Make Gel Pads with Timber Joey

Make Gel Pads with Timber Joey

Want to make a gel pad like Timber Joey, Portland’s soccer team mascot? Sensory items like gel pads help kids with ADHD, autism, and other processing disorders take a calming break, which allows them to focus on learning.

Large spaces like schools … and stadiums … can be particularly over-stimulating for kids with sensory disorders because of the lights, noise, and action that come with being around lots of people.

To make a gel pad for your classroom, or home, you’ll need:

*Clear pencil pouch that zips

*Hair gel

*Sequins, beads, or small toys

*Glitter

*Duct tape

Fill the pencil pouch with hair gel, about half full. Add two pinches of glitter, three pinches of sequins, and other small decorative toys. Super glue (E6000 recommended) the side of the pouch extensively, especially the area around the zipper. Then, seal the pouch on all four sides with duct tape.

Timber Joey, along with Timbers players and staff, in collaboration with The Shadow Project and two Portland Public Schools occupational therapists, recently made gel pads as part of Major League Soccer’s Week of Community Service. Dozens of the gel pads are on their way to Shadow classrooms. And the remaining pads are now available in PGE Park’s guest services center for anyone who needs a time out.

“I think it’s important that we provide this kind of comfort to anybody coming through our doors who needs it so they have a fuller experience at the stadium,” said Timber Joey.

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Nike Visits Shadow Kids at Chief Joseph

Nike Visits Shadow Kids at Chief Joseph

The Shadow Project students in Mr. Dale Williams’ room at Chief Joseph Elementary were visited last week by one dozen Nike and Oregon Community Foundation employees. Mr. Williams’ fourth grade students gave their visitors a tour of the sensory space in the learning center, designed by The Shadow Project, and talked about how the fidgets and nubby cushions available help them find focus.

“This is my favorite book,” said fourth-grader Giovanni, opening the print version of Diary of a Worm, and reading a short passage. “I use the fidgets to squeeze to help me concentrate.”

Classmate, Mia, demonstrated the Learning Ally audiobooks that are part of the sensory space.

“Learning Ally helps,” said Mia, as she demonstrated to the visitors how to highlight words and make them bigger on the screen while following the story with her ears. “All of my favorite books are available on these audiobooks. This gives me practice with reading, and helps me in life.”

Mr. Williams noted that all of his fourth graders have made great strides in reading since the audiobooks were made available. “Many of my kids are now reading at least one grade level higher than they were when we started on the audiobooks at the beginning of the school year,” he said. “For my kids who struggle with reading, the impact of having access to audiobooks is extremely powerful.”

All of the students in Mr. Williams’ class have increased their reading fluency since the start of the year, according to recent Diebels test scores.

There are 20 students at Chief Joseph who use the audiobooks to read with their ears, and they have read 9,183 pages, the third highest in Portland Public Schools between the start of school through February.