Jesse’s Story

Jesse is a fun Kindergarten student who attends elementary (primary) school in the public school setting.

Jesse had the chance to trial the Playpak in the school setting, including in his general education classroom and in the therapy areas. 

Jesse is working hard on improving his range of motion, strength, posture, balance, and coordination to assist him in successfully participating in school activities with peers and in accessing school curriculum to the best of his ability. 

Jesse is a great friend to all students at his school and has a consistent and contagious smile!   

Using the Playpak in the School Setting

Jesse’s goals in Occupational Therapy include working on his head/trunk control and strength and increasing his upper body coordination to increase his ability to safely access his school environment and participate in school tasks with his peers.

Jesse uses several different types of equipment at school including supportive seating, activity chairs, a gait trainer, and his new powered wheelchair! 

Jesse is very excited to use the Playpak, as it will provide him with a less restrictive supported seating system at floor level for carpet time (floor sitting) social learning activities!

As an Occupational Therapist in the school setting, I believe it is important to educate students on the reasoning for exercises and activities completed in therapy sessions. 

I explain how the tasks work on increasing skills that will carry over to other parts of the school day. 

Jesse enjoyed watching videos on fireflyfriends.com to learn about his new equipment and all the other children who are already benefiting from it! 

Platform Swing - Vestibular Input

The Platform Swing was used in Occupational Therapy sessions to provide Jesse with vestibular input and repetitive practice controlling core muscles. 

Vestibular input is important for appropriate development of coordinating and planning motor tasks (such as catching a ball with two hands, or reaching across the centre of his body and even coordinating movements of the mouth). 

The vestibular system has to do with balance and movement and is centered in the inner ear. 

When the head is moved, the fluid in these organs move and shift and provide us with information about the position of our heads and bodies in space (spatial awareness). 

This allows us to maintain our balance and to experience confidence that we can maintain a position without falling.  

The vestibular system also works alongside all of our other sensory systems, helping us use our eyes effectively and process sounds in our environment.

Jesse was positioned on the platform swing, with it on the ground first.  This was to ensure that he had the proper support without adding the challenge of an unstable base surface. 

Jesse was able to feel safe and supported on this swing before it was raised off the ground to decrease gravitation insecurity.  Jesse practiced holding on to the swing with both hands after passive range of motion exercises were performed. 

Jesse has most difficulty accessing items with his left hand, so this was a great bi-lateral coordination task!  

Once the platform swing was raised, Jesse was excited to get swinging, but first needed to get used to the feeling of an unstable surface without adult support. 

Jesse was given the soft Playpak pillow to hold on to and listened to his favorite song to get him ready to move!

After listening to the music, Jesse was assisted in returning to the position of holding onto the swing with two hands. 

Jesse smiled throughout the swinging activity. After a few minutes moving on the swing, Jesse was able to hold onto the swing with his non -preferred hand ONLY! 

By the end of the swinging session, Jesse was scanning the room and pointing at poster items, which I (OT) asked him to find.

Floor Sitting During Classroom Carpet Tim.

Jesse was excited to use the Playpak in both the therapy room and in his general classroom setting. 

When participating in carpet time (floor sitting), Jesse’s aide was able to sit in front of him while reading his a book rather than sitting behind him to physically support him with her own body. 

The Playpak allowed Jesse to be more independent when sitting at floor level in his general education classroom. 

His teacher said she felt like Jesse was more included in classroom carpet time activities by independently sitting at the same height as his peers rather than in his powered wheelchair.

The Playpak is produced in fun and inviting colors and other students wanted to sit next to Jesse and see his new gear. 

It made Jesse feel special!  Jesse demonstrated an increased tolerance of floor sitting and increased time working on his trunk and head control skills. 

Using the Playpak Jesse had increased access to items on the floor and items placed to the front and side of him, which was more difficult for him in his other supported seating options as they either raised his height from the floor or required physical support from an adult. 

 

Sarah Brulport (OTR/L), School Based Occupational Therapist

I want to thank Firefly for allowing me to trial the Playpak in the school setting with my student. 

The Playpak was very easy to pack and unpack.  As an Occupational Therapist who works in multiple school buildings and districts with a wide range of ages and abilities, the Playpak’s versatility was much appreciated.   

It was easy to adjust all the supports for the student’s different needs and positions. 

The Playpak was easy to take on the go, to the classrooms, therapy rooms, specials rooms, etc. 

I love that it is durable and machine washable!  The Playpak allowed me to try new therapeutic activities with students. 

It allowed them to be more independently supported and gave me free hand to present other tasks to the front or side of the student. The product was admired by teachers, therapists, and school staff in the building. 

It opened up our minds to new and creative positions and tasks for students to try. This product is a winner!  

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