Archive for December, 2012

Apps We Love: Relax Melodies

App Name: Relax Melodies HD and Relax Melodies Oriental HD

relax melodiesWhy We Love It:

These apps are some of the best white noise apps we have found. While there are many white noise apps on the market, it is rare to find a free app that allows you to layer sounds together. These apps have relaxing melodies that can be paired with sounds from nature, such as ocean waves, birds chirping or underwater bubbles. Both apps are supported by ads, however premium versions, which feature ad-free screens, timers and additional sounds, are available. Many children who are easily distracted by auditory input may benefit from using a white noise app with a steady, constant level of auditory stimuli while completing work or while falling asleep. We also use these apps when creating a quiet, cozy place for a child who is dysregulated.relax melodies oriental

Why Kids Love It:

These are not apps that children at our clinics tend to specifically request, however we utilize these types of apps as tools in the child’s sensory diet. Just as vestibular and proprioceptive activities are often components of a sensory diet, the auditory system is a powerful tool to help a child become more regulated. Older children enjoy choosing sounds and music to layer and experiment with how some types of sound are calming and other sounds are alerting.

Available: iTunes: FREE; Premium Edition $0.99
Android Market: FREE; Premium Edition $2.99

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Holiday Help: Winter Holidays

This is the third post in our series “Holiday Help”. Here are some ideas to consider as you get ready for the holiday season.

happy holidays

  • If your child has a hard time with change, consider putting up holiday decorations slowly over a period of days or weeks. If needed, keep certain areas of the house “decoration free” – such as the homework area, or an area of the house your child goes to unwind.
  • Decide if a picture with Santa is a real necessity. Some children who are over responsive to sensory input have a very hard time waiting in line in close proximity to others in an area filled with decorations, then sitting with a stranger wearing a bright, textured costume. A nice picture in the living room might be a less stressful option for the whole family.
  • If you need to bring your child with you to the mall during the holiday season, the following suggestions may help:
    • Have a plan. Map out your visit to avoid retracing your steps.
    • If your child is sensitive to noise, he may benefit from listening to music on an mp3 player so the auditory input is controlled and constant.
    • Bring along Post-It notes to place over the automatic flush sensors in the bathroom so your child can leave the stall before the flush occurs.
    • Give your child a weighted (unbreakable) item to carry, or fill a backpack with weighted objects, not more than 5% of her total body weight.
    • Take the stairs instead of the escalator. This may be helpful to children who are sensitive to imposed movement as well as children who benefit from proprioceptive input.
  • Some children have trouble monitoring their body position in space and may benefit from a masking tape line on the floor around the tree or any other decoration you do not want him to touch.
  • Try to keep a regular routine as much as possible. The holiday season has many schedule disruptions at school and in the community. For children with an autism spectrum disorder or sensory processing disorder, often the more consistent the routine, the more consistent their behavior.
  • Most importantly, take a moment and enjoy your family’s favorite traditions. Happy Holidays!

Holiday Gift Ideas: Gifts for Sensory Seekers

If you have a sensory seeker in your home, you know it. They are the kids who seem to be on a never-ending quest for sensory input. Faster! Bigger! Higher! MORE! In their attempts to meet their sensory needs, seekers can unintentionally be rough with toys (or peers) or take excessive risks during play. Here are some toys and equipment chosen with our seekers in mind.

Although our first three lists of gift ideas included only toys and games easily found at  toy stores, due to the intense nature of the way sensory seekers interact with toys, many of the items on this list are found in therapy catalogs and websites. These products are designed with durability and safety in mind. If you have any questions about the products you are planning to order, such as the appropriate weight or size of the product for your child, or how to best use these items as part of a sensory diet, please contact your child’s clinician.

Holiday Gift Ideas – Later Elementary School

The holiday season is here! This post is the third and final in our series on holiday gift ideas. If you have a child in the later elementary school grades, this list is for you. As always, we limited our suggestions to games under $25 that are available from toy stores and department stores- not “therapy” toys – so they are easy to find and will blend in with other holiday presents.

Click on the name of the game for a link to the manufacturer’s website. We also listed the underlying skills that can be addressed during play. Have fun!

Holiday Gift Ideas – Early Elementary School

The holiday season is here! This post is the second in our series on holiday gift ideas. This list includes some of our favorite games and toys for our children in the early elementary school grades. Just like the preschool list, we limited our suggestions to games available from toy stores and department stores- not “therapy” toys – so they are easy to find and will blend in with other holiday presents. Plus, everything on this list is under $25!

Click on the name of the game for a link to the manufacturer’s website. We also listed the underlying skills that can be addressed during play. Have fun!