Thursday, December 15, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Week two was fun and tiring. Teachers actually gave lectures and there were no free lunches. However, in one of out classes we had to build the tallest structure we could out of marshmallows and toothpicks and then do an activity analysis on it. I still think my group should have won because nowhere in the contest rules did it say it needed to be freestanding. There was a lot of reading for the week. Most of it was pretty basic. All the classes seem to be focusing on what is occupation and why is important to life. We have started to delve into how to find a client's occupation also.
This week we also got our research groups. I got lower of the pack choice of groups, but I ended up getting my second choice. I was lucky. We meet with our mentor tomorrow, but from what I understand we will be working with African American girls with HIV/AIDS to evaluate life skills interventions to see if they help the girls comply to their medical needs.
One other interesting assignment I have this semester is a wellness journal. We are suppose to set at least three goals to improve our health and monitor them in a journal once a week. The is journal is a tool to help us adhere to our goals. We also have a wellness buddy to keep us accountable. I was going to try and improve my health this semester anyways, so this assignment is just an added incentive.
Next week is the first quiz, but there is also Labor Day weekend. I'm finally starting to settle down to life here and getting to know my way around, but I will be happy for a trip home.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
So I have successfully survived my first week of class. It was a little misleading because two full days were orientation, and one day only involved going over a syllabus. This coming week we will get a little more idea of what the workload is like. One interesting assignment we had was to read the 1966 Slagle Lecture. Every year AOTA has a Slagle Lecture at the conference that is given by someone who has creatively added to the profession. The one in 1966 was given by Elizabeth Yerxa. She led a movement to critical analyze the body of knowledge that occupational therapy encompasses. It is a very inspiring lecture and has many valuable quotes, but one that really stuck out to me was, " Occupational therapy begins when everybody else has given up". It really struck a cord with me because often the people I am working with will be discouraged because of personal beliefs, previous assessments, family's beliefs, and/or societal beliefs. It will be my career to get them and the community to believe in these people again. Here is a list by AOTA of all the Slagle Lectures if you would like to read them.
Another assignment I had was to read the OT Practice Framework. This lays out some of the general terminology and processes that are used. Right now it seems pretty basic but as we delve deeper into it I am sure it will mean more.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
So I have turned in my first official occupational therapy school assignment. It was to write a tweet (in e-mail) of our occupations. She made it tweet length so that we did not go crazy and really evaluated what was important to us. I personally felt like I could fit a lot in a tweet, but maybe that is because I am from the millennial generation. Here is mine:
I’m a daughter, sister, citizen, volunteer, student, southern, fighter, techie, foodie, niece, cousin, grandbaby, American, activist, blanket collector, Yellow Jacket, Braves fan, spiritual person, reader, blogger, board game lover, and a shopper.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
First of all welcome any new readers from PediaStaff, which is a metablog as well as a business among other things. Their blog is geared towards speech, physical, and occupational therapists. I am a Georgia girl who just started occupational therapy school today. I had been volunteering in the worlds of hippotherapy and special needs camps.
The first day of class will be tomorrow because today was just orientation. We were first introduced to the faculty and then to each other. The health center came in and told us about their services. Then the second years came to talk to us. They took questions and offered up some things to do around town. We each had as second year that was partnered with us. They brought us gifts. Mine was super sweet. She brought me a lot of candy, highlighters, a clipboard, and sticky notes among other things. She as well as many of the second years said the first few weeks will seem easy, but then October will hit and stress will build. The second years had just came back from camp and were very close. They seem to enjoy the program even though the lows. Then we had lunch. The last order of business for the day was going over the different policies. Not the most exciting thing, but it is over. We finished with questions. I was surprised by how many were on fieldwork and dressing for class. Fieldwork seems so far away, but it is definitely something everybody is excited about. Apparently, in fieldwork it is best to be flexible and they suggest going out of state. That surprised me, but they want us to learn the different laws. We have one teacher that does not like you to wear jeans to class, but mostly we can wear whatever unless we have a guest speaker.
Overall all the information was a little overwhelming, but it was good to be there. Everybody seemed to enjoy the program and I am glad to be part of the family. I'm ready to start learning.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
So I found this fascinating video on the placebo effect through In web we trust (a site of geekery and science). Often many of the techniques that occupational therapists have not been scientifically proven to create a difference. That does not mean they do not work; it just means the technique has not been tested yet. It is hard for me at the moment to figure out how a placebo would work for occupational therapy. I believe most scientific journals currently compare a technique versus if no intervention was done or another technique working on the same thing to see what is better. We get our research group like the third week of class. I think I am the only person to get excited about research. I don't think I would want to do it as a career though. I could see myself having a research project on the side, but I don't think that is commonly done because research is so much work with getting the grants and finding test subjects.
Tomorrow is orientation. I am so ready to get this adventure on the road. I have meet some of my classmates throughout the week. We have been gathering information on the program. Each of us know little bits and pieces. It sounds like we getting a big (2nd year) to show us the ropes. It also sounds like our schedule is not set in stone, but changes a lot. Well in a few days all the gossip will become fact or fiction.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
I have started to look over some of the syllabuses for my classes and as I have heard from other students there is an attendance policy. They explain that the attendance policy is in place because as professionals if we did not show up to work then you would be knocked down on a performance review or even fired. However, there are a lot of jobs where attendance at the workplace is not required as long as the work gets done. The policy just rubs me the wrong way because it does not allow me to make my own choices on whether I should attend class that day or not. Now I have always been a person to go class, so it is not an inconvenience just an irritation.
The other thing that surprised me was that I do not have a good idea of what most of the assignments are. I know they will be explained, but I had to stop looking because I was getting overwhelmed. It was just a reminder that not only will I be learning new material, but a different style is going to be used to teach it to me.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
What is occupational therapy? It is a question I have gotten a hundred times already, and a question I am sure to get hundreds more times. Explaining occupational therapy is probably one of the most frustrating parts of being an occupational therapist. One wants to explain its breadth, but also some specifics and that is not easy to do in an elevator speech. It is also important to explain occupational therapy because it is unknown properly by most and therefore in my opinion often underutilized.
Now taking all of this under consideration what do I actually say. Currently (with my limited knowledge of occupational therapy), my elevator goes something along the lines of:
"Occupational therapy is similar to physical therapy, but instead of working on range of motion we focus on daily living skills. Sometimes we will help someone relearn how to eat after a traumatic event or we can help people living with ADHD work on different techniques to focus."
In all fairness, it is a little dolled up for the internet. I am usually a little less formal. There are still issues to this explanation. First, I feel like I am degrading physical therapy by suggesting that they only focus on range of motion. I know they do a lot more, but I am making generalizations. I also feel like I am missing the community and environmental aspects of occupational therapy. We try to improve the functionality of the environment and community so that everyone can use it to their best potential. However, this is an elevator speech and not a lecture, and often this little blurb will open up more discussion. If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them. How do you explain occupational therapy?
Now that I am here in the land of school I am so excited to get started. I went on an outing with a few of the girls in my class. It was nice to get to meet some people beforehand. I got some gossip about the program, such as we have a semi-formal. Who would of thought? It was nice to see the variety of people that came, but there was definitely a lot of similarity between us. It was interesting to hear different people's concerns. Some are already planning Fieldwork II in their head, but that seems so far off to me. One more week and then I will meet everybody. A little disjointed, but hopefully this blog will surely but slowly improve my writing skills.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Still in the process of unpacking. I thought the unpacking would be easier than the packing, but man was I wrong. It is nice though to finally use all the furniture I purchased over the summer. The internet failed to install the first time, but if you are seeing this than it finally worked or I gave in and went to Starbucks. It is amazing how non-enticing my computer is without the internet. It probably is a blessing that the internet did not get installed correctly the first time because I probably focused more on unpacking.
On Sunday, I volunteered at my last hippotherapy session. It was bittersweet. I love the kids and the staff, but to be honest the horses still terrify me a little. There were no words that could say how much I thanked her. I gave her a gift of a puzzle, Target gift coins (that she could use as pirate booty) and buy stuff with, and an activity book that I created with stuff I had found on the internet. She says coming up with new activities is the hardest part. She really seemed to enjoy everything, so it was a spectacular way to end things. While I am going to miss it, I think I am ready to start on my new adventure of occupational therapy school. Speaking of which, I am about to head out to dinner with some girls in the program.
Friday, July 29, 2011
I just returned from a wonderful over night camp for children with special needs. I was in a cabin with six campers and four other volunteers. My cabin was affectionately known as the spina bifida cabin because the majority of ours girls had spina bifida. This is not a diagnosis that I have not had a lot of experience with, so I learned a great deal and dealing with daily living skills is a whole new ballgame. All of our spina bifida girls had to use catheters to toilet. I expected it to all be the same, but they all had different systems and schedules. I knew there were different sizes and locations for catheters, but I didn’t realize that some allowed leakage and others prevented it. I was also learned about some of different variations of spina bifida. One of the campers was able to do short transfers by herself, while another had absolutely no feeling from the waist down. Overall, I was amazed by what they can do and they taught me a lot, but I should not be too surprised because after all they are adults just like me.
A few of the campers had family that coached wheelchair sports. The family came and brought extra chairs for the ambulatory campers and some of the counselors. I got to play and it was probably one of the best activities at camp. It was competitive and tough. It is something they are going to try to bring back next year. Half of my campers regularly play on the team and they say basketball is more fun. I hope I get to try it next year. They play near my parent's home, so I hope to see a game sometime soon.
The camp takes place at a camp owned by another organization that built the camp for children with a variety of challenges. The camp provides counselors to run the different activities, but each individual camp that is hosted that brings their own volunteers to be in the cabins the campers and guide the campers to the different to the different activities. They have banners all over the cafeteria and it was so cool to see the different camps that exist and talk to the counselors that work all the different camps. I discovered that my OT program their camp there. I am so excited. I knew my program had a camp for our summer semester. It counts as our pediatric level I fieldwork . One of the campers this week said he normally attends that camp too. It was a wonderful experience and I wish I had known wonderful camp and could have been working with them for years.
This Monday I move to school so posts will probably be spotty for a while, but how long can it take to unpack a one bedroom apartment. I have a feeling a good deal longer than I will want it to. School is getting closer everyday which is exhilarating and terrifying.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
When I volunteer at one of the barns, there are a variety of therapists to talk to about school as well as a student doing her last fieldwork. We were talking during a break in between sessions and they started sharing some of their stories of school. One went to my school, but at a satellite location that I believe have since gone defunct and the other goes to another school in the state. One thing they mentioned was there were a lot of group projects. We are all annoyed by group projects, but understand that they are necessary. Honestly, my collaborating skills could use some improvement, so while this aspect of school will be frustrating at points it will be worth it in the end.
The other thing that was mentioned was that the professors babied the students. This is more worrying because this is not justifiable to me and a personal pet peeve. One of them had skipped a class one day to help a friend study for a neuro test later in the day and the professor called to see where she was. I guess it is nice that the professor cares, but on the other hand I am an adult and if I want to make mistakes that is my choice. There were several other stories told. With group projects there are certain strategies that I can use to problem solve, but with the professors babying the students I don’t know how to improve the experience. Overall I am excited for school to start, but this helps me remember that while it is a dream job there are some tough aspects.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
This week of camp had some up and downs. First, I have to say I had wonderful volunteers. They were always encouraging the kiddos and wanting to have something to do. The downside to camp this year was one of my kiddos was sent home in the first hour because camp was not a good fit, and I had a child miss the last two days because she had a medical test. She told the best stories and had the best attitude. She told me she was determined to come back to camp before she left. The biggest downside was there was a child that was resistant to participating and when he was encouraged to do so he threatened the camp and staff. He became inappropriate and had to be told to stop. I had spoken to his family and the next morning I got a note from his family saying he was spoken to about the behavior, but he was also upset that the staff said they did not believe him. I do not remember that happening and I asked the family if they could give me more details about the incident so I could figure out what was happening, but the family just said they were disappointed because this camp is usually so accepting. That was heartbreaking. It was even worse because we never saw the child again.
There were a lot of upside though that made camp a wonderful experience I want to experience again. I had this one child that was terrified of getting in the pool. She loved to sit on the edge and splash though. We would put her in the pool for five minutes everyday though for the sensory experience. She would constantly say, "Sit, sit" when she was put in the pool. Then I had this great commonsense idea. Have her sit on the stairs inside the pool. She sat there happily. Her family was so proud when they picked her up. There was a child there that I work with at hippotherapy that was in another group at camp. When he saw me a big smile came on his face and he would greet me and tell me stories. I was so excited that he knew me because when he comes in for his sessions he likes to introduce himself and his family and ask me my name. It was good to know that I had made an impression. I also saw some of the kids that I worked with last year at camp. It was impressive to see how much they have grown and improved over the year. I also had a chance to work with some of the older kids which was a new experience. It is harder when I can't physically contain some of the children in difficult experiences. However, the conversations are more engaging. Overall camp was an phenomenal experience and that I want to do again. Seeing the children in tire swings and climbing on tightropes was mind-blowing. I hope me and the kiddos get to do it again.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
So a while back I told you about this cool site Pinterest. I am going to show you some of the hopefully useful ideas I have gathered so far.
The first one could be use for sensory processing. It is a memory game where Easter eggs or some other containers are filled with different items, such as rice or beads. The child then needs to find the two that are the same. This could also work for turn taking. This was created by a Finnish blog.
