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Dress Up To Calm Down: Costumes With A Purpose

A special thanks for extra lucky moms for having me featured on their blog today!

Hi everyone! My name is Jennifer Glickstein, pediatric occupational therapist and owner of brand-new startup Dress Up to Calm Down.

It has been a long crazy journey to get to where I am today. My love for working with kids with special needs started when I used to volunteer with Special Olympics. I loved that there was such an incredible organization that provided opportunities for kids with special needs to meet others just like them and engage in activities that provided them with a sense of teamwork and inclusivity! I got my undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin Madison with a degree in rehabilitation psychology and special education. As part of my fieldwork, I was the regional event planner for Special Olympics Wisconsin where I spent weekends around Wisconsin planning different tournaments, events and volunteer opportunities for others. I met a lot of amazing players, parents, volunteers and coaches through this. I knew I wanted to continue my passion working with kids with special needs. After undergrad I took a gap year off school and got a job working as a behavior therapist in an ABA clinic called the Minnesota Autism Center. I worked directly with speech therapist and occupational therapists and fell in love with the idea of helping others through learning skills that they would need to be as independent as possible. I applied for OT school in the fall of 2014 and became an Occupational Therapist in the Summer of 2016. I currently work at a private outpatient pediatric clinic called Kids Abilities.

Throughout my journey as an Occupational Therapist and working with a variety of children with conditions ranging from Cerebral Palsy to Autism to just small developmental delays, I have learned that therapeutic tools and interventions are necessary for the success and goal achievements of each of the kids I work with. Weight as a form of therapeutic intervention is a huge component of occupational therapy as it provides “proprioceptive” deep pressure input to the bodies muscles and joints which helps with calming and increased body awareness. For many of my kids I see, they struggle with poor posture at the table and are often seen slouching or resting their head on their hands. They are clumsy. Tripping over their feet and walking down the hallways touching everything in their paths. Many of them are sensory seekers seeking out movement to the point it interferes with their daily lives. Others are sensory avoiders, fearful of movement, hate wet and messy textures, are picky eaters or react to loud noises to name a few. Weighted tools help with both sensory seekers and avoiders by helping slow the body down for sensory seekers and reducing the fight or flight that comes with sensory avoidance.

At my clinic, the only wearable weighted tools available for us therapists to use were denim weighted ves