Early Childhood

Clarifying Color-Vision Deficiency Screening

by P. Kay Nottingham Chaplin, EdD


Good-Lite ColorCheck CompleteVision screeners frequently have questions regarding when to follow the recommended manufacturer instructions for color vision deficiency screening tools. This blog is designed to address that question, and also provides a solution for color vision deficiency screening in preschool- and school-aged children beginning at age 3 years.

Many state vision screening guidelines recommend that color vision deficiency screening follows manufacturer instructions when conducting the screening. Confusion may occur when the manufacturer instructions are written specifically for optometrists and ophthalmologists to use during eye examinations. Color vision deficiency testing in a doctor’s office differs from screening for color vision deficiencies in schools, Head Start programs, or similar settings.

Instructions for color vision deficiency testing may call for monocular testing - or testing one eye at a time with the other eye covered (occluded). When screening for color vision deficiencies in schools, Head Start, or similar programs, the screening should be conducted binocularly (both eyes open and uncovered).

This difference in monocular testing during an eye examination and binocular screening in school, Head Start, or similar settings is supported by James E. Bailey, OD, PhD, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, 2018, Southern California College of Optometry, Marshall B. Ketchum University, Fullerton, CA (personal communication, June 5, 2019).

If all vision screening for the child is successful except the color vision deficiency screening, the child should be referred to an eye doctor for an eye examination (Nottingham Chaplin, Baldonado, Cotter, Moore, & Bradford, 2018).

The eye care professional will confirm whether a color vision deficiency exists. If a child has a color vision deficiency, the eye care professional will also identify the type and severity (mild, moderate, or severe) … The eye care professional will also consult with the parents/caregivers regarding how the type and severity of the color vision deficit may affect the child’s learning, life, and career choices.

Ask the parents/caregivers to obtain a copy of the results from the eye care professional and to share those results with [school or Head Start staff, for example] because classroom and/or learning activities may require accommodations when color deficiencies are present.” (Nottingham Chaplin, et al., 2015, p. 211).

When state vision screening guidelines call for color vision deficiency screening for preschool- and/or school-aged screening, the Good-Lite ColorCheck Complete Vision Screener includes LEA SYMBOLS® for preschool-aged children and LEA NUMBERS® for school-aged children. The LEA SYMBOLS® section includes one demonstration plate and seven plates for red/green screening. The LEA NUMBERS® section includes one demonstration plate, 14 plates for red/green screening, and three plates for blue/yellow screening. Instructions are included in the Good-Lite ColorCheck Complete Vision Screener.

Screeners in a school, Head Start program, or similar setting using this book would conduct color vision deficiency screening binocularly (both eyes open and uncovered).

 

References:

Nottingham Chaplin, P. K., Baldonado, K., Cotter, S., Moore, B., & Bradford, G. E. (2018). An eye on vision: Five questions about vision screening and eye health-Part 2. NASN School Nurse, 33 (4), 210-213.

Ensure the Best Placement of AEDs in Your School

AED in wall cabinetThe increasing square footage of schools can make determining how many automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and where to strategically place them seem like an overwhelming task. But it is a necessary task to ensure the best response in the event of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). If you need help determining the best number and placement of AEDs in your school, connect with one of our experts.

The American Heart Association recommends AEDs be accessible within three minutes of an SCA emergency. Every minute of delayed defibrillation equates to a 10% decrease in the chance of survival of the victim.When an AED is applied prior to the arrival of an ambulance, the victim’s chance of survival increases nearly fivefold.2

It’s important to consider the following when equipping your school with AEDs.

  • Placement – AEDs should be placed within 3 minutes of anywhere within the facility. That means a responder has 1.5 minutes to get to the device and 1.5 minutes to get back to the victim when walking at a brisk pace. On average an individual walking at a pace of 4 miles per hour will walk 152 steps in 1 minute.That’s 228 steps to the device and 228 steps back. Determine your 1-minute radius and center an AED around that.

