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Are You Ready to Relax?

Are You Ready to Relax?

     It's back to school time! Time for new supplies, new clothes, new teachers and classrooms, and high hopes for a positive new school year!  I remember always feeling a little "jittery" come back to school and a little nervous with all the unknowns that lay before me.  This is par for the course for many of our kiddos and usually these bouts of anxiety fade away within the first couple of weeks of the school year.  As a former elementary school teacher, I can attest that the teachers were just as nervous as the parents and children!

     But what about those students whose anxiety doesn't fade and who many struggle to regulate and calm themselves when they are over stimulated by their classroom environment?  As a special education teacher, I tried to have "sensory toolkits" set up in my classroom for my students to prepare for their sensory or anxiety needs.  But each child is different and they really benefit from personalized approaches.  Plus, my classroom was one environment.  What about those times when I did not see them, like the bus ride to and from school, or those tricky transitions to and from lunch and recess?  I talked to many parents who needed those same materials and tools at home and for their travels as well.  

     My students really needed a cool, hip, sensory travel pack that they could take with them, looked like a typical backpack, and still was functional for their needs.  I came across The Relax Pack when we were exhibiting at the AOTA conference in April this year, and I remember thinking, "Wow, if only I had this when I was teaching!"  The Relax Pack was created by pediactric occupational therapist, Aparna Guttery, who specializes in treating children with sensory processing differences and special needs. She designed this backpack to help support children with:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Sensory Processing Disorder
  • ADHD/ADD
  • Emotional Disturbance
  • Anxiety
  • And for ALL children in need of extra comfort

     Aparna knew the children she worked with and so many others deserved more effective and discreet tools to help support them being their best selves.  The easy accessibility of these tools are perfect for our kiddos to have on hand to help them overcome those challenging times with with success. Some of these unique patent pending features include a Hug Belt, which is a built-in neoprene compression belt for soothing deep pressure, Fidget Strips, which are interchangeable and removable sensory strips to fidget with, and D-rings to attach chewies to the RelaxPack so you will never lose them again! 

In addition, the backpack has:

  • A headphone port to play comforting music
  • A built-in protective tablet and phone sleeve
  • Mesh pockets for water bottles and to store Fidget Strips
  • Clip to hold keys
  • Built-in pouches and pockets to keep organized.

     I absolutely love this backpack and know it would have been so beneficial for my former students.  Our goal when serving students is to meet them where they are, understand their needs, and work to remove the barriers that are preventing them from succeeding.  Sensory regulation, attention, and anxiety are challenges that many students will face in one capacity or another at some point in their school experience.  RelaxPack is made to help students navigate and overcome these challenges with  "fun and function."  You can learn more about this produce and Aparna on her website, www.therelaxpack.com.  You can use code RELAX10 until October 1 for $10 off your purchase. 

Have you tried RelaxPack? Do you have other sensory tools that you love?  Comment and let us know about either below.

Till next time,

Nancy 

It's Coming!

It's Coming!

Hi Friend!

Back to school time is here!  If you are like me, you are dreading getting back to the grind again. Summer just went too fast!  I feel like Fourth of July was just yesterday and now I am thinking about my classes, students, and beginning to plan for that oh so important first week back.  Or, maybe you are excited about the idea of back to school and can't wait to see that yellow bus drive up to your house or get your hands on those new school supplies you ordered. 

Back to school sales are in full swing, and here at Effortless Art is no exception!  Our crayons and pen grips, in almost all our sizes and packaging are 30% off!  It's such a great deal and a perfect time for you to try out our products if you haven't already.  

If you have tried our crayons and love them, maybe you need a refresh on your sets?  Maybe you and another teacher want to go in on a class pack and share between you two?  

Still on the fence about Effortless Art Crayons?  Let me share with you some testimonials from a few well known OT's in the business who have tried our crayons. 

