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669 Broadway
Massapequa, NY, 11758
United States

(516) 799-2900

Sensational Development Occupational Therapy of Massapequa, NY provides skilled, child-centered individual and group intervention for children ages birth through 21 who may be experiencing difficulty with daily activities such as self-care, academics, play, social skills, organization, coordination, and behavior. We have teamed up with some of the most dynamic and passionate instructors and we are thrilled to now be offering Yoga! Please call for scheduling and reservations.


Blog posts by the staff at sensational development. We post information and topics of interest for our clients.


Filtering by Category: yoga

Yogapeutics Teacher Training

Sara Rutledge

Back in August I had the opportunity to go to Yogapeutics in Austin, Texas for Aerial Yoga and Mindfulness training.  It was three days of yoga and aerial yoga, play, lots of core work and an abundance of information, ideas and knowledge.  I got to share three days with a small group of women all eager to learn and share in this experience. There were so many aspects of this course that I cannot wait to implement into class and it would take me days to tell you all about everything I learned. 

From the very first time I watched this YouTube Video on what Lindsey was doing at Yogapeutics, I knew we had to try this!  After that, things started to fall into place; the space next door opened up and we crossed paths with an experienced aerial yoga teacher who spent years teaching art and was passionate about sharing in the creativity that aerial yoga presents.

Lindsey Lieneck, OTR/L, is an occupational therapist who has integrated her yoga teaching practice and aerial yoga practice into creating an amazing program of aerial yoga and mindfulness. Lucky for us, Lindsey is passionate about sharing her program and training others to share aerial yoga and mindfulness with children all over the world.  If you have a few minutes, check out Lindsey's site, Yogapeutics.

Using the hammocks has been one of the most incredible sensory tools out there. Using a sensory integrative approach to therapy, we love suspended equipment. The hammocks provide vestibular and proprioceptive input, facilitate motor planning core and upper body strengthening and provide endless opportunities for play, fun and movement. For more info see this post.

Mindfulness. This is a powerful and important concept for all. We can describe this concept to the kids as paying attention with kindness. Paying attention to ourselves, others and our environment.

The MindUp curriculum was something we explored prior to and during the training. The Hawn Foundation's mission is to "transform children’s lives by providing vital social and emotional learning programs to reduce stress and aggressive behavior, improve focus and academic performance and increase resiliency for success in school and in life".  The MindUP curriculum was designed to "teach social and emotional learning skills that link cognitive neuroscience, positive psychology and mindful awareness training utilizing a brain centric approach".  It provides a framework for teaching children about their brains and how they work, how we can use strategies based in neuroscience to increase concentration and self regulation.

Lindsey also introduced us to Carol Dweck's work on Mindset. This is a concept we all incorporate into our interventions already but now have the framework and research to enhance and explain it. We provide intervention to children and their families based on the foundation that our skills and abilities can change. Our bodies, minds and brains are capable of growth and change, therefore improving function and participation in daily life. Carol Dweck outlines fixed and growth mindsets, or beliefs about ourselves and our qualities and abilities.  "Growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way—in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments – everyone can change and grow through application and experience." When you have 10 minutes, watch her TED talk on the Power of Believing You Can Improve

At Sensational Development we are dedicated to enhancing participation and function in daily life. We promote living a sensory rich life and challenging ourselves to grow and change. Our mindful movement programs are another way we can do just that! We are so excited to get these semesters rolling and see where the children take us as well!



Aerial Yoga from an Occupational Therapist’s perspective

Sara Rutledge

When I first came across the Yogapeutics site I was hooked. I had heard of aerial yoga before but I had not fully explored it. As OTs using a sensory integrative frame of reference when working with children, aerial yoga is so exciting!  We use suspended equipment every day  with our clients, and we are always challenging ourselves to come up with new activities, novel ways of using equipment and engaging our kids sensory systems.

The complexity and power of the vestibular system is fascinating to me. It is our sense of movement, contributing to our ability to maintain balance and know where we are in space.  The vestibular system is the only sensory system with direct connections to the cerebellum, and these connections are integral in controlling eye and head movements. It projects to the reticular formation and allows our body to adjust breathing and circulation when the body changes position. It effects our ability to coordinate two sides of the body, maintain attention and organization, maintain postural control, effectively use visual-spatial skills and ocular motor skills. This is only a brief overview of the vestibular system and all of its functions.