    TIP: Consider obstacles in the pathways to AEDs. For instance; hallways with security doorways, multiple floors, furniture.



  • Visibility – Make sure AEDs are easily located within your school by placing wall signs above the AED to direct responders to the location. Wall signs are sold separately from AEDs and budgets should allow for proper AED signage. A well-marked path to an AED can make the difference in the survival of a victim when minutes count.

    TIP: Place a wall sign at the end of a hallway or at an entrance to direct responders to the location of an AED.



  • Accessibility – Make sure the AED(s) is easily accessible to responders. Wall cabinets designed to hold AEDs are often alarmed and improve accessibility while deterring theft. The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) guidelines state the height to reach the handle of an AED should be no more than 48 inches high.



  • Location – Consider locations throughout the school that are easily accessible. Consider places of congregation and high-traffic or high-risk areas. For example, at the end of hallways, near the cafeteria, auditorium, office and gymnasium. Schools with multiple levels should place AEDs on each level to ensure the quickest response time.

    TIP: Provide AEDs at school sponsored sporting events by placing the AED in an easy to transport carry case.  



  • Program Management – Implementing an AED program management solution will ensure your AED(s) are rescue ready and compliant. Program management solutions make it easy to track the expiration of pads and batteries as well as CPR certification for trained responders.


Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) strikes anyone at anytime and anywhere. Making sure your school and staff are trained to respond makes all the difference for the survival of an SCA victim.

AED on student deskThe ZOLL AED Plus® with Real CPR Help®, provides rescuers the confidence to deliver high-quality CPR when it matters most. In addition, long-life consumables, 5-year pads and batteries, increases readiness and decreases frequency of maintenance.

 

 

 

 

 

1Link MS, Atkins DL, Passman RS, Halperin HR, Samson RA, White RD, Cudnik MT, Berg MD, Kudenchuk PJ, Kerber RE. Part 6: electrical therapies: automated external defibrillators, defibrillation, cardioversion, and pacing: 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care. Circulation. 2010;122:S706–S719.

2Weisfeldt ML, et al. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2010;55(16):1713–20.

3”The Average Steps per Minute for Different Exercises”.Verywellfithttps://www.verywellfit.com/pedometer-step-equivalents-for-exercises-and-activities-3435742

School Health Services Give Children a Bright Future

Shared with permission from the Healthy Schools Campaign.


Mary Ellen Barkman, the Medicaid Coordinator for Pinellas County Schools, the eighth largest school district in Florida, is passionate about their vision screening program. “We’re saving children’s lives,” she says.


Spot Vision ScreenerFor instance, last year, there was a new student in the district, a recent immigrant from Egypt who spoke only Arabic. Her teacher struggled to reach her and felt that beyond the language issue, the girl must have some cognitive problems. As part of her special education evaluation, she was tested with one of the district’s new Spot Vision Screeners. This quick screen showed that she had a serious muscle problem that caused triple vision. After she received the specialized prism glasses she needed and hearing aids for her hearing loss, she was at grade level within a year. “Without those screenings she may not have been able to reach her fullest potential,” Barkman says. “With help, children can have such a bright future.”


The district’s investment in spot screeners is the result of careful analysis of the district’s needs. Several years ago, school health services managers reported to Barkman that there was an issue with the district’s protocol for vision screenings. They were inefficient and time consuming, and they simply didn’t work for students who couldn’t talk or who had trouble sitting still or following instructions—often the very students who needed accurate screenings the most. The district researched many options and settled on Spot Vision Screeners, which work by taking a picture of the child’s eye and using it to screen for visual acuity, muscle imbalance and tumors. In fact, in the first year of using the screeners, the district identified a serious tumor in a student that had been missed by his primary care doctor. The machine creates a printout for parents that explains any follow-up services their child needs, and the district has formed partnerships with a vision van, local optometrists and the Lion’s Club to provide services for children who need follow-up services after screenings. And because the screeners are so easy to use, the district’s vision teams can make much more efficient use of their nurses to follow up with students who fail the screenings, rather than having to do the screenings themselves.


Barkman and the Pinellas County Schools team have woven together many different funding streams to build this unique program including Medicaid funding for the actual Spot Vision Screeners. Most of the funding comes from effective maximization of Medicaid billable services, such as Physical and Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Nursing, Social Work, Psychology and Transportation and Administrative Claiming. Half of the reimbursement dollars are given to her program to spend on priorities they identify. The other half goes to operating to offset salary costs of billing providers. Because of this, Barkman works hard with her practitioners to make sure they are billing for all eligible services and maximizing Administrative Claiming reimbursement. They even developed their own electronic documentation system to make this easier. Over five years, the district has increased Medicaid revenue by $1.7 million to increase resources for students.


What’s next for Pinellas County? One priority is developing a micro-credentialing system for the one-on-one assistants who work with children with multiple challenges, to give them skills for physically transferring the children, feeding, seizure monitoring, CPR and social supports. Medicaid will support an increase in their salary after achieving the credential, which will allow them to be Medicaid-claimable health assistants. This invests Medicaid dollars directly into something that meets the needs of some of the district’s most vulnerable students.


“The key is out of the box thinking,” Barkman says, “and the box has gotten smaller.” She continues to look for ways to leverage whatever funding is available. “It’s such a blessing to be able to help a child reach their fullest potential. It’s important that people understand how important the Medicaid dollars are to that,” Barkman says.

Happy 100th Birthday Occupational Therapy!

by Dr. Raymond Heipp


Any birthday is a cause for celebration. blog2_1But a 100thbirthday, that is a cause for ceremonial jubilee! I was honored to attend the 100th birthday celebration for occupational therapy at the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Conference this past weekend in Philadelphia. It was an amazing time that highlighted the role occupational therapy has played in our lives during the past millennium.


Occupational Therapy is often misunderstood by the public at large because it is lumped into categories which contain other types of therapy. By its very definition, occupational therapy is a therapy which “helps people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations).” (AOTA Website)

It is a therapy that is good for everyone and can assist in daily life practices. As a former school administrator, I am a big proponent of OT/Sensory breaks in classrooms every day. It is amazing how a brief exercise can increase focus and attention for all of our students, let alone those with differing abilities.

I had the opportunity to speak at length to a highly-respected OT, Susan Wilkerson, or “Miss Sue” as her clients refer to her. We spoke about some of the changes that had occurred in OT over the years. These changes are partially due to a better understanding of the ways in which the human body processes sensory input, and partially due to a stronger level of respect being placed upon the field. OTs have a strong focus on making sure that individuals are able to handle the daily tasks which are encountered each day. During our discussion, I focused on the sensory side of things with her. This is an area which is often overlooked in our classrooms.

“Miss Sue” has recently developed a series of kits that really bring occupational therapy to a new level of engagement in the classroom. Although all of them are extremely well-designed and thought out for the classroom, I wanted to focus on three that made an impression on me. All three of these kits would be items I would encourage my teachers to use, no matter the grade level or the course.blog2_2

I was amazed at the School Health Bilateral Brain Breaks Kit. This kit includes items that one would normally see out on a playground. For example, the “Skip-a-Long” is a toy placed on the ankle that encourages jumping and coordination. I remember seeing similar items on playgrounds as far back as the 1960s. And, here they are again playing an important role in getting both sides of the brain to “talk” to each other. I watched in awe as a few of the younger OTs and a couple of children visiting the conference immediately began using it and had fun.

I did not try the Skip-a-Long for fear of a hospital visit, but I did try the “Bungee Jumper” from the same kit. It is basically a foam base and bungee version of a pogo stick. That concept, again, is something that has been around for a long time. Sue shared with me some of the research behind that particular item and one of the ways that this kit can be effective in the classroom. The research demonstrates that a student fighting with attention issues who uses the “Bungee Jumper” for five minutes will bring focus back to their minds for upwards of two hours! Those of us who have worked with students facing attention issues know that five minutes of focus is difficult, but two hours of focus is amazing!

