Sunday, September 30, 2007
Julie getting paraffin
Kerri doing ultrasound on Mary
A very makeupless me doing a shoulder ice pack on the one OT taking our Thermal Modalities course, "T".
There. I hope I tantalized you with pictures. More description later. I was just feeling so guilty about blogging neglect I had no choice but to stop working on my occupational evaluation and post something. Back to my evaluation. I'm doing it on Thomas Birdsey, a paranoid schizophrenic from the book "I know this much is true" by Wally Lamb.
I stumbled across this using StumbleUpon! It shows how you can melt broken crayons in mini muffin tins, making large circular crayons that are hard to break and great for little hands. I haven't tried this so don't blame me if your house burns down. This picture, and instructions, are from/at http://craftydaisies.com/2007/07/26/crayon-nibbles/
I think this could really be helpful for occupational therapists (and moms)!
I've been working (too much) on an article I am trying to submit to OT Practice. You don't even want to know how many hours I've spent on the included drawing. Thank goodness for generous friends who help critique what I've done and correct my grammatical mistakes, and thank goodness for Virginia teaching me how to turn text at an angle! I love you Virginia!
Anyway, I've neglected this blog this weekend, and it's primarily due to a twenty five hour occupational therapy course in thermal modalities this weekend. Can you blame me? Today I went and met my research partner, Julie, to go practice assessments and balance/mobility tests on an elderly person. I also worked on my article, cleaned the house, cleaned out about 400 emails all together, organized my binders, and worked on several different projects. I need to work on my occupational evaluation and community initiative paper tonight. This is the third weekend in a row I feel I never got much of a break!
Another excuse: I suspect my new glasses are a little too strong and I'm getting a lot of eyestrain, so it's hard to work on those projects AND work on my beloved occupational therapy blog, even when I'm ready to take the time. Sometimes I type while looking away from the computer so my eyes can rest. (Speaking of eyes, my mom found my lost "Planet of the Blind" library book in a backpack in her California trunk today.)
So today I post to tell you, yet again, that it's going to be a day or two. Please forgive me. I'm suffering from occupational atrophy disorder. Or educationotrophy. Or Educationoplasia. Man, I'm clever with my medical terminology.
(Tip to Incoming OT Students: RETAIN YOUR MEDICAL TERMINOLOGY ROOTS KNOWLEDGE!)
Guess what! (Chicken butt) - I know now how to do ice massage, heat packs, cold packs, ice packs, and ultrasound! Woot woot! My next post will be all about Thermal Modalities, with PICTURES! Get excited! Go hypothetically fall down and hurt yourself so I can tell you how I could fix you, if I had my license + certification + ability to access equipment.
Friday, September 28, 2007
This thermal modalities course is pretty exhausting and I haven't had much time. Tomorrow we will HOPEFULLY get done early, and I am going to try and catch up on a few things as well as start a few projects that are coming due rapidly!!
Occupational therapy school, as always, is a wonderful thing that I recommend to everyone, but right now we are in a MARATHON of work and it's hard! You better be passionate about OT school (or any graduate school!) if you are going to survive it!
Hopefully tomorrow or Sunday I'll have lots to share with y'all about the last few days!
Ok, now I need to go study ultrasound and cryotherapy in preparation for the labs & tests & practicals tomorrow. I'm going to do it just 30 minutes and then just go to bed no matter what since I need to be up less than 6 hours later!
* And a Special Shout-out to Sarah's parietal, frontal, occipital, sphenoid, and ethmoid bones.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
I'm hoping we get out a little early each day, especially since I work 9 to midnight tomorrow. A 8am to 6pm class then working 9pm to midnight is killer!
Anyway, I'm exhausted and going to bed.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
We had our final occupational therapy group today, and the group was on "closure". It was nice and light-hearted. Then we had research project training for 2 hours, where we would spend long periods of time agonizing over the change of just a few words. I have a very detailed brain so this is the kind of thing I love. I'm pretty sure it's torture to the other girls though.
We learned how to give the Timed-Up-And-Go (TUG) test, the Standing Functional Reach test, etc.
Then, by some random remark by one of my professors, I ended up writing a quick blurb (and attached pictures) about Backpack Awareness day and submitted it (and it was accepted) for the next edition of our UT publication. That was cool. It takes a long time to write just a few sentences though!
THEN we had a occupational therapy media lab. It was making "Something out of Nothing" and I was excited about gluing random crap together. Which was silly, because doh, of course we wouldn't have a lab on that. Instead we were given case studies and goals for children and then had to make something that would help the child meet the goal, using just the random stuff lying around. It was challenging and a good lesson but I was sad because I just wanted to glue stuff.
THEN I went to a PiYo class (Pilates/Yoga), THEN I came home and goofed around when I should have been studying.
I was supposed to journal about today, and I just had no words. I was blah. It's the first time I haven't been able to ramble on endlessly.
So....I got nothing done today related to occupational therapy. I'll pay for it later!
Tomorrow we start our Thermal Modalities class for certification, it's a big deal. We have it from 1-5pm tomorrow, 8 to 5pm Friday, and 8 to 5pm Saturday. It's gonna be a horrible weekend. Especially because I have three projects due next week! Losing a Saturday is a devastating blow, but we are lucky to have this opportunity, so I'm going to try not to complain too much.
In general, I guess I'm a little bewildered about things. Kinda blah, kinda anxious, kinda unsure. The class dynamics are shifting with all the stress and everything just feels unstable. I'm sure it will all be fine soon.
Pictures and more fun blogging soon. If Brooke read this post she would call me "Debbie Downer" right about now.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Yesterday, THREE GIRLS!!!!! IN ONE CLASS DAY!! CRIED!! AT DIFFERENT TIMES!! OVER DIFFERENT PROJECTS!!! And in all cases I was right there for the melt-down! (But I swear I was not the cause). It was a bad day, full of snarls and claws. Everybody was snippy and snappy and while I started the day in an okay mood, I was STRESSED by that afternoon. I called my friend and cried about it. It ended up being a better night though, it was Allison's pre-birthday and so Brooke and I took her out to a local Mexican restaurant called Los Compadres. We shared a margarita (Allison's first taste) and had a great time. So it got better.
Today, I realistically know that I've finally gotten close to caught up in my projects, and I shouldn't be so stressed out. But my body has a hard time listening to my brain. My heart rate is staying rapid, I feel fatigued and worried, and my tummy feels knotted. I went and worked out, hoping for an endorphin hit, but it never came. So I went to the grocery store to stock up, and now I'm home and writing in this a few minutes to chill out.
Tonight I work at 9pm, so I have 4 and a half more hours to get stuff done. I'm going to try and work hard on my book-based occupational evaluation, work on a community initiative paper, practice my assessments for tomorrow, and well, yeah, those are my three occupational therapy goals for the night. My non-OT goals for the night are to try and calm down and think about how I need to remember the lessons I learned and discussed in my Balance post below!
By the way, I'm going to give a shout-out to Google Docs. If you have gmail, you can have access to Google Docs, which allows you to share a document with other invited people. It's somewhat like a wiki, only private. I highly recommend it for OT students doing a lot of group projects - it's hard constantly downloading/uploading new versions and keeping track of things. The only word of caution is that it is beta (although stable), and so I highly recommend you do save the occasional draft to your hard drive, just in case.
Have a great day everyone. I'm pretty sure I'll post tomorrow on our final Group Dynamics session, my research group's first day of practicing assessments, and our media lab, which will focus on making something out of nothing.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
I wrote a small article that had to do with the balance of occupation (similar to my original post on the balance of occupations but not exactly the same), and I got a copyright release form! I don't think that writing an informal version on my blog counts as a publication, but just in case, I'm taking this one down! It should be published in OT Practice in February if everything goes right!
Meg gave me permission to put this up. It's different positions to use with the Reiki technique, using chakras. I took a bunch of pictures with her being silly and then used Picasa to turn it into a grid collage.
I've been working on projects and I still have several big ones to go but I took a break to blog. Here are some blog posts I have in my brain:
1. Type A+ (can you stand the excitement, Mamachill?)
2. Top Ten Rebuttals Occupational Therapists can Give People Who Think Your Job is Just Playing/Common Sense
3. Life-saving books/toys/objects (imho) - I bet Patti can contribute some great items to this list with her multiple years as a rehab tech.
One of the things I really liked about this lab is that it gives us more tools to use as rebuttal. I don't know about y'all, but I get tired of hearing:
I) It looks like it's just common sense. Why are you getting a master's degree in something that I could do without training?
II) All you are doing is playing with the child. Why should you get paid so much for that?
The answer is - we are using play as the area of occupation that the child finds most meaningful at this point in his/her life. However, we aren't just "playing". We have advanced knowledge of anatomy & physiology, kinesiology & biomechanics, the neuromuscular system, and more. We're working with all sorts of techniques you may not realize. Postural stability, enhanced proprioception, weight-bearing, joint compression, sensory integration, vestibular maturation, contracture prevention, ribcage expanding, using key points of control to facilitate movement patterns, etc.
Speaking of ribcage handling! I never knew that children are born with high ribcages, and that through natural movement/development, the ribcages move downward. Children who for whatever reason don't get this movement may end up with high, small ribcages. The therapist can do ribcage handling to help facilitate the downward movement of the ribcage as well as the expansion of the ribcage, to allow the child to breathe better. Pretty neat!
Basically VALPAR is a corporation that does a lot of industrial-rehab related assessments. They have a line of work samples that help test a person's ability to handle a job using similar needs. The Work Sample 7 looks at sorting, color discrimination, finger dexterity, etc. It's a great assessment, although not very holistic - an occupational therapist who worked in industrial rehab would probably use the VALPAR as one of several assessments, in order to get a better feel for how ready the worker is to tackle a similar line of work.
It also, incidentally, turns out that "valpar" means puppies in Swedish, so if you search for VALPAR on google or youtube, you'll see a lot of doggie pictures and a lot of the Swedish language. (I speak Norwegian and Swedish is similar so it's easy to recognize. In Norwegian it is spelled "valper" though).
Stephanie and I have made our Powerpoint, printed out scoring sheets/administration list for everyone, made a VALPAR video of the administration directions, found silly pictures for "breaks", and we are READY. Well, except for practicing.
Starting soldering - adaptive toy lab
Giant keyboard with different set-up
Kerri is using only the hat on her head to guide the mouse on the computer screen
Stephanie holding the soldering tool, it kinda looks like a curling iron doesn't it?
We had an occupational therapy lab at the University of Memphis in their special technology lab.
We learned about different augmentative communication devices, as well as technology designed to assist people with low vision, one-handed typing, ergonomic typing, etc.
We also got to learn how to make simple switches to use with toys, so that we could adapt them so that even a child with very little function could at least press a giant button and have some control over their environment. We ran out of time but we did get to at least start learning this process, which included soldering!! We are going to finish the lab another time. I am excited. I want another occupational therapy tool in my toolbox - I know it's unlikely I'll do a lot of toy adaptation but it's still neat.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
I was nice to myself today. I got up and wrote on a note "I will de-stress. I will work out today and I will be in a good mood". I then "let it all go" and put it in a jar. I went to school in a good mood for the first time in a long time.
We had neuro (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation or something, I am too lazy to look up the title), then Pathology. We were given the easiest take-home test in the world, it was somewhat of an insult to our intelligence. I was done in way less than 30 minutes. But I'm not complaining, I have enough on my plate that I don't need to add on massive Pathology tests to that.
Then I had 30 minutes to eat before I met Stephanie to work on our VALPAR presentation (an industrial rehab work sample assessment), then meet my community initiative leadership group to discuss our group paper, then met my research group along with the mentors to discuss the Tai Chi project, then worked out, then came home and treated myself to reading gossip online for about 20 minutes without feeling guilty.
I have about seven different things I'm working on right now, including a question on how the Motor Skill Acquisition Frame of Reference can apply to a hemiplegic child, some goals for a child with developmental dyspraxia, an occupational therapy evaluation form for a book character (I think I'm doing Temple Grandin), working on my ASD app, etc etc.
It's 8:30pm and I am going to give my work another hour max, before GOING TO BED BEFORE TEN PM FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ABOUT A THOUSAND YEARS. I'm totally turning off my phone since typically I'm up past midnight and fellow students will call me at midnight.
Check out the therapeutic handling lab video I put down below.
The picture today is from our Neuro lab when we were discussing different movement patterns and how they can be used therapeutically in OT. More to come on that later.