The next idea is originally from the Real Simple magazine, which offers wonderful recipes and organization techniques as well as games to entertain kiddos. The activity that I liked is a mini-marshmallow popper. They took a paper cup and cut out the bottom. Then they took a balloon and cut of the top and attached the bottom half to the cup. The kiddo then pulls on the knot of the balloon and whatever is in the cup pops. I could see popcorn and fake bugs also being good items to put in the cup. This could work on hand strength probably.
This idea would be a simple improvement for people with arthritis or poor grip in general. It is taking grippy shelf liner and wrapping it around the handle so that it is wider for easier grip and the extra grippyness makes it easier to keep the grip. I lost the original source so if it was you or you know who let me so that they can get credit.
Keep Calm and Teach On offered up this concept. She has a basket of activities that her student's will grab from when they get restless. They will perform the activity for 1 minute and then get back to work. On her webpage, she lists the activities she uses for her second grade class. Many of these activities are very appropriate for a pediatric setting. I think with a little work therapists could come up with some good one minute activities for adults and geriatrics.
This week I worked a outdoor special needs camp. The heat here in Georgia is brutal and it shows in the staff and the kiddos. I had a huge breakthrough with a child today that I hope to share with you later this week.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
As I continue to learn more about occupational therapy before school starts, I thought I would review the six practice areas as outline by AOTA. The information they have is not very satisfying, but I did not examine the links. I am basing my reviews over all the information I have gathered so far. What is listed below is not necessarily fact, but my personal beliefs.
1.Children and Youth
This is the area I know the most about because it is where I have done all my volunteer work. Occupational therapists can work in schools, homes, hospitals, and other rehabilitation settings in this area. With my limited knowledge this is where I currently I want to work. According to my school 50% of their students end up working in this area for their first job. Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) seems to be the big story in this area currently, but occupational therapists also treat autism and cerebral palsy as well as other disorders.
2. Health and Wellness
This area seems to be prevention based and heavily community based. Advocacy for better health and wellness to schools, communities, and the nation seem to come from here. I have yet to meet anyone from this area, but a few of the AOTA's podcasts seem to come from this area. Currently, I have a curiosity about the area, but I do not see it being a large part of my career directly.
3. Mental Health
This is another area that I know little about so far. I did read one blog where they did fieldwork in the mental health area. It is hard for me currently to imagine the goals one would create for people in this area. From what I can tell this appears to be one of occupational therapy's first areas, but then occupational therapy mostly abandoned this field for a time because of other professions joining this area. Lately, there have been strides for occupational therapy to really get back in the field of mental health. I think this would be an area I would like to experience.
4. Productive Aging
This is an area that has grown and will grow tremendously as the baby boomers continue to age. This is also an area where there is a lot of money to be made I have heard. I think this would be a very interesting population to work with filled with stories, but this population also scares me because I think I would have a hard time instructing and pushing someone older than me because of my raising. I am also scared of this area because I feel like it is more about preventing decline than it is about improving living quality because of the population. This is an area of mixed feelings, but an area where occupational therapy is making huge strides and I can't wait to see how it continues to evolve.
5. Rehabilitation, Disability, and Participation
A few of the blogs I have read mention experiences in this area. This is what I associate with occupational therapy when I am not considering a pediatric setting. In this area, I also picture the colliding of physical and occupational therapists the most. I picture most occupational therapists in this area working in a hospital or rehab setting, but I can also see them doing home modifications or modifying the community. I would love to work with a client trying to get their community work best for them so that they can achieve more.
6. Work and Industry
This is what people think of when I mention occupational therapy and they have never heard of it before, but this is a section I have very little knowledge. I did hear on AOTA podcast that talked about developing better workspaces. I have also heard the green movement and ergonomics being part of this area too. I could not see this as the focus as my practice, but I could see the findings of this area influencing whatever I do decide to practice.
I have mentioned that I prefer certain areas to others, but I do not mean to limit myself. I am trying to be honest with myself at the moment. When I was first introduced to occupational therapy, I did not see myself having a career in the field either. I think it is important to go to my classes and different experiences with an open mind and an understanding of what makes me uneasy about a particular area. Often the uneasiness will go away with experience and knowledge and little will limit me. It seems so weird that school is just a little over a month away. It has felt so far away for so long. The reality that I am going to school to be an occupational therapist is finally starting to sink in. There is a lot of excitement in this, but there is also some fear and worry. I have wanted this for so long and what if it does not work out or I hate it. I believe in every big change there is some trepidation, especially if you enjoy the way things are. Well with that enjoy your 3 day weekend.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
I was so excited when @OTNotes on twitter linked to a story about the benefits of hammocks on sleep. Hammocks have always been part of my dream house. When I was little my favorite part of going to the park was the swings. Not to mention that hammocks just reek of summer and relaxation. The story was about a Swiss research project where participants fell asleep faster and had a deeper sleep when they were in a hammock. Unfortunately, the article does not link to the paper or cite it. This is one of my biggest pet peeve when mainstream media reviews journal articles. It makes it really hard for me to delve deeper into the study or critically analyzing it myself. In the comments, some people brought up some of the negatives of sleeping in a hammock especially in the long term.
