There’s no need to brave the crowds at your local retailers this Black Friday weekend to find great deals. Instead, grab a second round of turkey and stuffing and then hop online to take advantage of the eSpecial Needs Black Friday holiday sale.
From Friday Nov. 29 to Sunday, Dec. 1, receive 15 percent off your entire order (some exclusions apply) when you enter the coupon code “blackfriday2013″ during check out. The three-day sale includes adaptive equipment, rehab equipment and therapy solutions from among our catalog of over 5,000 products, ranging from special needs car seats to autism toys, indoors swings to weighted vests and rehab supplies to adapted utensils.
Whether you are buying something special for someone in your life or a caregiver, therapist or teaching seeking professional-grade items, we can provide the products and expertise to fit your needs. For more information and assistance in making your purchase, check out our FAQ, contact us directly or get in touch with our customer service representatives.
The staff here at eSpecial Needs would also like to take this time to express our sincerest gratitude toward all of the parents, therapists, medical professionals, educators and caring individuals the world over who are our customers. Happy holidays!
(Black Friday Sale 15 percent discount does not apply to Special Tomato products and Projectors. Coupon code is only good once per customer. )Posted in Deals | Leave a Comment
What is it?
Most of us unconsciously learn to combine our senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste, balance, body in space) in order to make sense of our environment. Children with autism have trouble learning to do this. Sensory integration therapy is a type of occupational therapy (OT) that places a child in a room specifically designed to stimulate and challenge all of the senses. During the session, the therapist works closely with the child to encourage movement within the room. Sensory integration therapy is driven by four key principles:
- the child must be able to successfully meet the challenges that are presented through playful activities (Just Right Challenge)
- the child adapts her behavior with new and useful strategies in response to the challenges presented (Adaptive Response)
- the child will want to participate because the activities are fun (Active Engagement)
- the child’s preferences are used to initiate therapeutic experiences within the session (Child Directed)
Sensory integration therapy is based on the assumption that the child is either overstimulated or understimulated by the environment. Therefore, the aim of sensory integration therapy is to improve the ability of the brain to process sensory information so that the child will function better in his daily activities.
Recently another sensory-related therapy has been reported called Sensory Stories. Sensory Stories are similar to social stories (see Social Stories Therapy Fact Sheet ) in that they use individualized stories about sensory situations that an individual child may encounter, and then provides instructions on appropriate behaviors for the child to use in response.
What’s it like?
A sensory integration room is designed to make the child want to run into it and play. During sensory integration therapy, the child interacts one-on-one with the occupational therapist and performs an activity that combines sensory input with motion. Examples of such activities include:
- swinging in a hammock (movement through space)
- dancing to music (sound)
- playing in boxes filled with beans (touch)
- crawling through tunnels (touch and movement through space)
- hitting swinging balls (eye-hand coordination)
- spinning on a chair (balance and vision)
- balancing on a beam (balance).
The child is guided through all of these activities in a way that is stimulating and challenging. The focus of sensory integration therapy is helping children with autism combine appropriate movements with input they get from the different senses.
A parent can integrate sensory integration into the home by providing many different opportunities for a child to move in different ways and feel different things. For example, a swing set can be a form of sensory integration therapy, as can a ball pit or a lambskin rug.
What is the theory behind it?
On a daily basis, most people experience events that simultaneously stimulate more than one sense. We use our multiple senses to take in this varied information, and combine them to give us a clear understanding of the world around us. We learn during childhood how to do this. Thus, through childhood experiences we gain the ability to use all of our senses together to plan a response to anything we notice in our environment. Children with autism are less capable of this kind of synthesis and therefore they may have trouble responding appropriately to differently stimuli.
Children with autism may also have a difficult time listening when they are preoccupied with looking with at something. This is an example of their difficulty in receiving information via more than one sense simultaneously. Physicians who treat children with autism believe that these difficulties are the result of differences between the brains of children with autism and other children.
The underlying concepts of sensory integration therapy are based on research in the areas of neuroscience, developmental psychology, occupational therapy, and education. Research suggests that sensory information received from the environment is critical; interactions between the child and the environment shape the brain and influence learning. Furthermore, research suggests that the brain can change in response to environmental input, and rich sensory experiences can stimulate change in the brain.
Does it work?
The effectiveness of sensory integration therapy is controversial and there are very few well-designed studies upon which to base a clear assessment of whether or not it works. Approximately half of the reports in the scientific literature show some type of effectiveness with sensory integration therapy, and half show no benefits at all. Some researchers suggest that sensory integration therapy would be more useful for younger children than for older children. Some experts suggest that sensory integration therapy be discontinued if effects are not apparent during a specified time frame or if the child has a negative reaction.
