Monday, 22 June 2015

Deep Pressure Resources and Weighted Vests

The concept of the weighted vest or deep pressure vest is based on the sensory integration (SI) therapy technique of deep pressure. Deep pressure is often used to assist the child to self-calm and relax so that sensory stimulus can be processed. The use of a weighted vest provides the child with unconscious information from the muscles and joints.

Children who are easily distracted, hyperactive and lacking in concentration respond positively to the additional weight or pressure a vest provides.
Although there is limited research in the area of weighted vest therapy, many therapists have found a weighted vest may also assist with reflex maturity, body position awareness and coordination, balance, eye/hand coordination, spatial perception and hearing and speaking skills. Because of these anecdotal outcomes, many therapists working with children are recommending the use of a weighted vest.

What is Sensory Integration (SI)?
Sensory Integration (SI) is a brain process that occurs in all of us. It allows us, often without conscious thought, to take information through our senses, organize it and make a plan to produce a meaningful response to interact with our environment with ease and comfort. Our senses can be those that we know and those that are hidden. The senses that are the most obvious are those of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. The hidden senses are those of movement (vestibular or inner ear) and of body position sense (proprioception). The hidden senses are regulators of our nervous system and help build the foundation for purposeful movement.
For most children, sensory integration develops through ordinary childhood activities. Children must be able to organize sensory information to function in daily activities, in the classroom, on the playground and in relationships.
What is Disfunction of Sensory Integration (DSI)?
Simply put, a Sensory Processing Disorder or Dysfunction of Sensory Integration is the inability to process information received through our senses. A child with a dysfunction of sensory integration cannot respond to sensory information and use it to behave in a meaningful way. Some children are hypersensitive or hyposensitive to sensory information. Either way impairs learning and creates a threatening situation for the child causing increased anxiety and a decreased ability to interpret and respond appropriately to stimuli.
If your child is diagnosed with autism, ADD, ADHD or is hyperactive, he/she may benefit from a referral to a qualified occupational therapist who specializes in SI, and a weighted vest may be an effective component of a comprehensive occupational therapy program.#

For more information on weighted vests, weighted blankets, and deep pressure clothing, go to:

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The Benefits of Musical Toys

Sing, listen, and create! Music can be a wonderful learning tool for children that helps develop mental processes and has great educational value. All parents should strive to find ways to integrate music into their child’s life. Sparking an early relationship with music encourages your child to maintain this mentally stimulating interest.

Listening to music helps develop and sharpen early listening skills, it develops certain neural pathways in the brain, it exposes children to the ideas of harmony and teamwork, and it gives your child an outlet for self expression.

Some Top Tips on how music can help your child develop from Ryan Judd of The Rhythm Tree:
  • Speech and communication – Singing custom written songs, i.e. Big Bear Takes a Bubble Bath, to isolate speech sounds and get lots of repetition without monotony.
  • Fine and gross motor – Using traditional and adaptive percussive instruments, like maracas, to address specific fine and gross motor skills.
  • Academic – Putting academic information into a song format so that recall is improved.
  • Social skill development – Music therapy groups where children practice greetings, turn taking, eye contact, requesting, etc., through musical activities.
  • Behavioral  – Creating songs and musical stories about appropriate behavior.
  • Social-Emotional – Singing songs that teach a child how to identify feelings and how to cope with “big” emotions.

At Adam & Friends we are passionate about encouraging your child's development and what better way than through music! Children's musical products feel and sound similar to a 'real' musical instrument and are a great stepping stone for your little mozart! Make sure to get more than one musical instrument so that you and your child can play side by side or practice turn taking. Enjoy hearing different sounds and making different beats while introducing your child to the joy of performing!

                                                                       Samba Set

You can’t beat the Samba beat! Traditional Latin percussion and a CD of play along music. Colourful, inviting and lots of fun! Great starter set to see what your little one enjoys. Great for group sessions too.

                                                                         Bendy Bells

For wrist and ankle wear. High quality bells for a clear, bright resonant tone. Adjustable fastenings. Great musical toy for children with limited motor movement or smaller children.

                                                                        Rhythm Pals

A unique set of six complementary instruments with specially moulded handles to encourage a strong, firm grip. Attractive colours, interesting shapes and textures to motivate exploration of touch and sound. Different techniques are required to play each instrument. Encouraging the development of audio, visual, tactile and motor skills. Suitable for individual use or group play. One of our most popular products.

