30 Jul 2012

White noise apps to help inattentive children focus on schoolwork

http://www.behavioralandbrainfunctions.com/content/6/1/55

The effects of background white noise on memory performance in inattentive school children

This is a Swedish journal article (in English) about how white noise can potentially be of help with inattentive school children. There are a lot of cheap white noise apps you can buy and some I think are even free. However, the white noise actually worsened attention for children who are typically attentive. It goes into some of the neuroscience involved with why kids with ADHD would be helped by it, and it wasn’t just because it masked other noises. Interesting article, I recommend at least skimming it. It does also say there are individual differences though, so this is NOT saying immediately play white noise for all kids with ADHD. I do like the idea, however, of trying white noise apps with headphones on for SOME kids while doing independent work…
Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

29 Jul 2012

OT blogging mid-life crisis

I’m working on weaning off my basic sleep medication (my entire life, sleeping has been an issue) so that means I’m awake. Actually, it’s only 1030pm on a Saturday so that’s not crazy. But my best friend is spending the night (yes, we’re 29, but she lives in Tijuana across the border so this is easier!) and she went to bed an hour ago. So I feel like I’m up late!

I’ve been seeing and learning about quite a few high-quality new blogs in the OT blogosphere that I think I’ve recently mentioned or linked to, and I just finished reading a bunch of Katie Riley’s blog posts about PR/Media. And I have a case of jealousy. I love my blog and I love writing, but I’m just such a rambler. Why write something in three words when I can write three hundred? AHAHAHAHA. I like typing out my thoughts, I like typing, and I don’t like editing. I typically write a post quickly, then post it, and don’t re-read it or try to make it shorter. I actually enjoy reading long posts so I don’t think twice about it. Most of the time.
But then a night like tonight, after reading about talking in “sound bytes” to recorders, and being succinct, etc, I feel kind of lost and sad and stupid (and I keep hearing what sound like gun shots??!! so if this is the last post you ever see, I totally died. Hopefully not!!!! Maybe my blog will become posthumously popular though….I wonder if i can access statcounter.com from Heaven???) Just kidding. On most of it. Except the sounds, I do hear those. Moving on, did I mention succinctness is an issue, I doubt all my work on this blog, and the point, and feel like I should just start writing short little things, and that most of my blog is worthless. The problem is, not counting my summer breaks from my OT school job, I don’t have much time I can give this blog, except as a therapeutic reflection tool or to keep things going. I don’t have the interest or time to make this the professional blog that gets me 40,000+ hits a month and is media-friendly…it’s not my personality. I wish it was. 
I know I have some long-term readers here (ie 5 years, wow), and you probably recognize I go through a mini mid-life blogging crisis every once in a while. This is one of those times where I go out and buy my blog a new convertible and a gym membership. I need to figure out how I want to approach the future. Shorter posts? Less rambly posts? Keeping rambly posts but making it so where have to click a link to read it if it’s gonna be more than a paragraph? Less diversity? More diversity? More professionalism? I don’t know. The point of this blog, ultimately, is to both provide as a therapeutic outlet for me AND hopefully be at times helpful to others, but how to make those two more supplementary to each other,….I repeat. I don’t know. I don’t know. I love redundancy too, anybody notice that I like repeating myself??? 😉 😉 Ahh, I crack me up.
So. Here’s the deal. I do plan to try and add labels to future posts, and slowly start going back and adding labels to older posts (I have over 1,600 so that’s not easy), but it was a recent suggestion and a good one. I think the main reason I haven’t been good about labels is that I usually blog via my e-mail, so I don’t have label access then. I’ll try to write future posts that have more singular topics and don’t go all over the place. And while I will, pessimistically, probably not succeed, as my glass is not only half-empty but cracked and ugly, I will try to think more…focusedly (apparently that’s not a word but let’s go with it, shall we?) AUGH MORE NOISES anyway, more focusedly, with my future posts as I rethink what this blog does for me and what it does for the OT community, if anything!
That would have been a good ending, right there. But we’ve established I don’t do things correctly. So I want to say one last thing, that I’m also pondering on what I would like to write for another article. I know I still want to write about OT in a third-world country based on my shadowing in Bogota, Colombia, for an OT magazine. But I would also like to MORE NOISES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! write some things for some mainstream publications….like Anne Zachry (sp?) is doing over in Memphis. She rocks. 
Finally, Jan Olsen of Handwriting without Tears was mentioned in this month’s Costco Connection, which just came and I would have eventually read and discovered myself, but my mom saw it first and let me know. 🙂 
There. Now let’s stop at this awkward junction, shall we??? 
Happy Olympics 🙂 
PS1: Watching the Olympics tonight, I was thinking that the 37 year old Australian sand volleyball player was lucky to still have full uses of her shoulders and if she has had rotator cuff issues in the past….these are the things OTs think about.
PS2: I’ll admit it, I shamelessly am begging for comments telling me what you do and do not want to see, what you do and do not like, etc…
PS3: Even on my most doubt-filled days of my own professional worth, I never doubt for a second that the IDEALS of occupational therapy – OT at its best – are absolutely phenomenal. 
PS4: I have scheduled a lost of posts for the future so who knows what’s coming in the days to come.
PS5: I have several product review blog posts coming up – on Dycem, PenAgain, Classroom Solutions Foot Fidgets, in the weeks to come. 
PS6: Remember what I said about rambling???? 😡 
PS7: So I sent this via e-mail and it normally posts immediately but something was weird so I am re-posting via blogger, so maybe you will see this twice. Guess we will find out. 

