Saturday, August 31, 2013

List of Occupational Therapy Blogs

Looking for a quick way to find blogs about occupational therapy practice related to special education? Here's a place to start:

OT Blog List

Note that you can sort the list several ways (alphabetical, crowd ranked...)

Chocolate Milk---The Perfect Reward After Exercising

My SIL is writing a blog on healthy living Healthy Living Blog and he just made my day by referring to this study:

So, if I drink chocolate milk after my brisk walk or some other aerobic exercise it will greatly benefit my health.  I'm all for the chocolate milk and now there's an extra incentive to exercise--where are my gym shoes???

Friday, August 30, 2013

Great Pillows for Texture and Visual Fun

Recoupment center or "princess throne" area?  With that blue sequined decoration it looks awfully fancy to me!
A closer look at the plush pillows--you can't believe how silky soft they feel.  Big Lots scores again! Store for School and Therapy Goodies

The lemon-green pillows have an extra sensory benefit for our visual kiddos--watch 'em shake:

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Visual Delights for Students

Spent some time scheduling students this morning, in one of my classes for young students with severe intellectual disabilities, and the creative teacher demo'd a bunch of treats she'd found over the summer.  Here's just one of her new "tools" for helping the students attend to the world around them:

These speakers are powered by the computer and produce a light show, in cadence with the music played via the computer.  If you want to highlight a brief educational video or other digital image, combine it with music on your computer and the dancing lights will help attract a student's visual attention to the screen.

Even more alluring when you turn off the overhead lights!

No, no--not the aurora borealis.  The speakers project an image onto the ceiling.

Where did my teacher buddy find it???  This is the local shop:  Source for speakers

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Recycling Idea for Classes--Lasagna Garden Beds

Read about this idea in a This Old House magazine (July 2011) and found a great link with the details on how to create better soil with minimal effort:
Preparing a Lasagna Bed Garden area

Want to start a class garden project and include some recycling in the mix?  This soil preparation method eliminates the need to break up the hard ground that is so often found around the perimeter of school buildings.  Add in some recycled paper, ask staff for donations of used coffee grounds and maybe the school cafeteria has vegetable or fruit clippings that can be incorporated?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sensory Break Idea

One of my friends told me a funny, therapy-ish story this week.  Her family was visiting distant relatives over the summer and her young daughter was contentedly exploring the playroom.  The adults, chatting in the kitchen, noticed that all was quiet in the house.  They went to see what the little girl was up to and found her sitting on auntie's new bath rug--rubbing her palms back and forth over the plush, soft surface.
Rug Picture

Smiling, the little sweetie looked up and asked, "May I take my socks off so I can wiggle my toes in the rug, it's so soft?"  Her bewildered parents told her sure, then added, "Just your socks, honey."

After a while the cutie rejoined the grown-ups in the kitchen but soon became bored with their conversation.  She began dancing around the table to pass the time and when this got a little rambunctious her auntie gently suggested, "Want to go back and sit on the rug?"

Maybe a similar item might be a nice sensory recoupment tool in our classrooms this year???

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

New Classroom and Self-Help Space for Students with Autism

Went to two of my schools today to see what's happening and was surprised at all the floor waxing and locker painting going on, just a few days prior to when teachers return to school.  Those custodians were almost jogging down the halls, trying to get everything done in time for next Monday.

One nice surprise was seeing the new "pod" in one of my high schools.  Near the art, PE and music rooms a new clustered space was created--a large central area with its own kitchen, two big classrooms, a bathroom and about 3 smaller rooms--all connected together.  Also, the pod has its own exit door.  The two classrooms for students with autism will move into this space and this will make it much more convenient for students to access the bathroom and leave the building during those dreaded fire drills.  It's also closer to the areas in the school where the students do most of their vocational training.

Will post photos when the rooms are furnished.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Here We Go Again

Back to work tomorrow and students start after Labor Day.  Getting OOB at 5:30 AM ain't gonna be easy!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Creating Stamps to Create Pictures

This is a very interesting step-by-step tutorial on how to create stamps.  In the school setting I'll probably use cut-up kitchen sponges or some other absorbent material to make the stamps.
Geometric Stamp Town

Imagine students using stamps to write their names---sketch their school layout---draw real or pretend maps of their neighborhoods or places they like to go?

Pencil grasp, scissor accuracy, spatial relations, sequencing...oh, the skills we'll practice!

And, here are more ideas:
More Stamp Picture Ideas

These remind me of Ed Emberley's books:  Ed Emberley

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Friday, August 9, 2013

Almost the Last Hurrah for School-Based OTs

Went window shopping in Fredericksburg, VA today with two OT girlfriends.  They were so happy to explore all the fine arts and crafts and nicely organized antique shops.
It doesn't take much to delight us OTs--good friends, beautiful art and cherry Coke floats--what could be better?

On the drive there I remembered that I've known one of the ladies since 1976 and the other since around 1980--pretty good track record for friendship, I'd say.  I'm very thankful.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Look Better Than You Feel

A good friend of mine developed this camisole to help ladies deal with drains and limited UE movement following surgery:
Look Better Than You Feel