                                                                Whirly Twirly Rainmaker

Beautiful rain sounds now with a twist – literally! As the colourful beads drop inside the tube they twist the vortex and flip the pinwheels. Great sounds with oodles of visual appeal too! Tube thins towards the centre for easier gripping. Such a fun product!

                                                                        Lollipop Drum

Fun design with quality sounds and integral handle. Includes soft-tipped beater. Great classroom product too.

                                                                       Shape Shakers

Easy to handle, colourful shape boxes that rattle when shaken. Can be used to gain attention and to encourage grip and finger dexterity. With rounded corners for safety. Colours/shapes may vary. Size: 5cm approx.


                                               Strike the Boomwhacker to strike a chord!
  • Tuned tubes that everyone can play.
  • Robust and colourful.
  • The instrument of the new century!


Music to your ears! Good quality, loud, clear, easily-produced sounds. Pre-tuned. Suitable for any age. With easy-grip, non-slip tops. No-fail – even crude movements can make beautiful sounds. Simple but extremely effective. Encourages interaction. One of our most popular products for children having difficulty with fine motor skills.

                                                                        Musical Mat

It may look like a piano, but this musical mat plays 7 other instruments including: trumpet, saxophone, violin, guitar, banjo, oboe and vibraphone. Record up to 38 notes using any combination of instruments and them play them back. Also includes 10 demo nursery rhymes. Amazing!!!


Tough bodied Maracas. A durable toy that comes in a pair.

                                                                      Musical CD's

One of the most interesting findings has been associated with studies done on classical music’s effect on the brain. Classical music for kids, such as Mozart, stimulates the spatial pathways in your brain and makes these pathways ready to operate. Playing this type of music for your babies and encouraging your older children to play musical instruments will help them develop these mental pathways.
Playing all types of music in addition to classical pieces is very important for your baby’s mental development. Songs teach your child how to pick up on patterns. Also, singing to your child is a great way to stimulate verbal skills. It is much easier to memorize song lyrics than to memorize a string of spoken words. Becoming familiar with lyrics helps improve early memory skills and brain functions associated with speech.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Creating a Sensory Space at Home

Creating A Sensory Space At Home

at home sensory room

A sensory space is a place where your child can explore, help calm themselves, and to practice important social skills. There are many types of sensory rooms. Some multi-sensory rooms have bright lights, loud sounds, popping colours and fragrances. These rooms are designed to encourage language skills and emotions. Other rooms offer a calming environment, using soothing sounds and soft lighting. Colours and activities in calming rooms are designed to lead to de-escalation of meltdowns. 

Creating a sensory room for your child can be quite simple! Although sensory rooms can cost alot of money, it is possible to create your own sensory room at home for a fraction of the cost!

Tips for starting your sensory area:
  • Choose the space that you will be using. i.e. spare room, corner of a room and if you have not got any extra space, don't worry you can always try a Dark Den!
  • Speak to your O.T. or child's teacher about your child's sensory profile. Some children are very tactile, others love lights and some simply love to lie in the bean bag and chill out. Ask your O.T's opinion on what your child likes at school and what they would recommend. It's good to hear other options that you might not have thought of.
  • Plan your room! Whether your have €30 or €3000 don't worry! Sensory Areas can be started with the smallest light up products to the biggest bubble tubes. As time goes on, add on! There will be plenty of birthdays to add more products to the room!
  • Make sure the area can be darkened i.e. with blackout blinds or a curtain. Dark Dens are already black out!
  • Consider putting in some floor or wall pads or seats and beanbags to make the area nice and comfortable. We also manufacture custom wall and floor padding with anti-bacterial vinyl for rooms that require fitting out!
  • Make sure the room is safe! Do not leave cables and wires or sharp corners exposed. It is always recommended to supervise a child while using a sensory area.
  • Let your child Relax and Enjoy the room. Discover what they like to use in the room. Some children love adult interaction in a sensory room while others prefer their own space and time, whatever they enjoy encourage them to use the sensory space for this reason!                                                                                              
And remember use the sensory room throughout the day to reinforce 'Good Behaviour'. This means let the child use the room throughout the day to prevent sensory overload not to use during aggressive or undesired behaviour. The sensory room is a place to be calm and it is important that to get the most out of the room the child does not see it as a reward for challenging behaviour but as a place to go to retreat to help prevent this from happening.    

