The first weeks of a new school year typically bring excitement, exhaustion and for some children — especially those with special needs — a fair amount of anxiety. Certain products available through Enabling Devices can help take the edge off that anxiety, helping students to calm down, focus and attend to their classwork. In turn, these products can decrease the likelihood of disruptive behaviors, and increase the likelihood of positive social interactions. Here are some suggestions for products that encourage success in school. Some are sold in classroom kits while others can be purchased individually.
According to Occupational Therapy for Children, “Fidget toys are often used to provide sensory input in a less distracting way. They can help improve concentration and attention to tasks by allowing the brain to filter out the extra sensory information (e.g. listening to a lesson in the classroom, paying attention to a book during circle time). By having a fidget toy, a child may be able to better ‘filter out’ excess sensory information in their surroundings and their own body, which is causing distraction, and encouraging this sensory information to be focused on a toy in the hands.”
Enabling Devices’ fidget kit comes with 13 different small and discrete fidget toys that help students become calm, focus and regulate their nervous systems. Students can choose from fidget toys including our Desk Buddy Sensory Bars, finger squash its, gel bead balls, pencil finger fidgets and many more.
Like fidget toys, therapeutic balls help students to feel calm, help to regulate their nervous systems and quiet all the noise in their heads. Writes Craig Kendall for the newsletter of the Aspergers Society, it’s important to change therapeutic balls frequently. “Your child may get bored with them and then they will not hold his attention anymore. Save the really good fidget toys for situations in which attention is extremely important, and take them away after the situation is over.” That’s where Enabling Devices’ kit comes in handy. With 13 different varieties of therapeutic balls, including Digi-squeeze balls in five different firmness levels, koosh balls, sensa-rings and mini porcupine balls, students will never grow tired or bored and the balls will continue to serve their purpose over time.
Does your student have difficulty sitting quietly in a chair? He may have more success, if he sits on a ball. According to Sensoryprocessingdisorder.com, “An exercise ball chair is the best seating solution for children (or adults) with issues regarding balance, postural control, attention, and sensory seeking behaviors of the vestibular and proprioceptive sense.” Enabling Devices’ therapy ball has hundreds of small bumps making exercise ball activities even more stimulating.
Ideal for children with oral motor problems, these tools “provide direct sensory input and oral stimulation for the mouth (perfect for those kids who put inedible objects in their mouth in order to seek oral stimulation),” explains Occupational Therapy Children.com. “Chewing provides lots of proprioceptive (body awareness) feedback to satisfy the sensory input that children may be seeking in their mouths. Chewy items also indirectly provide calming and attention regulation through the trigeminal nerve pathways.” Enabling Devices’ Chew Pack includes ten different chews in a variety of shapes, textures and hardness levels. Included in the kit are our Chew Stixx Tough Bar, Chew Stikk, Sensory Stixx, Textured Grabber, Grabber, Car Chew, Butterfly Chew, Stem Chew, Tri Chew, Tuffy Chew, Vibrating Oral Massager.
Enabling Devices’ weighted fleece vest creates deep touch pressure (DTP) and is a great way to keep kids feeling warm, cozy, and secure. Its inside pockets hold weights that can be easily changed. According to Friendship Circle’s Casey Ames, “There are quite a few studies that show that using DTP in the classroom can help improve children’s performance. One study found that children with ADHD improved their in-seat behavior, attention, and task completion while wearing a weighted vest,” says Ames. “Another study looked specifically at fine motor activities like writing and found that DTP had a positive effect on on-task behavior. It’s also been shown that children with autism specifically have better in-seat behavior when using DTP.”
Here’s wishing your child a wonderful school year! Let us know if we can help you to identify tools that will help your child find success and comfort in the coming months.