SIRRI Arizona

Happy New Year!

Information Session

Tuesday, January 11th

6:30 PM - 8:30 PM


More Information

Please contact SIRRI

at (480) 777-7075 or e-mail

to reserve your seat(s).

If you are unable to attend,

please call for a free

one-on-one Consultation.

The Top Twenty Funny, Fascinating, and Unusual World Wide Customs To Celebrate New Year

  1. Baby New Year Tradition - The tradition of using a baby to signify the New Year was started around 600 BC by the ancient Greeks, who, at the start of a year would carry a baby around in a basket. The purpose of it was to honor Dionysus, the God of Fertility and symbolize his annual rebirth. This custom is still practiced in parts of Greece.
  2.  Hogmanay - The New Year in Scotland is called Hogmanay. Some people in Scotland follow a ritual that appears quite strange but it actually has a great significance. One can find barrels of tar set on fire and gradually rolled down the streets in the villages of Scotland. This ritual symbolizes that the old year is burned up and New Year is going to begin.
  3. Burning "Mr Old Year" - In Columbia, Cuba and Puerto Rico families stuff a life-size male doll with things and then they dress it up in old clothes donated from each family member. At the stroke of midnight, this "Mr Old Year" is set on fire. This is done with the simple belief that dolls thus stuffed have bad memories or sadness associated with them, and that the burning of these will help one to do away with past unhappiness and usher in happiness in life with the coming year.
  4. Eating Noodles - Late on the evening of December 31st, people from Japan might eat a bowl of buckwheat noodles called "toshikoshisoba" [year-crossing noodles] and listen for the sound of the Buddhist temple bells, which are rung 108 times at midnight.  The sound of these bells is said to purify the listeners of the 108 sins or evil passions that 'plague every human being'.
  5. Eating 12 Grapes - In Spain people eat 12 grapes as the clock strikes midnight (one each time the clock chimes) on New Year's Eve. This peculiar ritual originated in the 20th century when freak weather conditions resulted in an unseasonable bumper harvest of grapes. Not able to decide what to do about so many grapes at Christmas time, the King of Spain and the grape growers came up with the idea of the New Year ritual.
  6. Gifts in Shoes - In Greece children leave their shoes by the fireside on New Year's Day, which, incidentally, is also the Festival of Saint Basil in Greece, with the hope that Saint Basil, who was famous for his kindness, will come and fill their shoes with gifts.
  7. Carrying a Suitcase - In Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, and Mexico, those with hopes of travelling in the New Year carry a suitcase around the house at midnight.  Some people may even carry it around the block to ensure travelling at greater distances.
  8. Burning Crackers - People in China believe that there are evil spirits that roam the earth. So on New Year they burn crackers to scare the evil spirits.The doors and windows of many homes in China can be seen sealed with paper.  This is to keep the evil demons out.
  9. Foods - It was thought that one could affect the luck they would have throughout the coming year by what they did or ate on the first day of the year. It is still held, for example, in some regions that special New Year foods are the harbingers of luck. For that reason, the Dutch believe that eating donuts on New Year's Day will bring good fortune. The hog, and its meat, is considered lucky because it symbolizes prosperity. Cabbage is another "good luck" vegetable that is consumed on New Year's Day by many. Cabbage leaves are also considered a sign of prosperity, being representative of paper currency. In some regions, rice is a lucky food that is eaten on New Year's Day. The ancient Persians gave New Year's gifts of eggs, which symbolized productiveness.


