always new things

This is just a stream of consciousness of stuff I've been doing/thinking lately.
I have 262 NEW!! mails in my gmail box I haven't even touched and about 400 I need to deal with. I've just been extra super demotivated lately, which is uncool considering I am helping present on social media in a few months at the April conference! Thanks for all the kind words. 🙂

I recently found some tiny clothespins that came in a travel kit for sewing, so I had to buy it of course. Today I used yarn to make a clothesline between two chairs, then I had a child rip out a single page at a time from a magazine i found in the recycling bin (with prompts to only get one page, and to rip the page out appropriately), then fold it in half (prompts for that too), then use a clothespin to pin it to the clothesline as if it were clothing, then use only their dominant hand to take the magazine back off the clothesline, unfold it, crumple it up in the air, and throw it to my “hungry shark” aka the recycle bin. Using just the one dominant hand forced a lot of instrinsic hand musculature use and a lot of in-hand manipulation. I came up with it like right before my kid got there so it was interesting, lol.

I also bought “toaster tongs” for $2 at Bed Bath and Beyond yesterday. I had them use their dominant hand (3 fingers only) to pick up bugs, and then they had to be holding open a ziplock bag with their other hand to deposit them into.

When I was done with the activity involving the clotheslines later on in the day, I had my kindergartener cut the yarn off the chair.

Lately I've been upping my game when it comes to fine motor….obviously dependent on the child's level. But I'm making things more functional/harder than I used to, with more steps and more complicated motions. I'm also trying hard to not thoughtlessly put up/down things, and to have the child have to figure it out. I tend to not waste time on the child cleaning up EVEN THOUGH I DO REALIZE ITS IMPORTANT, because often I have so much I want to cover, that unless I think the clean-up serves a therapeutic purpose, I just move onto the next item.

So yeah, now I try to make the child figure it out. I also try to have them do their own folding, hole punching, own stapling, own taping, paper clips, etc, and deliberately do activities that require the kind of activities they may be asked to do in their classroom, things that come easily to most children. IE wrapping a rubber band around a grouping of popsicle sticks in math.

I'm also trying to work more on Lefts & Rights within all sessions since most of my kids dont have that down. I use a magic marker to write L on one hand and R on the other, and then constantly refer back….today as I walked out a kindergartener to the lunch area after his session, I stopped at every turn and asked him which way, L or R. If he told me the wrong way I'd do it, even though it meant I walked straight into a balcony railing. Which amused him. 🙂

Also been doing some shoe tying lately for really the first time, I start with just a single lace tied around the holes in their chair…but I bought some funky different colored shoelaces since when on an actual shoe with two laces, way easier to teach when the laces are two different colors. I think shoe tying is great to work on in general as it works on so many different skills.

I'm left handed so I guess I”m teaching my kids a left-handed way to tie shoes …I am kind of macabre, I tell the child the loop is a person and then a “snake wraps around him” since most of my kids are little boys that love that kind of talk……I don't typically do the bunny ear method.

What else. Let's see, one week I forgot my Staples “Easy” button and my kids with autism got very irritated with me. The next week the same thing happened but I didn't want to get in trouble with them, so I ran to a Staples and bought a new one, they were quite appreciative and noticed that I had it next time. So now I have two and one is going to stay in my car! (I have four schools).

What else….oh, I saw some dried macaroni pinwheel flower thingies? And I am going to have them put pipe cleaners through them. Big fine of small spaces and pipe cleaners 😉

Today a 3rd grader teacher taught me how to finger knit….new skill to me. Her entire class is doing it. Great skill to teach. Maybe youtube it ?

I've also been doing more academics but from an OT standpoint, focusing on the tips/tricks aspect. Spatially organizing notes, systematically going through multiple choice, highlighting key words, etc etc. I spent over an hour today with a child going over his math test and showing him ways to lessen his hurried mistakes. I know teachers today tend to be really overloaded and overwhelmed, and often they just don't have a chance to go back to the basics and teach basic test-taking strategies and skills. I do wish teachers would focus more on desk organization in younger grades. Their desks are atrociously messy and I think that's an important academic skill to learn, since it only gets harder. (I pretty much only work with K-3 graders, I have very few 4-6graders) so I'm looking at it from the young side.

I do know sometimes I tend to do more “clinic” based therapy within the school but I usually have good rationale and/or only do it for part of the session, but I'm definitely more and more evolving to a much more academic approach and bringing a lot less toys. I used to have bags and bags of toys, now I usually only have a few items at best, and often just work with whatever I can find in the special ed room that particular day. I've also been encouraging more teachers to give me work to do with my kids, so that its more helpful to them/functional etc and then I get a real feel for what they need to work on. I started last March/April, so really I've been a school OT less than a full year….While I think I was doing good OT even last year when I first started, I think I am definitely refining. I know SO MUCH now compared to last year, it's amazing to think how much I will know another year from now!

Tomorrow I fly up to Sacramento with a co-worker to attend a class on primitive reflexes, should be interesting. 🙂  I also need to see if I am too late (kind of think I am) to do a Michelle Garcia Winner workshop in my area.

I'm still using my lava/worms/bee paper on a daily basis and for MOST of my kids, it makes a big difference. Using it at first really seems to give them the grasp of orientation, and then they carry it over to normal work. I think the biggest thing I notice is that they themselves notice the TINIEST error that may cause the bees or worms or lava to come and they quickly erase, whereas with normal paper, they don't really care. Sometimes I have to stop them because the mistake is so miniscule that it's not worth it, lol.

Well its 10 07pm and I should go to bed but unfortunately I took a long nap earlier, so I'm pretty awake now. I COULD benefit from this time and do filing/paperwork, but who am I kidding? I'm just going to keep blabbering away. Well not really. I don't know. I feel a little bit lost tonight. I know I have plenty to do, but I'm not really feeling it. I just found out my grandma is in the hospital and it makes me feel sad/guilty (I can't visit her until Sunday) that I didn't even know until today. That's the mean reason I wrote this stream of consciousness, as a distraction. I love my grandma!

So basically. OT wise. I continue to absolutely LOVE what I do, even though some minutes/days/weeks are harder than others. I am definitely refining my skills for the schools and I like to think increasing my awesomeness quotient 😉 There are definitely sessions that occur where I am like yikes, that didn't go like I planned, but overall, fun times.

know I have had for months: Reviews of Linda's book and Dycem/PenAgainproducts, catch up on 260 new mails + the 400 old ones, answer comments/the blog e-mails, put up more pictures, etc.

Jan 27, 2012 | Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 1