How to improve brain connections with a frozen cup

Several of our Sensory Enrichment exercises demand that you place something really cold, like an ice cube, against the recipient’s fingertip for two seconds.

The purpose of this strong, direct information is to build connections between the hand’s fine-motor processing, the sense of touch and the corpus callossum. These connections will have great value in the future.

Stimulating each fingertip with a strong, direct piece of information such as ice cold is novel in the sense that we hardly ever get information about pressure with cold temperature, in turn, on all fingers of both hands. The novelty and the strength of the information ensure that the brain will process it quickly and accurately, even in the case of a child or adult with brain injury.

Proper processing strengthens existing connections and allows for the growth of new connections.

For some of our exercises, the implementation can be tricky.

The main problem with ice is that it melts! We advise parents to keep the ice cube in a small, plastic bag (e.g. snack bag or sandwich bag). This way, the recipient will not have to process additional information such as dripping and a sensation of wetness.

Here is another suggestion for working with ice cubes:

use a disposable styrofoam cup.

Fill the disposable cup to the brim with water. Freeze this water, then, as needed, peel off a small portion of the top of the cup to expose just enough of the ice for the contact with the fingertips.

While dripping is still a possibility, it is kept to a minimum and presents the added bonus that styrofoam is warm to the touch and the parent does not have to freeze his or her fingers while doing the exercise.

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