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 5

29 Jul 2012

My blogging mid-life crisis

I'm working on weaning off my basic sleep medication (my entire life, sleeping has been an issue) so that means I'm awake. Actually, it's only 1030pm on a Saturday so that's not crazy. But my best friend is spending the night (yes, we're 29, but she lives in Tijuana across the border so this is easier!) and she went to bed an hour ago. So I feel like I'm up late!

I've been seeing and learning about quite a few high-quality new blogs in the OT blogosphere that I think I've recently mentioned or linked to, and I just finished reading a bunch of Katie Riley's blog posts about PR/Media. And I have a case of jealousy. I love my blog and I love writing, but I'm just such a rambler. Why write something in three words when I can write three hundred? AHAHAHAHA. I like typing out my thoughts, I like typing, and I don't like editing. I typically write a post quickly, then post it, and don't re-read it or try to make it shorter. I actually enjoy reading long posts so I don't think twice about it. Most of the time.
But then a night like tonight, after reading about talking in “sound bytes” to recorders, and being succinct, etc, I feel kind of lost and sad and stupid (and I keep hearing what sound like gun shots??!! so if this is the last post you ever see, I totally died. Hopefully not!!!! Maybe my blog will become posthumously popular though….I wonder if i can access statcounter.com from Heaven???) Just kidding. On most of it. Except the sounds, I do hear those. Moving on, did I mention succinctness is an issue, I doubt all my work on this blog, and the point, and feel like I should just start writing short little things, and that most of my blog is worthless. The problem is, not counting my summer breaks from my OT school job, I don't have much time I can give this blog, except as a therapeutic reflection tool or to keep things going. I don't have the interest or time to make this the professional blog that gets me 40,000+ hits a month and is media-friendly…it's not my personality. I wish it was. 
I know I have some long-term readers here (ie 5 years, wow), and you probably recognize I go through a mini mid-life blogging crisis every once in a while. This is one of those times where I go out and buy my blog a new convertible and a gym membership. I need to figure out how I want to approach the future. Shorter posts? Less rambly posts? Keeping rambly posts but making it so where have to click a link to read it if it's gonna be more than a paragraph? Less diversity? More diversity? More professionalism? I don't know. The point of this blog, ultimately, is to both provide as a therapeutic outlet for me AND hopefully be at times helpful to others, but how to make those two more supplementary to each other,….I repeat. I don't know. I don't know. I love redundancy too, anybody notice that I like repeating myself??? 😉 😉 Ahh, I crack me up.
So. Here's the deal. I do plan to try and add labels to future posts, and slowly start going back and adding labels to older posts (I have over 1,600 so that's not easy), but it was a recent suggestion and a good one. I think the main reason I haven't been good about labels is that I usually blog via my e-mail, so I don't have label access then. I'll try to write future posts that have more singular topics and don't go all over the place. And while I will, pessimistically, probably not succeed, as my glass is not only half-empty but cracked and ugly, I will try to think more…focusedly (apparently that's not a word but let's go with it, shall we?) AUGH MORE NOISES anyway, more focusedly, with my future posts as I rethink what this blog does for me and what it does for the OT community, if anything!
That would have been a good ending, right there. But we've established I don't do things correctly. So I want to say one last thing, that I'm also pondering on what I would like to write for another article. I know I still want to write about OT in a third-world country based on my shadowing in Bogota, Colombia, for an OT magazine. But I would also like to MORE NOISES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! write some things for some mainstream publications….like Anne Zachry (sp?) is doing over in Memphis. She rocks. 
Finally, Jan Olsen of Handwriting without Tears was mentioned in this month's Costco Connection, which just came and I would have eventually read and discovered myself, but my mom saw it first and let me know. 🙂 
There. Now let's stop at this awkward junction, shall we??? 
Happy Olympics 🙂 
PS1: Watching the Olympics tonight, I was thinking that the 37 year old Australian sand volleyball player was lucky to still have full uses of her shoulders and if she has had rotator cuff issues in the past….these are the things OTs think about.
PS2: I'll admit it, I shamelessly am begging for comments telling me what you do and do not want to see, what you do and do not like, etc…
PS3: Even on my most doubt-filled days of my own professional worth, I never doubt for a second that the IDEALS of occupational therapy – OT at its best – are absolutely phenomenal. 
PS4: I have scheduled a lost of posts for the future so who knows what's coming in the days to come.
PS5: I have several product review blog posts coming up – on Dycem, PenAgain, Classroom Solutions Foot Fidgets, in the weeks to come. 
PS6: Remember what I said about rambling???? 😡 
Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