Some future blog posts in the works:
*"Playing" vs "working" (how others perceive occupational therapists)
*Prioritizing - Type A+ people in grad school.
*AAC Lab, VALPAR, more about Ribcage handling too
This is quite possibly the worst occupational therapy video ever made (due to my own stumbling, not my subject/cameraman). I was just trying to demonstrate some of the techniques we learned in our handling lab! I have a bad memory so I wanted it on camera to help me remember. Plus I wanted to show y'all the amazing handling skills I am starting to possess.
Basically you could use this more easily with a child, but it's all about key points of control. Using just your hands in certain spots, you can manage to get someone from supine (think of holding a bowl of SOUP, i.e. hand cupped upward) to prone (belly down) to long-sitting to side-sitting to tall-kneeling etc until the person is standing. This is for someone who requires some assistance but can help at least a little bit.
Pros of this video:
It shows you key points of control
It's amazing because it involves Brooke, me, and camerawoman Allison, plus Meg + other voices in the background
I stumble and can't remember exactly where my hands go at times
The sound is bad
I am holding onto Brooke's bootie probably more than necessary but it's a lot easier when you have as much leverage as possible. Sorry, Brooke.
PS: Sorry it is embedded twice. I don't know how to change it without starting over, which I refuse to do. It's the same video though, don't watch it twice unless you are so enraptured you feel a strong desire to do so.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Occupational therapy students Kim and Anna smiling sweetly with the board
Weighing a backpack/explaining
Y'all know the drill. Don't carry heavy backpacks or you'll break your back. The American Occupational Therapy Association, AOTA has National Backpack Awareness Day every September 19th.
Meg, AOTA rep, set up a board and fliers as well as a kitchen scale, and OT students took turns manning the area.
Our favorite guest of the day was our beloved Neal, who showed up in a gigantic crazy hat and the biggest "backpack" we've ever seen.
SO BE AWARE OF YOUR BACKPACK!
On that note, even though I haven't done the soldering lab or Valpar, I'm stopping for the night.
Occupational therapy is officially being shut off in my brain for seven hours.
We had this no-sew quilting lab taught from Chattanooga via Distance Learning...so this is how we were taught. It can be pretty frustrating at times, but it's also amazing. Brooke's gorgeous square
Cheryl's gorgeous square My not yet gorgeous square (it never did end up gorgeous)
Can I just say oops? I never even knew I could break a needle in half.
I ended up using my stapler instead. :X
Me man-handling Allison using NDT key control points, about to turn her over so she is sitting up.
We had a therapeutic handling lab. It had elements of NDT in it, and we also did some ribcage handling. It was pretty neat. I want to share theory with y'all, but for tonight I'm just quickly putting up picture teasers, seeing as how I have officially done nothing but school-related things for the last 17 hours, seriously. I haven't stopped doing OT schoolwork since I got home around 6:30pm, and it's 11pm now. But I couldn't resist a few quick blogposts before I shower and go to bed!
UT Allied Health, including Occupational Therapy, REPRESENTED this past Saturday at the Heart Walk in Downtown Memphis. It was great!
The ultimate irony: Walking 3 miles for the Heart Association, then going to the Arcade for the redneck special, which has biscuits & sausage & gravy.
Sometimes it's hard to even figure out where to start with my workload , when things get this hectic!
Some of it's my own fault - the applications for TOTA/ASD are a time-killer and so is this blog, but at the same time those things are also very important to me, so I am willing to make sacrifices!
I think I'll start easy, just to get started - I'll do my two pages of journaling on Group session today as well as the Quilting Media Class, taught from across the state! Gotta work on VALPAR (group project), Biofeedback (different group project), my ASD/TOTA apps, blog entries (?), my Step 2 Treatment Case Project, Joshua Case Study (another group project), and Occupational Profile/Book Report tonight as well, plus eating, showering, burning a video DVD for a project for someone, and well, breathing.
Gotta keep on breathing. It's funny how one minute I'm overwhelmed and the next minute I'm okay with things!
Tomorrow we have neuro, then pathology, then a few random meetings, then a research meeting...then I'm going to work out because I haven't been doing a good job of it lately, and then continue to work my butt off.
