Man, through use of his hands….

“Man, through the use of his hands, as they are energized by mind and will, can influence the state of his own health,” Mary Reilly.

Image result for mary reilly ot                                           Mary Reilly, EdD, OTR, FAOTA (1916–2012)

It is no secret, to those that know me, this is my absolute FAVORITE quote, regarding occupational therapy.  I find projects using my hands to be extremely calming, allow me to gather my thoughts and feel productive at the same time, and really, whose mood isn’t improved by splashes of bright colors of paint, or pastels, or whatever medium you choose.

The focus of occupational therapy is on activities of daily living….what’s that you ask…those are the things we do every day, from getting dressed, to eating, to checking instagram on our phones.  The activities we do every single day.  Then there are the instrumental activities of daily living, our jobs, cooking, shopping, paying bills, the list goes on.  Fortunately for us occupational therapists, this allows us to work with clients on whatever is of importance to them.  If you have a client who loves to work on cars, we can bring tools to the treatment room, or better yet, outside to work on a car.  If you have a child that wants badly to conquer the monkey bars, we can work on that. Our treatments are client centered, we can find what is meaningful and find progress and success in improving performance of those meaningful occupations.

Occupational therapy celebrated 100 years of existence in 2017…Hooray!! A number of fantastic articles, speeches and presentations came out of the centennial celebration, if you are interested in getting to know the pioneers of occupational therapy check out this amazing video detailing the history of occupational therapy.  The OT centennial website was created to celebrate the progress of occupational therapy, check it out here!

So next time you are feeling anxious, or frustrated, or feel the need to clear your mind, create something!

Lacee

I Believe in YOU!

“Why are you making me do hard things?”All of the sudden, this vibrant, outgoing child went from laughing, bouncing around, to slumped shoulders, head down, her voice wavering.  This is a question I hear on an almost daily basis from my pediatric patients.  And the answer is because I know you can do it, but more importantly, I want YOU to know you can do it.

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So many children suffer from low self esteem or anxiety and are fearful to try new things because they think they will won’t be able to do them.  Often times these feelings of inadequacy are masked as joking, negative behaviors or defiance.  As an occupational therapist I am always striving to provide patients with the “Just Right Challenge,” a term originally coined by the Sensory Integration Pioneer, Jean Ayers.  It describes that sweet spot of an activity that is not too easy, but not too difficult.  It is important to me that every session feel successful to the patient, but it is also important to challenge the patient, if not for those challenges it would be difficult to see growth.

Next time you see your child hesitant to try something new or challenging, encourage them.  Or maybe you yourself need to try something challenging.  Think of how great it felt the last time you accomplished something you didn’t think you could do, lets help your children experience those feelings too.

I believe in you.

Lacee

 

 

Smart but Scattered

smart but sccattered

Hello friends! I feel like so many book titles were written especially for me, this one included.  My sisters and I frequently joke about my lack of time management, lack of organization (despite my deep love for all things planners and organizing related….Me+Office Supplies=Love), and inability to follow through on some tasks. On the other hand, I can become so singularly focused on some tasks it is astonishing.

And…For legal information…the thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own, unless otherwise cited, and I am in no way receiving compensation of any sort for this review.

Anyway, back to the book…Smart but Scattered, was written by Peg Dawson, EdD, and Richard Guare, PhD. Dawson is a school psychologist, and Guare is a neuropsychologist.

Often times parents tell me, “I don’t have time to read a book like that.” I feel confident telling them this particular book allows you to move from chapter to chapter, focusing on what areas you feel you need to address.

The book gives a detailed explanation of what is executive function exactly and provides lists and examples of how these skills come to play in your child’s daily life. The authors provide anecdotes that detail a specific problem or skill. I feel as though the anecdotes do a great job of explaining situations, which allow the reader to really understand the concepts.

The authors then move farther into detail, breaking down executive function into 11 specific skills:

  • Response inhibition
  • Working memory
  • Emotional control
  • Sustained attention
  • Task initiation
  • Planning/prioritization
  • Organization
  • Time management
  • Goal-directed persistence
  • Flexibility
  • Metacognition
  • (Dawson, Guare, 2009, pg 15)
  • Each individual skill is then defined and examples of each are given. A questionnaire is provided in order to rate your child’s executive function skills.
  • From then on the book details how to help your child improve executive function skills and how to adapt situations in order to improve success. There are many specific examples of common deficiencies with a plan of action included.
  • The book ends with a chapter on seeking outside assistance. This is where I was disappointed. The authors mentioned seeking a therapist for cognitive behavior therapy or for addressing depression and anxiety, however, they never mention occupational therapy. Not one time, not even the smallest, tiniest mention.
  • Occupational therapy can help you and your child deal with executive function deficits by working in improving areas like organization, sensory processing, working memory and more. OTs are well versed in adapting activities in order to help children be successful in their daily occupations.
  • Despite the omission of participation in occupation therapy as a useful tool in addressing deficits in executive function, I still recommend the book. It is written for parents with easy to understand definitions and more importantly action plans to help parents help their children to succeed. If anyone has applied the suggestions in the book or have other thoughts to share…leave a comment below or feel free to contact me via email.
  • Lacee
  • Dawson, P., & Guare, R. (2009). Smart but scattered: The revolutionary “executive skills” approach to helping kids reach their potential. New York: TheGuilford Press.

    I like big books and I cannot lie…

    I love books, I mean, really LOVE books. I love books for so many reasons. We can find so many things contained within the covers of a book, comfort, entertainment, laughter, knowledge, the possibilities are endless.

    Books are my immediate go to when I want to learn any new skill. When I found out I was pregnant, my first stop was a bookstore, hello “What to Expect When You Are Expecting,” “Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy,” “Hypnobirthing,” you name it, I read it. Last spring, my husband and I were asked to coach our son’s soccer team, have we ever played soccer, nope. I turned to Amazon for help, promptly ordering several books, including one entitled “The Baffled Parent’s Guide to Coaching Youth Soccer.”

    As an occupational therapist, I frequently turn to books to learn more about a particular diagnosis, treatment strategies or to learn a new skill. The amount of titles available can be overwhelming. Once a week, I will be featuring a different title, I hope to introduce you all to some great books and I hope you all will recommend some great titles to me too!

    PS….I don’t only read for work…I love reading for pleasure, from every possible genre. Some of my favorites include anything by author David Baldacci, suspense, funny self-help books and of course near and dear to my heart is the entire “Harry Potter” series. Leave me your recommendations in the comments!

    Lacee

    Postpartum Anxiety and Depression

    Hello Friends!

    This post is a little different from what you have seen in the past…Thrive Therapies is proud to be a sponsor of the first annual Crush Run, an event created by a local mom in order to raise awareness and “Crush the stigma associated with anxiety and depression.”  Check out their story here.

    A few months ago, I came across Cassi’s story in the Las Vegas Review Journal, I was immediately struck by how similar my story was to hers.  I found my self suffering from nearly crippling anxiety following the birth of my first child. Before I get into that story, let me tell you a little bit about myself…

    I have been anxious as long as I can remember.  I was that child that laid in bed at night worrying about the cold war, worrying about a nearby dam breaking and flooding us into oblivion, I worried that a bear would walk into our house and eat us at night…you name it, I worried about it.  To say I had difficulty dealing with change in an understatement, I bawled my eyes out the first day of kindergarten, clutching my mom’s arm, terrified of being left there, despite the teacher being a family friend.  The anxiety continued into school aged years, rearing its ugly head here and there, but I never really talked about it.  Going off to college was pretty much a repeat of kindergarten, crying, clutching my mom’s arm.  Thankfully, she insisted I go!!

