DIY bionics - making kids smile again.
See the joy in Liam’s eyes as he is grasping a ball with his right hand for the first time. By the time this cute fellow grows up, he will have a bionic hand that will be connected to his neural-system and be indistinguishable from his biological body; but for now all Liam cares about is being able to play ball.
Calm Bottle (aka Glitter Jar)
Goal: Decreasing anxiety, fear, etc.; Anger management; Decreasing self-harming behaviors; Expressive/physical release
- Container: This is typically made with a glass mason jar, but since I often make these with children I use water bottles with smooth sides.
- One bottle of clear glue (not white glue that dries clear), or glitter glue: I like using regular glue so I don’t have to deal with the hot water since I make these in my office. Glue/glitter glue works best, but you could also use corn syrup if that’s all you have. You have to pour it directly in the water without letting it touch the sides of the bottle or the glitter will stick to it.
- Water: It can be room temperature if you use regular glue but should be hot (I use boiling water) if glitter glue is used. If the water is not hot enough then the glitter will become clumpy and separate.
- Glitter: I use mostly super fine glitter with a little regular sized. I sometimes add sequins, beads, shells, plastic jewels, etc. Glow in the dark glitter looks really cool if you can find it. Less (or even none) is needed with glitter glue bottles
-Food coloring: This is optional. Only use one drop or it becomes difficult to see the glitter.
- Strong glue or duct tape: This is used to fasten the lid to the container. I like using colored duct tape.
- Making a Calm Bottle (clear glue): Fill the bottle 3/4 of the way full with water. Then add the glue (and shake) and glitter (and shake). I use a funnel for the glitter. The more glue you use, the longer it will take the glitter to fall. I usually use the whole bottle. Add 1 drop of food coloring, if desired, and then glue/tape the lid on.
- Making a Calm Bottle (glitter glue): Instead of clear glue you can use glitter glue. If you go this rout then mix the glitter glue in a bowl with very hot water (I boil the water) before adding it to the bottle. If the water is not hot enough then the glue will clump up and not work. You can add 1 drop of food color and additional glitter is desired.
-Using a Calm Bottle: If you are making this with a client I suggest making it with them, rather than for them. It is fun to make, they can personalize it, it will mean more to them and they will be much more likely to use it. When your client becomes upset, angry, frustrated, anxious, etc., direct them to shake the bottle vigorously as long as they want as an expressive/physical release activity. When they are finished they set the bottle down and watch the glitter fall as they use their favorite coping tool and/or deep breathing exercise.
-Other uses: This is a common coping tool used for people who self-harm and is easily adaptable to many clinical issues. I have also used this as a coping tool + timer for kids who are transitioning into sleeping in their own bed or have trouble focusing and are taking long breaks during homework. It is a highly adaptable to numerous therapeutic goals. You can also make these just because they are awesome and fun to make, or as an art project :)
If anyone has any questions feel free to message me
:D this is awesome!!
I really love this picture. I was at one of my favorite places, with some of my favorite people.
On the other hand, I really hate sharing this picture. It is very nearly physically painful for me to share any picture in which you can clearly see that I am disabled. Should you happen across photos of me at a ‘con, you may note I often stand sideways with one hand behind me- attempting to hide my cane behind my body, balance and smile. Or my cane is just out of sight, leaning against a wall.
You see, I don’t always require an assistance device. Short walks, or in a store where I can lean on a shopping cart, most days I’m good.
So the days when I do, I notice the difference.
When you walk unaided, people notice your clothes, your bag, your hair. If you smile, they’ll often look you in the eye and smile back.
When you use a cane, a walker, a wheelchair… that’s where people look. And if their eyes manage to make it to your face at all, the look in their eyes is one of pity. (Or if you’re “skipping the line” at a con or theme park, the look in their eyes is more likely suspicion. Because of the ever present but you don’t look sick.)
So graduating from a fairly easily hidden cane, to a rollator walker? Pretty emotionally devastating. There is no discreetly hiding that behemoth. Enough that when my best friend invited me on a trip but warned there’d be a lot of walking and standing, I almost turned her down. Why would I want to go somewhere fun when I could stay home and feel sorry for myself instead?
But thumbing through a catalogue for my favorite company on earth, ThinkGeek, I spotted something in the Star Wars section that made me giggle. An AT-AT bag. And a lightbulb went on over my head- an AT-AT is a type of Walker. So I strapped an Imperial Walker on my Rollator Walker and took it for a walk to Disney to visit the really big Walker.
I just thought it would distract me. Give my geeky little heart something to be gleeful about, so I could distract myself from the sea of pitying faces. But then something magical happened. Because instead of seeing the rollator and frowning, people saw the wee AT-AT and smiled. They smiled and giggled and pointed it out and came up to ask me where I got it and they looked me in the eye and they smiled. (BTW ThinkGeek if you had a surge in purchases from Orlando in early February I think I’m due a cut because I did some seriously heavy marketing for you.) Several people seemed to not realize I had an assistance device at all and directed me to the stroller parking, so I guess the AT-AT is my baby now. My not so geeky friends, who were initially kind of embarrassed to be seen with me, an adult carrying a plush toy, were by the end of the day convinced I had the coolest thing on earth because of all the people who looked and squee’d and smiled.
Anyhow, I’m longwinded but there are two points I want to make. First, when you see someone in any way disabled, make the effort to look them in the eye and share a genuine, non-pitying, warm smile.
The second point is this. People often want to harass us for our geeky enthusiasms, but my geeky enthusiasms have brought so much joy to even the darkest parts of my life. Don’t be afraid to let your geek flag fly.
OTs are so creative haha love it!