This week is the 4th of July and I hope you enjoy it. Right after it I have another camp for children with challenges. I still haven't determined what terminology I prefer to designate the population. Any suggestions? It is going to be hot here in Atlanta and if it is anything like this week humid too. This week my goal is to paint my dresser and bookshelf for the new place. I got a high quality coffee table today too. Luckily it is perfect as is. Goodwill is very quickly becoming my favorite store. I better make sure there is one close to where I am moving.
Friday, June 24, 2011
So I am excited today to say I have made some major progress of unpacking all the stuff I brought from school to my parents' for the summer and progress repacking it in a way that makes sense. One good thing about having school during the summer is it is one less move for me.
This week I have had some time to clean out the computer and put some things on the hard drive. One of the great programs I love is OneNote. Most people who buy Microsoft Office (yep I am a PC user and proud of it) also have it. This program allows you to cut pictures, text, tables, etc. easily. But my favorite feature is I can create journals with tabs and the tabs can have more tabs. I love having things organized and it is easy to move sections and pages. That is what I hate about actual journals, that it is hard to move stuff around. Often in class I am given the lessons in pieces and then the big picture comes together later, usually after a few lessons. When I see the big picture I often want to move things around. This program would make it easy for that to happen. I would love to use this to keep my school notes, but when I bring my laptop to class I just get too distracted. I see new e-mails or end up working on a different paper or something. I could re-type my notes into the program, but we will see. What I do use the program for is ideas I find on the internet. I find gadgets and activities all over that can be used for occupational therapy or decorating ideas or recipes that I want to keep.
Another great piece of technology to keep track of activities and things is Pintrest. This is a website that allows you to tag items you find from all over the internet and tack them onto a virtual bulletin board. It keeps the original URL, so instead of having an overflowing bookmark folder you can just visit this nifty website. Currently, you have to ask to join, but just submit your e-mail address and you will usually get invited in a week. I also like it because you can follow other people's board or scan the recently pinned items. If you join make sure to follow my OT board!
The last website is a little different. It is Mint. This website can track your spending and create budgets. You may sync up your credit cards and bank accounts. It seems safe and I have been using it for over a year without issue, but always be careful when divulging your information. As a student becoming financially independent for the first time I feel like this website is going to be a tool that will help me stay on track.
On a sidenote, earlier this week I had jury duty. It seems so much cooler on T.V. I did get to start reading again though. My list of books to read is growing quickly as I use Your Next Read. I think most of the recommendations are just based on Amazon's recommendations, but if you join you can create a bookshelf. They have a really cool feature where they take all the books on your bookshelf to make better recommendations. I really love the visual aspect of it.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
I just finished my second week of camp. This location was different than the previous week. This time my group was almost all girls. The group was much calmer and smaller, which made it easier to control. I really felt like everything was in place to have an incredible week at camp, but the volunteers at this location were horrible. They would not stay at their assigned station, they were always on the phone, and they were more interested in flirting and bullying each other than being with the kids. Also when they were with the kids they would only play with the "cute" ones and never force the necessary work and activities.
Working with others is one thing that is pretty consistent throughout occupational therapy, and it is definitely a skill of mine that can be improved. The main technique I used to help harness the help of my volunteers was to assign them to very specific tasks. Volunteer A can you use hand over hand with Camper B to help complete the craft. The hardest thing to remember was most of the volunteers did not have experience and were terrified of forcing the movements. I have to say I was the same way just a few years ago. I tried to show clapping and drawing because those were some of the most common movements. The hardest part was I would repeat myself a hundred times. It is just frustrating, but I have a feeling it is going to happen again. I will try to work on my communication skills and hopefully these instances will be less common.
On the occupational school front I just ordered my books off Amazon. The nice thing was since the program is small and everybody is taking the same set of classes the professors due their best to limit the amount of books for all the courses by using the same book when applicable. The school recommended buying the books (vs renting) because we are starting to build our professional libraries. I tend to believe that is good advice. My books cost a little over $300 this year. Hopefully they were a worthwhile investment. I am going to find a good fun book to read because I have jury duty tomorrow. Hope it goes quickly.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
So here is an awe-inspiring tattoo I discovered at http://sawb.soup.io. Something to motivate you to study anatomy. I wonder how long it took to get done. I have always wanted to get a tattoo because some of them are absolutely beautiful. On the other hand, I am terrified I wouldn't like it in a few years.
