Catching up on OT life :) LOOOOVE occupational therapy!
So I have two new things I've been doing a lot lately. One is “High Five”. I remember reading a (fictional) Emily Giffin book about a child who was severely burnt – she had OT in the hospital. The mom recounts how one of the doctors or something got the child to give her a spontaneous high five and she deliberately put her hand up high – the daughter put her hand up higher than they could ever get her to do in therapy, to deliver the high five. Because it was a joyful spontaneous act. So I've started doing spontaneous high-fives but with a twist….I immediately go into “high four, high three, high two, high one, high zero!” where I manipulate my fingers into the various numbers (ie high four is the four fingers with the thumb in the palm…high three are the three fingers, etc). The kids are caught in the moment and don't fuss, even though its often quite challenging for them to manipulate their fingers into the right patterns! And it's cute to do a high one with just your index fingers touching, lol.
The other thing I have been doing a lot is using Photobooth! (On my personal Mac laptop, so only with kids I trust not to break it!). I either use it as a reward (ie let the kid take a picture with one of the special effects that they choose), or I use it to let them watch themselves – for example, I have been lately teaching all my kids the sign language alphabet, again because of the fine motor skills. So I put them in front of PhotoBooth with their chosen effect, and then I give them like 1 minute to play and get used to it, and then I get behind the computer to show them letter by letter the alphabet. They can glance up to see my motion and imitate it, while watching themselves on screen. KIDS LOVE watching themselves so this is a big motivator. Of course you aren't supposed to tape kids without parental permission so I delete it once they have watched themselves once. 🙂
I go through stages where I tend to use the same game a lot….for example I was using my corkboard alphabet game a TON, but this last week I've given the kids a handwriting break and we've done a lot more of the hand manipulation stuff (which can help handwriting).
I also got a $5 weaving loom at Wal-mart (boo hiss) and I was impressed that I had several kindergarteners that could loop with it…they couldn't weave, which I didn't expect, but honestly I was even impressed they could loop!
Today I was in a first grade classroom when a child signaled to the teacher that he needed to do something. I think one finger means bathroom and two means drink, or opposite, I forget, anyway, the child got confused with his fingers and actually flipped the teacher off (without realizing it). She looked at him stunned, then told him he could go ahead. (She realized it was an accident/mistake and that he didn't know what he did). None of the other kids saw it but her and me. But as soon as he had left the room we (quietly, subtly) laughed so hard we were practically crying! Gotta love elementary school. 🙂 I am personally a fan of using the twisted fingers “R” for restroom and three finger “W” for water, which is actual sign language….
The other day I was working with a few of my kids (my little trio that actually does call me Ms. Awesomeness lol), and one of my little guys wrote me a note that said “I luve you!” It was sooo sweet. 🙂
The last two days have been a little odd because of assemblies and Thanksgiving feasts etc…I don't pull kids out of class parties etc or assemblies, so I had to scramble. Sometimes you plan and get all this stuff out for a kid and then it falls through for reasons like that. I used to carefully plan each kid each day, but now I often just get a general vision and go with it. I know not all my sessions are 100% awesome and inspired, but I like to mix things up and keep it creative/silly, so I think USUALLY it is a good experience.
It seems like, knock on woods, my kids are doing great lately with handwriting. I keep getting glowing reports on their handwriting changes! They seem to really respond well to the lava/worms/bees, which I know I need to post in more detail on here. I think I am going to try making my own paper, a lot like sky grass dirt paper, but with my stuff instead. And I do like the Mead paper at Target developed by an OT (look on the back page of the journals etc).
Hmmmmmmm what else.
I always daily think of stuff to share but then it often leaves me! I have been pretty busy with initial OT evaluations, triennials (the big every 3 year evaluations), annual IEPs, 30 day reviews, etc. If I am not seeing kids I am either evaluating kids, consulting on kids, observing kids, or in various meetings. Last Friday I was supposed to hit 4 schools by noon but because of a late meeting with a mom I only got to three, but that's okay. I've had a lot of REALLY LONG mom e-mails lately. I can understand where the parents come from, but wow, sometimes it is overwhelming. I definitely do a LOT of work from home.
Still LOVING my job though, and LOVING my co-workers….had a 3 hour Happy Hour with the special ed team last week! (I only drank a single beer and then a shirley temple…the three hours was because of the company, not the alcohol!!). They are all so much fun to work with. Teachers are such a sweet lot. 🙂 I am blessed with my kids, my co-workers, my schools, my bosses, etc. (School Steps Inc…google them! Fun company to work for!!).
Hmmm what else. Oh yeah! I am presenting in Indiana at the AOTA conference in April, along with four other bloggers…our leader is Cheryl of OT Notes. We met up on Google Plus on Sunday night for a meeting about our presentation. I have never used Google plus before but it was so neat, like a 4-way Skype! (One of our members didn't make it). It was my first time chatting with any of them “in person”. One is in Canada and I think the others are all on the East Coast. The presentation is about social media and OT. Should be cool. It's going to be on Saturday morning and is AOTA sponsored, y'all should totally come!!
Believe it or not, I STILL have my bag of OT conference stuff by my side along with my products to review. It sits by my bed (my office is my bedroom, shh I know its bad feng shui etc). I look at it daily. I WILL GET TO IT! I WILL GET TO IT!!!! I have a lot of paperwork to catch up on the next few days (we get 3 days off for Thanksgiving).
When we get back I have to figure out how to do like 4 evaluations within a single week, because the week after that I have an annual, then another annual with a HIGH PROFILE ADVOCATE, then a triennial, and an OT evaluation. Oh and report cards are due so I need to annotate my goals ASAP. Ack. Must. Not. Think. About. That. Tonight. Or I will never sleep.
I think that's it for now. Still needing to work on e-mail responses and blog comments (I hate having to moderate them instead of letting them just show up, but I get TONS of spam otherwise). I always, always, LOVE LOVE LOVE hearing from you all….prospective OT students, current OT students, moms, practitioners, educators, whatever. 🙂