Friday, July 25, 2014

A Few Things

Is summer really halfway over? I guess it depends on where you live. Here in California, kids are heading back to school in a few weeks, but I know in Massachusetts school starts a bit later than that. While you think about how to spend your next few weeks of summer, here are a few things that I think are worth sharing.

I love this sticky easel activity from No Time for Flashcards. It's great for fine motor skills AND it uses a vertical surface. What more can an OT ask for in an activity?

This magnetic sand castle is pretty awesome too!

Starfish Therapies shared how to incorporate sensory activities at home. Especially helpful during these summer months!

How to make lavender scented playdough for quiet time.

Looking for a sweet treat to keep you cool this summer? These healthy banana fudgsicles look great!

Here's a fun (and cool) way from Mama OT on how to use ice cube trays for fine motor development.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

In My Therapy Bag | Natalie from Beyond Basic Play

Today I have Natalie from Beyond Basic Play stopping by to share a must-have item in her therapy bag. Natalie is a pediatric physical therapist working in the Los Angeles area and she always has tons of fun ideas for therapy. Read on to see how Natalie uses bubbles in her therapy sessions.

What's in my therapy bag?

Bubbles! Bubbles are a favorite tool for pediatric therapists!

So why bubbles?

The #1 reason is that they are a great distraction if your kiddo is having a hard time participating or focusing on an activity. I usually use bubbles as my last resort to save a treatment session. I just use them to blow around and play. Bubbles seem to be fascinating for patients of all ages, so they are very versatile.

Some PT reasons for why I love to use bubbles:

Great activity for reaching up above shoulder height. They are useful for reaching overhead because now your kiddo has a lot of objects to reach up for. A few ways I use this in PT sessions:
  • I use this with my kiddos who are lying down working on reaching up. 
  • kiddos who are working on sitting balance, where I challenge them to reach up overhead and maintain their sitting balance
  • kiddos who are working on their standing balance, which is challenged by reaching overhead

Great for working on standing balance while reaching in different directions. I blow bubbles all around my patients to encourage them to change direction and turn and reach while in standing.

Good to work on standing balance with kicking and standing on one leg. I encourage kiddos to kick the bubbles while they are in the air. I also encourage them to stomp on the bubbles as they get close to the floor in order to practice standing on one leg. kicking bubbles

Good to practice running and jumping. I encourage kiddos to run through the bubbles and wave them all around and to jump up and try to pop the bubbles. running with bubbles

Here are some recommended bubble items to use in therapy:

No spill bubble tumbler - A must-have item if you use bubbles in therapy, because I guarantee that every kiddo will want to hold the bubbles themselves and try to blow bubbles on their own. These are great because they can be moved in any direction and rarely spill.

Bubble gun - another great item to blow a lot of bubbles if you want your kiddos to chase them or jump up for bubbles​.

*Links to Amazon are provided for your convenience and are affiliate links

Connect with Natalie:


Have an item in your therapy bag that you'd like to share? I'd love for you to share it in an upcoming post! Just send me an email, AbbyPediatricOT {at} gmail {dot} com for more information. Open to all therapists! You don't have to be a blogger to participate!

Friday, July 18, 2014


This month, AOTA is partnering with OT Associations around the world to encourage practitioners and students to share their #OTLifeHack ideas on social media throughout the month of July. What is a life hack? AOTA explains it as:

"any trick, shortcut, skill, or new method that solves an everyday problem."
So, basically, it's what we, as occupational therapists do everyday with our clients! Today, some OT bloggers are having a bit of a hackathon and we're sharing some of our favorite OT Life Hacks on our blogs. I dug deep into my blog archives and rounded up some of my favorite OT Life Hacks.

Top five #OTLifeHack ideas from OT Cafe:

1. Have a student that is having trouble sitting still in class? Try tying an old bicycle tire tube around the legs of the chair so the student can kick and fidget into the tube while receiving some proprioceptive input.

2. Know a kiddo that can't quite turn the pages in a book? Use rubber pads to make an adapted board book. 

3. Know a student with a hooked wrist when writing? Or difficulty copying from the board? Or difficulty placing letters on the line? A writing slant board may help. Velcro a clipboard to a some binders to create your own writing slant board. 

4. Teaching elapsed time? Try coloring on the clock face to help kids visualize the passage of time.

5. Working with a student who has limited finger dexterity and can't hold a standard crayon. Use clay to make an adapted crayon!


Be sure to check out more great #OTLifeHack ideas from these bloggers:

Follow along and join in on the fun on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #OTLifeHack. What are your favorite OT Life Hacks?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Workplace Wednesday | Beating the back to work blues

Upon arriving home from vacation on last week, I developed a little case of back to work blues. Can you blame me? I spent a week in Tahoe, sleeping in, hanging out with friends, resting, relaxing, hiking, and swimming. A few of my favorite occupations.
Don't worry, it didn't take me long to get back into the swing of things. I find it's always helpful to focus on the positives in life, but it's especially helpful when readjusting to a new routine. Here are a few of the positives that helped me get back into the work routine.

