Occupational Therapy

16 Jan 2015

OT Lifehack: No more hook marks on your softer clothes


I dislike how softer fabrics get pinched marks in their clothes if left on a hook. I drape my sweaters over instead, but it takes up a lot of space. I realized that my little pediatric “tennis ball head” for kids, with the slit in it for a mouth, could help me out! Check out the picture…

Now, I don’t know if lint will be an issue yet, but you could always buy this vinyl version (Munchy Ball), pre-made, from TherapyFunZone to avoid that issue.



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22 Jan 2014

Affirmations for Children/People with Low Self-Esteem

“Blank” Basic Beat

Multiple affirmations and lively beat

I believe in myself

I feel good about myself

These downloadable mp3s are positive affirmation chants, specifically made for me on request by famed drummer Russell Buddy Helm. I had them made for my children who receive occupational therapy services, children who often struggle with low self-esteem. Although they are great for all children and adults alike. While these “power songs” can be chanted or focused on, the intent is for it to eventually just play in the background, if not annoying to the child.



7 Jan 2014

Bed-making Energy Conservation: OT tip of day

It can be easier to make your bed while still in it. While lying down spread the sheets into their most appropriate areas and then slip out. It’s either good enough or easier to finish. Be like a starfish!

7 Jan 2014

Hire This 4th Grader to Help You Fire Your Mother

Background: John is very angry with his mom about a big decision that was upsetting to him.

Mother reports: “John asked me into his room, shut the door, sat me down at his Lego table and told me he had to “let me go”. He handed me an envelope with some peppermints and bandaids. Compensation, I believe. This week he gave me and Shane (ed note: father) some progress charts. He said we could skip the meetings.”


Jerk Chart

Jerk Chart

Notice the chart that shows levels of behavior:

“Very Bad”
“You’re a jerk”
Unfortunately, according to the charts, his father got to the “You’re a Jerk” level several times. Mom luckily fared better, especially considering this was after she had been fired.
Update: Mom reports that the chart has been modified with a new level below “You’re a Jerk”. It’s “Get Out Now”. Apparently she “fell into that zone” last week. Oh no!

3 Jan 2014

OTs Help Put the Able into Actionable: R A W = S A

READY +ABLE +WILLING = Successful Action

 A psychologist friend recently told me about the phrase “Ready, Willing, and Able”.  All three components must be there for any Successful Action to occur.

R.A.W. = S.A.

Possible reasons for inaction:

*Ready, able, NOT willing

*Willing, able, NOT ready

*Ready, willing, NOT able

When the person is ready and willing yet not ABLE it is typically the most self-devastating. In all of the above cases, especially “not able”, an occupational therapist can help.

Whether it’s a challenge physically, mentally, or a combination of the two, OTs break down the issues and help figure out how to find and repair the missing link. Then all three components (ready, able, willing) are there, subsequently leading to an action, and therefore meaningful and appropriate participation!

If you click on the “Printables” tag, this should be up there as a PDF that can be easily printed. The first page is somewhat of a “cheat sheet” and pages 2-4 are the longer detailed version. Page 5 is an accident. Sorry.  (Oh look, I managed to insert it here which is good because I also apparently don’t know to upload it to printables yet. Can you tell my website/type of blogsite is new and I have no idea what I’m doing?)

RAWSA in OT: Focusing on Successful Action

Click the read more link to see example stories of depression/executive functioning deficits affecting a person’s actions [and my typical excessive details]! (It turns out I also don’t know how to use the read more link appropriately either. AHAHAHAHAA. Soon!!)


