28 Aug 2013

Hickies for OT: Cool shoelaces for kids/adults who can't tie shoes

I was wandering around Brookstone when I stumbled across “Hickies” which are essentially really cool looking shoelaces that turn your shoes into slip ons so you don’t have to tie them. They come in many different colors and you have the ability to tighten them. The link for them: http://www.hickies.com/pages/turn-your-shoes-into-slip-ons
and I believe they are sold on Amazon and many other sites as well if you do a google search. I’m not a fan of the name, I would probably end up referring to them as loopies or hoopies to our little ones. They are mildly expensive but I believe worth it for a child who really struggles. The main reason I love them is because they look mainstream and so they only stand out in a fun way. As occupational therapists we want to give our kids tools to be able to fit in regardless of their ability (if that is something the child wants as well, and it often is). 
I know we want many of our kids to be able to tie shoes as it gives more shoe options and independence and also allows them eventually to do drawstrings, bows, etc. It’s often addressed on in private occupational therapy clinical settings and occasionally in OT school settings as well. But sometimes it’s too much and/or shouldn’t be a focus point depending on what else is going on at the time. 
I didn’t buy them, haven’t tried them, but I love the look and I think it’s worth a try.

I looked up some reviews and most were positive, some complained about tightness. My understanding is that A) you can adjust that and it explains on website and/or packaging and B) that you can leave off the top lace or two if too tight. And C) Check return policies in case it doesn’t work for you. One set is for one pair of shoes. Try at your own risk! 🙂

I also like http://www.tyingisasnap.com/product/ where you can get two different colored sides for one shoelace so its easier to figure out how to loop it when teaching. Plus they look cool, and you can do different combinations. Check out the website – I liked them a lot, just be careful with the snap in the middle as you lace up the shoes so you don’t pull the lace out of the snap, although I bet you could super glue it back in if so. I asked for some free pairs to review and I will put up some pictures, the kids enjoyed them. 

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 1

21 Aug 2013

Muting overhead speakers for sensitive kids

The overhead announcements can be soo loud and painful for our kids with sensitive ears. And people like me who flinch at loud noises. Taping it (with permission) can help.

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

15 Aug 2013

OT Life Pseudo-Hack: Do what brings you joy. Care more about you.

