Wednesday, May 23, 2012

See you in a few weeks!

I'll be taking a bit of a blogging break for the next few weeks, so I can focus some non-OT aspects of my life, like getting married and going on our honeymoon :)

Before I go, I want to share this Two-minute stylus that Beth at Thriving in School recently posted. I'll definitely need to try this!

See you sometime in June! To those of you who have emailed me recently, thank you for your patience! I promise to respond when I return :)

Dexteria App

I recently reviewed the Dexteria App for Therapy App 411. This app was designed to promote fine motor development and is very popular among therapists, parents and teachers. I have somewhat mixed feelings about the app, although overall, I do feel it is worth having in your OT tool bag. Click here to read my full review.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Features

This week I...
- was told by the sibling of one of my early intervention clients that I am a superhero therapist :)  I wonder what my superpower is? His comment reminded me of this cover of a recent OT Practice magazine.

-started to say goodbye to some of the kids and families I work with. Due to an upcoming cross country move this summer, as the school year winds down, I'm seeing some of my students for the last time :(

Friday Features Links:
- Ellen Seidman of Love That Max, wrote an excellent Mother's Day article, What I Know About Motherhood Now That I Have A Child With Special Needs.

- Cheri Fraker of Food Chaining, posted an overview of medical research articles relevant to feeding therapists. Click here to read the summary.

- And last, but definitely not least, I absolutely love this idea to create homemade fidgets using playdoh, plastic wrap, and a sock, posted by OT Tools for Public Schools. I don't know about you, but after having a balloon filled with flour explode in a classroom, I definitely need some new ideas for homemade fidgets. Teachers do not appreciate having to clean up a flour explosion! And did I mention, no sewing involved!! That's always a plus for me!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Handwriting Standards

Did you know that Handwriting Without Tears has a Handwriting Standards Document

If you are familiar with state standards, the writing standards are generally geared more toward composition (composing sentences and paragraphs, working up to essays). The only standard addressing actual handwriting is usually something like, "produces legible handwriting." Not very helpful, right?

The Handwriting Standards available on the Handwriting Without Tears website, have handwriting standards by grade level for Kindergarten through 4th grade. These standards are definitely based on the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum, but I find them to be very helpful guidelines, even if your school district does not use the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum.

I personally use the standards as a resource for writing grade-level appropriate IEP goals, as well as having on hand to educate parents and teachers on handwriting skill expectations for their child.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Jello Painting

Looking for simple activity that smells good too? Just add a little water to jello powder, stir it up, and you have a sticky, gooey, and aromatic "paint"!

I like to immerse my selective eaters in activities relating to food, and this is a great one to encourage smelling, which is often one of the first steps when I introduce a new food.

Here's our completed project!
 When it dries, it has a grainy texture and it smells delicious too!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Features

This week I...
- enthusiastically proclaimed, "you did it!" after one of my students cut out this circle (those curves can be so tricky!) and he replied, "I made a hexagon." Well, I guess if you want to get technical about it, he appears to be right :)

- prepped for the six IEPs that I have next week! The end of the school year is near...I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

- finally got around to writing my review of Happy Mealtimes with Happy Kids. If you missed it, be sure to check it out here. It's a great book for OTs to add to their resources for parents. 

Friday Features Links:
- Embrace Your Chaos wrote an article, Dealing With End-of-the Year Burnout. When I saw the title, I thought it was going to provide tips for therapists to get through the end of the year :) It's actually full of great tips for helping students regulate and focus, so they can get through the last few weeks of school. The tips might be helpful for the adults in their lives too. I know I like to go for a run before work and eat crunchy foods in the middle of the day :)

- Jill Perry, an OT over at All for My Child, wrote Ten important things my SLP colleagues taught me. This is a great article to remind OTs and other non-speech professionals how to encourage speech in the children we work with.

- The CDC has a ton of free downloads as part of their Learn the Signs. Act Early. Program. These are great to share with parents to educate about developmental milestones.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I love making parents cry!

But only happy tears, of course!

Here's a story from a feeding therapy session last week:

I'm working with an adorable 2 1/2 year old and his amazing parents. He doesn't eat much. In fact, he primarily drinks formula from a bottle. Parents reported that he does like popsicles.

So I put my on my thinking cap and decided to freeze some Gogurt and then we'd eat "popsicles" during our session. The little boy was happy to lick his "popsicle".

After it melted and his little tongue couldn't reach down into the tube to the yogurt, Dad had a great idea, "He needs a spoon to reach it."

I ran to the clinic kitchen and grabbed a spoon. The next thing you know, he's eating yogurt (a new food!) with a spoon (a new skill!). And dad is saying, "I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen him use a spoon."

Later, when I got some of my yogurt on my finger, I showed him the yogurt on my finger and then I licked it off. He then stuck his finger into his Gogurt tube (unprompted!), and licked it off (this child does not like to touch food-another first!).

Mom and Dad were so happy, they were near tears...what a session!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day

Occupational therapists can play a significant role in mental health prevention, promotion, as well as individualized intervention in children with mental health challenges.

For more information and resources about childhood mental health to help you in your practice, please visit:

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