I'm not the only one overwhelmed - all of us are the most stressed we have been! I am normally one to really balance my occupations and have a nice mix of fun/work every day of the week, but lately it's just work work work - I feel like I work all day, come home and work all night with brief/guilty breaks, and then go to sleep late, wake up exhausted, and repeat the cycle. I know it will improve soon, but MAN! It's hard!!
Okay. Now that I procrastinated by writing this up, I'm going to dive into work. Later on I'll take a break and do a few mini posts.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Anyway, I write this quickly to inform you I don't think my brain can handle posting the promised labs tonight. I've stared at so many pictures and looked at so much text that I might explode if I do any more. And if I explode, I can never write the poignant vignettes of occupational therapy school again. I think you might begin to see my point now. My dull point.
So...tomorrow we have a media lab involving quilting (?), PLUS OMG HOW COULD I FORGET, IT IS BACKPACK AWARENESS DAY TOMORROW! IT IS LIKE THE BIGGEST DAY OF THE YEAR! OMG! So...pictures from that too I am sure. Okay so now I need to talk about AAC lab, Therapeutic Handling Lab, VALPAR (for Patti), and Backpack Awareness, and Sewing Media Lab. Phew, I'm behind already and it's only been a few days!
Occupational therapy school is still overwhelming but a TON of fun! The Therapeutic Handing Lab today was GREAT! I think I'm going to practice the sequence of getting someone from on their back to on their stomach, sitting, then side-sitting, then kneeling, then half-kneeling, then standing. And then make a mini video for educational purposes as well as eyeballey goodness.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Here is the program.
Here are just a few of the many pieces you can use with tihs program.
Here I am about to play a spaceship game with my cheeks.
On October 4th, I am doing a 2 hour presentation on Biofeedback with Meg and Emily. Our professor told us that he was driving a man in from Louisiana to give us a session on Biofeedback. This kind of freaked us out, since we worried our professor was maybe expecting a LOT from us if he would take the time and money to have someone spend hours with just the three of us.
Last Thursday, the man drove in (representing Biometrics), and he spent three hours showing Meg, Emily, and I a program that costs over 20,000 DOLLARS!!!!!!!!!!! The program was amazing! You installed it on your computer via USB port, and then there was all this equipment that attached to the computer, a hub, and your BODY.
Basically, you could play 19 different games with virtually any body part. I played a space-ship game with my cheek muscles by controlling my smile. I did pretty badly since it was so hard!
You could use attachment pieces that included rods and disks, to work on range of motion with the various games. If you only had a few degrees of range, you could play the game within that range. You didn't even necessarily have to play games though. There were goniometers and dynamometers and force plates that were attached to the hub that you could use to digitally record ROM or grip strength. One of the huge advantages of this program is that it can really weed out fakers in workman's comp. When a person is actively trying to fake weakness, they can get away with it. But with some of these games or rapid-motion stuff, it would be almost impossible to mask your full strength!
You could also use EMG by attaching electrodes to the skin on top of muscles anywhere on the body, and then play the games just using muscle activation! It was so much fun!
This program was basically the coolest thing I've ever seen and I can't wait to play with it some more. Our biofeedback presentation is going to be awesome because we basically get to show everyone how to play games for an hour of the presentation! That's not to say it's not valid - you can really work on strength and ROM, getting really precise measurements and also making it fun enough that the patient is distracted from their pain and willing to keep working!
Today in class we learned about Chiropractic care, Massage Therapy, the Caregiver Burden Scale Assessment, Therapeutic Handling including Ribcage Handling, and a few other random things. I also made a video with Stephanie on VALPAR administration in preparation for our presentation Monday. Tomorrow we have a lab in ribcage handling, I'll be sure to get back to y'all soon with that. I've decided to save the AAC Lab post for tomorrow since I'm going cross-eyed at the computer and still have work left to do. I did get a LOT done this afternoon though, I've been very productive!
