Dr. Nielsen invested a great deal of time researching and refining the designs for her "perceptualizing aids" or the equipment associated with her Active Learning instructional approach. For this reason we strongly recommend that you purchase only authenic Active Learning Equipment. The authorized dealer in the United States is LilliWorks at www.lilliworks.org.
Design Principles of Active Learning Equipment
The basic principles involved in designing the Active Learning environments are:
- Feedback: The environment must supply strong responses in multiple modes (auditory, tactile, gustatory, old factory, visual, vestibular).
- Support: The child must be supported appropriately in all positions (supine, prone, sitting, standing).
- Richness: Related to feedback, the environment must be filled with objects so that minor actions are rewarded with feedback.
- Variety: However rich and responsive the environment is, it must be changed periodically in accordance with and to promote developmental changes.
To learn more about the purpose and use of each of these items you may also want to view Dr. Nielsen "R" Video-Perceptualizing Aids: How, Why and When DVD which is available through LilliWorks.
Essef Board™ and Essef Board Stand™
The Essef Board is designed to promote increased balance skills in sitting and standing, and to promote increased use of the lower extremities. Two springs can be removed to make the board more bouncy, allowing options in adapting the equipment to meet the needs of the individual using it. The Essef Board can be used to push or kick against, to sit, stand or jump on. It can be combined with the Essef Board Stand to change the angle of the surface, thus allowing for the learner to push off of the Essef Board while lying in prone or when placed in a net-swing.
Little Room (R)
The Little Room is designed to provide the individual with multiple special needs a rich environment to gain skills in spatial relations, fine motor development, object concept, gross motor development, and independent play activity. The Little Room must be properly populated with graspable objects that provide appropriate sensory and motor feedback of interest to the individual learner. The side panels provide additional sensory and motor input and can be repositioned to address the needs of the current user. The Little Room can be configured for a learner who can or cannot sit unsupported and for children who are short or tall. The Little Room is typically positioned on top of a Resonance Board.
Multi-Function Activity Table™
The Multi-Function Activity Table (MFAT) allows the learner to initiate a large variety of cognitive and fine motor activities while sitting on the floor, in a chair or wheelchair. The tabletop provides three interchangeable parts, with six surfaces provided - three sections with plastic containers, a velcro surface, magnetic surface, wood and pegboard surface. The MFAT allows the learner to use the entire surface as a perceptual field. It promotes mixing materials, constructing, manipulating, integrating, categorization, problem solving and symbolization. The tabletop allows for sensory play.
The Support Bench is designed to allow the learner to be active in a prone (on stomach) position, in an effort to help learners who cannot sit unsupported. As a result of its use, the learner improves head control, coordination of arm and leg movements, strengthening of neck and back muscles, and trunk control. The Support Bench is fully adjustable, proving support for the upper torso, while allowing the learner's hands to be free, promoting fine motor activity. The Support Bench allows individuals with special needs true Active Learning “tummy time”. Objects that provide appropriate sensory and motor feedback should be placed underneath the support bench, both near the learners hands and feet. The Support Bench is typically positioned on top of a Resonance Board. (An optional head rest is available for learners unable to support the weight of their head in prone.)
The Resonance Board is used for independent activity, or in conjunction with the Little Room and Support Bench. It is designed to give the learner a reinforced stimulation every time he/she moves. Individuals with special needs require input through all of the senses. The Resonance Board provides this feedback during activity through vibration and auditory feedback. Constructed properly and made from quality birch plywood on a raised wood trim, Resonance Boards are most useful when constructed in sizes 4'x4', 4'x6' and 4'x8'. Resonance Boards are available for purchase from Lilliworks.com, but can be hand-made as well.
The Folding Resonance Board has a continuous hinge, intended for itinerant therapists only, as the hinge slightly reduces the resonating quality of the wood. It folds fully in half to 2′ x4′.
The HOPSA-dress is designed to give learners who are unable to stand independently, the opportunity to actively move their legs while in a standing position. Over time, individuals with special needs can improve arm and leg movements, head control, trunk control, muscle strengthening, practice weight bearing, improve circulation, improve balance and achieve the skills necessary for standing and walking. The Velcro belt secures the child, and has a snap quick release. The HOPSA-Dress can be attached to a single point such as an eye hook on a swing set, to a track system to allow the learner to move in a straight line over a specific distance, or to a floating H-track system to allow for free movement in any direction. It is manufactured in three sizes to fit children and adults. The HOPSA-dress is attached to a crossbar for support, which is then secured using a pulley or lift system.