    Throughout college I had a serious bout with depression and insomnia, and began taking antidepressants.  The first one prescribed did not do much and had unpleasant side effects, however the second medication worked well for me, and I was functioning well and leading a pretty much normal life.  In the years following, I remained on the medication for a while, then knowing I would want to start a family someday,  I decided I wanted to stop taking it.  I can tell you, it was awful, the withdrawal symptoms, feeling of zapping headaches, pain, nausea, restless legs, dizziness, body aches, heat flashes….but I had a goal in sight.  I wanted to be free of the medication, and I did it.

    Life was great, I was a new occupational therapy grad, I had a job I loved, regular exercise and quality sleep kept the worst of the anxiety at bay.  Then, I became pregnant with my first son.  The entire pregnancy was worry free, it was a happy and joyous time.  The birth was wonderfully uneventful and we brought home a healthy, baby boy.  A few days later is when the clouds came in.  There were the typical ups and downs of being a new parent, I had a very supportive network of family and friends.  But even that could not stop the storm of anxiety that was coming.

    At my six-week check up, my blood pressure was off the charts, I was having panic attacks regularly, my heart racing, sweating, nausea, negative thoughts.  My OB was not one to be sympathetic to such issues.  She had me return in a week after monitoring my blood pressure, since it was the anxiety, not a blood pressure issue, she handed me a 12 month prescription for a tiny dosage of an anti-depressant, and said and I quote “If you feel like killing yourself or the baby, go to the hospital,” and walked out of the room. The medication was for the first one I had been on in college, that did not work, I was such a mess, I didn’t even try to stop the doctor to ask questions.

    I spent the next year, the first year of my first baby’s life, plagued by constant panic attacks.  Sure, I was functioning, working a full-time job, snapping pictures of every milestone, smiling at holidays, but inside I was constantly terrified, I felt like some black cloud was looming and terrible things were going to happen.  I even sought out the help of a therapist, recommended by the employee assistance program at work, that particular therapist was more harmful than good, she stated since I was not abusing drugs, I was sleeping more or less okay, that what I was feeling was just new mom stress.  There was never any one terrible thing, it was just the thought of some ominous darkness, waiting to swallow me whole.  Then, on the day of my son’s first birthday party, I was walking in the aisles of a Michaels Craft Store, and the panic washed over me.  I was frozen in terror, my heart beating out of my chest, beads of sweat appearing on my forehead, I thought to myself, “This is it, I’m going to die, right here in this craft store, and ruin my son’s first birthday.”

    Needless to say, I made it out of the store and home for a wonderful birthday.  But at that moment, I also decided that something had to change.  A coworker recommended a nurse practitioner that she liked and I made an appointment.  I remember sitting in a chair, telling my story through sobs, and her listening intently, nodding here and there.  Finally she said to me, “This is not normal, this is no way to live, there are things you can do to make it better.”  We came up with a plan, which included blood work to rule out anything else, regular exercise, and resuming the medication I was on previously that actually helped.

    Things began to turn around, the panic attacks became fewer and farther between, and I felt like a normal person.  Two years later, we decided to have another baby, I was able to successfully wean off the medication with help from my doctor and I quickly became pregnant with my second baby.  Things were going along so wonderfully….until that black cloud began to creep back into my life.

    The panic became pronounced on a family trip to the beach, the panic attacks, negative thoughts started coming on more and more frequently.  Every time I passed a hospital, the thought “Is that where I am going to die?” passed through my head.  The darkness in my head became worse and worse, until one night I was reading with my son, it was big yellow book, a collection of Curious George stories that my son loved.  I put the book down, and looked at my husband and said “Who is going to read this to the boys when I die?”  He looked at me wide-eyed and with some disbelief, not knowing what to say.  I tried hard to deal with the thoughts, feelings, panic attacks.  I talked to my sisters, my mom flew down immediately, I felt like I was a mess.  Throughout the ordeal, I continued to try, I bought at least five books on Amazon that discussed anxiety, I looked up postpartum depression support groups, I called my obstetrician.

