Time-saving School-Based Occupational Therapy Resources…

It’s HERE!  It’s HERE! The Ultimate Therapy bundle is available this week only….. and then it’s gone!

Are You wasting Precious time when you could be taking shortcuts?

-If you’re sick of spending hours searching for new therapy ideas

-If you’re looking for ideas, tips, and strategies in a quick, easy-to-share format

-If you’re feeling motivated and inspired to up your game in your therapy practice this year…




The Ultimate Therapy Bundle is a carefully curated bundle of unique therapy resources that are specifically designed BY therapists FOR Therapists.

CLICK Here FOR an Overview of the ULTIMATE THERAPY Bundle 2019!

30+ resources including: 700+ pages of printable activities and handouts, 1 online VIP membership, 2 courses & much more! All created by a team of 25 experienced pediatric therapists. ONLY $24.99! ($300+ value)

  • ABC Printable Movement Games & Cards
  • Fine Motor Activity Packet
  • Copy the Shape! Visual Motor Workbook
  • Occupational Therapy Handouts for Home and Classroom
  • Fitness Bingo Movement Activity
  • Therapy Punch Cards 
  • Yoga Games
  • Understanding RTI: A Quick Guide for Therapists, Teachers, and Parents
  • Create-a-Story/Parts of Speech Printable Games
  • Fine Motor Stations 
  • Fine Motor Game Boards
  • Trace, Color & Cut Packet
  • Play, Move, Develop: Games & Activities for Development & Learning
  • Mini Scissor Skill Mastery Pack 
  • Sensory Red Flags Checklist
  • The Wired Collective VIP Invitation
  • Nature & Therapy Printables
  • Calming & Alerting Movement Activities 
  • Pencil Grasp Development Printable
  • Helping Kids Learn How to Button 
  • The Printable Therapy Planner 
  • Visual Perception Reference Sheet & Printable Visual Activity Pack
  • Video Tutorial: DIY Suspended Tunnel Swing
  • Pushing into the Classroom Webinar
  • Learning Life Skills for a Purpose (eCourse)
  • Lava Handwriting Paper
  • Teaching Kids How to Problem Solve (Handout)
  • Back to School Activity Packet
  • Primitive Reflexes Booklet
  • Therapy Activity Cards  
  • Food & Robot Play Dough Mats
  • Fantastic Fingers® Fine Motor Skill Builders – Levels 1 to 3
  • Flexible/Alternative Seating Packet
  • Fine Motor Boot Camp Introduction
  • Basics of Fine Motor Skills ebook
  • Movement Questions Printable Pack
  • Sensory Diet Cards
  • Yoga Bingo

Click here for descriptions of each product, value, and length! 

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Click here to get your Ultimate Therapy Bundle!

30+ resources including: 700+ pages of printable activities and handouts, 1 online VIP membership, 2 courses & much more! All created by a team of 25 experienced pediatric therapists. ONLY $24.99! ($300+ value)


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How to Survive the Summer With Your Sensory Kid….

It’s back! It’s back!  The super-sensory bundle is available for two more days….. and then it’s gone!

What’s the Super-Sensory BUndle? 

The Super Sensory Bundle is released once a year for a limited time only.  It’s a carefully curated bundle of unique sensory resources that are specifically designed to help therapists, parents, teachers, and caregivers to help the children in their lives.  The bundle is full of resources from Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists,  Behavior Specialists, Teachers, and Parents who are experts on all things Sensory.

Here’s an Overview of the Sensory Bundle 2019:

sensory processing, SPD, ASD

Understanding & Advocating for Sensory Needs (Value $227.96) 

  • The Newbie’s Guide to Sensory Processing by Julie Nixon ( ($25.99)

Go from Confused and Overwhelmed to Confident and Optimistic. Covers Symptoms of Sensory Issues (With Printable Checklist!). The Low Down on Sensory Activities (With FOUR pages of printables!), The Pros and Cons an Official Diagnosis, How to Get Professional Support, and so much more!

  • Sensory Processing 101: The Ultimate Guide to Sensory Processing ($19.99)
  • Sensory Processing Disorder Handbook- A Guide to Understand and Explain SPD by Colleen Beck, OTR/L ($9.99) 

Use this 26-page handbook to better understand Sensory Processing Disorder and all of its facets.  Easily explain SPD and what it looks like (and why!) to parents, teachers, caregivers, and anyone working with kids.