26 Jul 2012

Patient perspective, ADVANCE series

I enjoyed reading all four parts of this ADVANCE patient perspective series about a woman who had a spinal cord injury. I think more and more online sites are trying to get patient perspective which I love, I think that is the most interesting part of all.

Click that link to see all four parts of her journey, from getting sick to recovery. 
Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none | Tags: ,

25 Jul 2012

Public school could use a little Waldorf infusion ;)

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/23/technology/at-waldorf-school-in-silicon-valley-technology-can-wait.html?_r=1&emc=lm&m=664136&l=4&v=2724938

I work in public schools, but I have to say I like the philosophy of the Waldorf schools. I agree little ones don’t need to be learning so much from screens and really would do better with more movement-based activities incorporated into their learning. Of course technology has its place, but overall, I can’t imagine any OT who doesn’t agree with the idea that children need more movement and creativity built into their school day. Too bad that’s so hard now but some teachers get creative in public school with how to make that happen! 🙂 
Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 3

24 Jul 2012

Infographic on video games improving our health!

Ethan wrote me a lovely e-mail a while ago and we corresponded briefly. He showed me this awesome infographic but I don’t have nearly the technical knowledge I need to know how to host it myself, so he wrote this up for me. I recommend checking out the infographic that he describes below, it’s quite nicely done! And while I’m not a fan of LOTS of screen time, in small doses, it’s awesome. 🙂 I know a lot of OT rehab clients at my first job loved working with the Wii, and the Kinect is even cooler these days. Anybody see Erik of OT Army Fame, in the tech session at AOTA conference, playing Star Wars? Soo funny. He uses it a lot with his veterans.

Often times we think of video gaming as something sedentary (sitting on the couch comes to mind), but several consoles have started reshaping the way we view video games — namely Nintendo’s Wii and Xbox Kinect. These video game consoles have more than just fun applications with your friends on a Friday night. Now, health professionals are finding new ways of using these devices to help people with illnesses and general health. Check out this infographic from Big Fish Games that talks a little bit more about how video games are improving our health.

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

24 Jul 2012

Pre-Handwriting

I have deja vu, I think I’ve posted this before, but now I have a new system so it won’t happen again of re-posting pictures I find in Picasa. Anyway, great pre-writing skill. Take your little ones to the beach and practice vertical and horizontal lines!! 🙂 

Posted by Picasa
Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

23 Jul 2012

"Jane's" Journey

I think it's interesting to see how people's OT journeys progress from the pre-OT days. So this is a sweet girl who e-mailed me a long time ago and I just got an update on her. She said I could post her journey if I got rid of her name. 🙂 


 I decided to move from Washington state (where I’ve lived forever) to North Dakota for OT school! Well, hopefully! I am finishing my last pre-reqs this year, and will apply to OT school in December. I decided on this school because it was the most affordable for me (actually cheaper than staying in state, if you can believe that!). It’s been fun, the last few months, doing volunteer hours in preparation for applying to Grad school. After every facility I spend time at, I realize I am even more sure that this is the field I am meant for!
 
I have also been in touch with your pal Eric (Army OT guy). I had no idea they had a program like that, and it sounds pretty sweet. So hopefully I will get into the grad program at UND, then my next focus will be doing well so that I can hopefully go through the Army’s DScOT program! I don’t know, maybe I have some lofty goals – but I guess it’s better to dream big!