Swinging back and forth, jumping up and down and spinning are just a few ways in which we work this system.  Inversion (going upside-down) is  a super powerful way to provide vestibular input!  When children recognize where they are in space and have efficient balance, they are better able to  motor plan the movements necessary for engagement in childhood play.   

There is another system which plays a very important role in body awareness and motor planning.  This system is the proprioceptive sense. The proprioceptive system sends us messages from our muscles and joints. Proprioception can be organizing and calming in addition to being critical for motor planning and coordination. When engaged in climbing, jumping and rolling, children activate this system. Pressure from the hammocks, traction from pulling and hanging all provide proprioceptive input to the muscles and joint of the body.

During an Aerial Yoga class our children activate both the vestibular and proprioceptive systems!    In addition, the hammocks  used in certain Aerial Yoga poses  creates a “womb space”, that can be very calming.

As adults we do not get as much vestibular input as children, and many adults are uncomfortable changing their head position, inverting themselves, swinging or moving in space. Having a strong vestibular system is as important for adults as it is children!

Many poses performed inside the hammocks help to develop upper body and hand strength as the child reaches upward and downward to hold onto the hammocks and even pull themselves up activating their upper body.

As OTs we are able to identify areas that may be impacting a person’s functional abilities and their ability to perform a movement or participate in a class. We can tailor the instruction to meet those needs and push the student outside of their comfort zone.

Mindful Movement at Sensational Development

Sara Rutledge

We have had the great pleasure of working with some amazing children and their families.  We work with kids with varying abilities and backgrounds.  There is a recurring message that I kept hearing from parents and kids.   The stress of school, testing, peer pressure and achievement!!  We know that childhood does present challenges, but they are so young to be  feeling that kind of pressure. 

As adults we are under tremendous pressure too.  I started to think about what makes me feel good.  The answer was right in front of me.  Yoga of course!!!  There is no competition, you work at your own pace, and only push your body as far as it lets you for that day.  In addition, it quiets my mind and allows me to take the deep breaths that I so often forget during a hectic day.   I began to practice yoga as an adult.  How I wish I had been introduced to this as a child. 

I thought of how great it would be if we could start, at this young age, teaching our kids how to breathe to calm their little bodies.  How to still their minds and strengthen their bodies as they grow into adulthood.  The practice of yoga is a beautiful tool to teach our kids to help them survive in this very busy world in which we live.

Yoga is mentally and physically therapeutic.  It strengthens the core, builds upper body strength, improves balance and centers the mind.  When the space next to our clinic became available, we knew what to!    So it began.

When we came across the Yogapeutics website, it felt like someone was speaking to us!! (   If you have been in our clinic you know we have suspended equipment in all our rooms to provide vestibular input and help our kids strengthen their muscles and have fun!! We love to swing!  Yoga in a hammock !! An OT's dream!!!  But neither Sara or I were trained in doing yoga in a hammock!!    Then it happened, we were introduced to Linda. We were able to combine our knowledge of sensory integration and the therapeutic approach to movement, together with Linda's training as a yoga instructor and anti-gravity yoga instructor to offer something so unique to the community!

I am continually amazed to watch how far our kids have come during their yoga practice in a hammock.  They listen, watch and imitate the postures that Linda demonstrates.  Linda is hands on, helping each one, feeling the accomplishment of the postures. She's is intuitive and knows how to work according to the ability of each of our kids.  

Then we were introduced to Maria, a wonderful mom of 2 little boys and a yoga instructor.  Maria provides yoga from 6 weeks of age through teens!!  Her nurturing approach attracts all the little ones to her as she engages them in child poses and crafts to encourage the power of breath.  I look at the children doing the warrior pose, the tree pose and downward dog and again, am amazed at how quickly they pick it up under her caring direction.

We feel blessed to be given this opportunity to help our community, our families and our amazing kids.  Whether they do yoga on a mat or in a hammock, they are making changes and are learning the power of yoga!