Winter 2016 Newsletter
Winter can be a difficult time for children with sensory processing issues. The usual structured schedule at school and home is disrupted with holiday parties, shortened days and many changes in routines. Many children need a regular diet of sensory input to help them adapt to these changes. With the winter weather fast approaching, a quick visit to the local park is not always an option to provide sensory input. Below are some suggestions for other ways to provide sensory input during the long winter months.
Build an obstacle course out of couch cushions, pillows and blankets. Encourage your child to climb over and under to reach a goal, complete a puzzle or find hidden objects. This encourages motor planning, postural stability and fine and gross motor skills.
A therapy or yoga ball is a great piece of equipment to have at home. Have your child lie on their stomach over the ball, bearing weight on their hands while completing a puzzle or playing a game. This promotes stability in the upper extremities, and improves fine motor control. Bouncing on the ball provides movement and activates core muscles. “Steamrolling” your child with the ball encourages body awareness and helps to lower an elevated arousal level.
A rocking chair or computer chair can be used to provide vestibular input. Use a rocking chair for calming, linear input and a computer chair for alerting rotary (spinning) input. When providing rotary input, be careful not to overdo it. Spin your child 10 times to the right, wait a minute and then spin 10 times to the left. If your child seems too dizzy (i.e. pale, nauseous) have them jump in place, blow a horn or eat something sour.
Maple Maze Maple Grove Community Center, Brown Family Adventure Park in Ham Lake, Eagles Nest in New Brighton, Lookout Ridge in Woodbury.
Pulling your child on a sled provides movement as well as works on core stability if the child is sitting. Have your child pull you on the sled as well. This is an excellent source of “heavy work”!
Build a snowman. This provides heavy work by rolling the large snow balls for the body. It also works on body awareness. Add as many body parts as possible, asking your child to identify where the eyes, ears, etc. should be placed.
Building up snow drifts and crashing into them are great sources of proprioceptive input.
Making snow angels works on both bilateral coordination and motor planning. When they are done, they can see the results of their hard work!
Snowball Target Practice
Making snowballs works on fine motor skills. Have your child toss the snowballs at a target such as a tree to work on some throwing and ball skills. These are a few examples of simple, fun ways to implement sensory input into your day. Try to do something every day if possible. Providing a daily diet of sensory input can help your child to maintain that “just right” state through the bustle of the holidays. It can also help to liven up the long, dreary, winter days. Use these strategies to have a fun and successful holiday season.
Sensory Friendly Outings in Twin Cities
Pump It Up
The Plymouth and Eden Prairie locations of this popular chain of indoor bouncy-house warehouses offer sensory-friendly open-jump sessions every month. During this time, lights are dimmed and the music is turned off.
When: 6–7:30 p.m. Feb. 8 in Plymouth. Call ahead or check location calendar for future dates.
Bell Museum of Natural History
Sensory-Friendly Saturdays at the Bell allow kids with sensory sensitivities to explore dioramas, a mini planetarium show and the Touch & See Discovery Room — all with lowered lighting, quieter sounds and fewer visitors. The museum also offers sensory items for check out anytime; including visual timers, fidget toys, weighted lap pads and noise-cancelling headphones, plus a quiet-space cube in the Touch & See Discovery Room.
When: Upcoming events will be 8–10 a.m. Feb. 20, March 5, April 16 and May 14. Advanced registration is required. Children should be accompanied by an adult. Siblings without sensory sensitivities are welcome as well.
Where: Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota
The Works Museum
This hands-on, interactive museum features large and open spaces with no loud noises or displays. Its mission is to inspire the next generation of innovators, engineers and creative problem solvers.
When: The Works is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the school year. During special events, the museum can get quite crowded, so it’s a good idea to check the calendar and avoid those times or dates, such as Tech Fest Feb. 27 and Robot Day April 9.
Where: The Works Museum, Bloomington
Minnesota History Center
This St. Paul destination offers a variety of displays that encourage touching. There’s a replica of a grain elevator to climb through and hop scotch to play, too. The tornado experience is loud and isn’t recommended for children who are sensitive to sound, but the rest of the museum tends to be quiet. There also are many out-of-the-way corners where children can take some time to regroup, if needed.
When: The museum is closed on Mondays, except for holidays.
Where: Minnesota History Center, St. Paul
Theatres at the Mall of America
The Mall of America movie theater, as part of their Free Family Flicks events, play a free movie at 10 a.m. every Saturday morning. Seating is limited and is given on a first come, first serve basis. One theater is set aside as a sensory-friendly venue with lower sound and moderate lighting. Extra staff at the concession stands help families avoid long wait times. When: 10 a.m. every Saturday. February shows (posted on the website at press time) included Fantastic Mr. Fox (Feb. 6) and Hop (Feb. 27). Where: Mall of America, Bloomington. Cost: Movie admission is free. Standard concessions prices apply Other AMC Theaters also offer
When: 10 a.m. every Saturday. February shows (posted on the website at press time) included Fantastic Mr. Fox (Feb. 6) and Hop (Feb. 27). Where: Mall of America, Bloomington. Cost: Movie admission is free. Standard concessions prices apply Other AMC Theaters also offer
Where: Mall of America, Bloomington. Cost: Movie admission is free. Standard concessions prices apply Other AMC Theaters also offer
Cost: Movie admission is free. Standard concessions prices apply Other AMC Theaters also offer
Other AMC Theaters also offer sensory friendly shows 4 times a month (the 2nd and 4th Tuesday and Saturday of each Month). The Minnesota theaters that are participating in this are AMC Eden Prairie Mall 18 and AMC Rosedale 14. https://www.amctheatres.com/programs/sensory-friendly-films Sensory friendly showing at Children Theater Company Cinderella: Friday, January 6 at 7PM Dr. Seuss’ The Sneetches: Friday, March 24 at 7PM A Year with Frog and Toad: Friday, June 16 at 7PM http://www.childrenstheatre.org/plan/sensory-friendly-programming
Sensory friendly showing at Children Theater Company
Cinderella: Friday, January 6 at 7PM
Dr. Seuss’ The Sneetches: Friday, March 24 at 7PM
A Year with Frog and Toad: Friday, June 16 at 7PM
Sensory friendly Santa events
Southdale Center Dec 4th. Sun, December 4, 2016 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM CST visit link to register for this event.
Northtown Mall Dec 4th 8 AM to 10 AM
Tips for Family Gatherings with Communication Disorders
Kids with speech, language, or social communication disorders may benefit from some extra support to get through big gatherings with family and friends during the holidays.
- Prepare ahead of time by talking about where the gathering will be, who will be there, and what activities to expect
- Practice social scripts ahead of time, for example greeting people or thanking someone for a gift
- Alert family members ahead of time that may be less familiar with your child’s needs about his or her current level of communication. For example, let people know if your child will be using a communication device, signing, uses mainly single words, is able to understand questions, etc.
- Watch for signs of your child becoming overwhelmed by communication demands and provide support as needed Miracle League of Blaine Metro Therapy is proud to announce that we have partnered with the
Miracle League of Blaine.
The Miracle League has been providing children with disabilities from the ages of 3-21 the opportunity to play baseball. Please check out the poster in our lobby for information on how to register for the winter or spring league!
A note from the office
Beginning Dec 15th, we will be updating and verifying current insurance coverage, contact information, release authorizations and other important information for each client. Please return these forms ASAP so we can continue your child’s care without interruption.
Metro Therapy will be closed Monday, December 26th in observance of Christmas and Monday, January 2nd for New Years. Please call our office to reschedule your sessions for those days, or to schedule any make up session for previously missed days.