EFFORTLESS ART CRAYONS ARE PERFECT FOR:

  • early learners who are still developing fine motor and pre-writing skills
  • adults or children with disabilities
  • children with sensory processing or motor issues that cause them to press too hard, frequently breaking crayons
  • students  who hold the crayon too close to the tip, so they can’t see what they are doing
  • adults with disabilities, motor difficulties, or arthritis

Effortless Art Crayons are fully adapted crayons that need NO intervention to hold with a proper grasp. You can use them a few ways, which makes this product even more special! ~Miss Jaime OT

Cindy Chaun from Your Kids OT says, "I found that the young OT kids whom I see (who are yet to develop a tripod grasp), held these crayons comfortably.  I encouraged these children to "pinch" the crayon, although the triangular shape lends itself to be held with one finger on each surface (ie. a tripod grasp).

The crayons glide along the page easily, which explains the "effortless" in the name of this crayon.  Children do not need to exert much pressure onto the page which is really helpful if they have poor hand strength and poor control."

Our crayons are the perfect addition to any school supply toolkit.  Get your packs today for 30% retail price.  They are flying off the shelves!  

We hope your back to school shopping is stress free and fun! Add a little color to your world with our crayons and happy first day of school!

Till next time,

Nancy 

 

Find Your Tribe

Find Your Tribe

It's not easy to start a business.  Let's face it.  It sounds great - make your own hours, gain independence, you are beholden to no one, be your own boss.  It looks so exciting on social media.  

What you don't see is the work, the grind, the hours put in, the sheer grit that it takes to start a business, run it day to day, and grow it.  Most people, like my husband and I, work full time jobs during the day and run our company Two Sparrows, in the evenings, weekends, in spare moments in between our other day to day responsibilities.  Let me tell you it is tough.  But we wouldn't trade the feeling of knowing that we are making products ourselves that are helping people and we have the opportunity to grow an idea into something bigger than ourselves.  We had to just jump in and do it! 

Now in addition to the Effortless Art Crayons we have our product design and development company and we love helping people realize their ideas and bring them to life.  What started with an idea for a crayon has grown into a dream for our future and our son's future. 


Again, it hasn't been easy and my husband and I have been blessed to have people in our lives that have supported us along the way and new ones we have met that have inspired us and helped us gain traction and speed in this journey.

 I mentioned we both have full time jobs.  Well, I am lucky enough to teach future teachers at a university in NW Pennsylvania.  Working in a School of Education is one of the best jobs in the world and it doesn't hurt that I have the best coworkers on the planet!  We all know that life is messy and when things come up and schedules can't change, you have to punt. 

In my case I am lucky enough that I have coworkers that will step up and help out whenever needed.  Our son, Crayon Kid, has been coming to work with me since he has been born.  My work is a second home, and my coworkers treat him like family.  Take the video below. I had to go in for a meeting a few weeks back and instead of finding a sitter, our school's secretary watched him for about an hour, playing BINGO, reading books, coloring, and keeping him very entertained.  I couldn't ask for more supportive friends and colleagues. 

Along the way we have met amazing people who have helped us grow in our skills and helped our business to thrive.  We have met many other therapists and entrepreneurs doing the exact same thing we are.  We are lucky enough that they remember what it was like starting out and they try to support young businesses through promotion and collaboration.  

That's really what it is about in the helping field and helping markets - collaboration and partnership.  We appreciate and value what each other brings to the table with their expertise and talents and work together to add value for the other person - when we lift each other up we end up rising with them.  

I had an incredible call this morning with a company and am so excited to share some big news soon with you all.  We have some exciting collaborations coming down the pike and I can't wait to tell you about them.  

The most important thing I've learned through starting a business is that collaboration is key and it's all about the connections you make with others.  We could not do this alone.  We are only two years in but have made amazing gains and know that we will continue to meet incredible people and together do incredible things.  

Find your tribe. Find your supporters.  Find the people who share your passions and values.  There are more of them than you know.  Just go out and do it.  

Till next time,

Nancy 

 

"I always wondered why somebody didn't do something about that; Then I realized I am somebody. I just needed to spread my wings and fly."