Sunday, December 31, 2017

Treat Yo' Self : 2017 Reflection

As 2017 heads to a close, I reflect on the amazing blessings I've received this year. I am so grateful for my family, my friends, my health, and this amazing career called OT. This was my first full year working as a peds OT. I've actually worked in 3 different schools this past year. And I can't believe how much I've learned and grown so far.

I truthfully used to struggle so much viewing things as an OT. Being able to recognize the areas where people needed help and coming up with my own treatment ideas. This used to be a huge challenge for me. Now I do so joyfully and creatively, actually pushing myself to think of things that would not only benefit my patients but help put a smile on their face as well.

One major lesson I can take from this year is learning how to take care of myself. In this field, taking care of others and tending to people's needs is always the priority- right? But I've found that the more I take care of myself and really make sure that I'm in a good place- physically, mentally, and spiritually, the better I'm able to truly care for others.

The week before winter break, I was actually reaching my breaking point. With this new blog and more responsibilities piling up with my job, I was starting to feel really burt out. Getting to treat and care for others is one of my greatest joys with this career, but it can also be very exhausting, constantly giving yourself to others. I was getting hard giving my best self not only to my students, but to my loved ones and family as well.

I've never looked so forward to a vacation (which  I felt was well deserved). I chose to spend my winter break not thinking about work at all! Enjoying real quality time with my family, going to mass, making new christmas traditions / games, seeing a broadway show, sweating / freezing at a korean spa, bar hopping in NYC,  enjoying post-christmas sales, buying things for myself, and eating lots n' lots of food. I had so much fun just doing things for me. I even chose to do a DIY craft project for myself  which I'm excited to share with you! (Separate post coming soon)

Regardless, 2017 was a wonderful year for me. I'll be coming into the new year with a new sense of peace. Remembering the importance of self-care in health-care. Don't forget to treat yo' self!

Monday, December 11, 2017

DIY Sensory Tools / Fidgets

 Weighted 'Beanie' Bag Cushion 
Some kids with sensory issues seek deep pressure input. Providing a weighted cushion they can carry, hold, or lay on their laps may help give them the input they're seeking and may also help calm and regulate them. When I saw this awesome R2-D2 beanie, I couldn't resist attempting to make my own weighted cushion-- it way easier than I expected and I love the way it turned out!

Directions: Fill a beanie with a sack of rice. I used another zip lock bag for extra protection to prevent spillage. Simply stick in the rice and sew up the beanie. And there you have your own 'beanie' bag cushion!

Materials used:
- A beanie hat ($3 from Target)
- A sack of rice (2lbs $1 from Dollar Tree)
- A needle and thread
Target had TONS of cool beanies for $3 at the dollar section. Amazing.


Bungee Cord Foot Fidget
Some kids have a hard time sitting still and frequently tap their feet or kick in their chairs. I found a simple and affordable fix to this problem- using bungee cord!
Directions: Simply hook the bungee cord onto the foot of a chair or desk and allow the student to kick and press their legs into the cord. This provides deep pressure input to their feet and legs and allows movement but in a quiet and less distracting way.

Materials used
- 6 pack of bungee cords for $1.49 at a local grocery store (I also saw a $1 six pack at Dollar tree)
- You can also use theraband to tie around the bottom of chairs/desks, but bungee cord is a more affordable and accesible material easy to find in stores

Note: The bungee cords will stretch over time. Be careful of sharp edges on the hooks. The ones I found had rubber stoppers that softened the edges.  Otherwise, ensure safety of the bungee cords before using.

'Sensory' Toys in Stores
Some kids are 'tactile sensory seekers'  meaning they often can't keep their hands still or always seem to want to get their hands on everything! These types of children might have difficulty in school because they are constantly grabbing objects, touching others, or moving their hands.

Sensory toys can be a good solution for this touchy situation!
A tactile sensory toy is basically an object that the child can touch, feel, pull, squish, or manipulate in their hands. You can make your own 'sensory toy' from common toys/objects found in many stores today. Here are a few that I found!

Pictured above:
- Rubber squishy animals - $1 Dollar Tree
- Koosh balls - $3 A.C. Moore
- Putty - $3 Target  

On some therapy websites, sensory toys can cost up to $15 dollars. So next time you're strolling through target or the dollar store, you can definitely come across some potential sensory toys at an affordable price! 

Zones of Regulation Charts