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

23 Jul 2012

W-Sitting, by SouthPaw's OT/writer Deanna Macioce

This article was sent in Paw Print, which is the e-mail newsletter of of South Paw at http://www.southpawenterprises.com/
They have a lot of cool stuff for sale on their website and the newsletter always has a thoughtful article in it like the one below. They sell stuff related to fine motor skills, oral motor skills, rehab, etc etc….pretty diverse with a great mission. Check it out. And no, I did not get any compensation of any sort, nor was I asked to post this, but since I am posting the article I figure I better explain where I got it from. 🙂 Sign up to get it yourself. 


The W’s of W-Sitting

Deanna Macioce, MS, OTR/L 


We have all seen those toddlers who are playing with cars or dolls in the common position of “W-sitting”.  And since we see it so often in young children, we may not see it as worrisome, however for many children if left unaddressed long-term “w-sitting” could lead to some overall developmental issues.  With that said, this month’s focus is not to alarm, but to increase an awareness while providing some useful and tactical information for parents, teachers and therapists of the many children who find the position of “w-sitting” comfortable.

Although this is a common position to find a toddler sitting in, it comes with many implications of why it is not good.   For those children who move in and out of the position for short periods of time, it can be looked upon as just a typical playing position that the child will outgrow.  However, for many of the children we see in the therapy world, it can have a greater effect on a child’s overall development  “W-sitting” inhibits exploration, does not allow for proper strengthening of the trunk, and keeps children confined to play only in midline. Effects of long-term “w-sitting” include hamstring tightness and tibial torsion and even hip dislocation. In addition, because it inhibits trunk rotation it also causes overall decreased balance and trunk control.  The lack of trunk mobility causes children who utilize this position on a regular basis the inability to cross midline and explore as much during play.
 
One of the most common reasons children hang out in this position is low tone.  Early on when children begin to crawl, you often find them stopping in the “w” position regardless of tone issues because they require a wider base of support at this stage.  However, as they get stronger, you should be able to see them transition into a proper ring sitting position with ease.  For the children who present with lower tone, they still require a wider base of support and will utilize a “w” due to ease, comfort, and stability.  In addition, many of the children who do “w-sit” also present with tighter hamstrings, making it difficult and uncomfortable to sit in long sitting, “crisscross applesauce”, or ring sitting.

Ways to naturally work on correcting this it to utilize a toddler chair for sitting activities as much as possible, encouraging a 90-degree position of the hips and knees. When using larger chairs where the child’s feet do not touch the ground, the use of a stool will help obtain this position.  Many children will be able to correct this position with verbal cuing, so you may often hear a parent, teacher or therapist use the phrase, “fix your legs” to cue the child to choose a different sitting position.

Ultimately, to help children move out of this position, choosing activities that strengthen the trunk and improve overall stability are beneficial.  Those would include things such as the use of an exercise ball, yoga, and balance activities.

Exercise/therapy ball activities are great for trunk strengthening; from performing activities while sitting on the ball that encourage trunk rotation to using the ball for completing sit-ups, these are excellent ways to engage trunk muscles and work on balance.  Activities performed in high kneel, such as drawing on a draw erase board or completing a bean bag target throw activity will also nicely engage that trunk muscles for strengthening.  In addition, using a balance board for activities in sitting, such as completing a puzzle, or standing to play catch or Zoomball will also achieve this.  Kid yoga programs, including Yogarilla from Super Duper are a fun way to introduce children to the overall core strengthening and attention improving art of yoga.

For those low tone children with tight hamstrings, performing leg stretches or utilizing target toss activities with obtaining bean bags from the floor or low stool with straight legs will help to loosen up the muscles.  In turn, you find children are able to maintain the position of “criss-cross applesauce” with more ease.

Therefore, although “w-sitting” is very common among all children, similar to nail biting, it is one of those habits that if addressed early can really making a difference in overall development, especially for children with lower tone. 

 

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

23 Jul 2012

Random pediatric OT ideas…

Some random pediatric OT ideas by Melissa…

Melissa says…
 I love using my steamroller at work before doing tabletop activities. I also started having my students sit on a therapy ball when we are working. It definitely helps my fidgety ones focus. I love scooter activites too. I have the student prone on the scooter looking for hidden tactile squares and then they have to toss them into a bucket. It’s a great activity and the kids love it too! I started painting with small food objects for a great sensory experience and to help with fine motor skills too! I could go on forever lol! “
Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

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