 

blog2_3Another kit that fascinated me was the School Health Yucky Lunch Kit. The small plastic “Lunchbox” holds a piece of “Cheese” with “Mice” crawling through it, a “Banana” with “Banana slugs” in it, “Pasta,” and a few other “Creatures” that would make any adult cringe! But how it captures the attention of students! The activities include pushing the mice through the cheese and placing the slugs in various locations on the banana. While these activities may seem “gross,” they are actually “fine” when it comes to motor activities. (Okay, sorry to my OTs who got that lame joke!) Finger dexterity, motor planning, fine-motor skills, and varied sensory input are just some of the actions occurring while children play with this kit.

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The last kit I want to speak of here is the School Health Sensi-Desert Kit. This kit was a hit with almost every OT who stopped by to visit Miss Sue. The specialized sand along with the lizards and snakes who “live” in the sand create a unique feel for those sticking their hands into it. The sand is not the kinetic sand or even real sand as some might expect. It is actually a specialized sand that feels more like soft earth or wet sand without as much coarseness. It was amazing to see so many of the therapists who did not want to stop playing in this sand as it gave positive sensory feedback. With all of these kits, School Health has included the EdTeam Action Guide™. This guide contains creative educational and therapy ideas in language, fine motor strength, coordination, gross motor movement, balance, early concepts, and more - all written by Miss Sue. The goal is to create an environment where anyone can use the kit to its greatest advantage with the students.

Raymond T. Heipp, Ph.D. is a 25+ year veteran of administrations and classrooms for students with differing abilities. He has designed many support programs for various schools and facilities. And, his expertise in assistive technology has enabled him to create updated approaches when working with students and educators. Dr. Heipp firmly believes that everyone, no matter what their ability, has a voice (or spirit) and deserves a chance to succeed. He suggests that we never doubt their abilities!

Happy 100th Birthday Occupational Therapy!

by Dr. Raymond Heipp

Hero-AOTA2017Any birthday is a cause for celebration. But a 100th birthday, that is a cause for ceremonial jubilee! I was honored to attend the 100th birthday celebration for occupational therapy at the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Conference this past weekend in Philadelphia. It was an amazing time that highlighted the role occupational therapy has played in our lives during the past millennium.

Occupational Therapy is often misunderstood by the public at large because it is lumped into categories which contain other types of therapy. By its very definition, occupational therapy is a therapy which “helps people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations).” (AOTA Website)

It is a therapy that is good for everyone and can assist in daily life practices. As a former school administrator, I am a big proponent of OT/Sensory breaks in classrooms every day. It is amazing how a brief exercise can increase focus and attention for all of our students, let alone those with differing abilities.

I had the opportunity to speak at length to a highly-respected OT, Susan Wilkerson, or “Miss Sue” as her clients refer to her. We spoke about some of the changes that had occurred in OT over the years. These changes are partially due to a better understanding of the ways in which the human body processes sensory input, and partially due to a stronger level of respect being placed upon the field. OTs have a strong focus on making sure that individuals are able to handle the daily tasks which are encountered each day. During our discussion, I focused on the sensory side of things with her. This is an area which is often overlooked in our classrooms.

“Miss Sue” has recently developed a series of kits that really bring occupational therapy to a new level of engagement in the classroom. Although all of them are extremely well-designed and thought out for the classroom, I wanted to focus on three that made an impression on me. All three of these kits would be items I would encourage my teachers to use, no matter the grade level or the course.

 

BBBreaksI was amazed at the School Health Bilateral Brain Breaks Kit. This kit includes items that one would normally see out on a playground. For example, the “Skip-a-Long” is a toy placed on the ankle that encourages jumping and coordination. I remember seeing similar items on playgrounds as far back as the 1960s. And, here they are again playing an important role in getting both sides of the brain to “talk” to each other. I watched in awe as a few of the younger OTs and a couple of children visiting the conference immediately began using it and had fun.