  • Sensory Discrimination, Sensory Processing Disorder, Sensory Integration: What does it all mean? By Jaime Spencer, MS, OTR/L ($9.99) 

Are you confused by all the “sensory” terms out there? This quick and easy guide takes the mystery out of Sensory Processing Disorder with simple explanations, suggestions, and activity ideas to help the child in your life.  This is the perfect mini-book to give to parents, caregivers or family members who need a clear understanding of sensory processing. Learn what input your child needs and how to provide them with safe and appropriate activities. 

  • My Sensory Self Workbook for Kids by Sharla Kostelyk  ($10.00)

My Sensory Self is designed just for kids. It is meant to help them discover their own sensory preferences and explore each of the eight sensory systems. Kids who better understand their sensory needs show improved self-regulation.

  • Senses Exploration Activities Printable Pack by Katherine Kabral ($14) 

Help your children to know their senses better.  Let them explore, differentiate, and most importantly understand their sense.  Use these interesting activities for learning the important things in a fun way.

  • What nobody tells you about sensory: Why your sensory child is bad, weird, and totally frustrating! By Alisha Grogan, MOT R/L, Wendy Bertagnole, Masters Special Education ($39) 

A mini-course explaining sensory in a way that will help you see your child in a new light so you can better understand and support them without feeling like losing your mind. 

  • Is it Sensory or Behavior Mini-Course by Dayna Abraham, NBCT Early Childhood Education ($99) 

sensory processing, SPD, ASD, ADHD

Handling Tantrums, Meltdowns, & Outbursts (Value $209.99)

  • The Mindful Parent’s Method for Meltdowns – by Jason and Ceclia Hilkey ($97.00) 


PART 1: BEING SEEN AND SOOTHED: You will know how to effectively soothe your child. Know what to do if he doesn’t want to talk or be comforted. You will know what to do if giving empathy “doesn’t work”.

PART 2: BEING SAFE: You will create physical and emotional safety. Know what to do if she tries to hurt you, herself, or others, or tries to damage things. You will find a balance between empathy and setting limits.

PART 3: BEING SECURE: You will soothe with your own feelings. Know what to do if your child meltdowns in public, or if you don’t respond the way you want to. You will know how to reconnect with your child after a meltdown.


  • Calming Strategies for Parents Workshop: Helping You Remain Calm to Better Help Your Child by Kori Tomeldon($45.00)

When your child is having a meltdown or other challenging behavior, it may be tempting to start melting down with them. However, as parents, we simply cannot do that. Here’s what to do instead so you remain calm and in control.

  • Parenting Chaos: Practical Support and Encouragement for Parents of Explosive Children by Shawna Wingert, Ed. S. ($14) 

Just because we don’t often publicly discuss the really hard things, doesn’t mean they aren’t happening. Throughout this book, Shawna shares the realities associated with mothering an explosive child. It includes an in-depth look at her approach, day-to-day failures, successes and progress. Written by a mother who lives with explosive behavior every single day.

  • Decoding Sensory Tantrums Mini Course: How to handle tantrums in a positive and simple way by Wendy Bertagnole ($15.00)

Easily manage tantrums in the most simple and positive way possible, especially when nothing else works. 

  • Self-Regulation for Adolescents & Teens: A Parent Guide by Laurie McLean ($12.00)

This simple to use, practical resource will help parents guide their teens toward better self-regulation. Not only will you learn the different types of sensory systems that affect regulation, but you will also get practical solutions to help your teen learn what s/he needs to cope with every day stressors. Learn how to help your teen go from impulsive and reactive to calm and focused.

  • Quick Tips for Calming & Self-Regulation by Lauran Drobnjak and Claire Heffron (The Inspired Treehouse) ($9.99)

Promote calm, regulated behavior at home and in the classroom with these practical and engaging strategies.  Avoid meltdowns or help kids “reset” after meltdowns with quick and easy calming sensory strategies. Learn how to use movement as a calming strategy in any setting.

  • Emotions, Feelings and  Calm Down Bundle by Anatasia Rheubin ($11.00)

A-Z Emotions and Feelings

      • 26 various emotions and feelings every child can relate to. Help your child to identify emotions in a playful form with these ABC cards. 

