174 episodes

Rachel Harrington and Jessica Hill, are two passionate Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants who answer your questions related to all things sensory, occupational therapy, parenting, self-care, nutrition, and health, from a therapist’s perspective. Providing raw, honest, fun ideas, and strategies, for parents and families to implement into daily life. Great for those who work with children with sensory processing disorder, special needs, autism, and ADHD. This podcast is brought to you by Harkla. At Harkla, our goal is to help those with special needs live happy and healthy lives.

All Things Sensory by Harkla Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC & Jessica Hill, COTA/L

    • Kids & Family

Rachel Harrington and Jessica Hill, are two passionate Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants who answer your questions related to all things sensory, occupational therapy, parenting, self-care, nutrition, and health, from a therapist’s perspective. Providing raw, honest, fun ideas, and strategies, for parents and families to implement into daily life. Great for those who work with children with sensory processing disorder, special needs, autism, and ADHD. This podcast is brought to you by Harkla. At Harkla, our goal is to help those with special needs live happy and healthy lives.

    #170 - A Conversation Around Parenting & Neurodiversity with Megan from On The Hard Days

    #170 - A Conversation Around Parenting & Neurodiversity with Megan from On The Hard Days

    Raise your hand if you’re raising a neurodiverse child. Now, raise your hand if this experience has ever made you question your abilities as a parent. 

    You are not alone! Even if it feels that way sometimes. When you finally talk to another parent who gets it, it can be a powerfully validating experience, which is why today’s guest has created a special resource for moms raising out-of-the-box kids, where they can find support and encouragement from others who are going through the same thing. 
    The On The Hard Days podcast and community was created by Megan Champion, a mother of three, educator of 14 years, and supporter of struggling moms everywhere. As an introvert and recovering perfectionist, she strives to unite mothers all over the world who share parenting challenges and many hard days. 
    In this episode, Megan opens up about her own parenting challenges and why she is doing what she does. We also talk about neurodiversity, the importance of finding positives on the hard days, and continuing to thrive, even when you don’t feel like you can. Tune in today to hear all this and so much more!
    Key Points From This Episode:
    Find out why Megan started a blog and then a podcast and how it has evolved over the years.She shares a bit more about her children and her journey of raising a neurodiverse child. Early signs of her son’s sensory processing challenges, ADHD, anxiety, and sensitivity.How Megan struggled with knowing what was “normal” and where and how to seek help.The mental health challenges of raising neurodiverse kids that isn’t often acknowledged.The importance of identifying and focusing on your child’s strengths.How connecting with your children on a personal level builds trust, makes your kids feel valued, and makes you feel capable.Megan shares why she uses the term ‘out-of-the-box’ for neurodiverse kids.Some strategies that have been successful for Megan’s son, including medication.Why neurodiverse children often struggle with making friends at school.Professionals are amazing, but nobody knows better than you; how to advocate for your child.Learn more about Megan’s podcast and her support group community, Mothers TogetherBe sure to check out the show notes on our blog at  Harkla.Co/Podcast.
    Brought To You By Harkla
    This podcast is brought to you by Harkla.  Our mission at Harkla is to help those with special needs live happy and healthy lives. We accomplish this through high-quality sensory products, child development courses, & The Harkla Sensory Club.
    Podcast listeners get 10% off their first order at Harkla with the discount code "sensory". Head to Harkla.co/sensory to start shopping now.
    Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
    Megan Champion on Instagram
    On the Hard Days
    On The Hard Days Facebook Community
    Mothers Together Support Group Community
    The Explosive Child
    Harkla
    All Things Sensory on Instagram
    All Things Sensory on Facebook

