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Baby Jack Giveaway is Back

Baby Jack BlanketsWe had such great feedback on our Baby Jack Giveaway that we decided to give it another shot. Baby Jack Blankets contain two sides of sensory input. One side is a silky satin and the other is a dimple dot texture minky fabric. There are many ribbons along the sides that are sewn shut to look like tags. The blankets are 14″ x 18″ and come in a variety of colors and patterns. These Baby Jack Blankets are machine washable.

The winner of the Baby Jack Blanket will be able to choose their fabric.

Click here to fill out the entry form and good luck. The application tends to work better when the form is filled out on a computer rather than a tablet or phone. 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 IS NECESSARY. Sweepstakes ends 8-31-2014.


MightyTykes Infant and Child Weights Giveaway

MightyTykes Infant and Child WeightsMightyTykes Infant and Child Weights were created by a special needs mother with the help of therapists to promote the user’s physical strength and stability for optimal development. MightyTykes Infant and Child Weights can help ones progress towards milestones and may help with challenges they may face. They’re also the featured product for our eSpecial Needs Weekly Giveaway!

Therapists have found that MightyTykes Infant and Child Weights can help with:

  • Overall Weakness
  • One-sided Weakness
  • Toe-walking
  • Sensory Issues
  • Low Muscle Tone (Hypotonia)
  • Tremors
  • Visual Field Cut

Ways to Use MightyTykes Infant and Child Weights:

  1. Dangle a toy in front of the user to encourage them to lift their arms to reach or turn.
  2. Play by tossing or rolling a ball to allow the user’s a wide range of arm movements.
  3. Place the weights on the user’s ankles while they are laying down to work on the lower body.
  4. Read a book and encourage the user to point to objects on the pages.
  5. Have the user walk or stand with the weights on their ankles to help keep their feet flat and discourage toe walking.

MightyTykes Infant and Child Weights are latex free and are made in the U.S.A. This week’s giveaway will be a set of 1/4 lb MightyTykes Infant and Child Weights. They are 9.25″ x 1.75″ and can fit a circumference of 5.75″ to 7.25″. Your MightyTykes Infant and Child Weights are waterproof and can be easily cleaned by wiping them with an antibacterial wipe or they can be washed with warm, soapy water and air-dry.

Click here to fill out the entry form and good luck. The application tends to work better when the form is filled out on a computer rather than a tablet or phone. 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 IS NECESSARY. Sweepstakes ends 8-17-2014.


Active Seating in the Special Needs Classroom

Keeping a child’s attention on their school work can be difficult for any parent or teacher. Doing so when that child has autism, ADHD or some other learning disability can be even more challenging. Many of these kids have decreased muscle tone or a constant need for movement-based sensory input that contributes to fidgeting, slouching or soreness, making it tough for them to engage in learning and fine motor activities.

classroom-hands

So how do you keep students with these learning or developmental issues engaged and attentive in the classroom? You just might be sitting on the answer.

What is Active Seating?

“Sit still!” Most of us can probably remember being scolded in the classroom like that a few times. More and more, however, teachers and therapists are finding that may not be the best instructions for their students.

Active sitting is based on the idea that it’s not healthy for the body to be seated for long periods of time. Too much sitting still has been shown to lead to back and hip soreness, fatigue, decreased muscle tone and a lack of focusing ability. Active seating corrects these problems by promoting slight movements and adjustments for the user while they sit. These movements keep the body more engaged, alleviating the negative effects of prolonged sitting.

Here are just a few of the benefits adding a little wiggle, bounce or wobble to everyday classroom seating can have:

Improved posture and muscle tone – At the same time the student’s frequent postural adjustments strengthen the core abdominal and trunk muscles. This is important because increasing strength and muscle tone will also promote motor control to use a pencil, scissors and other classroom tools.

Sensory input and energy burning – Some kids just gotta keep moving! Their muscles crave activity, making it difficult for them to sit still for long periods of time or focus on seated activities. Because active seating lets kids move and adjust themselves in a non-disruptive way, they burn off excess energy and get the stimulus their muscles are looking for, making them more attentive in class.

Increased blood flow – As a child moves during active sitting, the heart pumps a bit faster and blood vessels in the legs and hips open up which increases blood flow. Better blood flow means more oxygen gets to the brain. With more oxygen, brain function increases, allowing for improved focus and better knowledge retention.

So now that you know the benefits, let’s talk about how to bring those benefits into the classroom with some active seating options.

Therapy Ball Chairs and Wobble Chairs

Chances are you’ve probably seen a therapy ball chair before, probably in an office setting. Child-sized ball chairs, however, make great classroom seating for children with trouble sitting still. As a student seated on a ball chair gently bounces in place, they get the sensory input they need to focus on their lessons as well as muscle tone and posture improvement.

Wobble chairs are a fairly new idea in active seating. They might lack the bounce of a ball chair, but a wobble chair’s rounded bottom keeps the sitter’s trunk and legs active for muscle strengthening and improved blood flow.

Air Cushions, Pillows and Inflatable Wedges

Therapy ball and wobble chairs are great, but they can weigh heavily on a classroom budget. They also run the risk of calling unneeded attention to the student using the chair being “different” in some way. Unless you’re thinking of buying one for every student in the classroom, you might consider something with a lower profile.

Air cushions, vibrating pillows and inflatable wedges are more affordable active seating solutions with an added bonus: versatility. Most ball chairs and wobble stools are made to stay in one place, but cushions and wedges can be taken from their desk to the floor or another classroom with ease. These items also come in a wide variety of styles and textures, allowing you to match one with a child’s specific comfort and support needs.

Your Old Friend the Bean Bag Chair

Classroom reading and sensory areas hold special places in the hearts of former students everywhere. These areas are especially important for students with attention or sensory-related disorders who may need a place to get away from the rest of the class and calm themselves.

A bean bag chair or two in one of these spaces can be particularly beneficial. As a child sinks into the chair, it molds itself around their body, providing a great deal of calming proprioceptive sensory stimulation. Cradled in the bean bag chair, children may be able to focus better during quiet activities such as reading, listening to a story with headphones or playing with squeeze toys.

Stop Sitting Still!

Here’s one last benefit of active seating before we go: It’s not just for children with special needs. Anyone can benefit from this kind of seating as a way of staying healthier and more engaged in all kinds of seated activities, even teachers! Whether it’s the classroom, office or at home, eSpecial Needs carries a wide variety of active seating options for children and adults no matter where you’re sitting. Take a look at what we have to offer, and contact us with any questions you need answered.

Photo Credit: “Teacher In Classroom” by “www.audio-luci-store.it”, used under CC BY / Cropped from original