Back to Basics

Jul 02, 2020

What do you do when you’re visiting a patient’s home virtually and they have nothing?

How do you work with somebody who doesn’t have materials?

My answer is this: You go back to basics. You go back to function. You go back to the root of occupational therapy.

If goals were set to be clinic or school-based, you will have to do a re-assessment. With Telehealth we want to focus on how can we help parents with their routine or help our patients be functional at home with their daily activities.

Go back to basics. Focus on function, focus on ADLs. Can Johnny wake up in the morning and go brush his teeth independently? Can he get dressed? Is he potty trained? How’s the sleep routine? Is he eating? Is he feeding himself? Can Susie make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Can she spread the peanut butter? The same applies to adults.

If you were working on supination and pronation, can he/she flip the bread over while making a sandwich? Get creative. Don’t worry...

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My Top 4 Tips for Observing and Asking Questions When Starting an Evaluation

Jul 02, 2020

So you’re in your first Telehealth evaluation with a parent and child. What are the first steps you should take? How do you know if you’ve done a complete evaluation?


I’ll walk you through my assessment process in this blog series.

Let's start with “My Top 4 Tips to Observing and Asking Questions When Starting An Evaluation” I’ll be using peds as my example, but keep in mind this applies to all patients you may encounter!

1) Are you asking the right question(s)?

As a clinician working in paediatrics, it’s important to be focused on the parent interview. You really want to get down to the nitty-gritty and figure out what the parent is having trouble with. I like to ask parents, “What are you struggling with?” This also applies to other clients. Their current struggle is important to focus on because you make their treatment plan individualized to their needs. Here’s how I do it…

Just go straight to the...

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Telehealth Attire

Jul 02, 2020


You have to wear pants. No, really. I think this is super, super important. Don’t think “Oh I work from home, I can be comfortable and wear whatever I want.”

When I dress for the day to work from home in my Telehealth business, I dress as if I’m leaving out the door and people will see me. I don’t wear pajama pants, just because my legs aren’t visible. As I am writing this, for example, I’m wearing a polo shirt, jeans, and shoes. You’re probably thinking “Really? Shoes?”. Yes. You should even put on your shoes because if you’re going to stand up and to demonstrate something for a client, you don’t want to show your bare feet. Be fully dressed and look professional.

Aside from looking professional and looking the part, you’re going to want to feel the part. I just showered. I just got dressed. I feel like I’m ready to work. I’m ready for my day. If I do the opposite, for example, half...

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My Child is Out of Control!

Oct 11, 2019

You wouldn’t believe the number of messages I have been getting regarding children’s emotions lately.

Here are some examples: 

“If my daughter doesn’t get her way, she just throws a fit and there’s no way getting her back from that.”

“My son threw a shoe at his brother the other day.”

“My daughter gets home from school and just wants to be alone.”

“My son doesn’t know how to express his emotions.”

“My son is very angry, he cries and fights with me all the time.”

[Note: The wording has been changed to protect the concerned parent]

Parents are feeling completely helpless and are asking for strategies to help their child. It is important to note that poor emotional regulation can present as anger, lethargy, decreased attention/concentration, lack of sleep, isolation, tantrums, and difficulty transitioning from one task to another.

So what can you do? Start with this:

-work on expressing...

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That's My Sensory Baby!

Sep 09, 2019

“Do you have kids?” the parents of the children I worked with always asked me. I never really understood why that was relevant. I had years of experience working with children. The minute my first daughter was born, I finally understood. 


Now all of a sudden you have know the 5 S’s of soothing a baby, among all the other things that no one prepares you for. Sure your child doesn’t come with a manual, but don’t make the mistake I made by preparing for the pregnancy and the delivery instead of reading “Baby’s First Year.” 

So what do the 5 S’s have to do with sensory? Wait, does one of the S’s stand for sensory? No, it doesn’t, but interestingly enough, they all have something to do with our senses.

Let’s break it down:

1 - Swaddle - This is the one where you wrap your baby up in a blanket nice and snug. - In the OT world, this is a form of proprioception. More on that big,...

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He won't do that at home!

Aug 22, 2019

While working in an outpatient rehab center, many of the parents expressed one concern. It was something along of the lines of, “My child does great with you here, but I can’t get him to do the same at home.” As an occupational therapist (OT), I understand very well the difference the environment makes in someone’s functional ability. 


Now, let’s compare the home environment and the clinic environment. 

  • Scenario 1: The child walks into the therapy room where there’s a table with 2 chairs, a trampoline, a swing, and a ball pit. He immediately goes for the swing and the OT follows the child’s lead and does gross motor activities (in combination with sensory integration) for the first half of the session. The second half of the session, the OT has the child sitting at the table working on handwriting and other fine motor activities. At the end of the session, the mom walks in and is very surprised to see the child sitting so...
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