Moving into winter

I'm coming up on my third month of being a school therapist and a homeowner, and had a few other interesting things happen recently. Here's a bit of a recap.

I was feeling very over my head in the past 2 months about the conference presentations I had applied to do. I had my usual procrastination battles and feelings of not being qualified for one reason or another, really kinda getting down about it all. In summary, I was a lot more excited about presenting when I signed up in the spring than when it came time to present in the fall. But things turned around and I think they both went over well. I talked about some options when beginning a pediatric practice in a hospital based on my Baltimore experience getting mentored in the NICU, newborn nursery, pediatrics and antepartum units. I had a crowd of mostly students but there was some interest. I felt kinda old since there were a number of students from my alma mater and I knew none of them, though there was a "small world" I-know-who-you-know moment.

Second presentation was meant to be more of a discussion on social media tools and ethics than an actual presentation. I was expecting 10 or less and I think there were about 30 by the time we ended- it definitely changes the dynamics of your discussion. Based on the audience, we covered things on a much more basic level than I had intended, and it would have been better received with more in-depth time to cover the basics. My favorite tools are in the Google brand of (free) products so if you want to get started in social media and exploring the online world, that's my first suggestion. Get yourself a gmail account and then we'll move from there. And for social media with other OTs, you can't beat OTConnections (also free).<

The final presentation (AOTA '12 !!) is just in the beginning stages right now. I was a little stressed prior to our first discussion (coordinating 5 people across a continent does seem challenging!) but now I think that things will fall into place. I'm excited because we will all get to talk about our specialties and favorite online tools, the "why bother" of social media and what we're passionate about. I also think there will be some good ethical discussions and that is interesting in its own right. We used a Google+ hangout to video chat, which worked really well.

I've been getting used to the school system job, and it has been going pretty well. I have been working primarily with preschoolers, most of whom are in a special education classroom. I feel like things have worked out so well in the past few months. The caseload was very manageable, which was great since I am new to the school system and both IEP and IFSP thinking. I have been privileged to get to spend a lot of time in class with 2 superb special ed teachers who truly love what they do and are excellent at it. I've learned a lot from them and it's been great to be able to push-in for most of those treatments. I'm really going to miss the group of teachers, IAs, and kids that I've gotten so attached to. So I'll be leaving this group and getting older kids with regimented treatment times and all pull outs in the next 2 weeks. I'm trying to build up a good supply of activities for a group that is not so easily entertained by blocks and construction paper.
I hope to get a pinterest account soon to more easily share some of the resources I find- I think that will be a better medium than twitter has been. I love the visuals. (Here are a few cool OT-related pin boards to get you interested if you haven't been over there yet: Funkist, Your therapy source, pediastaff)

So I'll be unpacking and repacking a therapy bag (they gave us rolling duffels, which I think is cool). That means cleaning out the Handwriting Without Tears manipulatives (maybe, have to check ages of kids), the switch toys, the tactile puzzles, the nesting blocks and maybe some of the chewelry. In their place, I can add in some tinier toys for advanced fine and visual motor skills, some things I've made from File Folder Fun, and lots of paper. I'm trying not to freak out about January where there are 3 Mondays without school, the month-ish when I'll be covering 2 caseloads at the same time, or April where there is spring break plus AOTA plus possibly NBCOT. Trying not to freak out, but getting pretty anxious anyway. Change is hard.

I have been using the IPad off and on, we only have 20 apps but I hope to have a review of those soon. I also put some free apps on my Android phone so when I get to do an app entry, I will be able to touch a little on both platforms. There will also be an upcoming entry where I can share some of my phone photos I've taken, mostly of the Mat Men kids have drawn.

We're getting ready for the Maryland legislative session to start again in January, our annual Lobby Night event, and months of hard nosed defense of our scope of practice! It is hard work, but great people on the team, and very worthwhile.

The house has been coming along fairly well. There's been some repair work but it seems mostly under control. My family came out for Thanksgiving and it was nice that the 7 of us didn't have to cram into my Grandmother's 1 bedroom duplex for the first time... maybe ever. Just sent out some cute little holiday cards and hopefully will find the energy to get the tree up today. Wintertime always zaps me a bunch. Been off running since Thanksgiving thanks to a repetitive strain on my IT band that's still aching and I haven't made it back to the pool yet either. Maybe someday I'll find that teleporter or a pause button to get a few extra hours a day, but until then the busy-ness just keeps coming :)


Abby Brayton said...

Wow, you are one busy woman! I'm fairly new to all of this social media/online networking/using the web to spread the word about OT, so I'm interested in hearing more about your upcoming presentation on social media. I've also got some Mat Man pics I've been meaning to share. I love Mat Man and can't wait to see your pictures!

Tonya said...

Good luck. It is fun and challenging to keep the interest of the older kids.
Tonya at Therapy Fun Zone

Cheryl said...

Thank you ladies for such nice comments! I need to get my blog list on here updated... especially since I've been using so many of your printouts Tonya :)