Sensory Room Products

Bubble Tubes: Bubble Tubes are the main feature in most large Multi-Sensory Rooms. There is a range of tubes from ball bubbles tubes to a light diffraction totem if a water-free experience is preferred.  A bubble tube may be the most expensive item you can purchase. Our cheapest bubble tube starts at under €100 and that's our Economy Bubble Tube. This tube is a good starter tube for a child you will sit back and look at the colours changing. It can add some great effects to a sensory corner. This tube is not silent like our therapy level bubble tubes and is not made to be pulled at. It is simply for looking! If you are looking for a stronger tube, our Midi Bubble tube is a smaller tube with all the possibilities of a larger tube at a smaller cost! 

For bubble tubes over 1 metre you will need a support bracket to secure it and a plinth can be an added feature to secure the base and give a seating area for your child to sit up close to the tube. BCB additive is also required for water changes that should be done every 3-6 months depending on usage. This is not required for the economy tube as the top could be open, water changes must simply be done more often for this tube but as it is small it is easier. You may want to purchase a bubble tube emptying kit for the larger bubble tubes.

Fibre Optics: Fibre Optics are light that you can touch, capture and feel. There is not cheaper option for fibre optics. Fibre Optics are ideal for people who have difficulty enjoying the normal range of lighting effects and would enjoy some tactile input also.  Partially sighted people may have a different range of abilities and fibre optics can often be more suitable than some other sensory products.  Fibre optics stimulate and hold attention. They are safe to touch and latex free. 

Mirrorballs are a great product to start a sensory room with. They are not too pricey and give some great ceiling effects. For small rooms and corners a small mirror ball bundle will suffice such as a 10-20cm mirror ball and for bigger rooms we recommend a 30cm mirrorball. Mirror balls come with a motor that rotates the ball. We always provide a slower rotator suitable for sensory rooms. There are 2 different coloured pinspots that you can choose for your mirror ball, one with a coloured spotlight that projects only 1 colour at a time and the other with a coloured wheel that rotates through different colours. Some children love watching the colours change whereas others are calmer when only 1 colour is projected. 

If you are on a smaller budget our Mega Disco Bath doubles as a fantastic sensory lightshow and there are alot of visual light up products available online for under €5 online. You can put together a sensory light up box that your child can play with in a dark den.

Projectors: Most Multi-Sensory Rooms in schools have advanced LED projectors with wheel rotators and lots of discs. As fabulous as these projectors are, many parents do not have the budget for these when designing a room at home.  If this is one of the products that you child loves in school and you want to invest in one we recommend going for the Solar 100c, 6 inch wheel rotator and a selection of your child's favourite wheels. This projector is quiet, will suit most sized rooms, ceiling mountable and long lasting. 

However if this is not in your budget, don't worry!!! The lava lamp projector has been used in many home sensory rooms and is very relaxing. Simply pop it on a shelf and insert the oil wheel, as the oil heats up it will project a very relaxing lava lamp effect onto the wall and if you want to go that extra mile you can purchase a graphic pack that you insert in the side of the projector and the oil wheel will move behind the graphics. This can help to grab the child's attention. This projector costs €125 and comes with 1 oil wheel.

Comfort is vital in a sensory room! Choosing the right beanbags or seating can make all the difference for a person spending time in the sensory room. There are many different beanbags available, all different sizes, shapes, inner material, fabric and colours. When deciding which one to go for consider who will be using the beanbag? You may need a vinyl or easy to wipe beanbag or you may want a soft and silky textured beanbag for a tactile experience. Younger kids may be perfectly suited to one of our smaller beanbags or beanie cushions where a larger child might like to lay back in our jumbo or comfort shape beanbag. We have lots to offer!!!

Don't forget, at Adam & Friends we are always here to advise you. If you have any questions or would like advice on putting together a sensory area for your child we are delighted to assist you! Remember you do not need a big budget to start your room. We are adding NEW and exciting products every week so keep a look out to see what's on offer!!! You can contact Gemma & Louise at at any stage! Let us know about your child and what they like and we will recommend some products that they might enjoy!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Why are puzzles great for kids???

So what are the benefits of playing with puzzles?

From early childhood, puzzles are an important educational learning toy for toddlers and children as they help to teach many skills and learning opportunities in a fun and interactive way!
Cognitive Skills       

Puzzles come in a whole range of themes and topics such as alphabet letters, shapes, vegetables, numbers, pets, transport and colours.  It increases their visual spacial awareness and develops a deeper understanding of these themes and topics.  Every child learns differently and puzzles can help them to understand everything from animals, numbers, the alphabet and so much more (Image: Self-Correcting Alphabet Puzzle €14.95 Click Here).