This is kind of a random post, but it has a reason, thanks to a conversation I had today. I took this picture for you all because of the super gaudy gold necklace that I was wearing during my errands. While people who know me would say I was never that great about fitting in in any sense, including clothes wise, I did used to be more cautious about what others would think. A super crazy gaudy necklace in daytime? That’s not normal. But now I do it, because it makes me happy. 
I wear roughly 30 “hair tinsels” in my hair year round so that my hair sparkles, because it makes me happy. I wear sparkle glitter eyeliner almost every day. Because it makes me happy. If I have manicures/pedicures (rare because of expense/time), they are probably glittery. My iphone has a mod-podged Otterbox glitter case that I modified. Because it makes me happy. Some of my shoes and most of my necklaces and most of my earrings have glitter and/or sparkles on them and/or are gaudy. Because it makes me happy. Are you noticing a trend here? 
Today I commented to a wise friend that “The older I get, the less I care about what people think. If I want to wear this super gaudy necklace during the day, I’m going to do it.” And she sagely responded, “It’s maybe not that you care less, but that you care more, about doing what resonates with you.”  I was struck by this response. I felt like it was a great re-framing, showing the positive, that I do what makes me happy, rather than the negative, of ignoring what others think.
Of course this is not and should not be the case in all areas of life, that we ignore what others think. But in relatively harmless situations, why not? So many of us forget how to play, be creative, and/or make ourselves happy, as we get older. I know for some people it’s a matter of dress code or other good reasons. But my elementary schools don’t mind if my hair and nails sparkle, and my OT kids are drawn to them.  
And most importantly of all, when I look in the mirror and see my sparkles, I smile. It’s the cheapest therapy I have. I’m officially, as a super profound 30 year old (haha), ready to feel good about doing small and harmless things that bring joy. 
For me, joy is in sparkles/glitter, crazy gaudy necklaces, lots of deep beautiful peacock colors, hula hooping (hoop dance), looking for rocks on the beach and searching tidepools, visiting with friends, holding babies as a hospital cuddler, slacklining, reading, laughing, spinning around with bubbles, etc. Like when I feed Stray Cat and have to watch him so the real stray cat doesn’t take away his food (don’t worry, he gets food too), I will spin around in circles with bubble wands, or read something fun, or practice twirling a baton through my fingers, or a new off-body hoop trick, or even do yoga poses that will make me a better hoop dancer. I’m doing a functional and necessary activity but bringing the joy in. 
Maybe I’m dancing while I spend the two horrid minutes brushing my teeth. Maybe I’m reading a report for work while lying on my back practicing twirling the hula hoop on my foot (I do occasionally smack myself in the face but it’s worth it). Maybe I’m working with a kid but we are exchanging silly jokes to help us both laugh while working on something frustrating. Maybe you are feeding your kids eggs with ketchup and you use the ketchup container to make a smiley face on the eggs. Whatever you are doing as a functional and necessary task, how can you make it more fun while not adding time or effort to the task? 
Eventually it becomes part of you. I no longer have to think about adding joy during those tasks, I just do it. It’s part of my routine/patterns, to vaguely bring in some OTPF terms… 😉 Or I take 10 minutes a month getting my sparkles put in to be enjoyed daily all month. Maybe I’m organizing my bajillion OT toys but while doing so, happily thinking about creative ways to use them. Whatever works. These are all things that work for me. (Most of the time. We all go through rough moments/spells!!!)
I hope you think about this for yourself – what can you do in your daily life that brings you joy in a playful, creative, fun, harmless way? Blow bubbles? Spin in circles? Watch clouds? Play a game, or draw in a coloring book? (There are some great adult ones out there). Can you call someone, write something, make something? Can you wear something? 
Think about what resonates for you. What have you abandoned that used to bring you joy? It can be so simple. It doesn’t have to be a new car. It can be silly putty. We all deserve joy on a daily basis, no matter who we are, no matter how busy we are, no matter how OLD we are.We all deserve to laugh, smile, and see beauty in the smallest details of life. Don’t forget your childlike curiosity, wonder, and joy with the world around you. Embrace this and I promise your life will improve. 🙂 And so will the life of those around you! 
*A post is coming soon about “Joy Lists” with specific instructions on how it works…
*School starts back soon so things are going to get busy! :O Catching up on e-mails, comments, etc…and having trouble reading other OT blogs because of Google Reader being gone. I got Feedly but I’m so perplexed with the layout. Anything out there just like Google Reader? 
Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

13 Aug 2013

OT Life Hack: Adding texting shortcuts to your iPhone

This is the best occupational therapy life hack in the entire world. You’re welcome. If you text at all, I bet you tend to text the same things a lot. Whether it’s your home address, or directions, or certain words, or an e-mail address, or things you spell in shorthand that can be confusing to older generations, etc…
You go to the “Settings” (looks like gears) icon, click on the listed choice “General”, scroll down to the choice “Keyboard”, then scroll down to “Shortcuts”, and then start changing your life.
You press the “+” (plus) button on the upper right hand corner, and it will say “Phrase” with a blank, and “Shortcut” with a blank. You will type in a phrase, abbreviation, or whatever you say a lot, such as “Talk to you later” into the phrase box, and in the “Shortcut”box you would write TTYL, then hit Save. 
The next time you use TTYL in a text, it will write it out for you. I get frustrated when I use a common abbreviation that someone older doesn’t know, so now I’ve set my shortcuts to spell them all out for me. I also typically write “bc” or “cuz” for because, so I have that shortcut to make it correct. Here are the ones I end up using all the time. Every person will be different. (Just think of what you say constantly and come up with at least a 2-character shortcut you can use for it. Maybe “have a good day” would end up hagd. But if you only do a few characters, make sure it’s not something you constantly type. If you put “ha” as a shortcut, to mean Happy Anniversary, then every time you type “ha” such as have, hallow, whatever, it will try to do the shortcut help. So “xha” could work, or “hh”, or any combination that is not normally done in writing. )
I use the following all the time: 
addie = address
brb= be right back
btw – by the way 
cuz, bc = because
dyac – damn you autocorrect
fyi – for your information 
hru – how are you?
idk – I don’t know
kdg – this is my karen.dobyns gmail account – my most used one. I hate typing out my email address every time I go to a site, so I love that when I hit kdg, it fills it out for me. I don’t think it works for passwords though.
kde – this is my other account that starts with KD, for my work. Helpful.
lmk – let me know
nvm – never mind
omw – on my way 
pls = please
tmrw= tomorrow
ttyl – talk to you later
ty – thank you
tysm – thank you so much
vm – voice mail
ygm = you’ve got mail
5555= So I often text my home address to people coming over. I have the four digits of my house as the shortcut, so that then it finishes up the address. I just made up 5555 but fill in 2381, or whatever.
hdir = I haven’t done this one, but it’s probably what I would call my house directions, ie “From this freeway do X”
It can take a little while to get used to if you’ve never used it before, but shortcuts/macros are amazingly helpful and efficient. Essentially any abbreviation, word, phrase, or sentence I use regularly I have turned into some sort of shortcut so I don’t waste my time. You will have trial and error in figuring out what shortcuts work best for you, you can always go back in and edit them as necessary. Try and be intuitive with your choices in the sense that it should be an acronym of some sort, ideally, versus completely random names. 
I promise you this is a life changer if you text a lot, or even a little, if it is painstaking for you. And for people with fine motor difficulties, or super slow motorically for whatever reason, these shortcuts will cut down on a lot of time once the person gets the hang of it. 
Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 1

