Monday, April 30, 2012

Harvard University Center on the Developing Child InBrief Series

I am a huge proponent of early intervention services, because I believe (and the research supports) that lifelong changes can occur with enriched early learning opportunities.

Harvard University's Center on the Developing Child has created an InBrief Series to provide brief summaries of recent scientific presentations and research on the science of early childhood development and early childhood program evaluation.

The InBrief Series consists of four short videos, as can be seen below. You can also view the videos, as well as access the accompanying PFD handouts, on The Center on the Developing Child's website.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Features

This week I...
~had fun playing this game with some of my students. I'm not sure where the game came from (I think someone I work with found it at the dollar store), but it's been a fun fine motor/visual motor warm up. 

~guest blogged over at Having a Fields Day, in support of Autism Awareness Month. Be sure to stop by and check out my Sensory Strategies for Toddlers with Autism!

Friday Features Links (lots of good stuff this week!):
~I know I've mentioned once or twice how much I love the Handwriting Without Tears handwriting curriculum. If you'd like to know what someone else thinks about it, visit Testy yet trying, for a detailed review by an SLP and mom.

~Allie, at Having a Fields Day, wrote a terrific post about starting the Early Intervention process. This well organized post is a great resource for parents who find themselves beginning the evaluation process for EI services.

~The Atlantic put together a touching photo gallery for Autism Awareness Month. I would love to see more group homes like the one featured at the end of this photo gallery.

~Thanks to Carol Leynse Harpold over at OT's With Apps for sharing a link to 40+ Super Secret iPad Features and Shortcuts. This was very useful to me and taught me some things I didn't know I could do with my iPad (like splitting the keyboard to make typing easier!).

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sensory Strategies for Toddlers with Autism

Today I am guest blogging over at Having a Fields Day, in support of Autism Awareness Month. Please stop by to check out my Sensory Strategies for Toddlers with Autism!

National Call In Day for ABLE Act

Today is National Call In Day to support the ABLE Act.

The ABLE Act would allow 529-like tax deferred savings for all individuals with disabilities and their families, without compromising entitlement to medicaid, SSI, or other asset tested benefits.

Today, please call your member of Congress and urge them to support the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. If you prefer, you can click here to email your member of Congress. Let your voice be heard!

You can read more about the ABLE Act in my original post here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Month of the Military Child

We all know that April is Autism Awareness Month and OT Month, but did you know that April is also the Month of the Military Child?

I work with several military children and am constantly amazed at the strength and courage of these families. Having a child with special needs can be a challenge by itself. Add the stress of frequent moves and long term deployments on top of raising a child with special needs, and you can quickly see how the challenges these families face require special attention.

In honor of Month of the Military Child, here are some resources to help you support the military families you work with:

  • The United States Department of Defense has a website dedicated to the military child. While not specific to children with special needs, this website profiles military children and shares many stories about military children.
  • Also, please be sure to check out my earlier post about the Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act. This bill is still working it's way through Congress, so please contact your congress member today and ask them to support this bill!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tomorrow Night!!! Evening with the Expert

I just found out about a new way to earn a contact hour of education. The Spiral Foundation is hosting an Evening with the Expert! Tomorrow night, April 23, Dr. Jane Koomar will host a "LiveTalk" to discuss the relationship between trauma, attachment and sensory processing disorder. There will be time for questions, as it is meant to be a personal and interactive experience. The talk is from 7:00 - 8:00 EDT, so I'm not sure it will fit with my schedule, but it might be worth checking out for those of you on the east coast. Click here for more information or to register.

The Spiral Foundation recently held a "LiveTalk" Parent Forum on Managing Sensory Behaviors. The parent forums sound like an excellent resource for parents, so I hope they will hold more LiveTalks in the future. Visit to check out a schedule of events.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Features

This week I...
~received this lovely dandelion from one of my students. He sure knew how to brighten my day :)

~finally updated the iOS on my iPad (I think this is only the second time I've updated the iOS on my old school iPad 1!), so I've been able to try out my new Ready to Print app, a brand new app that was developed by an OT to promote pre-writing skills! I'm loving it already and will post a full review soon!

Friday Features Link:
Check out this hidden camera video about a child with autism and his family eating in a restaurant. What would you do?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Check out the Slug Sisters!

I love the Alert Program to teach children self-regulation strategies.

Check out these videos by the Slug Sisters for a sneak peak into the Alert Program.

Be sure to check out for more information about the Alert Program!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April Showers

It's been nearly 90 degrees this week, but believe it or not, it was raining here in the desert last week. We don't get much rain here, so I jumped on the opportunity to create some raindrops to develop fine motor skills.

Tearing tissue paper is a good standby to develop fine motor skills and bilateral coordination, and it can be applied to any season or holiday (think green shamrocks, pink hearts, orange pumpkins, yellow sun, rainbows, the list goes on...).

Just cut some tissue paper (or construction paper for more of a challenge) into strips and then have fun tearing into small pieces!

Then work those hands to crumple the paper and glue onto the paper.

What is your favorite craft to make with tissue paper?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The time is now!

The American Occupational Therapy Association works hard to promote and support the profession of occupational therapy. In honor of OT Month, I would like to encourage all occupational therapists to consider supporting this hard working association.

Some food for thought provided by AOTA:

“AOTA is working every day to advance the profession, protect OT from external threats, and help develop new practice opportunities. Imagine what would happen if reimbursement for our services disappeared. Or if other health care professionals began doing our work. Or if the profession was locked out of practicing in health and wellness or any emerging practice area where clients can benefit from OT.”