    New Year Traditions
  10. American resolutions – We learn that 40% to 45% of American adults make one or more New Year's resolutions each year. These range may from debt reduction to giving up bad habits. The most common resolutions appear to deal with weight loss, to exercise more and to giving up smoking.
  11. New York Times Square Celebrations - The first Ball lowering celebration atop One Times Square in the USA was held on December 31st , 1907 and is now a worldwide symbol of the turn of the New Year, seen via satellite by more than one billion people each year. The original New Year's Eve Ball weighed 700 pounds and was 5 feet in diameter. It was made of iron and wood and was decorated with 100 25-watt light bulbs.
  12. Black-eyed peas - Many parts of the USA celebrate the new year by consuming black-eyed peas. These legumes are typically accompanied by either hog jowls or ham. Black-eyed peas and other legumes have been considered good luck in many cultures.
  13. Rings - Many cultures believe that anything in the shape of a ring is good luck, because it symbolizes "coming full circle," or completing a year's cycle.
  14. Wearing new slippers - In China, many people wear, in the new year, a new pair of slippers that were bought before the new year, because it suggests stepping on the people who gossip about you.
  15. Sealed doors and windows - During new year, the doors and windows of every home in China can be seen sealed with paper. The Chinese think that this will succeed in keep the evil demons out.
  16. Jewish New Year – is known as Rosh Hashanah. It is a holy time when Jews recall the things they have done wrong in the past, and then promise to do better in the future. Special services are held in the synagogues, children are given new clothes and New Year loaves are baked to remind people of harvest time. 
  17. Japanese New Year - On New Year's Day in Japan, everyone gets dressed in their new clothes. Homes are decorated with pine branches and bamboo, both of which are considered to be the symbols of long life.
  18. New Love – Apparently, in Mexico, wearing red underwear on New Year's Eve is said to bring new love in the upcoming year.
  19. First city to celebrate - Sydney, Australia, hosts the first major New Year's Eve celebration each year.
  20. "Auld Lang Syne" was written by Robert Burns in 1741 and literally means 'old long since,' or 'days gone by.' This song is traditionally sung in many countries at midnight on January 1st , signalling the beginning of the New Year.







Balanced Vision:

How the Visual and Vestibular Systems Interact

By Jason Clopton, OD, FCOVD

(Reprinted from Developmental Delay Resources,DDR,

at: )

As an optometrist trained in the intimate details of the visual system, I used to think of the vestibular system and visual system as two totally separate entities. As the husband of a pediatric, sensory-trained, occupational therapist and co-owner of a multidisciplinary therapy private practice, I was forced to learn about the other sensory systems. While working toward my fellowship from the College of Optometrists in Vision

Development (COVD), I began to understand the relationship between vision and vestibular. After taking courses and doing research on how the vision and vestibular systems work together, I no longer consider the two systems as separate. I have learned that evaluating and treating the vestibular system is as important to my patients’ outcomes as proper evaluation and treatment of their visual systems.


What is the vestibular system? Sometimes called the “balance system,” the vestibular system is located in the inner ear. It is the first fully myelinated sensorimotor system of the human body, and is fully functional at birth, because the mother’s movements during pregnancy stimulate vestibular development in the fetus. The job of the vestibular system is to sense changes in motion. It is not a motion detector, but rather more of an accelerometer of sorts. It senses both linear and

rotational acceleration/deceleration and gravity. It lets us know our position with gravity and whether or not we are moving. It registers linear motion through the utricles (mostly horizontal), and saccules (mostly vertical), which together make up organs called otoliths. Registration of rotary motion is through the six semicircular canals. Stimulation of the otoliths releases serotonin producing calmness, relaxation and lowered tone. Stimulation of the semicircular canals releases adrenaline producing excitation, arousal and increased tone.


Physiologically, the vestibular system is connected to the digestive tract, language center of the brain, the limbic system and to the muscles of the eyes. A well-functioning vestibular system will thus contribute to healthy digestion, the emergence of receptive and expressive communication, emotional bonding, and visual focus. Consider what happens when an adult lifts a baby off the ground playfully, holds the child overhead, smiles and babbles at him. A child with a well-functioning vestibular system returns the smile, makes eye contact, babbles back, and in some cases, throws up! What an amazing system it is! Normalizing vestibular function is crucial for all children’s development to proceed in a predictable, efficient fashion.


Why is the vestibular system so important to vision?

