Tag Archives: Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy Students from Derby University

derby-uni-1As part of the ‘play’ module which we studied at university, we were generously invited along to Rompa to meet the people who were designing and developing sensory equipment and toys for a wide range of clients. The day began with an introduction with Tania, an Occupational Therapist who works in the role of a Product Assistant. Tania firstly spoke about her journey into this role and about how her experiences on practice placements as an OT helped her to identify barriers and enablers to the development of sensory products. We then heard some history about the company and discussed the need for sensory based equipment and toys for use within therapy. Following our discussion and a browse through the Rompa catalogue, we were guided through the set-up sensory room which incorporated products designed and built by the staff at Rompa. The products were demonstrated and explained to us and we had time to think about how each product could be utilised by an OT and graded for our clients. We initially focussed on children and how these products could be used within a paediatric setting (as this was relevant to our ‘play’ module) however soon discovered uses for these products for a wider range of clients such as stroke patients, dementia patients and those with mental health conditions.

derby-uni-2After a tour around the sensory room and introductions to the toys and equipment, we were given the opportunity to explore the equipment for ourselves and to apply the ‘sensory magic’ technology to a given case study. Our case study involved preparing a sensory room for a group of children with ASD whom had been for a day trip to the fair. This was a very fun and educational task which really got us thinking and working collaboratively to utilise the equipment we were given. This involved bubble lamps, various lights presented in creative ways around the room and ‘sensory magic’ which allowed us to select music as well as a video or still image on the interactive screen for added sensory input.

derby-uni-4We really liked that these toys and gadgets are not just for kids. They are used for adults with dementia too as well as well as clients with different abilities and needs which makes them much more widely used and applicable to areas of practice! However there may be a lack of availability of the equipment to play with from the wide catalogue range and this equipment is sadly not always affordable for all clients despite the value for money which Rompa offer.

From our experience of visiting Rompa, we learnt that the use of sensory equipment can promote wellbeing for individuals living with a multitude of conditions. These can range from individuals on the autistic spectrum to older adults living with dementia. It has been a crucial learning experience which has contributed to our development as up and coming Occupational Therapy graduates. It will be beneficial to be aware of the variety of sensory equipment that is available in our professional working with individuals with sensory difficulties. We also learnt that Occupational Therapists have unique skills that allow them to work in a variety of non – traditional positions.

derby-uni-89Overall, our visit to Rompa was extremely interesting and inspiring. It allowed us as therapists to visualise ways in which we can assist our clients with sensory impairments to become fully involved within their own environment. The demonstration of the ‘Sensory Magic’ programme allowed us to appreciate how much technology has advanced over recent years and enlightened us to the possibilities of incorporating the whole room with visual effects, sounds and smells, using one user friendly piece of equipment. As therapists, it is highly beneficial for us to be able to offer advice and educate our client groups on the available equipment for children and/or adults with Sensory Impairments, therefore this opportunity has been an invaluable step for us to gain first-hand knowledge and experience of the products and how they can be used to assist clients with sensory needs to live a more happy and fulfilled life.

We are now aware of the many types of sensory equipment available to us as OT’s and how these can be used in a variety of ways with different client groups within therapy. We would now consider using Rompa for advice and equipment in our future practice to enhance the lives of our clients with and without sensory conditions.

derby-uni-3

We would finally like to say a big thank you to Tania and the entire Rompa team for facilitating this valuable experience and would recommend this service and their products to Occupational Therapists and other allied health professionals working within any area of practice!

By Rosie Turner, Jodie Marx, Anna Marshall-Clarke, Andrea Erskine , Joanna Smith, Rosie Linder, Siobhan McPhillips and Laura Higgleton.

3rd Year OT Students, Derby University.

Caroline Molloy at the Deepti Centre

The Deepti Centre, Kerala, South India

By Occupational Therapist Caroline Molloy

Caroline Molloy at the Deepti Centre

Caroline at the Deepti Centre

Five years ago, I heard a mother speak about how hard it was to get services for her disabled child in her town in India and how she was determined to make a change by opening a special school herself. When I offered to help, it was in fact by means of a bit of fund raising or helps with accessing some resources. I never imagined that I would be taking an active role in the development of the service and that through it I would find that same light of commitment which is still burning strong after 5 years and 5 trips to India.



