Making a Thingie

Super easy.  Super cheap.  Super appealing.

Follow the slide directions.

This is a great way to correct the angle of your student’s pencil so that it rests in their first web space.

Let your students chose the color of their loop and the design of their bead, button or charm.  Everyone is going to want one.

The one caveat is that your students must leave them in the class before they go home or you’ll be making them everyday!!  preview5

Centennial Vision

So proud to be an Occupational Therapist in 2016.

As we enter a new year, it is thrilling to see how our profession and colleagues are all striving to achieve the CENTENNIAL VISION. Consider this:

We envision that OT is a powerful…

More and more, OT services are recognized for their early and continued emphasis on function and participation, and its holistic appreciation of the mind-body-environmental-cultural-societal interconnectedness

widely recognized…

(See below.)

science-driven…

Yes, we are informed by the neurosciences, our knowledge of development, physiology, physics, behavior and psychology,

evidence-based…

We are increasingly deferring to research to guide our clinical decisions.

and diverse workforce…

Look around you. OTs and OTAs today, in your schools, your local OT organizations and AOTA. Our therapists come from the broadest of backgrounds and bring unique insightful perspectives.

meeting society’s occupational needs.

Occupational needs? How does that apply to us therapists working within the educational system?

First, recognize that our society is the school system and our population is the children within them.

As far as their occupational needs, they are threefold. We are charged with helping children:

  1. Reach their educational potential
  2. Access their grade level curriculum
  3. Fully participate in the school environment

But there is that one clause, “widely recognized” that still eludes us. While consumers are increasingly pursuing Occupational Therapy services as the holistic solution to their complex needs, other providers are closing in on our domain.

Please, my friends. Do not be complacent and think that our Centennial Vision will realize itself. It is important that we protect this marvelous profession before others claim ownership of Activities of Daily Living, Leisure and related functional activities.

It is already happening.

Learn more from your state organization. Join your state organization. Attend AOTA’s national convention. We are a marvelous supportive and generous group. Let’s not become an irrelevant profession simply because someone else seized an opportunity to write into their licensure bill practice domains that have historically, empirically and conceptually been ours.

And let’s have a happy, healthy, productive, and widely recognized New Year, everyone.

Singin’ and Dancin’

Clearly, I’m not getting any awards for song writing. But this is the sound bite that the kids, teachers and I repeat over and over again. It’s memorable. It’s short and sweet. And it brings home the concepts like nobody’s business.

It’s THE RULES for Letter Size, and the one for Size One letters goes like this:

First, the hand motions. Poke the sky at eye level when you say ‘Top Line.’ Poke the sky at chest level when you say ‘Bottom Line.’ Then, imagine yourself twirling one finger skyward with the word ‘higher’ and spiraling downward with the word ‘lower.’ Lastly, conjure up your best hula dance as you flutter you arms in front of you… floating out to sea.

And a one, and a two, and one, two, three….

Size One Letters

They have to touch the Top Line.

They have to touch the Bottom Line.

They can’t go higher.

They can’t go lower.

And they can’t float in the middle.

Yes. I know what you’re going to say. Don’t quit your day job.

But you’ve never seen me dance!

Realistic, Fiscally Responsible and Embeddable Handwriting Program

0001q3The beauty in having a handwriting program that doesn’t rely on a set instructional time and/or a workbook for every grade for every student for every year is economy. It’s economy of cost, of time and of energy.

The Size Matters Handwriting Program was born of the realities facing all of us school-based Occupational Therapists.

There is no time.

There is no money.

And teachers are truly struggling to cover all the content needed to secure proficient scores on all the mandated state and national tests.

Unfortunately, research shows that handwriting is not a self-evident skill. It needs to be taught and it needs to be practiced. But practice in a vacuum is itself meaningless.

For there to be follow-through by teachers and carryover by students, the principles germane to legibility need to be do-able within the context of the already pressing academic schedules.

With a concept-driven approach to teaching and remediating handwriting, our mission to promote function and participation is exponentially easier. The Key Concepts are simple. The Rules are memorable. The Dice Game is fun. The materials are reusable. The Scoring is empowering.

The teachers who have always said that they believe in handwriting instruction but couldn’t figure out how to fit it into their day will say to you, “I can do this.”

This is not rocket science. But it is a new and different way of reaching the end goal. And it works.

More to come.

We’ve got some singing and dancing in our future!!

Copying Rubric

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Data. Data. Data.

It never ends.

But how does one collect quantitative data on copying? Try this easy rubric.

In the Copying Rubric, the qualities that define accuracy in copying are divided into 4 areas: Distance, Distractions, Visual Cues and Chunking.

distance refers to the placement of the prompt with regards to the location of the writing paper.   In a Direct Line Copy, the writing prompt is placed directly on the paper onto which the student will be writing. A near point sample at the edge of his/her desk, midpoint a 3-5 or 5-8 feet away still at midline and finally far point is at the far side of the room.

DISTRACTIONS refers to any other visual information nearby. This progresses from no visual information nearby, to slightly more but unrelated writing, to that in which the text to be copied is embedded in a larger whole.

VISUAL CUES refers to the presentation of the written prompt and the availability of other visual cues (i.e. a desktop alphabet strip or an Alphatrangle. If the prompt is written on the lined paper similar to that on which the student will be writing,, or if a near point reference is available, the student may be able to reference Letter Sizes and attention to the Writing Lines.

Chunking refers to the number of letters or words copied at a time. To observe this skill, therapists should sit perpendicularly to the student, observing their gaze shift to the copying prompt and back to the paper. Note the amount of letters or words written before needing to look back to the prompt.

When using the Copying Rubric, circle the answers in each column that best describes the student’s performance. For chunking skills, record the number of times the student copies 1-5 letters or 1-5 words at a time. How do you track that? Keep reading. Scooping is next!

Point of View Survey

A note-worthy alternative to traditional handwriting assessments, the Point of View Survey provides valuable insight into what’s gone wrong and how to fix it.  As the first part of the Size Matters Handwriting Intake, this set of statements and scales is fast to administer and easy to score.

Watch the video to learn more.

Scalpel, please!

Let the Dissection Begin!

In the Size Matters Handwriting Program, we want students to fully understand all the Letter Lines that comprise a letter. To achieve that end, we take the letters apart.

Kind of like disassembling a toaster or car engine.

Once students identify, take inventory and appreciate how the parts fit together, they can better reassemble and rebuild them.

Letter construction is no different. In fact, our Practice Framework encourages it. More specifically and in response to the research, it acknowledges that the more students are given information regarding goal attainment, the more likely they are to buy-in, find satisfaction and achieve their goals.

Toward that end, we give the children lots of information. Meaningful information. And their first surgical opportunity.

Watch the video to see how.

Key Concept Charts

Meta-analysis requires, for lack of a better word, so much analysis! Yet sometimes, words alone are insufficient. For those times, we have charts!

Watch this video to learn how to dissect letters and make use of the charts in the Instruction Manual.

It’s really easy.

Plus… we’ve done all the accounting for you.