Calm – Down Cards Strategies For Managing Anger and Frustration 

      • Calm – Down Cards contain 24 printable cards with strategies to manage moments of anger and frustration

20 Character Building Cards 

      • These cards assist children and remind what it takes to be a great friend, son or daughter, student and a person people enjoy being around.

Emotions and Feelings –Hands-on Activities for Preschoolers

      • Learning to emphasize with others and identify all sorts of impositions and feelings in other children with hands-on Montessori inspired activities. 
  • Emotions: Daily Tracker and Various Games Printable Pack by Nicolette Roux ($7.00)

Use the daily trackers to express emotion and log. The pack also features various games that help the children interact and express emotions through playful interactions

Overcoming Sensory Struggles: Sleep, Transitions, Behavior, Focus, Organization and Much More (Value $290.98)

  • The Ultimate Holiday Survival Kit for Differently Wired Kids by Debbie Reber, MA ($99) 

Holiday breaks can be incredibly stressful for families with differently-wired children due to disrupted routines, heightened emotions, unmet expectations, overall emotional dysregulation, and little time for parents to get their needs met.

In this webinar, TiLT Parenting founder Debbie Reber shares her 10 best, hard-earned strategies for surviving (and thriving) over holiday breaks. Includes a downloadable worksheet to fill out during the webinar so by the end, viewers will have a personalized, and doable, plan for their family.

  • Picky Eating No More: Kick Start Course, Guide and Resources with Tara Hunkin, NTP, CGP, RWP ($49) 

Easily identify the most common reasons children struggle with picky eating so that you can quickly find the right solutions for your child. Learn about tried and tested techniques to combat the most common reasons for picky eating so that you can end the mealtime struggles. Learn how to involve your child in the process so that they welcome variety and improved nutrition to their diet. 

  • Potty Training Visual Schedule and Chart with Katie Turner-Christiansen ($10.00) 

A potty training visual schedule and chart to avoid nagging, accidents, and regression while helping your child move forward with their potty training journey. Your child will have so much fun looking at the pictures that they won’t even realize all that they are leaning and how much it is going to connect the dots for them to become capable and successful

  • 5 Tips to Improve Sleep for Children with Increased Sensory Needs with Brenda McSween, BCS ($9.99)

Discover 5 different things that will lead to improved sleep including a different way to look at bedtime. Not all children need a quiet serene bedtime routine! 

  • Attention and Focus Toolkit for Older Kids: Finding Sensory Strategies to Learn with Sara Anderson, OTD, OTR/L ($12) 

Helping older kids find sensory strategies to focus in the classroom and at home. Easily make a plan to implement these strategies and reflect on how they are working for the individual. 

  • Rhythms, Routines and Schedules: How to Simplify Life With Kids with Lauren Tamm, Language of Listening® Master Parent Coach ($5.99) 

Discover a simple toolkit to create a rhythm, routine or schedule for kids ages 0-5 years. Identify core times that are best for eating, sleeping, playing and more. Utilize one of our 20+ printable routines to easily implement your new rhythm or schedule into daily life. 

  • Social Stories with Shadow Puppets: Printable Kit for Children, Parents and Therapists with Liska Myers, B.Ed. ($6) 

Prepare children for a wide range of new social experiences by creating social stories and acting them out with shadow puppets. Preparing for a birthday party, talking about what to do when you get lost or outlining the rules of behavior on the playground? The social story shadow puppet kit will make it interactive, educational and fun! The kit includes sixteen printable shadow puppets; a printable template for making your own shadow puppet theatre; three social story scripts, as well as a guide for making your own social story shadow plays. 

  • Executive Function 101: How parents & teachers help struggling students succeed by Seth Perler, M.Ed., Special Education & Gifted Education ($99) 

Learn how to help students who struggle with Executive Function: This includes procrastination, resistance, overwhelm, homework, grades, motivation, underachievement, organization, focus, study skills, and time management. These students are often misunderstood and told they are lazy, unmotivated, or that they don’t care about school. When adults learn about the executive function challenges that underly the student struggles, they can help instead of shame.

Building Life-long Skills for Sensory Kids: Mindfulness, Character, Fine Motor, Social Skills & More (Value $130.93)

  • Rewiring the Brain Handbook – Part II – Intermediate Level by Alene Villaneda, OFM, CNHP ($15.99) 

“The Rewiring the Brain Handbook Part II – Intermediate Level is an online handbook designed for parents, therapists, teachers and other professionals to use as a guide for supporting emotional control, muscle memory and impulse control. The exercises in this online handbook are crucial for rewiring the brain to support emotional stability, attention, reading and visual perception. 