I also got e-mail today from a MOT student named Heather in Nashville, she said she was going to share this blog with her classmates. I encouraged her to start a class blog or individual blog. Shout-out to Nashville. :)
Sunday, September 16, 2007
I'm almost done with my treatment project step 1, which forced me to use my OTPF and Occupational therapy for children (Case-Smith) textbook exhaustively. It was hard and I'm not quite finished, but I feel like I managed to fit all the pieces together. My hypothetical child had developmental dyspraxia and it turns out problems with praxis and problems with sensory processing run hand in hand, so I was able to use the sensory integration frame of reference and discuss how some of her problems with dressing, limited play on the playground etc could be due to tactile processing problems since again, dyspraxia/SI go together. I also talked about how she may have somatodyspraxia and/or ideational dyspraxia and I was so proud of myself. AHAHAHA
Also, I had a few friends edit a little thing I wrote for an OT website and neither of them thought it needed much work, so I was thrilled.
ALSO, I heard back from the OT Vice Chairperson of the ASD Committee and her position sounds like it caters to my strengths! I am really excited!
And I am eating a 100 calorie chocolate mousse! Could this day get any better?
Yes it can, because since I'm almost done with my treatment project and it's not even midnight, there is a chance I'll actually be able to sleep soon! Yay! I wasn't going to post again today but I am HAPPY so I had to!
I've read a ton of articles over the years on how having so much information at our fingertips can be damaging in some respects. We have access to so many things, and so much of it is contradictory, that it is possible to get frustrated and confused on a regular basis. I'm always surprised at people who speak with conviction on things, because I know just enough to know that there is very little in this world that is 100% for sure. I sometimes take that to an extreme and tend to have a questioning attitude on everything. I know a tiny bit about a lot of things, but rarely do I know enough to be positive about something.
I'm working on a case study for our pediatric occupational therapy class. I've been looking up toys that are appropriate for children with cerebral palsy, and I was amazed by the number of websites I found with good ideas. It's hard to pick and choose, and it's also hard to find the time to look through the websites as carefully as I'd like. As I was going through them I was thinking "Oh gosh, this one I should print out for the class, "this one I should print out for a resource binder", "this one I should show my professor" etc. And then I don't take those extra steps because more and more great resources pop up and I just can't seem to choose!
I've spent the last 3 hours or so working on projects and now I'm taking yet another mini break. I think I'm going to go walking in a minute for some fresh air and sunshine and cardiovascular activity, then get back to work a few hours before calling a few friends and then visiting some other friends. And then back to work again. I don't normally work this much in a weekend, but we are pretty overloaded with work right now. The class is pretty much as overwhelmed as it is possible to get. It doesn't help that I am working on scholarship applications, leadership applications, and writing student articles! That is my own choice though, so I can't complain. With any luck, all my work this weekend will mean that I can mostly just relax next weekend!
Scroll down to read about all the great labs we've had in occupational therapy school this past week, my blog for Monday night will be on the Biometrics Lab and Augmentative Communication/Adapted Technology.
Enjoy your Sunday!
Saturday, September 15, 2007
I regularly read a blog Dream Mom, who posts about her child with severe special needs. Dream Mom recently had back surgery and is struggling more so than normal. She is having trouble with her Hoyer lift and could really use some advice on a mechanical issue. If you occupational therapists or engineering minds have any tips you'd like to post here or over on her blog based on the problem she describes, please do so, I'm sure she would really appreciate it. I'm copy/pasting her post in full just to make it more likely it gets read. She can be found at http://dreammom.blogspot.com/
Problem #2: I can't seem to get this legs of the Hoyer Lift to remain spread while I move/transport him. I can lock the legs in the full spread position however then the lift won't go through the three foot wide doorway. If I unlock the legs, then the legs move toward the center (you have to have the legs spread to support the weight of the patient). Does anyone have any ideas on how I can lock the legs when they spread less the full open position? I need to be able to transport him with the legs spread about 70% to fit through the doorway and I need it to lock in place. Here's a picture of the base. In the lift I used at the Respite House, it five slots in the bottom that you could hook the metal post in to lock it in place.
Yes, technically, I know you aren't supposed to transport him however I don't have much space in his bedroom so I am transporting him from his bed to the wheelchair in the dining room, which is about ten feet away. I have been assured this is o.k. from one of the nurses who came to my apartment. She checked the base and wasn't sure how this particular one worked and she uses Hoyer Lifts every day.
Brooke and Stephanie working on soldering, as we worked on making simple on/off switches to use in toy adaptation.