2 Jan 2014

Cutting/fine motor manipulation/imagination: OT Activity




1. Take dinosaur post-it or other random animal paper. Child cuts across animal.

2. Child is veterinarian and fixes animal. (Skim over the fact we were directly responsible for its hurt, cough).

3. Give child a band-aid.

4. Child puts animal pieces together in right orientation, secures band-aid.

See below about grading the activity, skills worked on, and extra notes, while I figure out how to add in a “read more” link 🙂

TO GRADE ACTIVITY (change difficulty level) depending on child’s strengths/weaknesses:

Harder: Multiple lines, thinner lines, curvy or wiggled lines, lower contrast lines, more directions, having child make own lines first and cut out own.
Easier: One thick line, high contrast, fewer directions, no line at all, thicker paper (like a manila folder, construction paper, index card), modified scissors

Harder:Child gets out band-aid and performs rest of task independently or with minimal assistance, no prompting for sequencing
Easier: Open the band-aid or help the process (start it until manageable by child, such as peeling the bandaid pieces a tiny bit apart and child takes over). Help hold the papers down so child can apply bandaid.

Harder: Do not give the child a sample, fewer prompts, encourage playing pretend
Easier: Role model playing pretend yourself only, give child sample

SKILLS worked on with animal band-aid activity:

  • Cutting
  • Fine motor manipulation (opening and placing bandaid)
  • Visuospatial organization (placing pieces back together)
  • Imagination/creativity/flexibility (understanding concept via drama/pretend/silliness)
  • Life skill (manipulating band-aid)
  • Cognition/Problem-solving (figuring out how to use the band-aid and put it all together)

1. Be silly/dramatic. Children with mental rigidity can handle this sort of task as it’s concrete enough to make sense, but the imaginative creative piece is helped by silliness. “Oh nooooo our poor dinosaur!! I hope we can fix him!!!”

2. KIDS LOVE BANDAIDS. I didn’t have any cool ones, but that would help even more. If you have more than one type, let them choose. Even children resistant to cutting/directions may complete this task if they see a band-aid is involved!

24 Dec 2013

Fuzzy/Rough/Textured Nail Polish for Soothing Tactile Sensory-Seeking Behaviors


Rough nail polish

Rough nail polish

Check out all the fuzzy nail polishes hitting the market. They literally have a sand-like texture. I am a fan of the OPI sand, have not tried other brands. I know some non-texture people may hate it, but I think most texture people will love it. The sensory-seekers and tactile kids. It could almost serve as a fidget, in the way velcro under desks can be soothing. Would be cool if they made a more white sand version for guys!

This could work for both children and adults. Give it a try and let me know how it works for the people in your OT circles who are constantly touching things! Even if they end up peeling it off…if that’s calming to them, that works too.

17 Dec 2013

Being seen – ICU

Sometimes people who are lonely, or feel ignored, or sad, talk about being "seen". They want to hear from someone "I see you." They want to hear they are being recognized, existing, real.

I thought about the ICU, Intensive Care Unit. This is where the sickest of the sickest are, the nurses and caregivers tending to them carefully day and night. "I see you." "I.C.U"….

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none | Tags: , , ,

2 Dec 2013

Life hack for OT: Key ring help

Occupational therapy life hack and nail saver. Use a stapler remover to hold your key ring open when adding thick new keys or onto thick ring.

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21 Sep 2007

Therapeutic Handling Occupational Therapy Lab Demonstration

This is quite possibly the worst occupational therapy video ever made (due to my own stumbling, not my subject/cameraman). I was just trying to demonstrate some of the techniques we learned in our handling lab! I have a bad memory so I wanted it on camera to help me remember. Plus I wanted to show y’all the amazing handling skills I am starting to possess.

Basically you could use this more easily with a child, but it’s all about key points of control. Using just your hands in certain spots, you can manage to get someone from supine (think of holding a bowl of SOUP, i.e. hand cupped upward) to prone (belly down) to long-sitting to side-sitting to tall-kneeling etc until the person is standing. This is for someone who requires some assistance but can help at least a little bit.

Pros of this video:
It shows you key points of control
It’s amazing because it involves Brooke, me, and camerawoman Allison, plus Meg + other voices in the background

I stumble and can’t remember exactly where my hands go at times
The sound is bad
I am holding onto Brooke’s bootie probably more than necessary but it’s a lot easier when you have as much leverage as possible. Sorry, Brooke.
PS: Sorry it is embedded twice. I don’t know how to change it without starting over, which I refuse to do. It’s the same video though, don’t watch it twice unless you are so enraptured you feel a strong desire to do so.