The exercises and activities in this e-book are designed to be playful, fun and easy for anyone to work into their daily routine. It can be used for the learning development of all children, but especially for those that struggle academically or emotionally. 

This online workbook contains 40 pages of exercises and activities using lines, shapes, different angles, mindful tracing activities and more to enhance learning development at an intermediate level.”

  • Fun and Effective Handwriting Practice Tools for Kids by Marnie Craycroft ($9.99)

Have a child struggling with fine motor skills and handwriting? Use these Montessori printables – Rainbow Letters & Cutting Strips Bundle – to not only bring a little fun into the learning and development but to also work those handwriting skills. 

  • Fine Motor LEGO Pack: All-Year by Kim Staten ($34) 

Engage kids with fine motor activities for LEGO Bricks. Work on fine motor skills, along with visual motor skills through following a pattern, matching colors, scanning the page and identifying differences on images. 

  • Summer Fine Motor Activity Card Bundle  by Erin Brown ($12) 

Your kids will love working on fine motor skills with these fun and simple fine motor activity cards. Work with manipulatives while building, creating, and making summer-themed creations!

  • Birds and Bugs: Spring Playdough Literacy Mats by Selena Robinson ($6.00)

Practice fine motor skills and early literacy with these printable playdough mats. Use all 36 mats to help early learners practice recognizing the letters from A to Z and numbers from 0 to 9!

  • Montessori Easy Reader & Writing Bundle by Anita Kianek-Edwards, MSc. ($5.00)
    • Montessori CVC Mini Books: Montessori CVC mini books will help your children to experience and understand the transformation of simple sounds into words. This collection of 5 mini books feature real images of simple words on short letters a, e, i, o and u.
    • Montessori CVC Writing Books (Print and Cursive): Use our Montessori CVC writing books to learn how to write simple CVC words in print and cursive fonts. Your children will be able to easily copy the words and also practice writing them on their own.
  • Mindfulness Cards for Kids by Giselle Shardlow ($9.95)

Bring calm to your child’s life. Explore 25 unique ways to help children slow down by practicing these simple and effective mindfulness exercises. This mindfulness deck is divided into four categories that you can chose from: breath, movement, sensory, and guided imagery.

  • Super Social Story Sampler by Dyan Robson ($19.00)

Help your child manage everyday sensory challenges and build strong self-regulation skills by giving them the strategies and language they need to successfully navigate a variety of social situations. Unlike most social stories that use clipart, this exclusive collection of 15 social stories uses real photographs of diverse children so that your child will finally and truly feel represented.

  • Love’s Treasure Hunt (ebook) by Suzanne Tucker, PT ($19.00)

It is powerful and healing for children to know that they are love, by nature, to their core. In this playful story, our friend HEART is searching for love with the help of Generation Mindful’s seven PeaceMakers animal friends. “Where does love live?!” HEART wants to know. In the end, we discover where love truly lives, and the answer just might surprise you.

Beyond Sensory: Understanding & Advocating for Autism, Adhd, Anxiety & More (Value $154.97)

  • IEP Checklists & Mini-Course with Catherine Whitcher, M.ED ($97.00)

“Special Needs Parents, Teachers & Teams… You have a lot of BIG decisions to make, everyday.” It’s hard to remember what to ask, what to look for and what to do next when you’re in the IEP trenches. 

Stop stressing and start printing out your checklists to move forward in creating an AWESOME IEP for the child/student you love.

Included: Checklists PLUS Videos for the WHOLE TEAM, including hot topics of…

  • IEP Meeting Prep
  • Inclusion
  • Back to School
  • End of School Year
  • Parent Input Statements
  • EXCLUSIVE: IEP Goal Writing for the Real World!”
  • Homeschooling with ADHD: Practical Tips for Teaching Active Kids at Home by Selena Robinson ($6.00)

Learn about the common challenges facing homeschooling parents of children with ADHD and ADD. Read tried-and-tested tips that actually help active children learn, even when parents are new to homeschooling. Get support for the biggest issues facing parents of active learners.

  • How to Handle Sensory-Based Anxiety by Natasha Daniels, LCSW ($14.99)

Sensory struggles can lead to sensory anxiety, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Learn effective approaches to empower your child to handle sensory overload and develop a plan to proactively reduce their stress.

