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
- Emotional Disturbance
- 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,