Tuesday, September 29, 2015

September SpOT Light Series: Your Therapy Source

I close out the September SpOT Light Series: Discover the Therablogger with a seasoned Physical Therapist and her desire to keep herself and her readers up to date on current research and treatment ideas.  Today's SpOT Light shines the light onYour Therapy Source.

Margaret Rice received her Masters in Physical Therapy 21 years ago from Columbia University after obtaining her Bachelor of Science in Physical Education.  Your Therapy Source first started out strictly as a company in 2007, then established itself with a web presence one year later.  Your Therapy Source's blog is now in its sixth year of publication in which it "specializes in electronic documents for pediatric occupational and physical therapists. [YTS] publishes a FREE digital magazine monthly for pediatric OTs and PTs.  You can subscribe to our email list on our home page at http://www.YourTherapySource.com"

On her blog, Margaret shares a variety of her favorite back to school tips.  10 Back to School Tips for School Based Therapists reiterates organizational keys to facilitate a successful year for everyone involved in the students' care.  And if you are looking for tangible therapeutic activities, who can resist items like free printables for the fall or 8 Print and Go Ideas for Indoor Recess?

But the biggest advice Margaret could share comes from her therapeutic 'ah-ha' moment.  "As a pediatric therapist, a 5 year old taught me my most important lesson (thankfully early in my career).  Let the child lead.  Internal drive is an amazing motivator in children.  I was there to support his goals as needed and modify the environment."

Letting the child lead sometimes gets lost along the way of access common core and testing.  But as so many of the therapists from the SpOT Light Series: Discover the Therabloggerlike Margaret, have shared personal stories and epiphanies that bring the focus back on the purpose of our existance: helping our clients (children, adults, whatever) access their life occupations.  So, if you haven't already checked out the 14 innovative authors, take the time to do so.  Inspiration just may be a click away.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

September SpOT Light Series: Kids Play Space

So I began the September SpOT Light Series in Australia and now after many adventures in the states, I head back to Aussie to aim the SpOT Light on Anna Meadows at Kids Play Space and her innate ability to see playfulness in the world around her.

Kids Play Space began, as most blogs, as diary of sorts during her maternity leave, featuring the childhood development of Anna's son.  (check out her son's Happy Feet for a good giggle). But as time passed, it became a Play Space of passion for sharing pediatric play.  Just recently celebrating it's 3 year 'blogiversary', Anna continues to spread the importance of play.

"It has truly become a labour of love! It is a place where my passions for OT, health promotion, child development and play collide! OT fights for accessibility, inclusivity and thriving in everyday ‘occupations’, working closely with individuals. In the world of health promotion, it’s all about striving for ‘health for all’. Finally, as play is children’s most important occupation, my motto over at Kids Play Space has become ‘play for all’, celebrating simple learning opportunities everyday, not just for our son, but for all children."

Now in Anna's 18th year of occupational therapy service, she reflects on the uniqueness of OT that allows us as practitioners to support through the life span. 

"I’ve been so fortunate to have practiced OT in so many different areas! I’ve worked in hospital, rehabilitation, and community settings, (including community centres, disability, early intervention services and special schools), with people from 0-100+ years old!"

In many of Anna's posts, she looks outside the box to incorporate the available items of her surroundings into daily play.  In Balance Beams in the Real World, Anna adapts the concept of Parkour  (urban play spaces) to benefit childhood development.  "Kids love seeking out and conquering balance obstacles naturally." 

In her Small Space Living Series, Anna reiterates that "you do NOT need a mansion, a separate play room, or a million toys, for rich play experiences. Children are very adaptable, and will learn to explore and interact with whatever space is at hand."

But it is Celebrating Boredom in Childhood that sticks out in Anna's head as a top therapeutic tip.  "Ensuring that [kids] have time to be bored, explore nature, problem solve with loose parts, interact with their friends is vitally important for school aged children. I guarantee these experiences will enrich their childhood, and make them more confident, capable students."

Kids Play Space provides a variety of strategies for caregivers and therapist to promote playful interactions with everyday items and activities   So if you are looking for a way to avoid "plastic fantastic", hop, skip and jump over to Australia's Kids Play Space, where Anna Meadows will make you look at your surroundings with a more playful eye.

Friday, September 25, 2015

September SpOT Light Series: Starfish Therapies

At Starfish Therapies, Physical Therapist Stacy Menz challenges herself to be the Star Thrower everyday by making a difference to children and their families one challenge at a time.   

"I often get a lot of questions about where I got my company name from and while its on my website I never get tired of the story.  Its from the Star Thrower story (by Loren Eiseley) and in it the tide is going out an an old man is walking down the beach littered with starfish.  He sees a young boy throwing the starfish back into the ocean.  When the old man asks the young boy why he is bothering because the starfish are going to die anyway, the boy looks at him, throws another one into the ocean, and says, ‘but I made a difference to that one.’  The story embodies why I do what I do and why I started my company and blogging."

Stacy has been a Physical Therapist for 15 years, after first receiving her Master's from Boston University followed by her transitional DPT there as well.  She has taken her passion for pediatrics and helping families understand complex topics and molded into her blogging for the past  6 1/2 years.
 "One of my favorite posts to write is ‘What does low tone mean’.  I had the idea after explaining it to many families and seeing them understand what it meant for their child to have low tone.  They were finally able to figure out how to explain it to their family members or friends.  Being able to take complex terms and simplify it for families is something I really enjoy."

Stacy also has enjoyed sharing activities for therapists and caregivers to play with their kids to improve fine and gross motor development, like Five Ways to Use Drinking Straws and Ideas for Squatting.  

Like many health professionals, Stacy reflects daily on the successes that she observes and how it reaffirms her therapeutic practice. "The other day, I was working with a kiddo in early intervention and he took his first independent steps.  Seeing his parents’ reactions to moments like this is such a boost.  Same as when any child hits a milestone or a big goal.  Those are the moments that remind me why I do what I do."

So be inspired to be your own Star Thrower and check out Starfish Therapies or contact Stacy directly at stacy@starfishtherapies.com.  Make a difference in at least one person's life today.