This past week of camp was great and exhausting. I came home on Friday and passed out. I will miss my campers and I hope to see them again. I got some medical information about the kiddos and I have never seen so many abbreviations. I guess that is just a peek at my future. Another week of camp this week, so I better finish my homework (longest chapter so far of course)and get some sleep.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
This week many exciting things have been happening. First, I have started one of my camps for kids with special needs, but before I go on and on about it I am going to tell you about a lesson that I learned this week that I think it is going to be important to keep in mind as an occupational therapist. I have started to furniture shop for the apartment I am moving into for occupational therapy school. The biggest worry was a couch because I cannot put together a couch and my car certainly cannot fit a couch into it. I did my research and determined Craig's List was my best bet for a couch and I was going to have to pay $100-150. I did checked out a few couches and I was disappointed, and it was finally suggested that I check out Goodwill, which is 10 minutes from my house. It is my new favorite store for at the very least housewares. I got a nice couch (for a college kid) for less than $40. That means I can get a chair now! I learned that you may think you have done your research and discovered the best way, but there are always things you did not think of or that you underestimated.
Okay now onto camp and some more lessons. I am with 8 5-7 year olds and three other volunteers. I was warned about two of the campers being a particular handful. I was excited that I had three typical children that could lend a helping hand,and that one of the volunteers had done the camp last year and knew what was going on. I am happy to say that those two "trouble" campers have been not been the biggest handful. The biggest handfuls are the typical kids because they have a full range of movement and always have a counselor tied up literally. The staff and the counselors have been trying to encourage them to help, but they just want to have fun and we want them to have that too so it is a weird balance that I have not quite figured out yet. The challenges that you thought would be hard can be not an issue, while the non-issues can become hurdles.
One of the most interesting challenges was a child with autism came in and would not sit by everyone because they were weird. He was not trying to mean, but he was overwhelmed and did not know how to process everything. I told him that everybody was just being themselves because it was true that the situation was weird. He did end up integrating into the group; however, he still avoids the less functioning children. Progress is being made though. His mother was so horrified when I told her about his original behavior and took action by talking to him and having him apologize the next day. It was nice to see a parent not let child slide by due the child's own challenges, which I might have done.
One more quick story and I will sign off and maybe do some real homework. In one of the hippotherapy sessions, the therapist had a child lay out a Special Olympics course. As a natural reaction, I asked if he was competing this year. His mother was so appalled. I was shocked that a family member of someone with special needs could find the idea degrading. On the other hand, I do understand from where she is coming from. Everyday I am learning something new and I am so happy that I am having this experiences even before I enter school. I having a feeling this experiences will be quite valuable. I might not post for a while because camp wears me out, but keep looking because I am sure there are more stories to come.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
So this month I have to take Kinesiology as a pre-req for my Occupational Therapy program. The class itself is interesting and from my shadowing I can already see much of the information is actually applicable to my future career. That is a good feeling. I don't enjoy taking a class over the summer, but it is good to keep my mind working and it is only a month so I still have a lot of summer to enjoy.
This is my first strictly online class. So far I feel like I am still learning most of the information. I typically read my textbooks anyway, but I am worried that the information will not stick as well since I am only receiving the information one way. I was told by another occupational therapy student to really pay attention to the material because it will be used in other classes.
Stuff has gotten moving to make occupational therapy school real. I went looking for a place to live last week and I found some decent places. The place I am trying to get into has a pool, which is a real plus especially since I was looking in 90+ degree temperatures and it was only May. Now I just got start hunting down some cheap furniture.
I also got a tentative schedule for my first semester in occupational therapy school. I thought there would be more hours of class, but we warned that a good portion of our time should be reserved to work on projects. The nice thing is there are no choices of classes to take, so they are scheduled together with a lunch break. I will no longer have to fill an awkward two hours. I am going to have to find new recipes for packed lunches. I am not a fan of sandwiches. The classes I will be taking in my first semester are a research class, something called OT Models of Reasoning, Lifespan, Professional Foundations, and Wellness and Illness. Hopefully, they do not demand expensive books, but that may be asking too much. Well to pay for those books I better finish my scholarship application and start reading my chapter for class. Only three weeks left.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
This commercial has been shown on t.v. a few times and is getting a lot of hype on the internet. I really think it is teaching an important lesson. Often times people forget that their words are hurtful when they pertain to things other that they have not personally experienced. Often times words seem to be a simple jab or just bantering. A good reminder to everybody to use their filter and to advocate against the use of these words and others.