I did not try the Skip-a-Long for fear of a hospital visit, but I did try the “Bungee Jumper” from the same kit. It is basically a foam base and bungee version of a pogo stick. That concept, again, is something that has been around for a long time. Sue shared with me some of the research behind that particular item and one of the ways that this kit can be effective in the classroom. The research demonstrates that a student fighting with attention issues who uses the “Bungee Jumper” for five minutes will bring focus back to their minds for upwards of two hours! Those of us who have worked with students facing attention issues know that five minutes of focus is difficult, but two hours of focus is amazing!

 

Yucky LunchAnother kit that fascinated me was the School Health Yucky Lunch Kit. The small plastic “Lunchbox” holds a piece of “Cheese” with “Mice” crawling through it, a “Banana” with “Banana slugs” in it, “Pasta,” and a few other “Creatures” that would make any adult cringe! But how it captures the attention of students! The activities include pushing the mice through the cheese and placing the slugs in various locations on the banana. While these activities may seem “gross,” they are actually “fine” when it comes to motor activities. (Okay, sorry to my OTs who got that lame joke!) Finger dexterity, motor planning, fine-motor skills, and varied sensory input are just some of the actions occurring while children play with this kit.

 

 

Sensi-DesertThe last kit I want to speak of here is the School Health Sensi-Desert Kit. This kit was a hit with almost every OT who stopped by to visit Miss Sue. The specialized sand along with the lizards and snakes who “live” in the sand create a unique feel for those sticking their hands into it. The sand is not the kinetic sand or even real sand as some might expect. It is actually a specialized sand that feels more like soft earth or wet sand without as much coarseness. It was amazing to see so many of the therapists who did not want to stop playing in this sand as it gave positive sensory feedback. With all of these kits, School Health has included the EdTeam Action Guide™. This guide contains creative educational and therapy ideas in language, fine motor strength, coordination, gross motor movement, balance, early concepts, and more - all written by Miss Sue. The goal is to create an environment where anyone can use the kit to its greatest advantage with the students.

 

Snug VestsThere were many more amazing insights taken away from this conference. However, those are for another blog! I do have to say that the prototype version of the new Snug Vest and some of the other items coming down the road from them are very impressive. Those of you who have attended my seminars know how much I appreciate what Lisa Fraser has done in the creation of the Snug Vest and how it is used in a multitude of ways.

As I left the AOTA Conference and Philadelphia, I was definitely on sensory overload! It is good that so many of the tools there though allowed me to get my focus back quickly and drive safely. Happy Birthday, Occupational Therapy! May you continue to grow and expand your reach over the next 100 years!

And thank you too to all of you OTs out there! You make a significant difference in our world and your work is appreciated!

Raymond T. Heipp, Ph.D. is a 25+ year veteran of administrations and classrooms for students with differing abilities. He has designed many support programs for various schools and facilities. And, his expertise in assistive technology has enabled him to create updated approaches when working with students and educators. Dr. Heipp firmly believes that everyone, no matter what their ability, has a voice (or spirit) and deserves a chance to succeed. He suggests that we never doubt their abilities! 

EnableMart Product Review - TheraBand Hand Exerciser

Crush, Pinch, and Grip Your Way To Better Hand Health
by Gabriel Ryan

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TheraBand Hand Exercisers are small resistance balls that fit in the palm of your hand. These exercisers can be used to strengthen your grip, increase hand mobility, and improve dexterity. The Hand Exerciser comes in two different sizes standard and extra-large.

