our favorite items into daily classroom activities or curriculum. Scott has provided some really great and creative ways to use items (that may have been originally designed for typically developing children), in special needs environments.

Today we will look at the Tactile Sensory Ball.

 
 Introduction:
The tactile sensory ball is an excellent tool for the development of balance, core strength, and vestibular and proprioceptive stimulation with the added benefit of increased tactile input. This ball is perfect for the child or teenager who is challenged by an under-regulated sensory system or overall decreased body awareness. The ball is a normal therapy exercise ball with hundreds of sensory bumps which increase the awareness of both the ball and the body during activity.
Activity ideas:
All activities should be engaged in with a caregiver or teacher in attendance. Develop static (non-moving) and dynamic (moving) balance skills. Start by having the child or teenager simply try to maintain their balance while their feet are on the ground. Move the ball in different directions and have the child adjust their balance accordingly. Start with slow movements and gradually increase to more challenging movements.
  • Have the child or teenager sit on the ball and try to maintain balance with their feet off of the ground.
  • Lying on the belly, have the child perform wheelbarrow walks. Make sure their legs are together and supported as they walk forward and backward on their hands.
  • To increase upper-body strength, have students try pushups with their feet or legs supported by the ball. The pushups can be graded by having less and less of the leg supported as the child or teenager walks out on his/her hands.
  • From a sitting position, have the child or teenager perform situps while maintaining their balance, have them lean back as far as they can support themselves, or with a spotter supporting them, then bring themselves back up to a sitting position.
  • Use the ball as a chair for increased attention. The ball can be used at a desk or table during fine motor or academic tasks.
  • Use the ball as a balance challenge for gross motor play such as balloon volleyball or catch. For the teenager, there are a variety of resistance activities that can be done using the ball as the balance device while performing normal weight training movements.
  • For increased sensory input, have the child or teenager lie on his/her belly and use the ball as a roller, applying pressure over the back.

For more information about the Tactile Sensory Ball and other great items please visit http://www.achievement-products.com.

Activity Guide – Balancing Hat

The team at Achievement Products asked our consultant, Occupational Therapist Scott Russo, to provide some activity suggestions for incorporating some of our favorite items into daily classroom activities or curriculum. Scott has provided some really great and creative ways to use items (that may have been originally designed for typically developing children), in special needs environments. Today we will look at the Balancing Hat.

Introduction:

The Balance Hat is a fun way to work on body awareness, gross and fine motor control, social skills and pre-academic skills. The lightweight foam pieces provide comfort when it is worn as a hat, safety if/when it is dropped, and ease of use due to the light-weight and easy grip material. The different colored and sized pieces allow for a wide range of pre-academic categorization options.

Activity Idea:

Simple stacking activities. Have the child use the “hat” as a simple stacking activity without putting it on his/her head. Discuss the sizes, shapes and colors of the blocks while the child familiarizes his/herself with the “hat”.

  • Have the child stack the blocks on their head while standing still. Place the blocks on a surface that allows the child to be able to reach the blocks without bending, and stack the blocks in the correct order. Doing this activity in front of a mirror can help the child with poor body or spatial awareness and can also assist the child in finding the correct order with the visual clues seen in the mirror.
  • Increase the stacking challenge and the motor coordination of the child, by having the pieces positioned on surfaces of different heights that require the child to reach up, bend down, and stack the blocks all without the tower spilling.
  • Introduce balance into the activity by placing the pieces on different surfaces around the room, then have the child move from place to place, putting each piece on their head without spilling the tower.
  • For group or individual play, complete a relay race. Separate the pieces so that child must walk back and forth between two surfaces to achieve the correct order of the stacking. If working in teams, each player must pass the hat successively to the next for the placement of the next piece.

Other relay ideas: the teams must first work together to create the stack in the correct order on the table. Then each team member takes a turn wearing the hat while walking a fixed distance. The hat must be passed between teams members as a baton would be in a relay race.

Julie Fraser – The Water Cooler




I’m Julie Fraser the senior buyer for Achievement Products and I watched the Super Bowl last weekend, along with the millions of others who tuned in. Though I had no particular allegiance to either of the teams playing, the game was certain to be a big topic of conversation over the next few days and I didn’t want to feel left out. Even at an age where I should know better, I want to fit in around the water cooler!

The desire to fit in is part of us at any age, but of course it is felt most strongly by teenagers. Over the past couple of years I have participated at conferences and expos focused on children with special needs, and I continually heard from the therapists and special education teachers of teens with special needs that, while those teens benefit from the same type of help and support directed to younger children, it is vital to offer this help and support in a way that recognizes the maturing interests and expanding horizons of the teens placed in their care.  And at Achievement Products, we took that message to heart.

We reviewed our catalog’s content with a number of therapists who helped us identify products ideally suited to support teens in the following areas:

Core Strength – products that stimulate a teen’s natural motivation to move, while strengthening limb coordination, balance, judgment, and visual perception skills.

Life Skills & Socialization – products that assist with management of everyday life skills.

Academics – adaptive products to support classroom performance.

Art & Creativity – items that encourage creative experiences for self-expression and collaborative

socialization.

Self-Regulation – options to engage in self-regulating behavior in a socially accepted manner.

Teen Cave – options for teens to individualize their sensory environment, to provide a space uniquely theirs to relax in and un-wind.


And we have had a wonderful response, particularly to items such as the weighted Denim OTvest™ (AP5763, AP5764, AP5765); Chewnoodles™ (AP75318, AP11002, AP11003, AP11004); High Back Beanbag Sofa (AP92372, AP923730); Foam Fountain™(AP1155); and Short Reach Slant Board (AP429).

We invite you to take a look at our entire teen collection, and we want to hear from you at this ‘Water Cooler’ that is our blog site!  Please share what resources, services or products have helped the teens in your care to succeed as they grow, mature, and expand their horizons.