Monday, August 31, 2015

Back to School: Dreaded D. O. C. U. M. E. N. T. A. T. I. O. N.

It is that time of year again.... Back to school. Back to work. Back to the Grind.  Whatever you call it, it means getting in the routine.

Going into my (???) year in the school system, I always find it amazing how I still try to establish new documentation styles that fit my needs, my district's demands, and my students' goals.  Don't get me wrong, I have my scheduling system down. I have my billing entry efficient.   I create an excel spreadsheet as the guide. I print out weekly, because inevitable I lose and received students sometimes on a daily basis. Mark students present or absent.  Highlight them when I have entered the data into the billing system.   But I love discovering new ways to document the progress my students are making.

I know, I know.  You are probably thinking, "What a sicko!"  But I am not (at least in that sense).  I just strive for efficiency.  I can't stand redundancy.  And face it: We live in a world that demands written justification for everything.  If it isn't documented, it didn't happen.  Not only that, Occupational Therapy is a profession that continues to have to prove itself to be distinct, equal, and necessary amongst every other profession out there.  The American Occupational Therapy Association is holding its first Specialty Conference on Effective Documentation in Illinois in October.

When I went to college, I learned how to do SOAP and DAP notes.  I took the Subjective, Objective, Assessment and Plan to heart.  I incorporated it into the hospital and rehab practice with every client and modfied paper work to help things run more efficeintly.  But in the school system, with the caseload being SO different,  I don' t have time to pee let alone provide a meaningful subjective statement each session.

So this year, as I do every year and throughout the year, I search and scour the internet for things that might work for me.  Teachers Pay Teachers is an EXCELLENT site for teachers and therapist to find free and cheap products that can be downloaded and usually easily modified for your specific needs.  It is easy to join.  And in order to download you just have to upload something you have created.  Then share and search away.  Many therabloggers out there, too, are chiming in.

  • Your Therapy Source provides insight for therapists incorporating the use of Rubrics, you know those things that teachers have been using for a millennia to grade papers?  You can download free Rubrics for Dressing, Meal Time and Mobility.  Your Therapy Source also has great information about writing S.M.A.R.T. goals to improve specificity and relevance when writing your IEP goals.
  • Pink Oatmeal and Eleanor Crawley both discuss how to incorporate cloud based services like One Note for effective and organized documentation.  Don't forget to research security when choosing an online application when writing your comments in the cloud.
  • Therapy Fun Zone has a wazoozle load of cost and free downloadable checklists and documentation guides to help you organized your caseload this year.  
So this year, I will start it as I usually do...with a coffee in hand.  But also with tons of resources to try, adapt and hopefully have a successful documentation experience.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Lego Land Discovery Center Boston

During April vacation of this year, the boys and I ventured up to Somerville, Massachusetts for a brick-building good time at Lego Land Discovery Center.  The boys had a great time, BUT make sure you do your research first before heading up.  There were quite a few things I found less than perfect for the experience.
My two boys standing under the giant Lego giraffe
Purchase online for discounts and guaranteed entry.  If you go on a whim, chances are you will not get in at your desired time.  I saw quite a few families have to be turned down or told come back at 3:45 pm (it was 10 am!).

You cannot bring your own food, except for infant formula. There is a SMALL food court with a minimal selection of moderately healthy choices.  But unless you and your kids like lunch meat, you are out of luck.  There were a few salads, a few wrap choices, and a few plain sandwich options, but no peanut or soy nut butter options.  There are baked chips, fruit cup and veggie cups with hummus.  But not all kids *like mine* eat them.  Either eat before you get there or after.  And if you leave, you cannot reenter without having to purchase another set of tickets.
Giant Lego Ice Cream Sundae
Activity Pack- You can purchase a $5 lanyard activity packet that acts as a stamp collector pad.  You are supposed to go through  the site and find 5 press stamps to fill.  I have always liked this idea because it helps provide a goal for some children, like a treasure hunt.  Problem was, three of the embossers were broken.  This was really annoying and disappointing for my boys.  If an embosser isn't working, why can't they just make a rub mark or an ink stamp to compensate?

Damn you, Lego, for the attached store that you can browse before and after. It includes a small selection of Lego Sets and make your own dude, but ultimately you can get the same products at stores or online for a heck of a lot cheaper.

Don't get me wrong; it wasn't all disappointing.  There were also quite a bit of fun to be had...
Laying in the Lego Pit
Lego-licious Play- There were plenty of stations to enjoy building and creating.  There was a race car test track station.  Even the columns had Lego pits from which to build and destroy colorful architecture.  There is an indoor gross motor center, a Lego movie short playing every 15 minutes, and two amusement rides.  Even the bathrooms are decorated in everything Lego!
Lego Racers Build and Test Station
Penny Squisher
Yeah! for 2 quarters and 1 penny you can add to your collection of squished pennies!!!

So Lego Land Discovery Center Boston is located in Assembly Row which is a large shopping center with a variety of high end shops. You can find free and cost parking available dependeing on the time you get there.

Accessibility Note
This is a very stimulating place.  It is noisy and colorful.  If anyone in your group has sensitivity to external stimuli, you may want to plan your trip on less busy days and times.  Also, if anyone in the group uses an adaptive mobility device (wheelchair, walker, etc), call ahead and check on the accessibility of the rides.  I don't remember seeing any particularly easy to enter accessible units, but they may be available.  For the most part, there is plenty of space to maneuver and access the play stations.

Bottom line, yes, go.  Have fun.  Enjoy the day.  It does make a nice day trip and is totally appropriate for your Lego lovers.   But keep in mind some of the issues we encountered so you can have a succeessful trip.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Mushed Brain.....

I am definitely starting my summer vacation 
with a completely 
empty brain. 
It has 

Once I have put the mushed brain into a jello mold and let it solidify into what I would consider adequate for creative postings, I will start writing again.  Until then, I am going to work on some much needed work-play balance. Read, go outside, color, clean, etc.   Hopefully my brain will recharge shortly  In the meantime, check out some of the awesome blog posts from other therapy bloggers like Handwriting with Katherine,  Miss Jamie OT, CanDo Kiddo, Your Kids OT, Therapy Fun Zone and Your Therapy Source.  If you would like to add any others to the list, please do so in the comment section!