  • Autism Affirmations for Parents & Kids Bundle by Kaylene George ($17.98)

Use these printable autism affirmations for the pick-me-up and encouragement you need when things are spiraling out of control and you are struggling to embrace autism. Connect with your autistic child and work together toward seeing autism as an awesome part of your child’s neurology!

  • Giftedness & Twice-Exceptional Workshops: Helping Your Kids Through Anxiety, Overexcitabilities, Underachievement, and More with Colleen Kessler, M.Ed. ($19.00)

Learn what makes your gifted and twice-exceptional child more prone to challenges like overexcitability, anxiety, underachievement, and more. Manage your expectations and build a toolbox of strategies to help your kiddos be successful.

Sensory Breaks, Activities & Tools to Regulate Overstimulation & Hyperactivity while Getting Buy-in from Your Sensory Child (Value $213.94)

Movement & Sensory Activities for Active Kids 

  • DIY Home Lycra Maze for Relaxation or Movement by Alexander Lopiccolo, COTA/L, CPT, NC ($49.00)

Now you will be able to implement motivating sensory activities at home that your child loves to do during their OT appointments. Less screentime and more movement/relaxation. This can help organize your child’s Central Nervous System for improved sensory processing.  Children love reading or bonding with their siblings/friends and parents while playing games in it. It can also improve strength, coordination, balance and body awareness. The best thing is it’s easy to install too! 

  • Alphabet Movement Bundle:  Incorporating Movement Into Learning by Chanda Jothen, PT, DPT ($34.00)

This bundle of alphabet products gives you a variety of ways to incorporate movement while learning about the alphabet.  Included in this bundle is Alphabet Yoga, Alphabet Movement Cards, Alphabet Magic Moves, and the Alphabet Movement Book. You can’t go wrong when you make movement a part of the learning process. 

  • Montessori Movable Alphabet by Anita Kianek-Edwards, MSc. ($9.99)

Introduce your child to the alphabet and have fun creating simple or more complicated words with the Montessori movable alphabet. The alphabet uses two colors to help your child distinguish between vowels and consonants.

Brain Breaks, Sensory Breaks & Sensory Regulation

  • Sensory Break Cards for Kids by Heather Greutman, COTA/L ($10.00)

Encourage your child to practice self-regulation skills with these Sensory Break Cards for Kids. Each activity suggestion was designed to be used with minimal set-up or additional tools and are great for the home or classroom. 

  • 15 Brain Break and Mindfulness Exercises: A Fitness Band Exercise Kit by Francesca Avalli, MS, OTR/L ($15.99)

These 15 fun super-hero strength fitness band exercises will get kids off the couch and their screens and onto fitness and mindfulness.  What better way than to help get the wiggles out and provide sensory input than with movement and brain breaks with our fitness band exercise kit.  Follow each exercise and use our Handee Band fitness band (hand prints on the band to make exercise a cinch) to start working on healthy exercise habits the fun way!! 

  • Too Slow, Just Right or Too Fast – Visual Supports for Self-Regulation by Margaret Rice PT ($6.99)

Therapists, teachers, and parents can help children practice self-regulation skills with these 10 visual supports to get into a “just right” body state that is ready to learn!

  • Simon Says – Body Awareness and Motor Planning Activities by Margaret Rice, PT ($6.99)

Encourage children to improve body awareness, motor planning, and following directions with the FUN and COLORFUL Simon Says Activity Packet.  It includes 68 body position cards and 25 game ideas and it requires no prep so you can get started right away!  

Sensory Play Ideas & Recipes 

  • Oobleck Sensory Science – An invitation to explore, play and learn by Shelley Brewer, BSc Specialization Psychology ($8.00)

Explore the world of non-Newtonian Fluids, aka Oobleck, and learn how it can provide incredible sensory, fine motor skill building, and mindfulness benefits through play. This book is packed with information, including the science behind this fascinating medium you make with items in your pantry. Take your sensory science Oobleck play to a new level with a variety of easy, kid approved recipes, plus 12 months of Oobleck activities, games and lessons. 

  • Sensory Quick Guide: Easy to Make Recipes and Ideas for Play by Katie Chiavarone, M.A. ($7.99)

Follow these favorite sensory recipes to make sensory play fun and engaging for children. Also included are various ways to play with materials such as slime, playdough, oobleck and more as well as how to create sensory bins. Bonus materials include printable playdough mats for early math skills.