“Many consumers and other health professionals are misinformed about what OT does, and they need to be educated about our effectiveness and value. Ensuring that the public knows what we do means requests for referrals to OT by our clients and recognition by our colleagues.”

“As professionals we have an obligation to lifelong learning. Participating and supporting our professional organization is a basic responsibility to ensure that we are prepared to provide the best care for our clients and to ensure that OT remains a strong, viable profession for those who will need our services in the future. AOTA is dedicated to ensuring that OT thrives for another 100 years.”

If you need more reasons to join, here is a list of the great member benefits that I use all of the time!
  • Access to a wealth of knowledge from experienced practitioners who can answer your questions on the OTConnections SIS forums.
  • Discounts on great books and CEUS.
  • Access to the latest occupational therapy research through a subscription to the American Journal of Occupational Therapy (AJOT)
  • Subscription to OT Practice (for a sneak peak of the OT Practice magazine, follow The American Occupational Therapy Association on Facebook for access to the April 9th magazine!)
  • Subscription to a Special Interest Section Quarterly relevant to your practice area, as well as online access to all of the other SIS Quarterlies (I subscribe to the Early Intervention and School SIS)
  • Access to “members only” sections of the AOTA website, including AOTA’s Critically Appraised Topics (CATs), which synthesize the research related to a specific area of occupational therapy treatment, such as treatment interventions for autism.
  • Monthly e-newsletters keep me up to date on practice and legislative issues.

 These are just the member benefits that I use on a regular basis.  I’m sure there are many more (like discounted rates for the annual conference)!

Are you an AOTA member? What are your reasons for joining? If not, what are you waiting for?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Features

This week I...
~guest blogged over at Having a Fields Day to help promote Autism Awareness! In case you missed it, stop by to check out my 10 Tips for Feeding Your Toddler with Autism.  

~had my DIY weighted pencil featured on Paula Kluth's blog. Check out her blog for great resources on inclusive teaching of students with autism and other disabilities.

~paid my taxes! Okay, I actually paid my taxes a month ago, but I made my first quarterly payment for 2012. If you still haven't done your taxes, you've got a few days left! Check out the Top 10 Tax Tips for Occupational Therapy Practitioners, compiled by AOTA, to make sure you are taking advantage of all of the therapy related deductions. 

Friday Features Links:
~Tonya over at Therapy Fun Zone is holding a giveaway in honor of OT Month. Go check it out to sign up for a chance to win fun stuff! And check out the rest of her great blog while you're there too! 

~I am absolutely loving Cheryl's OT Month Challenge. The month is only half over, so there is still time to stop by and participate!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Do you know an infant with Fragile X?

If so, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Washington University in St. Louis are currently recruiting for a study of Fragile X and brain development in infants with Fragile X. They are looking for children under the age of 12 months who are suspected of having Fragile X. 

For more information about the study, visit

10 Tips for Feeding Your Toddler with Autism

Today I am helping promote Autism Awareness Month by guest blogging over at Having a Fields Day.

Please stop by to check out my 10 Tips for Feeding Your Toddler with Autism

Also, be sure to check out the rest of Allie's blog while you are there to follow her son Cameron's story, a sweet and smart toddler who just happens to have autism.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Promote OT and Autism Awareness!

April is a busy month! It's National Occupational Therapy Month and it's National Autism Awareness Month!

Last December, I wrote a post about gifts for therapists. In that post, I forgot to include one of the most useful gifts I have received as a therapist:
This bag is a great way to promote occupational therapy and autism at the same time! And what therapist do you know who isn't carrying around way too much stuff?

The URL printed on the bag is:
You can click here for a direct link to the "Proud OT" store.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Friday Features

This week I, 
~read the fantastic book, Happy Mealtimes with Happy Kids by Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP, of My Munch Bug. Keep an eye out for my book review (hopefully next week!)

~was inspired by Cheryl at Occupational Therapy Notes to donate to AOTPAC, as part of her OT Month Challenge. I believe it is SO important to support and advocate for our profession. The AOTPAC is something I've been meaning to support, but kept putting it off. It took me less than a minute to donate online. You can too! Every little bit helps!

~discovered the blog, SNEAK outside the box. Written by a speech language pathologist with progressive vision loss, this blog is an excellent resource focusing on assistive technology for children with special needs. I highly recommend you check out her blog!

~got my ProQuest login from NBCOT. Did you know that NBCOT now offers access to ProQuest and RefWorks to certificants? A great resource to access research articles for engaging in evidence based practice!

Friday Features link:
~As I mentioned above, Cheryl at Occupational Therapy Notes is holding an OT Month Challenge on her blog. Please check it out and participate!

Monday, April 2, 2012

The world needs all kinds of minds

Today is World Autism Day 2012. I had the wonderful opportunity to hear Temple Grandin speak at an autism conference a few years ago. She provides great insight into the way individuals with autism think. Check out this Ted Talk to hear her describe how her mind works and why the world needs all kinds of minds.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

AutismTrack App free on April 2!

On April 2nd only, in honor of World Autism Day, Autism Track (a $50 app) will be free! 
AutismTrack is a customizable data collection tool. I am not familiar with this app, but will definitely be checking it out tomorrow! For more information click here.

Are you an AOTA member?

If not, check out this video by Samuel Merritt University student, Cheryl Crow, winner of the 2011 student contest! The video is worth checking out, even if you are already an AOTA member :)

Happy OT Month!

You might also enjoy: