I thought this may be an interesting topic to share, as I am often asked what resources parents and/or teachers could use to support children`s development.
Given there is so much information out there it can also be overwhelming to see posts, comments and reviews that show some pieces of equipment or resources are not effective, when you thought that they were.
Here I will break down each developmental area I focus on in my practice and share some common resources I use or other professionals I work with use for certain ages that we as health professionals know are effective, good quality and support development.
Noise cancelling headphones
Does your child get overwhelmed in noisy environments? Group settings? Retail stores? Or … hide away under desks or tables at school?
These can be found in most retail stores or electronic stores, some can be quite costly, however this is to reduce auditory stimulation in the environment that be overwhelming for your child.
These are great for children who are oral sensory seekers, and you may see that they chew toys or clothing. This can be due to a number of reasons, such as anxiety, regulation and self-soothing. Here in New Zealand I get my chewy necklaces from Sensory Corner
There are so many sensory stores that sell weighted blankets, vests or modalities. It is really important to know the weight of your child and the weighted object should not be more than 10% of their body weight. It is important to use these safely and for the child to use this to regulate themselves.
Wedge cushion/ balance cushion
Kmart or local retail stores have some balance cushions that can be used to provide movement and support sitting at a desk. Be aware that when over inflated when weight is applied to it they can burst, so do not over inflate.
I typically order mine from Sensory corner or Fun and Function, which arrived very quickly to NZ.
I have also ordered these to provide movement for children while seated at their desk to improve concentration in work. These have worked great. It is also possible to use therabands which can commonly be found in retail or sports stores.
These can be found from most retail stores target, kmart, or the warehouse. Ensure to get a small size for children and large size for adults. These are great for sensory processing, awareness of body in space, core strengthening, vestibular movement and more.
Theraputty is a great fine motor strengthening tool, used a lot in OT sessions. It supports hand strengthening and pincer grip development. It is also a great tactile sensory resource.
Theraputty is available on amazon
Theraputty is available in many stores and is sold similarly in many stores, just ensure to keep your child safe and to observe while they engage in the activity.
Pencil grips are available at many retail stores, check your local Target, Big W or warehouse (depending on where you live in the world). There are a range of pencil grips, and which one works best is depending on the child, and their fine motor skills. I really enjoy the crossover grip for writing tolls and in large sizes it works so well to support pencil grasp.
Grip o balls are also so good, and can be used for pens, writing tools, knives, forks and spoons.
There is a range of adapted utensils, such as thicker knives, forks and spoons to improve grasp. Some include weights to support awareness of where it is in space, and some that are bendable. It depends on where you live in the world as to what is available and the quality, amazon sells some.
Here is an example from Sensory corner again
For toileting, showering and dressing it is really client specific as to what is needed, and this can depend in diagnosis also. You may have a public health service with community Occupational Therapist that can assess and provide the equipment that is needed to support your child’s daily functioning.
That about covers the main developmental resources I use and recommend for supporting your child.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me or your local Occupational therapist.