The Deepti Centre is situated in Kerala , South India. It is a rural, lush community popular with tourists as a holiday destination. The local language is Malayalam, although English is spoken by most people and taught at school. The word “Deepti” means light in Malayam, and from the very beginning it has been a shining example of love and care in action, that has family values at its core.

Deepti CentreDeepti was started as a centre for children with cerebral palsy, although it has broadened its remit to admit any child with special needs in the area. It was founded. By Dr Susan Mathew, who has is a mother of 4 sons whose youngest was born with cerebral palsy. Her son Jyothish is the inspiration behind Deepti, not even Susan would have imagined the growth of Deepti from 1 to 71 children in 5 years.

Our aim for our most recent trip was to set up a sensory room, in a small building next door to the physiotherapy room. We were very thankful for a significant number of items from Rompa which are now part of the sensory assessment crate, which we have left ready for use. It’s true to say that you don’t know what is missing until you realise it’s missing, but we hadn’t realised we had so few resources for our children who had visual problems. Once we had been to the shops to buy heavy suiting material for black out blinds, we were able to equip the new sensory room with battery operated lights, and soft lighting so that the Occupational Therapist could create a relaxed and calming atmosphere for our children with sensory needs. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when one of our boys was given a flashing light ball, he rolled it around the floor, held it up to his face, and we could see he could see it! He called to his mother “I can see the light, I can see the light” it was indeed a very moving experience.

Deepti CentreOur time at Deepti is always so short, and this year we stepped up and delivered our training program from the local hotel conference suite. This enabled us to professionally film all our training, so that this can be edited and translated into other languages, which will have a significant impact in rural communities across Asia. As an accidental consequence, our training was also filmed by 2 Keralan TV stations and was on air for 8 mins on national TV. I can’t tell you what impact that had on our mothers and families, to receive that kind of media attention, and acknowledgement that both they and their children had significance and value.

If you would like more information about the Deepti Centre please visit www.carolineinkerala.wordpress.com

Isn’t That Pinteresting?

We’ve been busy, very busy playing with our new favourite website… Pinterest. If you don’t know what Pinterest is yet then climb out from under that rock and let me share with you the wonderful world of pins and boards that is Pinterest.

Pinterest is all about collecting images (pins) of things that interest or inspire you and displaying them in categories (boards). You can then share your boards with others on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and any other social network you are part of. Those of you who regularly use social media will know that the best way to get people to engage with any post is to attach something visual to it, this is what Pinterest plays on.

Pinterest is different to other social networks because the image comes first and this inspires the written content. This approach means that even if you don’t have much to say you can very quickly make your Pinterest account a visually appealing and “pinteresting” place to visit. We always find ourselves clicking on an interesting pin and disappearing down a virtual rabbit hole that leads to a board, that leads to a user profile, that leads to more pins and boards and more users… such is the pull of Pintrest.

Pinterest is a great way of sharing ideas and Rompa product assistant Tania has been creating boards around her passions and interests as an Occupational Therapist, so without further ado, lets dive in.

Tactile Sensory Input

Super Sensations! Here you will find loads of different tactile fun items! We select carefully considering different surface textures, shape, temperature, materials as well as items to use with other textures such as soil, sand, water, dough or clay.

Follow Rompa’s board Tactile sensory input on Pinterest.

Oral Motor & Chewing

Many different products that can be used to give more oral input such as texture, vibration, temperature or exercise muscles by blowing or sucking.

Follow Rompa’s board Oral Motor & Chewing on Pinterest.

Sensory Lighting

A wonderful range of different types of light. Glowing, Ultra Violet, Flashing, Soothing, Interactive, Sound Responsive… use them to alert or calm, for fun or therapy, for assessment or intervention.

Follow Rompa’s board Sensory Lighting on Pinterest.

