Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Clothespin Caterpillars

Here's a fun summer activity that kids will love! The bonus is you can use your caterpillar to hang drawings up on the refer. If you want to challenge your child, print out the photos and ask kids to place them in order to work on sequencing. Also fun is to see what other animals can be made by painting clothespins. Enjoy!


Poster Board
Red & Green Paint
Paint Brush
Google Eyes
Hot Glue
Green Pipe Cleaners


1) Begin by painting your clothespins green. Set aside and allow your clothespins to dry completely.

2) Bend your green pipe cleaner in a zigzag pattern. Cut your pipe cleaner to fit the top of your clothespin using the metal portion as a guide. Don’t go past the metal with the pipe cleaner. Hot glue your pipe cleaner in place.

3) Hot glue google eyes on top of your clothespin.

Parents and award-winning book is packed with tips and ideas to help children with sensory, handwriting, behavior, daily living tasks, movement and more.

4) Using scraps of white poster board, create alligator teeth by zig zagging your scissors. Hot glue in place.

5) Paint the inside of your alligator's mouth red. Allow to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

6) Turn over your alligator and glue a magnet to the back. Your magnet is finished and ready to hang your children’s masterpieces on the fridge!

Brain and Sensory Foundations for OT, PT, and Parents

As a therapist and parent, I'm often asked about courses I recommend. 
Here's one of my FAVORITES for everyone! I'm lucky to be an affiliate of Move, Play, Thrive and Sonia Story who has provided quality and life-changing courses that fit your lifestyle. ~ Cara

Would you like to impact a root cause of sensory issues and challenges with learning, anxiety and focus?

You are invited to learn innate neuro-reflex and rhythmic movement and make a huge difference for children and adults who are

These calming, transformative and playful movements mature the brain, body and sensory systems and are effective for all ages.

1.6 CEUs awarded for OTs, OTAs completing course.
8 CCUs for PTs, PTAs completing the course (FSBPT).

Use these neuro-movements for promoting:
.   Calm sensory processing
.   Sleep
.   Emotional regulation
.   Speech
.   Balance, Strength, Coordination
.   Learning/Cognitive skills

.    Online, video-based movement instruction available 24/7
.    Course Manual, 100 page hardcopy, with color photos and instructions.
.    Live, online group Q & A sessions, recorded for easy access.

Perfect for everyone with busy schedules.

The Brain and Sensory Foundations course is excellent for parents, OTs, OTAs, PTs,
PTAs, SLPs, Vision Therapists, foster parents, counselors, social
workers, educators, yoga and massage therapists, trauma specialists,
healthcare providers and caregivers.

More information here
As soon as you enroll you have instant access to these excellent tools.

Course Tuition is $387
Open Enrollment ends MAY 31, 2017

Comments about the course:

"I took your online Brain and Sensory Foundations class last spring. I feel
that the training I received has transformed my practice and the way I
approach my patients. Every child who has participated in reflex integration
activities has made so much progress in the past 6 months in our facility
and it has been so wonderful to have parents and kids excited about
Nikki Kieffer, OTR/L

"The course was awesome! I have taken several courses on reflexes both live
and online as well as reading books about the subject . This has been by far
the best learning experience about reflexes I have done yet!"
Rachel Vitello, Occupational Therapist, Massachusetts

"This course has changed my life and the lives of my child with ADHD and the
children I work with. In the past I have had poor posture and a curve in my
cervical spine, I now have improved posture, neck strength, no more
curvature, and I have even seen a decrease in headaches."
Heather Bowsher, COTA

"I am a Naturopathic Physician practicing in Anchorage AK and cannot tell
you enough how much I appreciate your work and wisdom.  I work with a lot of
kids with issues and always look at the reflex issues first and often that
is enough to get them back on track."
Dr. Adam Grove, Naturopathic Physician, Anchorage, Alaska

"I have been practicing OT for almost 25 years of which at least 20 of those
years have been in pediatrics. I have attended many conferences/courses over
the years. This course by far has been the most beneficial. It is the only
course I have attended that some part can be applied to every student/client
on my caseload."
Jennifer Everett, OTR

Give yourself the gift of movements that promote life-long health and well-being.

More information and registration here:

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Pediatric OT 101 ~ 9 Tips For New Graduates

Welcome to Pediatric OT!