13 Aug 2013

Hula hooping gone wild….aka beginner dance.

Sooooooooo I’ve gone insane and I’m sharing this. The description is on the Youtube video. My new passion, along with slacklining. And of course OT as always! 😉

Seriously though, well actually that was serious. But okay, anyway, it gives me a lot of appreciation for kids who struggle with dyspraxia and motor coordination difficulties, because I totally feel their pain. I practice a LOT but I am a very slow learner when it’s complicated in terms of hand placement, etc…I am mostly self taught through Youtube tutorials and then I think a total of four classes now? Once things speed up, I panic and lose it…and I don’t do well if I have to think hard….etc. When you get frustrated with kids who can’t seem to get it together, think about doing something you find super hard/complicated/frustrating, and there you go. The key, though, is lots and lots and lots of practice, and failures, and trial and error, until it’s automatic enough that it doesn’t have to be thought about. That’s especially key for dyspraxia.

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

12 Aug 2013

OT life hack: Adding descriptions as last name on phone contacts

I have a ton of contacts because I don’t know how to delete a bunch easily.But I often forget who is who or what. So instead of writing in first/last names, I almost always write their first/last or just first name into the “first name” area, and in the “last name” I give them a description of some sort that helps me remember how I know them. All my coworkers end in EUSD, all my hula hoop friends end in Hoop, etc etc etc. Almost all my new contacts added get a description. I had to take a screenshot for you guys of a part that was A) appropriately named (not all are nice) and B) didn’t give last names. For people struggling with memory issues, it can be really helpful to do it this way, as when their name pops up it can include the description. Perhaps part of an OT session could be showing them how to do this on their phone. Who knows. But it helps me a lot. 
Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

11 Aug 2013

Ikea: Rehab worthy item?

I just got an Ikea catalog and this was in the kid’s section – grippy plate with high sides. Probably reasonably cheap and perhaps a good way to get a rehab-worthy plate without it coming from an expensive physical dysfunction catalog? I haven’t tried it though. Let me know if you have. 🙂 
Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

10 Aug 2013

Lester inspires me…

This really isn’t an OT blogpost at all, but since I AM THE MASTER OF MY OWN BLOG, I chose to use my power for evil, and show you my phone wallpaper…my baby booboo Lester the Lion Kitty. He’s gonna give Grumpy Cat, Princess Monster Truck, Chase No Face, etc, a run for their money. So hideous he’s cute!! Sorry, had to share. Run along, nothing OT to see here….although his fine motor skills aren’t great. It takes him like twenty minutes to send me a text….so maybe I should get him some occupational therapy after all… ::ponders::
Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

10 Aug 2013

Inflatable Unicorn Horn: Not an OT life hack. But certainly amusing…

Just for all y’all’s information, when it says “Cats Love It!” on the box, they are lying. I show you “Stray Cat”, who is no longer truly stray but that is still his name, showing signs that he does not love it. I was in fact pretty sure “Cats Love It” was a total lie, but still had to find out for myself. Now I know. This concludes “deep thoughts by a curious OT” or “How to Learn From My Mistakes”
Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

9 Aug 2013

Slacklining: great for attention, focus, impulse control

I’ve been slacklining 3 hours every Saturday for the last month. I first learned about it in Venice Beach. It is so amazing for posture and strength and most of all focus and also frustration tolerance. It is low to the ground so not too dangerous but it can still cause injury so be very very careful!!! I looove it though. 🙂 I just got to about 30 seconds of balance as my record….need to start more walking and even longer balance.

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

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