Sometimes, a problem can’t be solved by the law alone–sometimes it requires fidget mats. While Twyla Sketchley uses her legal expertise to help her community, she also uses her creativity and sewing to help seniors with dementia, people with disabilities, and children who just need to fidget. Fidget mats occupy restless hands, stimulate the mind through touch and focus on texture. These therapeutic blankets can help individuals develop or practice fine motor skills. They also help individuals feel calm in new or busy environments. These blankets or mats can come in a variety of colors, sizes, themes, and textures.
Fidget Mats Explained
Ms. Sketchley spends her free time in the evenings and on weekends creating elaborate and beautiful fidget mats. These fidget mats are designed to occupy children, elderly, people with dementia, traumatic brain injuries or people with ADHD. These blankets, often known as fidget blankets or fidget mats, are brightly colored and soft, and designed to be both comforting and visually stimulating. The blankets are typically covered in interesting, but safe, objects that offer visual and physical stimulation for the individual. Many have memory-stimulating tasks such as zippers, tying, and buttoning. The objects help keep the person’s mind occupied, reduce agitation, and decrease anxiety.
Ms. Sketchley is passionate about using all of her skills to help the surrounding community anyway she can. She has donated homemade fidget blankets to a variety of local organizations including the Alzheimer’s Project and Brehon Family Services. She has also made them for her colleagues’ law offices, hospital geriatric departments, Sunday school classes, and even her family members.
How Fidget Mats are Made
To create these toys and fidget mats, Ms. Sketchley carefully combs craft stores to find colorful buttons, interesting soft toys, ribbons, and unique trim. She also collects shells from the beach (because everyone needs a touch of the beach) to add to her creations and spends time creating squares that mimic familiar tasks, including buttoning shirt cuffs, adjusting ties and tying shoes. She creates them with all genders, ages, and abilities to customize her creations for the diverse community around her.
Below are just a few of her imaginative creations!