  • The Amazing Play Dough Printables Pack by Cathy James, BA ($19.99)

Make play times amazing. No hassle, no planning, you’ll always have a sensory activity on hand. Simply print, add play dough, and play!

  • The Ultimate Slime Guide: Connect With Kids Through Tactile Sensory Play by Sarah McClelland ($39.00)

Connect with your kids right now. Learn everything you need to know to make the best and easiest homemade slime possible! Explore easy recipes, check out the best supplies, and find all the popular slime themes the kids really want to learn how to make. See why slime is the ultimate tactile experience!


  • Sensory TheraPLAY Box: The fun way to build a sensory toolbox of items to be used at home, school, and on the road. ($15.00)

Sensory TheraPLAY Box is a subscription box curated by a pediatric occupational therapist. Each box is packed with 5-7 sensory toys and tools to engage your child in fun, therapeutic play (and to help fulfill those sensory needs!)

  • $15 off Fidget Fix ($15) 
  • $5 Handee-Band Coupon ($5) 

25% off coupon for a pack of 5 Handee Band Fitness bands

  • Playing Motherhood Online Event ($47) 

Unlimited Digital Access to the Playing Motherhood Online Event (July 8-11, 2019) hosted by Holly Homer of Kids Activities Blog featuring 15 AMAZING expert moms including Rachel Martin in over 20 hours of tips, tricks and REAL mom advice. 

Lifetime access to all 15 Playing Motherhood Sessions

MP3 Recordings and Speaker Guides for Each Session

3 Month Access to Kids Activities Blog’s Printables Library

Private Virtual Event with Jamie & Holly

Behind-the-Scenes tour of Playing Motherhood

Want more Sensory Information right now?   Read these!

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school therapists, OT advice, occupational therapy, Miss Jaime OT

11 things on a School OT’s Summer To-Do Wish List

Whether you finished strong or crawled to the finish line this past week, you made it to the end of the school year!

You have the summer off…What should you do? 

We have the summer off to relax, recoup, and reenergize …right? Yes! However, we are Occupational Therapy Practitioners.  We are a breed of overachievers who work hard, work more, and work tirelessly, even when we are supposed to relax.

Even though I try to balance my much-earned summer break, going off the grid in the summer only results in stress and being overwhelmed at the beginning of the next school year. Over the years, I have started to keep a Summer To-Do “Wish” List of all the things I would love to do and just don’t have time!

As a school OT, there is always a lot to do, both for your career and personally. Listed below are some amazing ideas of resources to check out, options to support you, and programs that you know you just don’t have time to look into in the midst of the school year.


    1. Federal Loan Forgiveness: Did you know that as an OT, we are eligible for student loan forgiveness? Many OTs have had their ENTIRE student loan paid off by applying for Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. There are criteria to meet and it can be a long and confusing process with needed paperwork and financial information. The summer is a great time to check it out and do your research and apply.

    2. NBCOT courses: If you are NBCOT certified, you have a FREE resource at your fingertips! The website offers information and resources for OTs and COTAs as well as free online training and certifications. Earn an NBCOT Digital badge this summer!

    3. AOTA Resources: Am I the only one overwhelmed and feel guilty for not accessing our national resource more?   If you are not sure where to start on their main website, start with their social media sites on Facebook or Twitter. The website is jam-packed with free resources, tip sheets, literature, information, special interest sections, and guides for ALL areas of OT and COTA work. There’s a whole Children and Youth practice section to explore, too.

    4. Learn how to be a Fieldwork Supervisor: With a recent rise in OT graduate programs, the need for OTS and OTAS placement in a school setting has skyrocketed! Many of us are either intrigued or scared to death about supervising a student. Knowing and establishing a connection with your local program(s) is key. This information will be on their websites and will typically give you a step-by-step guide on how to be a Fieldwork supervisor. For example, here is the University of Minnesota’s Fieldwork Educator information page.

    5. Social Media: Let’s be honest, you are either in or you’re out. Something was posted somewhere about something amazing and you saw it…or you didn’t. The social media craze is not just here to stay, but now it’s the main communication tool. Many are still not sure where to start. Although you may have a social media account (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.), are you sure you’re using it professionally?   If you want to ensure the grandparents that live across the country know what’s going on with their grandkids, keep that on a personal account. Make another account that you can have/follow for professional networking, posts, and following. Most people/pages/groups that you would want to follow have multiple social media accounts anyway. Here is a link to guide you through the “How to Use Social Media Professionally.”

    6. Update Resume and Social Media Profiles: This is one of the easiest and least time-consuming summer list items to do. Even if you have no plans to search for a job or interview, keeping an updated resume and social media profiles are key to self-reflection and growth in your career. Most of us have annual reviews, this is the opportune time to update. Have you presented at a conference, taught a related class, or even wrote professionally on social media platform? On your evaluation or review, did your boss mention something specific you did for your employer that has made you stand out? These are the types of resume-worthy skills and endorsements that will make you shine. At some point, we all are thinking about trying something new and/or advancing our career. Keeping updated social media profiles, such as LinkedIn, and your resume will provide you with a valuable tool at all times.

    7. Sign up for a Webinar: It can be REALLY hard to take time off work to attend workshops and conferences during the school year. Webinars have been a game changer for attaining CEU’s and allowing you to focus on specific skills, topics, and education in a more flexible and cost-effective way.  Don’t have the time? Most webinars can be purchased, saved, and viewed later! An issue we had in our district for Teacher Workshop Days is that the topics/sessions that were being done that day were geared toward TEACHERS, not OT’s. Not to mention these CEU’s didn’t apply to us or give us our needed license approved credits. I asked my Director of Special Services permission to for a requisition order to pre-purchase a couple of webinars and allow our therapists to complete these instead on those workshop days. APPROVED! Check out these great on-demand webinars from the Pocket OT (affiliate link). 

    8. Go Shopping: I put in a TON of requisition and purchase orders to attain trial items, motor room items, adaptive equipment, assistive technology, and all the other special education items that any classroom needs. From fidgets, adaptive utensils, oral chewies, to testing forms, I have become a master at not only shopping but being approved for these items in my school! However, I learned quickly about the ‘fiscal year.’ Most schools budget year ends June 30 and starts July 1.  At the end of the year, I know who needs what, what needs to be replaced, and what I will need for the next year (well, sort of). Putting together a shopping list in the summer and submitting it after July 1 usually gets approved. And the best part, it is like a birthday party of presents when I get to my office in the fall with everything I need ready to go.

    9. Make Items for your OT Closet: From weighted lap pads, fidgets, glitter jars, and adapted pencil grips. Now is the time to stockpile that calming caddy or compile sensory bins.  Check out Miss Jaime, O.T.’s Pinterest page for ideas.

    10. Templates and Datasheets: How many times have you needed a quick data sheet of the upper and lower case alphabet to track formation? Or what about that beautiful statement you read that explained how visual processing issues can affect reading? Build your template resources and create data sheets now so you can easily print off or cut and paste quickly druing the school year. Consider the statements you write in evaluation summaries for sensory processing, or what how your OT services will look in the least restrictive environment. You can make an entire Google Doc folder for templates and have specific ones for specific areas you test for (sensory, fine motor, handwriting, visual processing) services in least restrictive settings, summaries templates for evaluations, accommodations, and modifications, or assistive technology.

    11. Build Relationships with Your Team: As everyone says their final goodbyes on that last day, we all promise to get together over the summer right? Then do it! The relationships we have with our co-workers, teams, and other staff are precious and absolutely imperative. Make it a point to call a couple of co-workers and go out for a coffee, have lunch, take a walk, meet at the dog park, or whatever toots their horn. We all have stressful jobs.  Having a safe place to vent, share accomplishments, and express ideas and goals help build healthy workplaces and personal relationships with those we spend more time with than our own families sometimes.

To all you school OTs out there, have a wonderful summer break! Take time to rest, relax, recoup, reenergize, but also grow and explore new things! I hope this list of ideas provides you with an option or two of something new to considering accomplishing during your glorious break.

Stephanie Mahal

About the author: Stephanie Mahal is an Occupational Therapist who specializes in supporting students in K-8th grade who have physical, neurological, sensory, mental, and emotional conditions that impact their ability to access their education and community.  She has over ten years of experience in both school and medical settings and currently works in a public school district south of the Twins Cities in Minnesota. Stephanie was recently assigned co-chair to the Minnesota Low Incident Project School-Based OT & PT Community of Practice.  She received her Master’s in Occupational Therapy at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and completed her fieldwork at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Stephanie is honored to serve her students, staff, and fellow Occupational Therapists by using her skills, passion for accessibility and inclusiveness, while creating that ‘just right challenge’ to be successful in all areas of life! When not at work, Stephanie and her husband John, spend their time cheering on her middle school-aged son and daughter at all their sporting events and activities!