Sensory Corner

A few simple components can create a real impact. Bubble tubes, fibre optics, padded bases and laser sky project combine to produce an interactive and immersive experience.

Follow Rompa’s board Sensory Corner on Pinterest.

Sound Sensations

All of these items have a wonderful sound reward.

Follow Rompa’s board Sound Sensations on Pinterest.

Rehabilitation Products

Useful for recovery and rehab.

Follow Rompa’s board Rehabilitation Products on Pinterest.

Guest Blog – Jigsaw OT Events

Jigsaw Occupational Therapy is a specialist provider for children and young people living in the South East of England. Our dedicated assessment and sensory integration therapy centre is the first and only one of it’s kind in Sussex.

Jigsaw OT was founded in order to offer effective and personalised assessment and therapy specifically designed around each individual child and young person’s needs. However, for a parent or a professional, upon establishing that a child may have some difficulties or challenges, trying to understand these difficulties can often generate more questions than answers. More and more information is available now on conditions such as, Sensory Processing Disorders, however, the sheer volume of documentation can become overwhelming and confusing. 

Here at Jigsaw OT we decided it would be great if we could bring together parents, teachers, SENCo’s, Teaching Assistants, INA’s, health care professionals and carers by providing the opportunity to not only learn more about their respective child’s challenges but also have the chance to meet and talk with others who may be dealing with similar circumstances.


And so it was, that last week we were able to arrange a ‘drop-in morning’ and a training day, on consecutive days! We opened our doors for all to come and visit and to learn about what our sensory integration therapy can do. All of our OT’s were on hand to talk to and lend advice, we urged our visitors to step into our sensory integration therapy room and explore the array of specialist equipment provided by Rompa. Just a few of the items on display included the Bolster Swing, the Flexion Disc Swing, the Scooter Board, Weighted Vests, Spinning Cones, Knobbly Rolls and much, much more! For many of our visitors it was the first time they had been introduced to such apparatus and provided a much clearer indication of how the equipment works in relation to a child’s needs. Invaluable information for both parents and professionals.

Our training event focused ‘supporting children with Sensory Processing Difficulties’. Some children have difficulty “behaving appropriately” as their brain does not send their senses the correct messages. These children may have Autistic Spectrum Disorder, ADHD or other learning difficulties. Those attending the event gained a better understanding of sensory processing, how to recognise children with sensory processing difficulties and how to support them in the classroom and at home.

An array of sensory toys were handed out to each of the attendees, items such as Massage Tubes, Vibration Pillows, Knot Balls, Spiky Balls, Squeezies etc. all of which were evaluated to understand how to use them as a strategy to support a child. Examples of sensory strategies were provided, involving movement, touch and deep pressure and how different items of equipment could be used together. For example, placing a weighted blanket on top of a child lying on a Walrus mattress.

All in all, both days were a fantastic success and we were delighted that we were able to reach out to so many people, both from the home and school environment. The majority of our feedback commented on how fantastic it was to be able to meet and talk to others who are experiencing similar situations. This has convinced us that it is vital that we continue to provide this platform for people and we will be arranging similar events on a regular basis in the future. For more information about what Jigsaw OT can do for your child, please contact me at dominic@jigsawot.co.uk.

Thank You!
Dominic

Oral Motor – A Sensory Perspective

Sensory processing and integration provides body control,

Chew Pendants

Chew Pendants

underpins all normative functioning and enables decision-making. It impacts on how we move, plan and co-ordinate our motor functioning, communicate, behave, develop and participate occupationally. A lack of regulated sensory control means people cannot engage effectively in everyday life activities. Dysfunctions in sensory processing therefore significantly impact on life quality.

Oral motor difficulties are a key current issue and we are regularly asked for more resources to help support this need (a new Oral Motor Kit will be launched in 2015 – watch this space!). Inappropriate behaviours exhibited that people can find confusing/distressing are:

  • Mouthing non-food items (chewing, licking, eating, biting, self-harming, tugging and shredding clothes/soft furnishings etc. with teeth. Rolling/spitting bits of chewed items)
  • Not being able or refusing to feed independently
  • Spitting out food/gagging when eating
  • Experiencing a very restricted diet with avoidance of certain foods.
  • Poor oral hygiene (cleaning teeth intolerance)

So, why does this happen?