...looking at my schedule and realizing my first client on Monday was scheduled for 10:15...grateful for the foresight to make my first day back a light day.

...getting back into my work routine helped inspire me to restart all of my other routines that make life so good...morning runs, followed by a big bowl of oatmeal and a cup of green tea...picking up my CSA box and discovering the week's bounty...blogging...Sunday brunch...

...grateful for a lovely caseworker who didn't mind at all that I took ten(!) days to return her fact when she answered, she said "aren't you on vacation? Don't call me if you're on vacation!"

...arriving a client's house and greeted with, "abbyabbyabby!" Gotta love having a name that is easy to pronounce :)

...tweeting with my OT twin Cheryl. of my clients who was thisclose to walking before I went on vacation is now walking like she's been doing it her whole life. What a difference a week can make!

...loving how a restful vacation leaves me recharged and re-energized.

Friday, July 11, 2014

A Few Things

Remember two weeks ago when I said my feedly was overflowing? Well, now it's nearing 400 unread blog posts! As I'm catching up, here are a few things I've come across that I think are worth sharing.

Know a kid that wears two different sized shoes? Ellen Seidman of Love That Max has located a solution to finding homes for the unmatched shoes.

Ellen's also got a great list of 35 fun ways to beat summer learning loss on her blog.

I've started diving into this book on feeding and swallowing and I'm loving it! Hopefully I'll get around to a full blog post about it.

Have you heard that the AOTA Board of Directors has issued a position statement on a doctoral level single point of entry into the OT profession? I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this yet, but if you want more information, you can check out AOTA's FAQ's on this position statement.

OTs are great at life hacks and this is the month to share them on social media! Share yours using the hashtag #OTLifeHack. There are already a bunch of good ones on Twitter and Pinterest!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Workplace Wednesday | Last minute cancellations

Last minute therapy cancellations are always going to happen. Kids get sick, parents are busy, and kids have tons of appointments. There's just no way around therapy cancellations, and honestly, that's when I do my paperwork, so I don't always mind too much. But I do try to avoid the last minute cancellations so I can plan my days a little better.

Here are a few things I do to limit the number of last minute cancellations that I get:

  • With new clients or evaluations, I always call to confirm the day before.
  • With some clients, I call or send a text message to confirm the appointment for the first month.
  • I encourage parents to save my cell phone number in their phone. I'm realistic and know they might forget my name, so I recommend that they put me in as "OT Abby" or even "Thursday OT Abby" so if they have to cancel therapies for a particular day, they can just look in their phone to see who's coming that day.

Therapists,what do you do to limit last minute cancellations? Parents, what do you do to keep yourself organized and remember all of your child's therapists?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

In My Therapy Bag | Chanda from Pink Oatmeal

Vacation is over for me, so it's back to blogging! Today I'd like to welcome Chanda of Pink Oatmeal for another installment of In My Therapy Bag! Chanda is a pediatric physical therapist, with an almost one year old son, and she regularly blogs about activities for infants and toddlers, as well as her thoughts on baby equipment from a physical therapist's perspective. Today she was kind enough to stop by and share a must-have item in her therapy bag.

What’s In My Therapy Bag?

There’s a lot of stuff in my therapy bag! However, the one thing that never leaves my therapy bag is my sidewalk chalk. As a physical therapist that works in the school systems I travel in between different buildings. This means that I don’t have a physical therapy room. Sometimes I can use an OT room; sometimes I can use the hallway or a gym. Then there are the times where there isn’t enough space to work at all! As a physical therapist, I often work on large motor skills which means my kids need to MOVE.  Small spaces just don't do it for me. Getting outside is usually my best option. That’s when my sidewalk chalk comes in so handy. I can create an entire therapy room outside. I can use my chalk to make a room from my youngest to oldest kids!

My favorite things to do with my sidewalk chalk include:

  • Balance Beams
  • Ladders
  • Hopscotch
  • Starting Lines and Finish Lines
  • Stepping Stones or Lily Pads
  • Obstacle Courses
  • Kids Choice

There’s nothing better than the ability to bring your therapy room outdoors with something as simple as sidewalk chalk. It's a fabulous way to create "therapy spaces" for the individual child and the kids have a great time helping me create the space. Don't forget your sidewalk chalk in your therapy bag! 

Connect with Chanda at Pink Oatmeal for more ideas!

Have an item in your therapy bag that you'd like to share? I'd love for you to share it in an upcoming post! Just send me an email, AbbyPediatricOT {at} gmail {dot} com for more information. Open to all therapists! You don't have to be a blogger to participate!

You might also enjoy: