10 Pet Peeves of a school-based O.T.
In the spirit of teaching the general public about OT, I’ve decided to share some of my “O.T. pet peeves”. The teachers that I work with know me pretty well. As a true Sagittarius, I am a very easy going person, but some things drive me nuts! (Yes I believe in that stuff) My pet peeves are all with good reason, I swear! Over the years, I’ve managed to rub my “O.T. ways” off on many of them. Here are my pet peeves with explanations:
1) Over decorated classrooms – A classroom with too much stuff going on can be really distracting for kids with attention issues. Too much clutter, every wall covered, things hanging from the ceiling, desks covered with pictures and visual cues, etc. Children who are easily overstimulated get distracted by all of these things. Teachers wonder why so many kids have such poor attention – maybe all the clutter is what is distracting them? Also, when children are trying to copy from the board, they need to change the position of their head (as well as their visual gaze) from looking at a vertical surface (board) to a horizontal surface (notebook). Think of all of the visual distractions in the path from the board to the notebook. No wonder they have difficulty copying!
2) Gluesticks – The teachers that I work with know that I NEVER want glue sticks if we are working on an arts and craft project. I prefer regular good old Elmers glue! Why? I know they can be messy at first, but that’s because children need to learn how hard to squeeze. They need to be able to recognize that the glue cap isn’t open. They need to use their little hand muscles to squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. Real glue, please! Also – need a quick glue cap #OThack for little hands? Use a Wikki Stix (aka bendaroo) on the cap so kids know where to pinch. It also helps them to hold, so their little fingers don’t slide when they twist.
3) Too many cushion seats – This one is in a special case. Generally, if a teacher asks me for a cushion seat, I’m psyched. I love that they are looking for a strategy to increase a child’s ability to focus. BUT – when a teacher approaches me and says “I need five seat cushions“, my immediate reply (in my head, of course) is “Um, NO, you need to change your classroom routine.” If that many children are having difficulty sitting still or focusing, the classroom routine should be altered to include lots of brain breaks, heavy work, and changes in position. A cushion seat should be the exception, not the rule. Kids need to move!