    • 58 min
    #169 - Sensory Strategies for Kids Who Struggle With Haircuts

    #169 - Sensory Strategies for Kids Who Struggle With Haircuts

    Haircuts can be challenging, even for those who don’t have sensory processing challenges! 
    From prepping kiddos for the overstimulating environment of the salon to taking along some preferred sensory activities to help them override the noxious stimuli of light touch or vibrating clippers, there are so many ways to make this process a bit easier, but one of the biggest takeaways from this episode is teaching parents, caregivers, and therapists how to communicate with and support the child through what can be a very scary experience. 
    While a lot of it has to do with these great sensory activities and strategies, a lot of it has to do with your emotions throughout this process too. 
    Tune in today to learn more about the Wilbarger Brushing Protocol, therapeutic listening programs, and the benefits of Harkla’s weighted products, plus a whole lot more!
    Key Points From This Episode:
    We start with why kids struggle with haircuts, starting with not knowing what to expect.Why salons can be overstimulating environments.Tactile processing challenges and the real fear and pain that can come with them.How tools like the clippers can be difficult for kiddos with auditory processing challenges.The importance of having empathy; put yourself in your child’s shoes.The chemical reaction that happens during a fight, flight, or freeze response.How you can prepare your kiddo for these challenging sensory experiences; tour the salon beforehand or practice at home.Learn how the Wilbarger Brushing Protocol can help with tactile processing challenges.The benefits of noise cancelling headphones, therapeutic listening programs, and metronome activities for auditory processing.Some strategies that can form part of a ‘haircut sensory diet’, like a vibrating hairbrush.Some preferred sensory activities that help override the noxious stimuli of the haircut.Think about creating a special hair-cutting sensory box that your kiddo can pick from.Remember, it’s always an option to do haircuts at home!The importance of staying positive and being a calm source of energy for your child.Be sure to check out the show notes on our blog at  Harkla.Co/Podcast.
    Brought To You By Harkla
    This podcast is brought to you by Harkla.  Our mission at Harkla is to help those with special needs live happy and healthy lives. We accomplish this through high-quality sensory products, child development courses, & The Harkla Sensory Club.
    Podcast listeners get 10% off their first order at Harkla with the discount code "sensory". Head to Harkla.co/sensory to start shopping now.
    Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
    Harkla Freebies - Scroll to the bottom to find a Sensory Diet for Haircuts
    The Listening Program
    Auditory Processing Episode
    Harkla Weighted Products
    Harkla
    All Things Sensory on Instagram
    All Things Sensory on Facebook

    • 22 min
    #168 - Virtual Happy Hour with OT Entrepreneurs Alexi and Marlee from SENSE-ational Spaces

    #168 - Virtual Happy Hour with OT Entrepreneurs Alexi and Marlee from SENSE-ational Spaces

    We are excited to offer 10% off of the base package fees for the first 10 people to book by September 30, 2021 using our special promotional code: ALLTHINGS10 - just got to the SENSE-ational Spaces website, linked below! 
    Imagine your home, or the school you work in, has a dedicated space for children with sensory needs or a purposeful space for children without special needs. SENSE-ational Spaces is the company looking to meet this increasingly pressing need. The company’s founders, Alexi Le Claire and Marlee O. are Pediatric Occupational Therapists with a passion for family-centered care, and have channeled this enthusiasm into their incredible business. 
    Alexi and Marlee shed light on the services they provide and the collaborative approach that underpins what they do. So often, parents or teachers have so much equipment but they don’t know how to use it, which is where Alexi and Marlee come in; they can do it all! 
    We hear about how to pay for these services, the fulfillment Alexi and Marlee feel from this passion project, and the encouraging growth of OT entrepreneurs. We are so immensely excited about what SENSE-ational Spaces has to offer, and we have no doubt they will go from strength to strength as they head into the future. Tune in to hear it all!
    Key Points From This Episode:
    Where Alexi and Marlee are from, their occupations, and how they came to start SENSE-ational Spaces. A look at the services SENSE-ational Spaces offers. How long Alexi and Marlee typically spend on a project. The satisfaction Alexi and Marlee feel when they see the reactions of the children. Covering the costs of SENSE-ational's services. The encouraging developments in the OT-entrepreneurial space. Places, aside from homes, where Alexi and Marlee create sensory-friendly spaces. How Alexi and Marlee adapt their offerings for schools. The biggest challenges Alexi and Marlee face in their business. Where Alexi and Marlee see themselves in a year. How to connect with Alexi and Marlee online. Final advice from Alexi and Marlee. Be sure to check out the show notes on our blog at  Harkla.Co/Podcast.
    Brought To You By Harkla
    This podcast is brought to you by Harkla.  Our mission at Harkla is to help those with special needs live happy and healthy lives. We accomplish this through high-quality sensory products, child development courses, & The Harkla Sensory Club.
    Podcast listeners get 10% off their first order at Harkla with the discount code "sensory". Head to Harkla.co/sensory to start shopping now.
    Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