Successful sensory integration therapy has been able to decrease sensitivities to touch and other stimuli. The result is that the children are better able to play, learn, and interact with people and surroundings.
Is it harmful?
While sensory integration therapy is not harmful, some forms of sensory therapy may be uncomfortable for the child. Children with autism can be especially sensitive to certain types of sensory stimulation; the therapist should respond appropriately to each child. Children should be closely monitored for any negative reactions or self-soothing behavior which might indicate the child is feeling uncomfortable.
True sensory integration therapy, however, should be child-directed, playful, and pleasant for the child.
Sensory integration therapy is frequently included as a component of occupational therapy. The cost of occupational therapy may be covered by the government through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Private occupational therapy can be expensive (approximately $100/hour or more).
Sensory integration equipment is relatively low-tech, but can be moderately expensive. These include anything from large bins of rice that a child can climb into, to an indoor swing set.
Autism is a condition covered under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Services covered by IDEA include early identification and assessment by an occupational therapist. This law protects the rights of patients with autism and provides guidelines to assist in their education. It covers children from birth to age 21. Pediatricians can provide contact information for your state’s early intervention program (for children 0 to 3 years old). School districts will coordinate special services for children 3-21 years old.
To a lot people, aromatherapy is just about enjoying a pleasant smell. Scents actually surround us daily and can impact a child’s comfort level. These scents can vary dramatically including air fresheners, cleansers, cologne, cooking, candles, plants, and flowers.
For a child with autism, aromatherapy is much more than smell. Sensory enrichment can be an effective therapy for the treatment of autism, particularly among children past the toddler stage.
True aromatherapy not only delivers the relaxing benefits of fragrance, it also provides many other health benefits that are unique to each essential oil. Aromatherapy is the practice of using aromatic and volatile liquids that are extracted from plants, shrubs, flowers, trees, bushes and seeds as therapy to treat the sensory seeking in an individual who has a strong tendency to smell objects.
It is important to remember that all odors and smells tend to be alerting. Identify scents that are associated with positive activities or that child finds comforting. Vanilla, lavender, and rose are generally felt to be calming scents while citrus, cinnamon, and mint tend to be regarded as more invigorating scents.
Many children with autism seem to need to smell everything to feed their sensory input. This may be related to the need to gain more information through a sensory channel with which they are more comfortable. Providing pleasing smells may be helpful, but it is probably more helpful to improve the other sensory systems for gaining information.
In some cases, children may look for familiar smells to calm themselves. For example, a dryer sheet, towels washed with a fragrance detergent, or a perfume. Help your child find additional calming strategies as well.
Some children may seek out alerting scents to “wake up” their sensory system. Try to analyze the child’s olfactory preferences and how they impact their behavior.
Characteristics of different scents:
• Cinnamon, mint and citrus – Tend to be more invigorating or revitalizing (alerting)
• Vanilla, rose, lavender – More relaxing and calming
• Pine – mood elevator
You can develop a calming association to certain scents by coupling a specific scent with another soothing activity. For example, always use vanilla scent when you bathe your child (if bathing is a soothing event). This may help your child learn to feel relaxed when exposed to the particular scent. You can also provide scents that you know are already associated with the feeling you want to evoke.Posted in Autism | Leave a Comment
Heavy work activities are ideal for children with sensory processing disorders. Why? Because the activities required during the movements can help with improving attention, proprioceptive input to the muscles and joints, body awareness, and calming to help minimize aggression, plus it’s fun and just tires them out. Children with autism who are aggressive, overly stimulated or hyper active can all benefit.
Crash pads are one of the tools you will see if you visit a therapist’s office. While there are all sorts of resistance and deep pressure items available, the crash pad can offer many therapeutic benefits. Children who actively seek out excessive sensory input are usually looking for a way to calm themselves and organize. Some children will start “crashing” into objects or other people, possibly injuring themselves or others.
The crash pad provides a designated zone for crashing or jumping to satisfy any sensory seekers. Make sure to put some pillows, bean bags or cushions around the crash pad to create a safety zone. Therapists will place the crash pads inside of a ball pit (without the balls) to provide a safe padded border. Now let the children jump and crash to their content. It is also important to remember that what works well for one child may not benefit another. Always supervise and monitor their behavior and determine which activities calm them, arouse them, or over-stimulate them.
