Celebrating Occupational Therapy Month with Positive Steps

Written by Dana Blumberg and Jessica Addeo

April is Occupational Therapy month. At Positive Steps, we love to get everyone involved (children, parents, sibling, the community) and share with as many others as we can about Occupational Therapy. As such, all month long we decorated our waiting room with a variety of fine motor and tactile play activities to give those waiting for a child in therapy a sneak peek into some of the things we do in a session. To kick off OT month we shared with everyone via a waiting room decoration all about our 7 senses (many people were surprised we have 7!). We also displayed photos around the waiting room (with your permission) of children doing their favorite and most pride producing activities in OT. This past week we added in some drawings and decorations that talk about what children feel they have learned in OT (some examples were “how to play twister” and “how to keep my body calm”). All of this is done to promote what exactly OT is and what it means to the people who matter most, our clients.

This year we wanted to reach out to the greater community. Jan Pett, Assistant Director, and Dana Blumberg, Director, had a table at the Livingston Health Fair. The table provided an opportunity for members of the community to stop by, ask questions, and learn about what Positive Steps offers.

Every year there is an American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) conference. The conference is a gathering of OT professionals from all over the nation. There are courses where experts in the field present, poster presentations outlying the newest research, and an expo hall where vendors display new and old products for therapist to try hands on. (Our clients have been recently enjoying several new swing and toy purchases that were irresistible after seeing and trying them at the expo center!) The conference is for OTs who work in all areas of practice; such as, pediatrics, hospital based, geriatric care, school based, stroke rehab, Alzheimer’s, the list and outreach of OT is endless. In addition to all the learning opportunities there are a variety of speakers who talk about the newest happenings of our profession, where we have come from and visions for the future. Between so many OTs and vendors in one place (creating a truly remarkable space for networking), the myriad of learning events and new information, in addition to the speakers who work endlessly to promote OT on such a large scale, the conference is a huge source of inspiration for attendees. This year was a very special year as it was the centennial (100 year) celebration. Dana Blumberg, Director, and Jessica Addeo, Clinical Supervisor represented Positive Steps at the conference.

Jan at Livingston Health Fair

 

Dana and Jessica at AOTA conference

 

Some of the takeaways from the conference included our fun new swings as pictured below. An amazing networking opportunity with a vendor that we often buy and recommend products from (more on that coming soon!). As well as the potential for another continuing education conference to be hosted by Positive Steps in 2018. As many of you know Positive Steps is hosting its first continuing education conference this May. Dr. Sarah Schoen from the STAR Center in Colorado is coming to teach an intimate and personalized course on sensory processing to our staff. (There will be an entire post summarizing this in May!) A part of our vision and quest at Positive Steps is to provide the best, most recent and supported by evidence based practice therapy that we can. These continuing education opportunities are a contributing factor in helping us to achieve that mission. There was a plethora of poster presentations that showed us evidence for what we are already doing and opened our eyes to new opportunities and techniques.  Some of the posters we saw and discussed with the presenters are as follows: The Role of Therapeutic Listening, Creating Regulation Station to Universally Support Children, Exploring Teacher Perceptions of Using HWT, Proprioceptive Intervention for Children with Autism and ADHD, and A Systematic Review of Sensory Based Autism Subtypes. Dana discovered a variety of online forums to connect with other therapists and ask/answer questions.  Jessica and Dana both attended short courses discussing meeting sensory needs in the classroom and intervention for children with ARFID (a specific form of feeding difficulty).

“Moonball Swing” Children can bounce, flip and swing!

 

“Biorbital Accelerator” or “Jumper Swing” Two children can jump, swing, and twist!

 

No matter how long we have been in the field, our learning is never done. The greatest learning opportunity we have in front of us is the children we treat. They continue to push us and challenge us into being better, more creative and innovative, and more complete therapists. Outside of our Positive Steps community there is a whole world of OT that is just as excited about the profession as we are. This year we used OT month to celebrate both. We honored the wonderful work we do at Positive Steps and the amazing children, family, and communities we have the privilege of working with and knowing. We also participated in a larger scale OT setting, expanding our horizons and broadening what we offer at Positive Steps. As we leave April and OT month behind we feel excited and invigorated about our profession and our center. We hope you are feeling the same!!

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