Looking at the vestibular system in isolation neglects its important integrative properties. Instead, view it as a part of a marvelously created sensory system that integrates with

touch, body awareness, sound, and especially vision. The efficiency of vestibular system affects almost every type of sensory integration, most importantly vision. From the beginning of life, the vestibular system is essential to vision. It holds the eyes aligned for a time after birth, until the visual system is mature enough to function. It may very well play a significant role in strabismus (eye turns) because of its vital role

prenatally and in early development. The vestibular system allows us to keep our eyes on a target without drifting away via

the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR). The VOR has two parts, translational (linear) and rotational (rotary). Sound familiar? Remember the otoliths and semicircular canal functions? The “dance” produced by the otoliths and the semi-circular canals, as they adjust activity level and tone effect eye movements and focus. The vestibular system works in conjunction with the visual system to detect head and body motion as well as eye movement. This interaction is called the opto-kinetic system,

which serves as the body’s motion detection system, and allows us to make two types of eye movements. Slow, steady, smooth eye movements called “pursuits,” and large eye jumps that occur without blur in between points A and B called “saccades,” take place effortlessly when the visual/vestibular interaction is intact.


How does the vestibular system “balance” the visual system?

The three semicircular canals on each side of the head work in almost the same plane of regard as the extra ocular muscles of the eye. Each eye has six muscles surrounding it. Each canal innervates two ipsi-lateral and two contra-lateral muscles

affecting the plane of action of the muscles that match.

There’s more! How would an ENT physican, a neuro-otologist, or a well – trained physical therapist all evaluate the vestibular system? By looking into a patient’s eyes! They might observe the presence and duration of rapid eye movements, called postrotary nystagmus, following the cessation of a period of spinning, which indicate how well the vestibular system and vision are functioning together. The presence of optokinetic nystagmus in infants as young as four to six months of age

tells us that the brain is learning to process motion. Because of the pairing of vision and vestibular systems, evaluating optokinetic nystagmus can help eye care professionals

make a differential diagnosis of esotropia, or an infantile eye turn.


Many patients with brain injury have hyperactive vestibular systems, which their brains register as motion sickness, because the eyes register the hypersensitivity as perceived

peripheral motion. Every one of hundreds of patients I have examined with visual processing, pursuit, or saccade difficulties has an abnormal post-rotary nystagmus. Many studies dating from the 1960’s showing the visual-vestibular relationship. A

review of the literature on the relationship between vestibular function and vision showed that children with developmental delays who received therapy in both areas made the best progress. While vestibular intervention alone improved balance, sensory integration and socialization, adding visual therapy and including the use of lenses and prisms also improved binocular function.*


Stating that the vision and vestibular systems are related is an

understatement. To say that they are both involved in development is insufficient. To say that they are a single integrated system may cause some professionals to look at

you funny. When they learn about this remarkable relationship, they understand.  In treatment of anyone with a vision, balance or other problem, professionals simply cannot look at an isolated sensorimotor system; they must look at them all. And we haven’t even talked about proprioception, tactile, or auditory processing and their relationship to vision. We’ll leave that for another article.


*Solan HA, Shelley‐Tremblay J, Larson S. Vestibular function, sensory integration and balance anomalies: a brief

literature review. Optom Vis Dev 2007; 38:1‐5. 

Did You Know?

You may have been a client prior to SIRRI offering these services for both children & adults:

  • Neurofeedback & Biofeedback
  • qEEG / Brain Mapping
  • Cognitive Retraining: memory, processing & problem solving skills
  • Attention, Concentration & Focus Training
  • Reading Development: fluency & comprehension
  • Balance, Coordination & Motor Planning Development
  • Stress & Anxiety Management
  • IEP Advocacy

Upcoming 2011 Session Dates

for the Sensory Learning Program:

Monday January 17 through Friday January 28

Monday February 7 through Friday February 18

Monday February 28 through Friday March 11

Monday March 14 through Friday March 25


SIRRI is looking for Speech Therapists & Occupational Therapists with strong pediatric experience as well as experience with Sensory Processing Disorder.

Please E-Mail Resume or Fax to (480) 777-7119

SIRRI Arizona • 4515 S. McClintock Drive, Suite 208 • Tempe, AZ 85282
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