Circular Chew Pendant

Circular Chew Pendant

Taking a sensory perspective, imagine you cannot understand or put into context the feelings and sensations that your body is experiencing or feeling (light/texture/smell/taste/sound). Maybe these are experienced as so overwhelmingly intense that you want to withdraw because the input is unpleasant. Sensory input may be so minimal/distant that you can’t hardly register it so you may seek greater/more extreme input to enable you to experience this. Sensory input can be experienced as painful or irritating. You may not understand what this input is, know what to do or be able to co-ordinate an appropriate response. Self-stimulatory behaviour such as chewing/biting can be a way of comforting, relieve anxiety, reduce fear and initiated to prevent sensory overload.

There may be other reasons why these behaviours occur and clinical assessments, profiling and observation will identify causal issue/s and establish clinical reasoning.

Taking the oral motor example, perhaps the individual;

  • doesn’t like the texture of what they are eating.
  • doesn’t like food going where they can’t see it.
  • has a poor chewing pattern.
  • can’t feel the food, perhaps there isn’t enough sensation to register the feelings of the food properly in the mouth and this feels unpleasant/painful or tickly.
  • has fine motor skill, visual or cognitive difficulties.

A sensory approach may include consideration of interventions such as:

  • Texture – Crunchy/harder textured food such as foods that you need to bite hard on such as apples. Food with inclusions (e.g. seeds/nuts etc)
  • Sucking & Licking – Thicker drinks though straws. Ice lolly.
  • Taste – sour, sweet, spicy
  • Vibration – electric toothbrush
  • Temperature – Experimentation with cold and hot. Using ice cubes, perhaps with just water, or perhaps a “taste” object inside or use flavoured water or juice. Try fizzy foods, popping candy.
  • Chewing – Offering safe chewing products. Chewing flavoured gum or chewy foods. We offer a variety here – http://www.rompa.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=chew
  • Blowing activities – blow feathers/paper around with straws? Blow through a straw in the bath to make bubbles. Blow raspberries. We sell blow lotto here – http://www.rompa.com/blow-lotto.html
  • Movement – Geurning – pulling silly faces, sticking tongue out. We have a therapy mirror here – http://www.winslowresources.com/therapy-mirror.html

 

COT Annual Conference in Brighton

Well, a couple of weeks have passed by but I thought I’d reflect on the Occupational Therapy Conference at Brighton. It was my first time there and I was really excited to meet other OT’s and ROMPA said I could attend some of the talks too.

Before the event, our Business Development Team kindly asked me what products I’d like to showcase. I had a good think and wanted OT’s to realise that ROMPA and Winslow compliment each other and that our resources are versatile. I picked a variety of items for rehab, older adults, sensory and mental health practice.

COT Annual Conference in Brighton

COT Annual Conference in Brighton

Sven, Mark and I soon had the stand set up. The guys left the layout of the products to me –I felt like a child in a chocolate shop. The event opened with free drinks and the stand was overwhelmed with Occupational Therapists from all walks of life. They shared their thoughts on the products showcased, ideas for new ones, some wanted advice on products, others picked up brochures and some lovely people just stopped by for a chat.

Days two and three were frankly a blur of activity. I manned the stand, found new potential products from other exhibitors, saw happy familiar faces from Coventry and Derby Universities and met new people from the COT.

COT Annual Conference in Brighton

Products for the COT Annual Conference

I attended the plenary by Candice (Kings Fund) which gave me food for thought about where our profession was going and contributed in a small way to the SI debate that ROMPA sponsored which was held with Lesley Collier (University of Southampton), Gemma Cartwright (Sensory Integration Network) & Dido Green (Oxford Brooks University), Sharon Tuppeny (Freelance OT). The posters served to showcase current occupational therapy needs, issues, ideas and studies from across the globe (sponsored by ROMPA) and I was surprised at the breadth of topics included – go OT’s go!

Hope I get picked to go next year…