I use this type of resistance ball with my physical therapist, Laura, for the following exercises:

  • Reaching

  • Stretching my arms

  • To practice hand grip and release (by transferring the ball from one hand to the other)


"The hand exercisers are good for dexterity exercises and can be helpful to use when recovering from an injury or to build endurance.” Laura Perry, DPT

TheraBand Hand Exercisers are:

  • Made of non-latex polymer

  • Washable with soap and water

  • Useful for cold therapy – just refrigerate for 1.5 to 2 hours

  • Useful for hot therapy – just microwave 5 second increments

  • Helpful for toes and foot strengthening


Here is a quick reference chart that gives you some ideas of exercises you can do with the TheraBand balls.

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Which level of resistance is right for you? Check out the following chart:

















Color Red/Red XL Green/Green XL Blue/Blue XL Black/Black XL
Lbs. of Force at50% Compression 3 lbs. 5 lbs. 8 lbs. 17 lbs.

 

You can learn more about and purchase the TheraBand Hand Exercisers and other resistance exercise related products by visiting the EnableMart website.

ATIA 2017 Recap: Accessibility and ATIA

by Dr. Raymond Heipp

The annual Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) conference is an event that always reinvigorates my support for those with differing abilities. Each year I try to focus on areas in which I have the most questions. This year, my focus was accessibility. It was so wonderful to see old accessibility products that have been updated, and new products which cover areas that may not have been previously addressed. Although any blog post cannot do full justice to the impact of devices, let me do my best to give you a view of accessibility at ATIA this year!


Accessibility and Established Products

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This year, I found several products that had been updated to bring accessibility to even more people. The first of those items was the TAPit Interactive Platform. Already known for its ability to adjust and adapt, the manufacturers have taken it a step further. The device has always been able to differentiate between intended and that unintended touch.

Now, it is a native multi-touch device that can still have that differentiated ability in two ways:

  1. It relies on conductive properties of the hand or conductive material to interact. Hence, anyone who leans on the screen using sleeves or gloves is not going to affect the touch at all.

  2. The firmware allows the device to recognize that stationary conductive touch as unintended touch – in just one second. This eliminates some of the delays that might have been encountered with the older version of the TAPit.


In all, the changes to the TAPit permit much greater access for all studentsblog4_2 and adults!

I also spent time looking at access for those who need to use a switch, but may not have the capability to effectively use a standard type of switch. Those who know me know that I highly recommend proximity switches to create greater accessibility.

There are really only two proximity switches which I feel comfortable recommending to individuals and those were both present at the show. First, the Candy Corn offers accessibility by proximity with the added benefit of visual and auditory cuing when the switch is activated.
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The second switch is another great one and it is the Movement Sensor Switch. This switch has an amazing amount of flexibility and is able to activate upon detecting the slightest movement. I think that this device offers so much flexibility for personal accessibility!

Accessibility and Differentiated Approaches
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It was wonderful to meet and speak with the team from Enabling Devices. Seth, Vincent, and Bill have such a strong knowledge of devices and how to make them work for each individual. My favorite device of theirs is listed above and is the Movement Sensor Switch. My next favorite device from them is the Ultimate Switch. This device can be mounted anywhere and needs limited force to be activated. I could have played with it all day.

Ironically, as I was speaking with them, a woman stopped by to ask about it. She had one of the original versions of it, which was still working, and wanted to see some of the updates to it. In listening to her, she described how the ease of interaction created heightened levels of access for her child. A switch should create access, not additional problems to be overcome. The Ultimate Switch offers a universal approach to creating accessibility with any device.

Accessibility is Critical in 2017

You are going to see that I am on an accessibility bandwagon in 2017! I will be travelling the country looking for how we are creating accessible environments for everyone. If you have an accessible environment you want to highlight or have questions as to how to make your location accessible, please contact me at rheipp@schoolhealth.com so that we can schedule a visit. Let’s make 2017 the Year of Accessibility for All!

Get a "GRIP" and Keep On Moving

blog5_1Have you ever been frustrated that items slip out of reach or move around when you need them to stay put? The easy-to-clean, light-weight and flexible GRIP Activity Pad may be the solution you need!


