Monday, September 15, 2014 blog and the benefits of volunteering

I am the recycled reading material recipient for my good PT buddy at work.  Tonight I read in an old Better Homes and Gardens about this organization:

It's an attractive blog, visually, with it's plain text and b/w photos.  What's in it is even more interesting--the adventures of a middle-class family volunteering with a huge variety of service organizations.  Made me think about disconnected pre-teens and full-fledged teens who become somewhat human again while camping or hiking in the mountains, after their initial withdrawal from the grid.  Volunteering with folks less fortunate than ourselves is definitely off the grid.

Maybe some of our students and their families might try out selected service organizations.  The interesting feature of this blog is that the family works with many different organizations over time--it's engaging and the landscape is always changing.  Maybe some of our students in the schools might become interested in a particular opportunity and want to stick with it.

I think it's likely that each of us would increase skills of all types by volunteering on a consistent basis. Taking the time to volunteer exhausts me; yet, I can feel my brain synapses sparking as a result.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Therapist to Therapist Activity Exchange--Teen With Rett Syndrome

Susan Custer, MS, OTR/L, shares her activity ideas with me when I begin working with a teen with Rett Syndrome.  The activity ideas are very customized to this student, since Susan has worked with her for years.

Video--Working with a teen with Rett Syndrome--Therapist to therapist exchange

Please share your activity ideas with me!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Keeping It All Together

Organizing my supplies was a little tricky last year.  Some of my schools had a safe spot for me to keep frequently-used items but everything mostly ended up hanging out in the trunk of my car.  Family and friends would often ask, "What's that--a frog in the car?" or "What's rolling around back there?"

Rather than trying to keep a list of my stash this year I'm planning to keep a visual inventory, by type of activity.  Here's my visual, tactile, olfactory, deep pressure "inventory" so far:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Shoe Tying Might Not Be So Much Fun, So Let's Make a Paracord Wrist Band Instead

Most of my middle and high school students with high-functioning autism can't tie their shoes during physical education class and when they go bowling in the community.  They aren't so crazy about practicing, either...

So, how about we practice the fine motor and spatial skills needed for shoe tying by making paracord wrist bands?  Maybe it would be a good fundraiser, as well.

Instructions for How to Make a Paracord Bracelet

School Safety Officer Training in Working with Students with Special Needs

At one of my high schools this morning the new school safety officer (from our county's police department) introduced himself to two of my teachers for students with autism.  He described the training he had just received on understanding and working with people of all ages with special needs.

Adults with psychiatric disabilities and parents of students with emotional and/or developmental disabilities had spoken to his group on common characteristics and behaviors of people they might encounter in the community.  The officers wore headphones to simulate a person "hearing voices" and then tried to interact with another person during a role-playing session.  One parent showed videos of her son with autism, highlighting how quickly his emotions could escalate and how a photo of a favorite object (Godzilla!) reminded him to calm himself.

The officer said that he'd like to get to know the students and for teachers to let him know what familiar items or photos might help their students de-escalate if they were in a crisis.  I was so happy I almost hugged him.