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!


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.


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.




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.