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7 Myths about Mindfulness & Kids

Are you practicing and teaching mindfulness?

Mindfulness programming with children and in schools is becoming a more popular practice. Whether you are a parent, teacher, or therapist, is there anything stopping you from practicing mindfulness yourself or from using it with children?

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of focusing awareness of what is happening in the present moment, accepting thoughts, feelings, sensations, and observations with kindness. Mindfulness is a skill we can develop in order to improve attention and self-regulation.

Many occupational therapists use mindfulness as an intervention tool with students on their caseload. However, occupational therapists can also advocate for universal mindfulness programming in their school/district by educating administration/staff and consulting with teachers on mindfulness implementation.

Below are 7 Myths that may be preventing you or others from implementing mindfulness.

Myth 1 – Mindfulness is just sitting silently.

Meditation is one method of practicing mindfulness, but there are many other components and ways to do so. Explore all types of mindfulness practices to find which ones work best for you! Two examples include:

  • Mindful Movement: Try yoga, tai chi, or simply bringing mindful awareness to walking.
  • Mindful Eating/Tasting: Choose a food or meal and eat very slowly, paying attention to the texture and taste.

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Why not to push handwriting for kids

handwriting, preschool, school, writing, visual motor, graphomotor, OT, Miss Jaime OT

Pushing kids into writing before they are developmentally ready happens to be one of my pet peeves. (I actually have quite a few of them, you can read all about them here. )

Experience has shown me is that children should NOT be pushed into handwriting before they’re ready. So many kids are entering Kindergarten without the basic pre-writing skills they need. Yet the Kindergarten curriculum expects them to be writing right away!

Before handwriting, children need to master pre-writing skills

Pre-writing skills are the lines, shapes, and strokes kids need to master and know before learning how to print the alphabet. They develop from 1 year to 5 years old.

Pre-writing skills ARE important.

Kids need to learn and master pre-writing lines, strokes, and shapes and strengthen their fine
motor skills before learning how to form the letters of their name or the alphabet.

Prewriting Milestones

1-2 years old:

A baby is typically scribbling and learning to make marks on a paper. They are probably holding a crayon or marker with their whole hand. This is called a palmar supinate grasp.

As they develop more control, the next step is to imitate. Maybe you make a line or shape and
then your child imitates that same line or shape.

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My Favorite Parts of #AOTA19

Last week was a complete whirlwind – whew.   I’m finally getting settled at home,  but I wanted to share my highlights of the American Occupational Therapy Association conference in New Orleans, LA.

  1. Reuniting with old friends from across the country and making new ones!

    Every year, two of my girlfriends from Utica College and I attend the conference together, and it feels like we are right back in college.  This year, I also got to hang out with my friend and fellow OT blogger Colleen Beck (From the OT Toolbox) and two other admins of my USA School Based OTs Looking for Change group (Serena Zeidler and Joan Sauvigne-Kirsch).  We had so much fun and definitely had some major brainstorming over the last few days.  It’s amazing what a bunch of OT brains can come up with!   I also attended the AOTA reception for the Communities of Practice. I’m in the state leadership group, so I had the chance to mingle with all the ladies I work with all year long.

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OT advocacy, #SchoolOTs, MissJaimeOT, #SchoolOtsmatter

Why do Occupational Therapists want Educational Credentialing?

You may have heard the buzz about Occupational Therapists advocating for Educational Credentialing. Especially if you work in the education world.

What is Educational Credentialing? 

State Education laws vary from state to state.  But in every single state in the USA (except for four), OTs and PTs are not under the “umbrella” of teachers. They do not have “educational credentials”.

Why not? 

This started in the past.  Way in the past, because OTs and PTs were considered “medical” (like the nurses).  However, educational laws have changed to a more inclusive educational community. This changed how OTs and PTs are employed.

Now, school therapists support children’s academic success.   Unfortunately,  the state education departments haven’t revised their terminology and laws to include OTs and PTs as “educators”.  YET.

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