It's 2:45am and I've spent the last hour writing up lab experiences since I eventually gave up on trying to sleep, so please scroll down since there are about five new posts! This was on my to-do list for the weekend so I'm glad I did it although I wish it hadn't occurred so late. Oh well, you can't win them all. I have two labs left to talk about - Biometrics (involving a $21,000 program shown above), and today's Augmentative Communication/Adaptive Technology Lab, which involved soldering (above)!! So enjoy the posts below, and comment your heart out to provide me with positive reinforcement. I'll get back to y'all soon with the final two lab descriptions.
I need to do a lot of work this weekend and I'm also visiting with some friends and participating in a Heart Walk tomorrow, so I'll probably be scarce for a few days. I'm going to attempt to sleep again since I need to be up in 4 hours. Have a great weekend! Hope the two pictures above have deliciously tantalized you so that you come back for more information.
Allison blowing bubbles in preparation for starting the feeding session. You can go around and blow bubbles first, and then introduce foam soap to wash hands at the table, then start with the feeding.
Food art, probably by Virginia if I had to guess (my camera was hijacked).
The orange/brown foods we ate!
Marla's trying hard, but Patchez doesn't look too happy with how things are going! She hates pudding!
This morning we had a three-hour feeding lab, with two visiting therapists in Memphis as well as one in Chattanooga (distance learning). We were following the SOS feeding protocol, which recognizes there are 32 steps to feeding and that children with feeding problems should be treated with understanding and compassion using the rules of the program. It is important to realize that for children with severe eating problems (not just being picky), the children won't just eat when they get hungry enough - they can literally starve themselves to death. It's also not true that eating is our number one priority! Different pediatric diagnoses will have different problems. It can range from swallowing problems in babies who had G-tubes to tongue thrust reflexes in children with cerebral palsy. The first hour was lecture on the different textures of foods, food crises and how to solve them (like if the child is gagging or coughing), and how to solve common food problems. (Food too dry? Add butter. Etc).
The second hour we focused on handling techniques that help with chin support, lip support, jaw support, or a combination. Some children may have such low tone they can't keep their mouth closed while eating, for example, so you may help them support their face in a way that allows them to eat their food without it spurting out. The therapists also pointed out that Stage 3 Baby foods (combination foods of puree/chunks), are dangerous and should not be eaten. The reasoning is that little babies who learn to eat puree do so with a sucking motion. To introduce a combination food before introducing the small chunks previously can cause choking or gagging since the baby doesn't have the oral motor skills necessary to deal with these chunks. Therefore, babies should be introduced to purees, then little chunks, BEFORE combining the two. Also, Cheerios are dangerous for younger children because they don't melt in the mouth. There is a new line of Gerber graduates that have cereals that are meltables, and that is essentially because one of the SOS creators is a consultant for Gerber now.
The coolest thing we learned in this hour is how to deal with a bite reflex of a child with hypertonicity. Let's say you stick a spoon in a child's mouth with a bite reflex and they clamp down and won't let go. You might be tempted to go OH NO and start trying to tug open the child's mouth. This will make it even worse. Instead, there is a technique to rub your fingers down the nasolabial folds (smile lines) of the child in such a way that it helps remove the spoon. It's pretty cool.
Another thing I learned through previous experience, but I have no verification this is okay as this was NOT in the feeding lab, is that if you have a child who puts something inappropriate in their mouth (like say, a mound of silly putty), you can immediately tilt their head forward with the chin tucked in because that makes it very hard to swallow. Try it right now - tuck your chin in as far as it will go and try to swallow. Difficult, right? I was once working with Celia in one of my first sessions with her, and her mother was sitting with us. We were playing with some neat silly putty and she quickly put a big chunk of it in her mouth. Before I could even blink, her mother (ICU nurse to the rescue) grabbed her head and pushed the chin forward so she couldn't swallow as easily, and then fished it out from that position. I asked the therapist about that and she said she had never heard of that but she would ask her SLP about it. So I'm not recommending that since I don't know for sure this couldn't cause a problem. Still, a good thing to ponder.