    SENSE-ational Spaces
    SENSE-ational Spaces Email — sense-ationalspaces@gmail.com
    SENSE-ational Spaces on Instagram
    Minnesota School-Based OT / PT Institute 
    Alexi Le Claire
    Marlee O
    Harkla
    All Things Sensory on Instagram
    All Things Sensory on Facebook

    • 55 min
    #167 - Facilitating Free Play! Our Favorite Tips, Tricks and Strategies!

    #167 - Facilitating Free Play! Our Favorite Tips, Tricks and Strategies!

    In today we dive into the benefits and uses of free play! Discover what it means to engage in free play and how to facilitate it in easy, fun activities with your kids. Learn about the skills children can develop during free play, from an increased attention span to building the capacity to negotiate with other children. 
    We break down why a combination of structured play and free play is great for your child’s development as well as some tips on how to find a balance. 
    Later, we discuss why some children might struggle with free play and offer suggestions on how to slowly introduce helpful games and activities into their lives. We share some of our favorite tips, tricks, and activities for free play, like putting together a sensory bin or using a choice board for when children express boredom. 
    Join us today for plenty of insights into free play, like why boredom can be a good thing for your kids and how to incorporate clean-up into playtime!

    Key Points From This Episode:
    Why it’s valuable for children to experience boredom, free play, and structured activities.How babies and young children have a natural instinct to learn and grow.The tremendous amount of language and learning skills that babies develop within a short period of time.How having fewer toys can increase a child’s attention.Our hosts share some of the definitions of free play.Children’s capacity to learn negotiating skills when they engage in free play with one another.What children gain from engaging in free play that they can’t necessarily learn from other activities.The importance of having a combination of structured play and free play.The children who might struggle with free play.Our hosts share some of their favorite free play activities.Tips on how to construct and utilize a sensory bin.The value of toys that have a variety of uses.How cleaning up factors into free play activities.An outline of activities that will improve praxis, namely knowing what to do and how to do it.Tips, tricks, and activities to do when a child expresses boredom.Be sure to check out the show notes on our blog at  Harkla.Co/Podcast.
    Brought To You By Harkla
    This podcast is brought to you by Harkla.  Our mission at Harkla is to help those with special needs live happy and healthy lives. We accomplish this through high-quality sensory products, child development courses, & The Harkla Sensory Club.
    Podcast listeners get 10% off their first order at Harkla with the discount code "sensory". Head to Harkla.co/sensory to start shopping now.
    Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
    Free To Play
    Hunt, Gather, Parent
    Episode 157: What is Constructional Praxis and Why is it Such an Important Skill?
    Episode 37: Motor Planning & Praxis Abilities
    Harkla
    All Things Sensory on Instagram
    All Things Sensory on Facebook

    • 27 min
    #166 - Education + Sensory with Kirstie Wishart, Founder of Starfish in NSW, Australia

    #166 - Education + Sensory with Kirstie Wishart, Founder of Starfish in NSW, Australia