Having used many non-skid pads in the past, I decided to try out the 10” x 15” GRIP Activity Pad for 1 year to see how it would compare. I use a custom tray that connects to the armrests of my wheelchair for eating and participating in various activities regularly. For as long as I can remember, I have always carried a rectangle of non-skid material in my bag to place on my tray to keep items from sliding or rolling away.

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My Overall Conclusion:
After using the GRIP Activity Pad for 1 year, the GRIP Activity Pad is an item I will continue to use. Here are some of my favorite features of this product:

  • Non-Slip Pad. The GRIP Activity Pad kept items in place on my tray whether the tray was flat or at a slight angle. I’ve had all types of dishes placed on the pad, as well as grocery items and electronic items. Things stayed where I needed them to on the pad. If your item isn’t too heavy, the pad offers a good grip. I enjoy going to the movies and this pad fit perfectly under the cardboard popcorn container and kept it from sliding away.



  • Easy-To-Clean Material. Using soap, water, and a light scrub the GRIP Activity Pad cleans up like new. I used a small soft bristle brush and simply let the pad air-dry. Within about half an hour the pad was ready for use again and seemed to also gain back some of its grip.



  • Multi-Colored. One characteristic that was useful to me was the pad having a different color on each side; one side black and the other side yellow. Depending on the activity I was doing on my tray, I liked having the option to flip the pad over to visually increase or decrease the contrast. I also like the option to choose the color showing on my tray when going about my daily routine. Sometimes the bright yellow was helpful in situations where I wanted my tray surface to stand out. Other times I preferred the black side since it blended in with the tone of my chair.



  • Portable and Travel Friendly- Traveling with this pad was easy and convenient. I found I was able to roll the pad and place it in my bag and unroll whenever I needed a non-skid surface at my fingertips. As an added benefit, this pad did not loose shape or wrinkle.


Learn more about and purchase the GRIP Activity Pad and other non-skid related products by visiting the SchoolHealth.com website!

This blog was written by EnableMart Blog Writer Gabe Ryan from Sacramento, California. Gabe has used a wheelchair since he was three years old and is an experienced user of assistive technology tools. Some of these tools have been life-changing for him and he looks forward to sharing his experiences and perspectives with our blog readers. Gabe enjoys abstract paintings, is an avid music lover, and enjoys using his iPad and iPhone to connect with family, friends and the community.

Worried about lice outbreaks? Don’t lose your head.

As students with their winter hats and caps return to school from break, we’ll see another visitor come with them: head lice.


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Winter is a more active time for lice outbreaks as children have more close contact and often share coats, scarves, and hats with one another. And as lice outbreaks increase, so does the news around them. Lately parents and health professionals have been bombarded by over-hyped information campaigns about “super lice.” When we hear “super lice” we immediately conjure mental images disgusting bugs that are bigger and stronger than any kind of lice or nit that we’ve seen before. We picture them crawling around the scalps of children and jumping menacingly as they spread among the children of the school.

We naturally become concerned for the welfare of children when they hear these fear-inducing names. We look for ways to respond quickly, and with brutal force – hoping to prevent the spread of infestation.  However, this response can sometimes create problems where none existed before.

Know the facts - “Super lice” are actually treatment-resistant lice with a media-hyped name. As an example, think of infections that are resistant to antibiotics. Treatment resistant lice are created in much the same way – through improper use of chemical applications or prescription treatments.

Interestingly, treatment resistant lice are not a new phenomenon. These kinds of lice have been present in schools for over 40 years.


Campaigns and media stories about super lice contain pieces of information that, while factual, are dangerous when taken without context. This can breed fear and cause further problems. For example, improper treatment with harsh chemicals and pesticides is one of the ways that treatment-resistant lice have become stronger. And sometimes parents resort to home remedies such as mayonnaise or olive oil that are not scientifically proven to be effective in treating lice. That's why manual removal through combing is a critical part of treating any lice infestation.

