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Facilitation Technique Category: Sensory Stimulation

Activity Title: Rice Grab


Source: Dattilo, J., & McKenney, A. (2011) Facilitation Techniques in Therapeutic
Recreation. State College, PA: Venture Publishing, Inc
Pfeiffer, B. A., Koenig, K., Kinnealey, M., Sheppard, M., & Henderson, L. (2011).
Effectiveness of sensory integration interventions in children with autism spectrum
disorders: A pilot study. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65(1), 76-85.
Equipment: 20lbs. rice, 2 dishpans, 2 blindfolds, 20 small objects (balls, quarters, med.
caps).
Activity Description: By nature, humans are multi-sensory beings, who require
stimulation in regards to our gustatory, tactile, visual, auditory, olfactory systems, as well
as proprioceptive and vestibular systems. Sensory stimulation is important because, it is
necessary for survival, development, health, learning, functioning, safety, security,
reproduction, nourishment, and quality of life. The activity that will be discussed this
week, is called Rice Grab, and the objective is to stimulate the sensory, and hand/arm
movement. The activity is played by having two blindfolded clients reach their hands into
each pan (that consists of 5lb of rice and 10 objects each) and try to locate as many
different objects in the rice as they can.
Leadership Considerations: A CTRS will function as an instructor for this activity, and
he/she will assist the client if any help is needed. If there are any limitations that a client
may have or that has already been diagnosed as having, it is essential that the CTRS
gather this information as early as possible. This is done so the leader can have time to
prepare/adjust the activities, according to the specific clients needs. The level of
closeness between the leader or between the clients is all up to the client, they can be as
far or as close as they feel comfortable being. More specifically inclined to this weeks
activity though, the following considerations should be followed: 1) taking precautions in
reference to choosing sensory-based activities and materials due to helping to prevent
adverse effects from secondary health conditions (as in dont use small non-food item
that could be a choking hazard, unstable equipment, or stimuli that could evoke agitation
and aggression). 2) A full assessment of the clients behaviors and reactions to stimuli
should be taken in order to best choose activities that can stimulate his/her clients needs.
And 3) the leader should remember that the goal is to not only promote engagement in
activities in structured therapy sessions, but to also design activity experiences that
motivate the client to continue activity engagement in other settings.
Adaptations: Participants with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: Amyotrophic Lateral
Sclerosis (ALS), is a progressive neurological disease that destroys nerve cells and causes
disability. ALS is commonly referred to as Lou Gehrigs disease, who was a famous
baseball player who was diagnosed with the disease. ALS is a type of neuron disease in
which nerve cells gradually break down and die. Symptoms can include: difficulty

walking or doing normal daily activities, tripping and falling, weakness in legs, hand
weakness or clumsiness, slurred speech/trouble swallowing, muscle cramps, and
difficulty holding head up or maintaining good posture. Now when thinking about
adaptations for clients who have ALS, it is extremely important to remember that
although making them move around and some sort of physical activity is important, it is
equally important to not have them do activities that will overly fatigue them (because
due to the degenerative properties of their muscles, it can be very harmful to them). And
so depending on the level of progression each client with ALS has, will determine what
adaptations are suitable for each person. For example, for clients who have problems with
their neck and or wrists, splints and braces are a good way to hold those body parts in the
correct anatomical position (without harm them). Like a wrist cock-up splint is used to
help clients hold thing without the muscles in their wrist having to overstretch (can be
used to allow autonomy of clients to play game), and if someones hand cramps up or is
forced into a fist, they staff may provide a resting hand splint (that combined with wraps)
can help stretch out the hand so it can return to its normal resting position. Additionally
for clients who have a hard time walking, a cane can be used (but make sure the client
holds the cane opposite of the side of their weaker leg for better stability). Or clients may
also use a walker for walking assistance (make sure the walker is a proper height, should
be below/near waist level, with the client arms slightly bent and not completely stretched
out). And lastly if the client does not the best use of their hands, then the objects in the
rice bowl can be replaced for random fruits. And the new objective would be for the
client to smell a variety of different fruits, and then decipher which is which by simply
the aroma of each fruit (while they eyes are blindfolded) (Rowland & Shneider, 2001).
Adaptations: Participants with Sensory Processing Disorder: Sensory processing
Disorder is a disorder where the brain has a hard time with receiving and responding that
comes through the senses. Clients who have this disorder usually either overreact or
under-react to certain situations/stimuli that bother them. Now in order to help adapt the
environment to our client, one possible adaptations could be providing noise-canceling
headphones to block out the possibility of over stimulating noises in the background (like
leaf blowers, or kids screaming). Another thing that may over stimulate them are
overpowering odors. So if the leader of the activity can ask what odors/smells may
trigger a negative reaction, that would be helpful. Another good adaptations included the
aspects of the room/environment. By having the room dimly lit, with natural lighting, and
not having over stimulating colors around them, this will help the client feel more
comfortable and at ease. And lastly, by asking whether or not the client is more
sensitive/fragile to touch or aroma, will decide whether or not to go with the rice bowl
activity (if theyre overly sensitive to aromas), or the fruit smelling activity (mentioned in
for clients who have ALS) for clients who are more sensitive to touch/textures (Dunn &
Myles, 2002).

Adaptations References
- Dunn, W., Myles, B. S., & Orr, S. (2002). Sensory processing issues associated with
Asperger syndrome: A preliminary investigation. American Journal of Occupational
Therapy, 56(1), 97-102.
- Rowland, L. P., & Shneider, N. A. (2001). Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. New England
Journal of Medicine, 344(22), 1688-1700.