During the third hour we did a typical feeding session. We were in circles of groups of six in Memphis, and went through the feeding protocol. Basically each person acts as a social modeler and the key is to play actively with the food and explore it, and there is no bribing or forcing of anything. It is a safe, playful environment. You do a progression of food that typically always has either color or shape in common. For example, we started with a line of chocolate pudding, then moved to a hard pretzel rod, then a cheese stick, then a carrot stick, then a Cheeto stick, and so on. You are definitely encouraged to mess around with your food - OH THIS ORANGE STICK FEELS SQUISHY ON MY FINGERS AND IT WIGGLES. CLOMP CLOMP IT IS JUMPING AROUND MY PLATE! Etc
My finished origami box. Brooke let me borrow her wrapping paper, thanks!
Anna's duck box, quack quack
Julie working diligently.
My partially unfolded origami box showing my half-hearted snails.
This lab was interesting, although as a general rule I hate origami.
Basically you fold three sheets of paper in the exact same way. Then you tape them together. Then you take two pieces of foamboard that are the same size as the folded-papers, puff up some cotton and glue it to one side of each piece of foamboard. Then you wrap each piece of foamboard with wrapping paper or tissue paper. You glue the foamboard to the paper so that it looks like a gift, although on the bottom piece you also glue/tape on some ribbon. That way you can wrap it up like a gift and it is very compact, although if you open it it is almost like an accordion. You can decorate the insides with pictures, stickers, drawings, whatever. It can be really cute! Also therapeutic, if you don't hate origami. I guess you can work on frustration tolerance if so.
Friday, September 14, 2007
I'd now like to introduce you to my very own invention, CHAKRA BEAR!!!!!!!!
This bear is named "Choku Rei" as her belly's power denotes the first Reiki symbol and represents energy with a purpose. (Note to self: Next time I complain about not having enough time, remind self about Photoshopping Carebears at 2am.)
Meg healing my headaches using CHAKRA POWER!
(Emily healing something in her back!)
According to www.reiki.org, "Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by "laying on hands" and is based on the idea that an unseen "life force energy" flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one's "life force energy" is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy."
We recently had an hour lecture on Reiki by a fellow OT student, Cheryl. Our professor is having us give presentations on various techniques and he is interested in making sure we have exposure to many different techniques, even ones that most Americans greet with skepticism. I personally think it's pretty cool!
We learned about "ki", which is an unlimited spiritual energy flowing through pathways called chakras. There are seven major ones. The women's power center is above/between the eyes (the glabella area?), and the men's power center is in the solar plexus.
A really simplified explanation of how this works is that you can hold your hands in various positions over the main chakras for self-healing, although you could do it to others using a very gentle touch. You might do this for about 5 minutes until you start to feel some tingling or other sensation that tells you you are ready to move on. Virginia commented this was probably just a sign your hands had fallen asleep.
While I made some jokes about Reiki, I do think it has potential and that it is important as occupational therapy students to be aware of the many different ways one might approach treatment, and that we shouldn't automatically discount more Eastern-based treatments! I really do like the idea!
Chakra Bears unite!
We recently had a session on kinesiotaping. Here is the introductory quote from the official Kinesotaping website:
"Kinesio Taping has emerged as the rehabilitative taping method within the US and international medical communities. Kinesio Taping, or simply “KT”, is an absolute must-have skill for the committed musculoskeletal practitioner. It’s easy to learn, requires a minimal initial investment, and is reimbursable with many carriers. The elastic, latex-free tape takes very little time to apply, is long-lasting (stays on 3-5 days) yet easy to remove, and is suitable for patients of every age or condition. KT is extremely versatile in its ability to re-educate the neuromuscular system, promote lymphatic flow, reduce pain, enhance performance, prevent injury, and promote injury resolution."
We watched short clips of the Kinesotape demonstration video and then practiced on each other. It can really reduce pain and/or make a surprising difference. You can apply the tape going from origin of muscle to insertion if you want to help the muscle contract (like in weakness) and apply it from insertion to origin if you want to lessen the strain (like in carpal tunnel). I might have this backward, I'll check my notes soon. It will definitely make your muscles feel weird, like they are tingling. It can also leave you sore. This past summer I had physical therapy for back issues and the PT taped up my scapula one day to alleviate some pressure (I have really mild scoliosis), and it felt so weird! Even having the tape on for about 10 minutes at a time during this session was slightly odd. As an added bonus, you'll get free hair removal when taking the tape off if you aren't careful. Eyebrow wax, anyone?
Me demonstrating my beautiful taping job on Meg.
Virginia taping up a foot for plantar fasciitis.