 Problem Solving

Completing a puzzle, even the most simplest of puzzles sets a single goal to achieve.  Toddlers and children must think and develop strategies on how to approach in achieving this goal.  This process involves problem solving, reasoning skills and developing solutions which they can later be transferred into their personal/adult life (Image: Farm Sound Puzzle €12.95 Click Here).

Fine Motor Development

Puzzles are a fun way for children to develop and refine their fine motor skills.  When engaged in playing with puzzles, children are required to pick up, pinch and grasp pieces (some with pegs, chunky pieces, jumbo pegs or inset puzzles) and move them around, manipulating them into slots, sorting them and fitting them into the correct places.

Hand and Eye Coordination

Playing with puzzles requires a trial and error process which involves a lot of hand and eye manipulation.  For example, as a toddler or child places a piece of the puzzle that does not fit, they will try all over again where their actions involve doing what they actually see  (Image: Shape Sorter €12.95 Click Here).

Shape Recognition

For young children – even babies – learning to recognize and sort shapes is an important part of their development. Puzzles can help little ones with this, since the pieces need to be recognized and sorted before they can be assembled (Image: First Shapes Jumbo Peg Puzzle €13.95 Click Here).


Simple jigsaws and other types of puzzles may help enhance a child’s memory. For example, a child will need to recall the size, color and shape of various pieces as he or she works through the puzzle. If a piece doesn’t fit, the child sets it aside; but he or she will need to remember that piece when it is needed (Image: Farm Cube Puzzle €11.95 Click Here).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Puzzles are such a great way to encourage cooperative play amongst children.  Kids can work together to finish a puzzle and help each other discover where the pieces fit. Making a puzzle together is a great way to teach children how to take turns and share the fun in finishing a puzzle together (Image: Giant Fire Truck Floor Puzzle €12.95 Click Here).

An Adam and Friends Puzzle

At Adam and Friends we have lots and lots of different puzzles for you to try. From sound puzzles that sound off when you put the correct piece in to giant floor puzzles. Your child will spend hours putting together some of our super fun educational wooden puzzles!!! Get a big storage box to keep them all in and let them choose from a great selection of puzzles to keep them entertained!!! Check out our puzzle selection here.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Weighted Blankets and Products

Why Weighted Therapy?
Weighted products are used for many children and adults with Sensory Processing Disorder, Sleep Problems, Autism, ADHD, and many other Neurological Disorders because they provide a type of sensory input that they might need or crave. The weight is soothing to the individual and helps them to relax or calm down.

Children with excessively high energy levels find these blankets or weighted lap pads soothing for bedtime or throughout the day. They can bring one to school for quiet times. They can wrap them around their shoulders or whole body, or place them on their lap during desk work and reading times for the extra calming deep pressure input their bodies crave.

The proprioceptive input provided by the weight of the blanket, calms the nervous system. This can also increase focus and body awareness and helps to decrease sensory seeking behaviours because of it's proprioceptive input.

The 3 Main Reasons Why Weighted Products are used are:1. to improve body awareness
2. to calm and improve attention and focus
3. to decrease sensory seeking behaviors

How do Weighted Products Work?
Today weighted blankets are used in many settings. Schools, clinics and long term care facilities are using weighted blankets to assist their clients.These blankets can be used as a self-regulation tool, and are versatile enough to be used anywhere. Many children use the small blankets or lap pads when out and about or travelling in the car.
Weighted Products are used in Occupational Therapy as a therapeutic intervention and is often referred to as "heavy work", proprioceptive input, and deep pressure. The therapeutic use of weight and "deep pressure" to the muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments allows the central nervous system to better interpret and integrate both tactile (sense of touch) and proprioceptive (sense of movement, body position, and pressure) input.

Our Weighted Products

At Adam and Friends we have a great range of weighted products from Large Style Blankets to Wraps, Lap Pads and Plush Toy Lap Pets at affordable prices. We have lots of great designs to choose from too from Toy Story, Tinkerbell, Dinosaurs, Disney Princesses and more and if you can't find something you like why not contact us at or call us on 01 2989001 and see how we can help. Check out our full range of weighted products online at

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Encourage Learning Through Puppet Play

Fantastic character puppets…everyone wants to get into the act! Entertain friends and family with shows starring a variety of expressive puppets and use our floor-standing puppet theatre to raise the curtain on hours of imaginative play.The attention to design, vivid colours and cheerful features will promote hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills. With a little encouragement, puppets will help children develop some important learning skills.

Communication Skills

Develop communication skills by using puppets to follow instructions, answer a puppets question or even talk to the puppet.