As I was finally getting around to posting this I read the comments. Many people felt that this PSA was trying to infringe on their first amendment's right to speak freely. I take the position that the word should not be banned or bleeped, but it should be used carefully in the correct context (not that there is necessarily a correct context). To me this commercial reminds me to be aware to not say I am a retard when I do something dumb or say I am ADHD when I can't concentrate and to not let those around me get away with it either.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
In celebration of Oprah's final episode I will share some of my favorite blogs. I decided to start an occupational therapy blog because some of the other great blogs out there. When I read them, they got me excited about my upcoming profession. There are a lot of them, and I have only been searching for a couple months. I use Google Reader to help me keep up. I would highly recommend it to anyone otherwise the websites get to overwhelming to stay with them. Here are some my favorite occupational therapy related blogs, and I highly suggest looking at their links to discover more sites:
Belong OT: http://otstudents.blogspot.com/
This blog started as a student blog and is now a school OT blog. I would highly recommend reading the blog from the beginning. Her blog is very detailed as a student and covers the highs as well as the lows. It has many personal stories, but she also covers her classes and other related OT adventures. Her pride and enthusiasm for occupational therapy is infectious.
Master of Occupational Therapy: My Student Blog: http://myotstudentblog.blogspot.com/
This is from a second career occupational therapist. She is currently doing Level II fieldwork. She recently posted a wonderful list of things to do to prepare for fieldwork. She also has posts about trips she has taken to different countries and the occupational therapy she observed there.
OT Notes: http://otnotes.blogspot.com/
This is a blog by a current OT that is updated about sporadically/biweekly. She has worked with may different populations that occupational therapists work with. She also keeps a twitter if that is something you use.
This blog is written by an occupational therapist that practices hippotherapy. Many of the posts include photos and videos that are helpful. Although the activities are meant to be done on a horse they can be adapted to different environments.
M-OT Student: http://m-otstudent.blogspot.com/
This is another student blog. It is fairly new compared to some of the others, but it has a nice balance of professional and personal stories.
Putting it into Practice: OT Student Blog: http://community.advanceweb.com/blogs/ot_12/default.aspx
This is what I consider a metablog. I'm not sure of the actual definition, but I consider anything a metablog that has a wide number of contributors. Several different students contribute on what is going on in their OT learning. Some of the entries are mostly professional, but others offer a personal view on OT school. This is a part of a website called Advance.
The OT Student Perspective: http://community.advanceweb.com/blogs/ot_7/default.aspx
This is also a blog on the Advance site. This is the blog of a specific student who currently is about to start her Level II fieldwork. She does a weekend program, so if you are curious about the demands of a non-traditional program I would suggest checking it out.
Kids at Thought: http://kidsatthought.com/
This is not an OT directly related site. This is a website that offers new perspective on how to deal with children. It is surprising how often it leads me to new OT ideas.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
So since it is summer and slow going for occupational therapy learning I am going to explain a little about this blog I have created. Jezzabella is not my real name. I hate my real name because it is so common. Okay hate is a strong word. There are much worse names. However, by not using my name it makes it harder to use this blog for professional networking. So I kind of mixed it up. If you click to see my whole profile on the sidebar you can send an e-mail to me, which includes my name, but I don't make it easy to find me. Even though it is hard always feel free to click profile and send me an e-mail. I would love to hear your feedback.
Next week is going to busy. My online kinesiology course starts next week. It is only a month long. I hope that I actually retain some of the information and cover the information in enough detail that I am on a equal playing field with everybody else. I am also looking for housing for when occupational therapy school starts. Let's hope I find something decent in my price range.
P.S. The oranges are because orange is my favorite color and the fruit is awaking. They are one of life's simple pleasures to me.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
This past Sunday was the swim meet for the group I work with. It was amazing and crazy. The girl I focus on most of the time won first place in her race. I was so proud of her. Most of the kids still don't get the concept of jumping at Go. Also, a few of the kids that had practiced diving would not at the race even though they could. I realize it is overwhelming to be at the swim meet, and it is a different environment than they are used to, but it is frustrating when they are not showing me their best. One of the kids had a melt down because they did not get to keep swimming like they do at practice.
Overall it was a fun experience. It was fun to see the different skill levels and abilities. Some of the kids on different teams I know from different events. It was also fun to see the family members that do not usually come to practice. I'm really sad that I cannot continue to coach the team in the fall. I hear in the fall there are even more swimmers, and the kids would make even more improvements than I saw in one season.
