Huge “thanks” to bumpidoodle for their generous donation of 11 of their floor cushions to the Jd McCarty Center for Children With Developmental Disabilities! They sent two of each of the following: Dillon Dog, Ellie Elephant, Leonard Lion, Mason Monkey & Parker Pig plus one Olive Owl. The JD McCarty Center, where I work full time as a SLP, is a non-profit pediatric rehab hospital for kids ages 0-21 years with developmental disabilities. Budgets are usually tight so we really appreciate donations of items that can help our kids!
We look forward to using these in our adapted Storytime Group, OMazing Kids yoga, OT/PT/SLP therapy sessions, as a special “thinking” spot for kids to take a break, etc…. I will be adding more pics to this album on Facebook:
Here’s how I have used my Bumpidoodle cushion along with an “I am feeling…. I will…..” visual support to assist kids in telling how they are feeling and to help them learn self-calming strategies:
Many of the kids I work with have severe behavioral and self-regulation issues and having a Bumpidoodle cushion recently worked wonders with one of my 6 year old inpatients who has a TBI as a result of severe physical abuse. He learned how to take a break & choose a self-calming activity (his faves are deep breaths/blow away the “grumpies”, squeezing a sensory ball & hugging a pillow). A huge breakthrough was when he was able to also show me where he was on a behavior thermometer & let me know when he was ready continue working. The smile on his face was priceless & it made my heart smile to see him experience the power of self-regulation. ♥
- A large Bumpidoodle Olive Owl floor cushion (Owl’s Thinking Spot) was placed in the corner of the room along with the “I am feeling…. I will…..” visual support, squeeze balls & a pillow. The feeling cards and self-calming choices were customized to fit this child’s interests, developmental level & needs.
I love the Olive Owl Bumpidoodle for the following reasons:
- calming blue color
- soft cozy texture
- the tie-in with the concept of owls thinking and making wise choices
- Since it is unlike any cushion or beanbag chair a child has seen before, it is novel and doesn’t come with any previous feelings or experiences attached to it.
- It also has a removeable cover that is machine-washable and is easier to get in/out of than a beanbag chair.
- Since the cover is removeable, you could also add extra “fluff” or even beanbag filling if you wanted to change how much support it gives as a seating option.
I got a great deal on mine in the clearance section at Target (only $14.98) but have also seen them on Amazon.com.
- I introduce the visual support & the Owl’s Thinking Spot during sessions where they are exhibiting a good mood & positive behavior. This “pre-teaching is critical”. None of us learn something new very well in the middle of stress or a behavior meltdown.
- During the “pre-teaching” sessions, this child verbalized interest in these items (“cool”, “I like that”).
- During subsequent sessions, the child said “I need a break”, sat down on “Owl’s Thinking Spot” and looked through the emotion pictures. He usually chose “mad” or “frustrated” and then on his own chose what he wanted to do about it (usually chose “squeeze a ball”, “hug a pillow” and/or “take deep breaths”). After a brief break he usually said “I’m ready” or “I’m ok now” and returned to the therapy table to continue working.
- This special “thinking spot” should be talked about in a positive manner and never used as a punishment or as “time out”. The child should be praised for successfully taking a break & using self-calming strategies. Refrain from asking the child “why” they are feeling a particular emotion (“why” questions are really difficult & during a meltdown is not the time to ask this). Instead, allow them time to express how they are feeling and to pick what they would like to “do” as a self-calming activity.
Have Boardmaker? Get a copy of the visual support on my page on Boardmaker Share: http://www.boardmakershare.com/Activity/1817562/Behavior-Thermometer-I-am-feeling-I-will-with-f. Then you will be able to customize it to meet your kids individual needs. This is a visual support I made many years ago for a Social Skills summer camp we did at JDMC. Many of the kids at that camp had Asperger’s and liked very detailed & specific language. So that’s why there are so many feeling choices. But that many choices was too many for the 6 year old I described above. After a few sessions of getting to know him, we started with 10 feeling choices. Some kids may need to start with even less than that. You can always add more as you teach them.
Don’t have Boardmaker? Here is a PDF of the simplified version of this visual support: Behavior Thermometer, I am feeling…. I will…… with feelings and self-calming choices (with kids yoga & Bumpidoodle cushion)
Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, IAYT, RCYP-2
Speech-Language Pathologist at the JD McCarty Center for Children with Developmental Disabilities (http://www.jdmc.org/)
Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness activities for kids of all abilities
Radiant Child Yoga Certified – Levels 1 & 2
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