Combing is the only safe and effective method to end infestations especially for lice that are resistant to chemical treatments. School Health is pleased to offer the LiceMeister® Comb, which has the US Food and Drug Administration clearance as a medical device for the purpose of screening, detecting, and removing lice and their eggs (nits). Lice combs are also useful for removing dead nits from the hair in order to reduce diagnostic confusion and the chance of unnecessary re-treatments in the future.

How you can be prepared - Parents should become proactive in the examination and treatment (when necessary) of their children when they are exposed to lice. With proactive examinations, parents are able to identify lice concerns early which makes treatment easier, and helps prevent the spread of lice among students.

Sometimes, identifying head lice can be quite difficult. Using the LiceMeister Comb along with a magnifying lens is recommended to accurately identify lice. It can be easy to confuse nits with dandruff, hair spray droplets, and dirt particles.

  • The best diagnosis is made by finding a live nymph or adult louse on the scalp or hair of a person.

  • Nits attached firmly within 1/4" of the base of hair shafts may indicate an infestation if no moving nits are found. This is not accurate 100% of the time.


Watch for signs of lice - that "Tickly" Feeling Can Be a Sign of Head Lice

Head lice symptoms include:

  • A tickling feeling or a sensation of something moving in the hair

  • Frequent itching

  • Sores from scratching


Oh no, head lice! The National Pediculosis Association (NPA) has identified tips to help parents and schools control head lice without the danger of exposing children and their environment to pesticides and other harsh chemicals.

NPA’s Tips for Parents:

  1. Know how to identify lice and nits in advance of outbreaks. (See NPA’s Critter Card)

  2. Know how to check heads at home so kids can arrive to the group setting lice and nit free. (See NPA’s LiceMeister comb teaching video)

  3. Know your child's school policy on head lice. Policies vary greatly from school to school.


Of course, the best way to treat lice is not to get them in the first place.

Just Ask Questions: One Strategy Toward Meaningful Outcomes

Our featured blog writer Gabe Ryan was invited to speak about his experiences throughout his educational and professional career. Gabe has used a wheelchair since he was three years old and is an experienced user of assistive technology tools. Some of these tools have been life-changing for him and he looks forward to sharing his experiences and perspectives with our blog readers. 

blog6_1I was recently invited to speak as the Keynote for the Sacramento County Office of Education’s Infant Development Program. This is the ‘early start’ program for our area. Because I was a graduate of this program, the staff was particularly interested in how my life had been and what I had been doing since I transitioned out of their care as a little guy.

As a person who has moved through general education receiving support and services from educational programs, it is exciting to me that the professionals in this field were interested in hearing my perspective. I shared my experience from preschool to high school, my employment, and my activities outside of education. I reflected on different milestones and what I thought were points of interest to those working with our youngest children and their families.

A few months after this presentation another exciting opportunity was offered to me, this time at a state level! I was asked to present to the California Department of Education’s Advisory Commission on Special Education (ACSE) as the student voice of the month. The commission was interested in hearing a student’s perspective on their experience.

Being asked to share at these two events was encouraging. I appreciated the opportunity to share my knowledge, and being a part of their professional development was meaningful to me.

In my presentations I used an analogy that went something like this: each person, be they teacher, parent, service provider, or student is like a cog in a giant machine. I feel this is an important key point to continue to share. Some have small parts, some have larger and more complex parts. Some people only know their piece of work, while others know everything about the giant machine. But regardless of their position everybody involved is crucial to the outcome.

Service providers may not always see an outcome immediately or directly. But their work in combination with other providers, systems, and parents can be a huge part of advancing to a positive outcome for a student. These outcomes could be months or years down the road, sometimes figuring things out or reaching goals takes time.

I am fortunate to have continued opportunities to share my perspective and ideas. I challenge you to reach out to those you serve and ask how your services have impacted their outcomes, ask for ideas and input on the services you provide. You may find a wealth of resources and knowledge right at your fingertips.

No matter what agency you are from you make a difference and impact those you serve. Working together we create a system that is supportive and encourages learning, independence, and a better quality of life.