31 May 2014

This is what a good dad looks like. :)


His son is in the “blue ghost” aka body sock, and dad is sooo scared! 🙂 Not the blue ghost!!!!

I love body socks for imaginative exploration as well as proprioception/giving the child a better sense of their own body in space by providing a lot of input. In this case he was crouched down, but when he stands up, it fits tightly against him. If you use one, follow all safety precautions including removing tripping hazards, ensuring he can breathe comfortably, etc etc. (The opening of the sock is on the side facing away from the camera and he had ducked into it.)

*Dad gave permission for the picture to be shared! Best Dad Ever.

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 2

30 May 2014

Sharpies are your efficient best friend

Put amount on gift card. Cross out and our new balance as needed. I also always forget what is the less drowsy vs drowsy formula of Dramamine when it’s hanging out naked. I sharpie up anything that I otherwise have to keep reminding myself of. Efficiency. Yay.

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

28 May 2014

Why is your name "Miss Awesomeness?"

Obviously because I’m awesome. The End. No just kidding.

This is the story of the evolution from normal me Karen, to having a character called “Miss Awesomeness”.

I’m writing this up in detail partially because people tend to be curious about the name’s origin, and partially so I can address the suspicions of extreme insecurity and/or narcissism that come along with a name like “Miss Awesomeness”, as it’s been pointed out to me.

I was working with a kindergartener (who has requested the name of “Rex” for this story) who could never remember my name. Rex enjoyed working with me and knew me well! Week after week he didn’t know my name and it drove me crazy. Finally I teasingly whispered to Rex that my name was actually “Miss Awesomeness” and then forgot about it. The next week, as always, I asked him my name, hoping for Miss Karen. Shockingly, he remembered “Miss Awesomeness”. We all thought it was hysterical.

Now, the hilariously unexpected part: the name began to spread. If that was the only name that he knew, the teachers/parents had to call me that because otherwise he would stare blankly. It turned out many of my littlest kids could remember that name better than my real one. And it meant other kids heard reference to a “Miss Awesomeness” and were intrigued. And kids went home and told their parents they got to see Miss Awesomeness.

It was as if I were a character, like Cinderella or something. It also helped that I also have always worn glittery eyeliner and glittery hair tinsel, and typically had some fun toys or things with me, so I was somewhat of a kid magnet anyway. I loooove when a child with autism will look me in the eyes to better see my glitter eyeliner, or when I walk out onto the playground to retrieve a kid and their eyes widen at the sun on my glittering hair. Yes, I have the fashion sense of a four year old. I would totally wear a tutu if I could get away with it. I can’t. But I have to work with kids forever, for how else can I rationalize constant glitter and toy buying?

I was working at four schools and the two I was at the most were the ones that had the character name spread. I didn’t go out of my way to teach a kid my name as Miss Awesomeness unless it was with a child who has trouble with memory or motivation or I knew would be amused. It was more just another tool I could pull out if it helped.

It’s gotten to the point that most of the kindergarteners at one of my schools know me only as Miss Awesomeness. I only know about five of the hundred? or so of them, but most of them seem to know me. For some, it’s a casual acceptance (I walk past and they say Hi, Miss Awesomeness), and for others it’s an exciting moment, a spotting, a multiple exclamation point kind of encounter.

I’ve found out in various ways that quite a few kids, who are not on my caseload, talk at home about Miss Awesomeness. I’m still not sure what they could talk about since it’s not like I dance with dragon puppets on tables or anything. Although hmmm, note to self, good idea….ahahaah. It’s the name/character that appeals to them.

I’ve written this story up before I think, but maybe not to this level of detail. A legal mentor just told me that he worries people will hear of a company called Miss Awesomeness and think I’m insecure or narcissistic, and that makes sense. He recommended I rename my company and just have Miss Awesomeness be a character, kind of like Ronald McDonald but hopefully not as creepy.

The thing is, I know when I see a company with a bizarre name, I am amused and intrigued and more likely to use them. I do my best work with the type of people who see the humor in life and don’t take those kinds of things seriously. Luckily, there are plenty of those types of people!! I did seriously consider changing the company name, and got some great feedback for both.

However, as I kept having to call services support or do legal paperwork or whatever for starting the company, I realized how much silliness the name evoked. Most of the support staff laughed instantly. One lawyer kept a straight face when she asked me a clarifying question about trademarking, but as soon as I teasingly asked her if she had been shocked/laughed when she first saw the name, she began to giggle. It also gave me an opportunity to brief people on working with children with special needs. 🙂 Everyone needs to laugh, and it’s especially vibrant when it comes from an unexpected source. I am getting all sorts of business mail now, and every SINGLE FREAKING TIME I see Miss Awesomeness over my name, I laugh.

In conclusion, the name began as a total joke but it spread because it worked – children remembered the name, and it made me/OT seem extra interesting, due to its neurolinguistic effect. I’m happy to admit that at times I suffer from insecurity but not excessively, that I am often not very awesome, and also want to note that anyone who regularly uses social media has at least a smidge (cough) of narcissistic tendencies, so that includes me. But overall, the name is about silliness. 🙂 And so is the company. So. It stays!! 🙂

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

22 May 2014

The things little OT kids say :)

I taught one of my adorable 5th grade girls the meaning of the word “abundant.” She paused and used it in a sentence. “My brother has an abundant amount of hate.”