    Thankfully, I had a new OB for this baby, he was a godsend.  He was calm and gentle, totally  non-judgmental, talked me through options for medications, discussed safe sleeping pills, encouraged me to continue exercising, and most importantly, suggested a therapist named Jennifer, to help me deal with these negative thoughts.  The first day I met Jennifer was where everything began to turn around, I felt like I was able to see a glimpse of sunlight through all the dark clouds in my thoughts.  Was I better after that one visit, did life change dramatically, did the panic go away….Nope, but the difference was, I was hopeful that someday it would.  The two things Jennifer said to me that first day that made all the difference were “You are not the only one that feels like this” and “You will not feel like this forever.” I needed to hear those words like I needed air to breathe.  And it helped.  To this day, Jennifer, is one of a handful of people who I say changed my life, more on that another time!

    I won’t lie and tell you the rest of the pregnancy and the first year after my second son was born were easy or trouble-free.  There were some really crappy days, but fortunately the bad days began to be replaced by a good day here and there and eventually the good days outnumbered the bad.  I had an incredible support system, my family, my friends, coworkers, doctor, therapist, I can’t imagine the outcome if I had not had all those people on my team.

    I am sure right now you are thinking, “That’s great Lacee, but what does this have to do with Thrive Therapies?” I will tell you…when I was in the deepest black hole, I questioned all the time, why me? And I told myself, that if my experience of going through this can help someone else, than it is worth it.  I don’t want anyone to feel alone.  If one person is awake in the middle of the night, searching for something to help and they come across this and feel even a tiny bit better, a tiny bit less alone in their struggle, then it is worth it.

    From an occupational therapist standpoint, I can wholeheartedly tell my patients that I understand, I know the feelings you are feeling and I want to help.  The adult patients who are paralyzed by fear, the pediatric patients that are hitting and kicking and throwing things at school or at home because they are anxious, I understand and I want to help.  To the parents that are anxious, or dealing with a child that is anxious, I understand and I want to help.

    I have listed some resources that helped me and hopefully can help others.  If reading this helped you, or you have any questions, please reach out to me!

    Postpartum Progress – this website if full of wonderful tools, support and stories of other moms doing their best.  This was the biggest help I found online when I was dealing with perinatal and postpartum anxiety.

    Postpartum Anxiety Article –  this is a pretty good article discussing postpartum anxiety

    If you have any suggestions for resources please leave it in the comments or email me and I will list them.

    Lacee

    Summertime Events at Thrive!

    Welcome summer, school is out and the kids are suddenly home…all. the. time.  Actually, I love spending more time with my kids, however I know that it can be an ongoing battle to encourage them to keep up their school skills.  At our house we try to encourage participation in school skill related  activities by requiring certain activities like reading, a worksheet, reviewing a list of sight words, etc. is completed before allowing time on the beloved Ipad!  Some days this is easier than others.

    Here at Thrive Therapies we are excited to announce a series of summertime skills sessions!  We are planning a learning series on the following topics:

    • Social Skills, using the Social Thinking Curriculum
    • Handwriting, using Handwriting Without Tears
    • Summer Olympic themed gross motor coordination course
    • Identifying and coping with Anxiety

    Course times for the skill sessions are being determined at this time.  Please check back for more information.  Also, indicate interest in the above courses or some other topic you would like to see offered by commenting on this page, thrivetherapiesnv on Facebook or Instagram, call or email.  We look forward to hearing from you!

    Upcoming Speaking Event

    Lacee Bukoskey, Occupational Therapist from Thrive Therapies, will be speaking at the SAFE Autism Group support group meeting, Thursday, April 7, 2016, at 6:15 pm at Lake Mead Christian Academy.  Topics will include:

    • What is Occupational Therapy and how will it help my child?
    • What is a “floor time model” and how does my child benefit?
    • What does “sensory integration” mean, and what are some strategies to help my child modulate his or her sensory input?
    • Why is a team or multi-disciplinary approach important to my child’s treatment plan?

    Visit the SAFE Autism Group Facebook page for more information on their cause and upcoming meetings.