Primarily a dense crash pad offers a safe place for the child to jump and crash to satiate sensory seeking behaviors. Huge benefits of crash clouds are that they are HEAVY! Hide toys under the cushions so your child has to lift in and crawl under or have your child pull it over to the other side of the room. Heavy work, which is pushing or pulling heavy loads, is essential for children that have difficulty regulating their arousal states. These are the kiddos that are crashers and jumpers and have an extremely hard time sitting still. Heavy work, a form of proprioceptive input, is a sure shot to help calm their neurological systems down. An additional benefit is that all of this heavy work is it is a fantastic way to strengthen muscles.
Crash Pad Activities:
- Clear a space and always provide adult supervision.
- Push or pull the pad across the room (some of them are heavy)
- Hide toys or objects under it so the child has to lift the crash pad
- Try to crawl under it. Like a steam roller effect!
- Take turns jumping into the crash pad.
- Fall stiff like a cut tree falling… Timber!
- Lay into it and sink.
- Try rolling on it or sitting straight up.
- Catch a ball and fall into the crash pad!
- Watch a movie on it.
- Take a nap.
- Use it in a dark room for calming with a projector on the ceiling or walls.
Thank you everyone for all of your creative Halloween costume entries. The contest was a huge hit with over 300+ entries. The winner of the $50 eGift Card is … drum roll please….
Courtney as Oscar the Grouch
Courtney was Oscar the Grouch inside his garbage can. Even Slimy, Oscar’s pet worm was on the lid! Her family had a great time making the costume, which involved a lot of trying things on. They were hanging material on and off, over, under and around since they didn’t have a pattern. Courtney had a great time and was a big hit at her school costume party and when she went trick or treating. She attends the W. Ross MacDonald Deafblind School in Brantford, ON. A big thank you goes out to the staff at her school who helped get her into her costume that day! Her family is still finding green furry dust bunnies around the house from their creative adventure. Here are a few pictures, I hope you enjoy them.
Posted in Contests | Leave a Comment
We also chose a 2nd Place winner who will receive a $25 eGift Card, which is Brigid who went as a cowgirl with her covered wagon. Brigit has a spark that no one who meets her ever forgets. She has faced every challenge that life has thrown at her head on with a grim determination that her family can only aspire to. Congrats to both of the winners. Please check your emails later today for your eGift Card.
Later today we are re-launching an exciting new website. The site may be down for a few hours due to upgrading for a better shopping experience. The website will remain the same, but the look and feel will be brand new. If you go to our site and reach an Under Construction page you may still contact us through phone (877-664-4565), email and Live Chat. Please be patient with us through this transition. We hope that you will like the new site as much as we do.Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment
We are giving a Nimbo Posterior Walker. Nimbo Posterior Pediatric Walker features soft rubber wheels adhere to any surface and will not allow Nimbo to slide backwards. One-directional rear wheels with aluminum ratchet and pin mechanism. Pin mechanism can be disengaged to allow forward and reverse mobility. Front swivel wheels with locking mechanism easily switches front wheels from swivel to non-swivel. Each wheel is independently adjusted. Non-marring and easy rolling wheels are ideal for indoor and outdoor use. The Nimbo posterior safety rollers supports the user from behind requiring them to procure a more upright posture and it also promotes trunk extension. Optional pelvic stabilizer measures 10”W x 9”D x 6”H and is adjustable in width from 6” to 14” and features a support belt. Height adjustable; aluminum frame. Latex-free hand grips. Folds easily.
Many physical therapists prefer posterior (reverse) walkers for children with Cerebral Palsy and other neurological, orthopedic and developmental disorders.
Just fill out the entry form and good luck. At the end of the month one lucky fan will be notified by eSpecial Needs that you have won. No duplications will be counted. Rules: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Sweepstakes ends 7-31-13.Posted in Monthly Giveaway | Leave a Comment
Each side of this beautifully photographed solid wood cube puzzle is part of a different picture depicting common and familiar community helper jobs … so this is like getting 6 different puzzles for the price of one!
The Real Life Learning Community Helpers Cube Puzzle includes 6 full-color fun facts cards. One side of each card provides a solution guide for the completed puzzle, and the other side lists fun and educational facts related to the picture. The pictures on this cube puzzle, along with the included fun facts cards, offer a great avenue to discuss what kids want to be when they grow up, or the different people they may meet in their community!
Images: Dentist, Doctor, Firefighter, Mail Carrier, Police Officer, Soldier
Follow the link, http://www.especialneeds.com/weekly-giveaway.php fill out the entry form and good luck. The application tends to work better when the form is filled out on a computer. At the end of each week, one lucky fan will be notified by eSpecial Needs that you have won. No duplications will be counted. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Sweepstakes ends 7-7-13.Posted in Weekly Giveaway | Leave a Comment