Creative and Imaginative Skills

Puppets can stimulate children's imaginations by providing characters for acting out stories and taking on different roles. "Alfredo" the Italian chef can bring a pretend play cooking set to life, or Policeman "Cyres Wren" can always be there to save the day!!! Puppets can also be used in songs as a visual cue and to add an extra bit of fun and interaction.

Tip: Allow children to develop their own scenarios and you follow their lead, you might be surprised how inventive they can be!!!

Speech and Language Skills

Puppets can break down barriers and provide an effective and neutral ground for communication. Puppets can motivate and support children to initiate communication through puppet play. Children might be more motivated to mimic difficult words if prompted and encouraged by their new puppet friend.

Tip: Gain your child's attention and encourage interaction by using the puppet to ask them questions about their favourite topics.

Social and Emotional Skills

All puppets come to life when you play with them, no matter how good a puppeteer you might be. Puppets take on different personalities and can help children to explore their own feelings and ideas. Puppets can be shy or loud, happy or sad, even naughty or good. Sometimes a child can learn lessons about life through puppet play without even realising it!!! Puppets can help children generalize what they have learned so that they can use it socially and in meaningful ways in natural environments.

Adam and Friends have a range of character puppets from firefighters to dragons and kings. Check them out online

This article was written by Gemmarose O' Brien - Owner at Adam and Friends

You can contact Gemma at

Friday, 15 June 2012

Sensory Play with Gellibaff!!!

What is Gellibaff???

It is a totally unique, completely safe, UK manufactured powder that turns ordinary water into glorious, colourful goo!

How do I use Gellibaff?

Firstly sprinkle the "goo former" (Stage 1) evenly over the surface area of the water (try to avoid adding large clumps of powder as this will take longer to form the goo) and watch as it magically turns the water into a fun, thick goo. Once the kids are finished playing, evenly sprinkle the "goo dissolver" (Stage 2) into the water, leave it for 5 minutes and watch the goo turn back into water.

Kids love it in the bath, in outdoor kiddie's pools, or even in a small bowl or sink.

Gelli Baff initially started life as a ‘Foot Spa’ product - it was used to ‘soften’ feet in foot spas for many years! As such, Gelli Baff is actually very good for the skin for the vast majority of users & leaves the skin feeling soft & refreshed!

Sensory Fun in the Bath

Fill the bath with 40 litres of warm water (ensure water is at the desired temperature before adding the Stage 1 Powder). Measure the amount of water accurately as bath sizes can vary. For best results sprinkle the "goo former" (Stage 1) evenly over the surface of the bath using all of the Step 1 pack. Try to avoid adding large clumps of powder as this will take longer to form the goo. Let the goo magically form for 5 minutes, stir the goo well then let the kids get in for some amazing bath time fun. On average, each box will create you between 40 & 50 litres of Goo.

One box of standard Gelli Baff contains 150g of stage 1 (Goo maker) & 150g of the stage 2 (Goo dissolver)

Gelli Baff in the garden

Gelli Baff was originally designed to stimulate kid’s imagination and turn "boring bath time into fun time". Since Gelli Baff hit stores the demand for the use of Gelli Baff outdoors has rocketed.

Having Gelli Baff in the outdoor kiddies pool is fantastic fun on a hot summer’s day, far more fun than just plain, boring water.

Fill your pool with Gelli Baff!

Gelli Baff in a bowl/sink – Gelli Play

Gelli Baff in the classroom – Messy Play

Specifically for the educational industry, i.e. nurseries, schools & play groups, Gellibaff as Messy Play is seen by teachers and other professionals within the industry to be ideal for "messy time" in the classroom. As Messy Play is completely safe, biodegradable and doesn’t stain, teachers love using it on a regular basis to keep the kids entertained.

No Mess!

Once the kids have finished having fun, add the stage 2 (goo dissolver) to the Gelli Baff to turn the thick goo back into water (coloured). Once the dissolving powder has been added, Gelli Baff won't turn back into goo again, so there’s no need to worry about pipes getting blocked.

Gelli Baff is free from harmful chemicals or preservatives, its biodegradable, completely harmless to septic tanks; it won't stain the bath, towels, floors, furniture or kids & is actually good for the skin!

Available in a variety of colours!

Check out the Gellibaff Range online!!!

Join the Gelli Baff boy as he ventures to an alien planet with red lava blast. Explore the magic green jungle swamp or take a voyage through the gooiest blue lagoon sea. Watch in amazement when using the colour changing combos or get some Princess Pink Gelli Baff for your little Princess!