It is the first week of summer and I have been a lazy bum. I have gone to the gym everyday. I hope to get in shape this summer since I don't have any other girls. This week I also have to get together some stuff for school. It is amazing the amount of paperwork required even after you are accepted.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
When I am procrastinating from doing work sometimes I will do a Google News search for occupational therapy. A while ago I found a few articles talking about how occupational therapy is one of the lowest stress jobs around. It stated that most job stress is caused by high expectations in the workplace. This got me to thinking do occupational therapists not exert pressure on themselves or do they think failing is okay or does occupational therapy just not have a lot of inherent stress.
When I first thought of occupational therapy it did not seem like a low stress job to me. One is working with individuals that require patience to work with. Quite possibly that is just an issue for me. I am a go, go, go person and I pretty sure one of the hardest parts of this career for me will be sitting on my hands and letting the patient do their occupation without interference. Many of the clients will also have issues communicating. Someone trying to convey a point and me having no idea; that is one of the most frustrating things in the world. However, I do believe there is a difference between frustration and stress. Often the two are inter-tangled, but there is a difference. I think frustration is caused more by when you want to something but you can't, and stress is caused by needing to do something and you can't. Maybe there is more inherent frustration than stress.
One of the reasons I suggest that occupational therapy might not be a high stress environment is because occupational therapists do not exert pressure on themselves. I would say this is a possibility because moving up the ladder is not the way occupational therapist measure accomplishment. However, I believe most occupational therapist have the stress of helping as many people they can without sacrificing their own life. Often an occupational therapist will see patients that run out of insurance, money, or time and they will want to help. However, the therapist still needs to bring a paycheck home and spend time with family or friends or whatever they desire to have a full life. I also believe most occupational therapists exert pressure on themselves to create successful treatments for the clients. I believe occupational therapists exert pressure on themselves, but they do in different ways than other careers focused on upward mobility.
So I have covered my theories of inherent stress, and not exerting pressure, so I guess the final theory to consider is that occupational therapists think it is okay to fail. This may seem like a strange theory, but working in any field there is not a success rate of 100%. In this particular field, full recovery might not be achievable. So not so much that it is it okay to fail, but ok not to succeed. I don't really believe that is the case either because I feel like at least I as an occupational therapist I will want my patients to overshoot their goals if possible. I also think occupational therapy is such a goal setting job that failure would not just be water off the duck's back.
I do feel like one of the reasons that occupational therapy is a low stress job is because high tolerance people take the jobs. Compassionate, patient people take this career path because it is what they believe they are best suited for. This career demands a lot, but people know that going in and self-select. Ok, that was a lot of rambling. I am not saying occupational therapy is a horrible or tremendous job (that is for you to decide), but this was just my thinking process when I read the article and looked at others saying similar things. I have read about 5-6 articles saying OT is a low stress job. I have just taken my last final and my graduation issue got fixed, so as long as I get at least a C in everything I will be golden! Hope you are having as much luck.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
This weekend is graduation. Four years of hard work coming to an end, well hopefully. I just checked my status and it says I am missing two classes, but I am pretty sure it is just a paperwork error. It is sad that this period of my life is winding down, and I am about to leave most of what I know, but I am ready to become an occupational therapy student.
One of the saddest thing coming to an end is my sorority. I was involved in a community service sorority and it probably was one of the biggest factors to me becoming an occupational therapy student. When I came to college community service was not something I did a whole lot of, at least legit community service. I would help out with an event here or there for points for different organizations, but I never really learned the needs of my community. While the sorority had plenty of fun, fluffy projects; it also had some that really made me think. The fun, fluffy ones also introduced me to organizations that I would become more involved in and really learn about an issue facing the community. I have really become invested in education and more aware of health care issues. I went from community service being something people should do to something I passionately believe everybody should be actively doing on a regular basis.
I know it is hard to find time to volunteer. I find it to be a drag to get my butt out of bed in the morning and go, but it wakes you up and makes you feel like you have accomplished something, while sacrificing very little. It also made me aware and educated of some very important issues. I have become a huge supporter of education reform, and I am doing more than just spitting out facts that my morning news is feeding me. I really believe it is part of my duty as a citizen to not know everything, but be informed on at least a few major issues affecting the society.
Ok, I promise I am about to get off my high horse, but before I do the two take-away messages of today are volunteer and get involved in something, you never know how it is going to change your viewpoint. Hopefully, my case of senioritis will disappear enough for me to make it through finals and graduate.