Friday, June 17, 2011

Summer Break is Finally Here

Seeing the prep for year-end parties and graduation ceremonies at the schools this week has been fun.  Hope all you fellow school system OTs have a great time off this summer!  I'll be reclaiming my weed-infested gardens and writing long overdue letters to neglected friends.
Please cruise over and view my personal blog sometime this summer.  There should be new posts coming up real soon.  Lifespace

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hoppin' for Summer Break to Arrive

I think that students with autism will love the cooing sound these gorgeous chickens make while they're waiting their turn to hop for their special food treats.  These girls belong to a friend of mine who is a wild, creative soul.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Windows Live Movie Maker

Just had a 1-1 tutorial from one of our technology integrators on Windows Live Movie Maker--lots different from the previous version of Movie Maker but lots of possibilities. 
So glad I got the tutorial instead of plodding along on my own all summer.  More videos here I come!

Friday, June 10, 2011

New Year's Resolutions (for next September)

What went right this year?  What got a little better compared to last year?
I'm talking about the occupational therapist.

Starting assessments as soon as I received the referral from our department secretary helped me get them completed prior to the meeting.  It also allowed me to have extra time to print out pertinent handouts for the families and staff and distribute them at the meeting. 
Sometimes we related services folks are told about meetings with just a teensy bit of notice so it really pays off to start assessments immediately.

Doing a brief, initial observation of the student helps my thoughts percolate and decide what else I need to observe the next time.  I often go into an assessment thinking that "A" is needed and it ends up being "B" instead, so this helps me get my facts straight prior to interacting 1-1 with the student.

Inserting photos into the report helped clarify my description of the student's skills and needs.  I just take pictures of the student's hands but parents and staff love it and understand what I'm trying to describe in the report.

We receive an enormous amount of referrals due to problems with handwriting.  I now ask lots of questions about the amount of handwriting instruction provided in class prior to the referral, the materials used and the availability of special ed staff for handwriting remediation.  Of course, I try to do this in a nice way.  I see my role as a coach to students and staff in handwriting training and handwriting remediation, not as the default person on staff for "fixing" handwriting.

Resolutions for next year?  I'd like to develop lists of teachers to share customized e-mails about various topics--using portable word processors, fine motor ideas for the classroom, tips from the Handwriting Without Tears website, ideas for students with severe intellectual disabilities...

What did you do well this year?

Popular Fidget Toy

Some of my schools have prohibited students from wearing these band bracelets/wristbands but they sure make handy fidget toys for students who don't put things in their mouth.

Awkward Grasp

How do they write like that???  I don't know, but some of the neatest handwriting in elementary classes is produced by students who exhibit this supinated grasp.  Years ago I accompanied my husband during a consult with a neurosurgeon who used this grasp when writing in my husband's medical chart at the office.  The thought of him holding the scalpel in the same fashion made me cringe.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tying Shoes

Watch the second video, with the pink shoelaces.  I think that some students can learn how to tie their shoes by watching the video over and over.  For other students, we will have to break the task into steps, either forward or backward chaining.  I plan to add it to my summer handouts for parents.

Thriving in School: The Art of Making Life Easier - Tying Shoes: "I happened by this TED video this morning on tying shoes. Apparently most of us have been doing it the wrong way all of our lives. No, the..."

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

Don't Sweat the Details

Letterboxing continued today--we traveled to the school library and office. It was a wild time--hey, it's Monday--but the students were able to follow the visual cues/text with help from the speech-language pathologist and the other two adults. The first group of students was 1 on 1, a staff person for each student. The second group was one student and two adults, yet it was the tougher group.

Here's our story:

 Stopping in the hallway to check our directions one more time.
 The letterbox kit was hiding behind the statue at the library check-out desk.
 We sat at a table in the library and did our stamping.
 Some students were lightning fast with their stamps.
 On to the next location.
 Exiting library security.

We were a little noisy in the office, having too much fun, so we did our stamping out in the hallway.
The single student in our second group was able to do her stamping inside the office.  All was going well, until the confusing occupational therapist asked the student to put the office logo stamp back in the bag and seal the bag real tight. 
Oops--we hadn't finished our stamping yet so I opened up the sealed bag...
...and then the student looked straight in my face, with an expression of horror for me having done something out of the proper sequence, and she started SCREAMING.

I'm never going to do that to a student again.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Online Count-down Timer

This is so cool!  One of my 1st grade teachers has been using his Promethean Board a whole bunch to present lessons and this morning he was using an online timer to alert the students to when their word sorts needed to be completed.

And here is the video of the same: