Berrie Center Kids Connect with Slime:
A Sensory Therapeutic Experience

One part water, one part glue, one part liquid starch, add a little food coloring and presto, you have just created super gooey slime—a substance that is both icky and sticky yet fun and familiar especially if you’re a child. 

Like Playdoh and Silly Putty before it, making and handling slime can also be a sensory therapeutic experience—which is why two groups of Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center patients (11 and under) recently convened for slime making sessions with Cara Lampron, who has her masters degree in Art Therapy and is the Coordinator of the new Therapeutic Arts program at the Berrie Center.

“Art therapists use sensory materials for a variety of reasons, one is that they tap into the part of the brain which stores memories, and a lot can be elicited from the use of these materials,” said Cara. For example, the tools Cara selected for making slime consisted of medical supplies from the hospital (like kidney-shaped pink bins and syringes). Said Cara, “These tools offer the opportunity for children to share and process their hospital experiences, which some kids never get a chance to do.”

The properties of slime itself can be both soothing and “body-like,“ Cara said, thus, “Slime can connect children to their bodies in a safe and less threatening way. It creates an opportunity to explore and refocus on the self and the situation at hand, whether that’s changing a pump or getting a finger pricked.”

Slime making and art therapy groups, in general, provide insight into how children react to not only materials they use but to projects they complete. “This can be helpful and insightful for me to see and also for the entire team to be aware of,” said Cara. “We can learn a lot about how children cope with disappointment, uncertainty and perseverance.”

Cara co-leads the group with Pediatric Coordinator Kindra Matthews. If you would like your child to participate, they run monthly groups for girls and boys (7 to 11) as well as middle and high school students with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Please check our events page for exact dates and times or email Kindra at ksm2111@cumc.columbia.edu

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