    We are joined by a very special guest from Australia! Kirstie Wishart is a teacher, sensory educator, educational consultant, and founder of the Starfish Store, an education sensory and specialized store based in NSW, Australia. Starfish offers one-on-one tutoring for people of all ages who struggle with learning disabilities. They also carry Harkla products! She talks about raising four sons, one of whom is dyslexic, while working in special education. You’ll hear Kirstie break down how she teaches functional maths to students as well as some of the products she sells at Starfish and how she uses them with her students. Kirstie describes how the Harkla Hug and Shmoosho products helped her tremendously with one of her students. We discuss the gap between sensory teaching and the undergraduate education that teachers receive and what Kirstie’s hopes are for the future of sensory learning. Kirstie shares her advice for other teachers and why she believes podcasts are a meaningful and effective way of spreading good information.
    Key Points From This Episode:
    Five secret questions with Kirstie: nosebleeds, desserts, books, tech-free activities, and more!Kirstie’s work as a teacher and how one of her children was diagnosed with dyslexia.The story of Starfish Store.How she provides people with learning disabilities with one-on-one tutoring.Oher initiatives she is involved with, like children in the foster care system.How Kirstie teaches functional maths.Products that she offers in the Starfish store.How Kirstie found Harkla’s products.How the Harkla Hug and Shmoosho products helped her in teaching one of her students.Harkla's plan to create a course for sensory strategies in the classroom.How to educate teachers on how to use sensory strategies in the classroom.The one-on-one shopping assistance Starfish adapted during COVID.Kirstie’s experience with scammers during COVID and how it affects shipping and payment.Her plans for producing more of their own resources!Kirstie shares her primary advice with listeners.Find out how our hosts keep themselves energized and what their plans are for the future. Be sure to check out the show notes on our blog at  Harkla.Co/Podcast.
    Brought To You By Harkla
    This podcast is brought to you by Harkla.  Our mission at Harkla is to help those with special needs live happy and healthy lives. We accomplish this through high-quality sensory products, child development courses, & The Harkla Sensory Club.
    Podcast listeners get 10% off their first order at Harkla with the discount code "sensory". Head to Harkla.co/sensory to start shopping now.
    Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
    Kirstie Wishart LinkedIn
    Starfish
    Starfish Facebook
    Starfish Instagram
    Harkla Hug
    Compression swing
    Smoosho
    Harkla
    All Things Sensory Instagram
    All Things Sensory Facebook

    • 46 min
    #165 - A Deeper Look at Sensory Milestones & Red Flags to Note

    #165 - A Deeper Look at Sensory Milestones & Red Flags to Note

    The developmental milestones in the first 12 months of life are widely spoken about, but there are equally important, yet often overlooked, sensory milestones to be aware of. 
    In today's episode, Rachel and Jessica explore the different sensory systems: auditory, visual, tactile, and more! 
    We hear about the key developmental markers of each of these systems, along with some red flags to look out for. 
    Rachel and Jessica also share some easy-to-implement activities for each of the sensory systems so that you can expose your baby to as much as possible early in life. It can seem like there is an overwhelming amount to do and look out for, but these are all simple things which you can incorporate into your daily routine. 
    Sensory processing and integration is such a critical part of daily functioning and overall well-being, which is why it is vital to ensure that you integrate a range of activities into your baby's life as early on as possible.  
    Key Points From This Episode:
    Developmental milestones are not the only important milestones.What a sensory system is and how it impacts all aspects of our lives.Why it is important to start sensory integration activities early on.What the auditory system is and a look at how it develops over the first year of a baby's life.Red flags when it comes to auditory system functioning.Some auditory sensory integration activities to do in the first 12 months of a baby's life.How the visual system develops over the first year and related red flags.Activities to stimulate your baby's visual system.The importance of exposing your baby to a variety of places.What the tactile system is and the different milestones over the first 12 months.Important tactile-related red flags to look out for.Key activities you can do with your baby to help their tactile sensory system.Insights into what the vestibular system is and the key milestones.Vestibular system development red flags.How to activate your baby's vestibular system.A look at the oral system and the crucial developmental milestones.Some activities you can incorporate into your baby's routine to help their oral system.Be sure to check out the show notes on our blog at  Harkla.Co/Podcast.
    Brought To You By Harkla
    This podcast is brought to you by Harkla.  Our mission at Harkla is to help those with special needs live happy and healthy lives. We accomplish this through high-quality sensory products, child development courses, & The Harkla Sensory Club.
    Podcast listeners get 10% off their first order at Harkla with the discount code "sensory". Head to Harkla.co/sensory to start shopping now.
    Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
    STAR Institute
    Advanced Brain Technologies
    Lovevery
    Harkla
    All Things Sensory on Instagram
    All Things Sensory on Facebook

    • 45 min

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