Category: laughs, Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

20 May 2014

Advertising tip for bulletin boards: bring your own pushpins

Keep a little container in your bag. When you see applicable bulletin board, have your own pushpin so you don’t have to try and share with forty others. Leave a few too so less likely to have it covered due to pushpin shortage!

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 2

19 May 2014

Functional Fixedness: Good OTs work to lose this!


I’ve been fascinated by functional fixedness lately. It’s all about how humans have this cognitive bias to look at an object and its intended purpose, and not necessarily think or realize how it could be used differently. The article explains it a lot better than I do. Shocking, I know.

Anyway, as the saying goes, necessity breeds invention. So true. And in the OT world, a huge piece of becoming a resourceful OT, especially with home visits, is seeing how to use objects differently than originally intended.

Consider doing some exercises where you look at an object and then see if you can brainstorm what else it could be used for. I think this would be an especially awesome exercise to do with OT students!!

For example, it’s classic OT knowledge that there are about fifty things you can do with a phone book in treatment. I often have the children tear out a page and crumble it up within one hand before throwing it into the hungry shark (recycle bin). Or they carry it. Or they look up something. Or its duct taped and used as a foot stand. Etc etc.

What about a hanger. Does it have to hold some sort of clothing or accessories? What else could it do? In one Pinterest pin I’ve seen floating around, the type of hanger that squeezes shut on pants was being used in a kitchen to hold open a cookbook.

I think creative people rarely have trouble with functional fixedness, and the same is true for people with very minimal resources. OTs are also pretty good at losing this bias. I’m trying to think of some good examples but alas, recall is one of my weakest areas, and I’m tired. So. In closing. Marvel at the world and how many people have functional fixedness. I certainly see it a lot in children with autism or similar challenges where they have very rigid perspectives. Pretty much immediately I start trying to tear away at their functional fixedness. You’re a better problem-solver when you have a more flexible approach and that includes an understanding that nothing is as it seems….change the world…make it a better place… ::sways::: ahahahah

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

15 May 2014

The Fires of San Diego, Symbolism, Sadness

The fires here in San Diego are encroaching upon the place I’ve been temporarily staying, which is in Escondido. I’m staying with my mom in La Jolla for now and will lose some things I care about, but it could certainly be worse. I’m waiting to see if it gets an evacuation order. I won’t go back to get anything, too scary and it’s a 40 minute drive and I didn’t bring too much anyway as it was only for 2 months, but it’s hard to concentrate on work when I know the fire is coming so close to that area.

Of course, while from the selfish standpoint I’m worried about my stuff, I’m also sad and worried for all the people, animals, and all life that is affected by these fires. Wishing all well. Oddly, I often think of people who have been burned and the symbolism of their healing postures.

When in unbearable pain, either physical or psychological, our instinct is to curl up into a fetal position. It’s a very primitive action. With burns, unfortunately, that fetal position of comfort is the most damaging, because of the risk of contractures. Their body may heal into that position and then the person can’t stretch anything. They end up in an "airplane" position or what I think of as a crucifix position thanks to my Catholic school background. It’s the exact opposite of the comfort they crave. And yet the open position, the lengthening, the bearing of the body and exposure, is where the true healing takes place, the person has the best chance of functional recovery.

In my journey through a path of psychological healing from chronic trauma (a story coming one of these days), I always think and use this analogy to help me. That while my instinct is to hide, to be fetal, to contort into a closed position that feels most comforting and safe, it’s actually the most damaging. That the healing takes place when I am open, when I expose myself (um, mentally, lol), when I allow myself to symbolically open and be seen.

There hasn’t been many injuries related to these fires, as of yet, and I’ve actually never experienced fires. I wasn’t living here at the time of the San Diego Wildfires of 2007. Yet for years I’ve thought of the symbolism of healing from fires.

I pray and hope you pray (in whatever form that takes), that those in the path of danger, or those who have been, are able to handle their circumstances with grace and peace.

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 1

14 May 2014

Six color crayon wheel – great for OT fine motor/writing skills


I found this at the 99 cent store in the kids art supplies section. I really like it, I just tried it out with a 2 year old yesterday. I taped paper to a vertical surface, somewhat high, and he was making lines down with it. I can’t find it online in regards to buying it, so check out your dollar stores. I buy a TON of my OT stuff there.


Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

13 May 2014

Awwwww. Love.


Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

13 May 2014

Hangman for OT… suggestion to change it to Monkey Bar Man…

I was talking to Tonya of TherapyFunZone.com and she mentioned Hangman. I noted I liked the game concept but found the Hangman in itself to be inappropriate. Not just for kids, just in general. The idea in itself is gruesome.

She said she plays Hangman as it being from "Monkey bars" which I found very clever. I could definitely play Monkey Bar man or something 🙂

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

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