Graduation from college is an incredible milestone! Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could bottle the excitement and enthusiasm we feel at that time?  Some therapists obtain work prior to graduation but many wait. I'm often asked for advice from new graduates, and I'd love to share some of my favorite tips with you.

1) Write down your goals and don't forget to DREAM BIG! I encourage you to brainstorm all of the possibilities and then circle which goals to tackle first. I dreamed of beginning my own practice right after graduation. Thus, all of my future career moves were driven by my goal. Take courses relating to your career goals and read as much as you can. Ask questions and follow others with similar goals and dreams.

2) Join your local, state, and national OT organizations. It may seem expensive now but the rewards will be great. Often, organizations grant members unique access to research and other documents.  It's also critical to know your state laws -- this is especially true if you are an OT who will eventually be providing supervision for an OTA.  

The American Occupational Therapy Association offers invaluable information for clinicians of all experience levels. Here is their resource page.

Advance Healthcare Network has a wonderful resource page. Click HERE to access it.

3) Create business cards and keep them current. Vistaprint (click the link for my discount code) is my favorite website on which to create marketing materials. It's never too soon to market yourself. Adding a cute logo or colorful extra touch may make the difference in catching someone's eye!

4) Networking is one of the most critical activities a new therapist can engage in. Since the OT community is close-knit, knowing who runs local meetings, support groups, and local clinics can benefit you greatly.  Don't forget to keep in touch with your school professors and clinical instructors. I ended up seeking a job five years later from a former clinical supervisor! Be sure to maintain a positive and professional attitude as you enter meetings and group events. I encourage you to think of it as though you're always on an interview for a new job!  You never know when or where a therapist is seeking a new hire!
Mentoring is another wonderful way to network and gain helpful insight from someone with experience in the field. I mentor many new pediatric OTs and the relationship benefits both parties. Oftentimes, new graduates have new and fresh treatment ides or have completed great research on new topics. 

Come to my 5/5 star Pediatric OT Primer course. I offer all courses on-demand so you take them when YOU want! They are two hours in length, I provide a certificate of attendance, and we'll discuss SPD, behavior, goals, treatment strategies and more. See the bottom of this post for details.

5) Create a stellar resume! Remember to include your volunteer and unique skills. Often times, employers prefer to hire therapists with neat and creative skill sets vs. those with only high GPAs. Being a juggler, for instance, says a great deal about your coordination and ability to entertain your pediatric clients! 

Horizon Healthcare Staffing offers a downloadable resume
Job Hero also offers great resources for resume creation

6) Sign up for magazines and marketing materials from different equipment suppliers. I'm always surprised at the discounts available for exceptional products!  Thumbing through catalogues is not only fun, but sparks creativity!

For ALL OTs, teachers, caregivers, and therapists. It's ALL of my favorite tips, tricks, and activities in one book!
7) Of course, you'll want to have a great OT library! Start with our award-winning books as they're great for parents, therapists, teachers, etc. Including information on SPD, fine & gross motor, school, dyslexia, ADHD, behavior, transition, ADLs, and so much more!  Each diagnosis/issue is explained thoroughly and is followed by resources and thousands of activities you can do to remediate and help children who need extra help. 
There are many super books written by OTs!  Follow my blog for more FREE information about blogs, books, and resources. 

8) Use your resources such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
Here are more handouts for new graduates about testing, certification, and more here.

Some helpful OT groups for pediatrics on Facebook and on the web:

9) Obtain malpractice insurance. Many employers cover general liability of equipment and/or staff but I always recommend purchasing your own coverage. Pricing is dependent on full or part-time employment and experience. You worked HARD for your education, licensure, and certification, so protect it.
**I receive no compensation from either insurance company.

Reminder....NOW On-Demand:

Pediatric OT Primer & Executive Function Courses!

For new OTs or veteran therapists who are looking to brush up on behavior, IEPs, goals, executive function skills, and OT activities for peds.

2 hour  webinars packed with information about school topics. Answers to your FAQ about IEPs, Sensory Processing Disorder, Behavior, Fine and Gross Motor, Core Muscles, Goal Setting, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, new research & info. on mindfulness and weighted blankets!

**CEU CERTIFICATE will be provided, check your state to ensure they accept the CEU as each state differs**