Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I was so excited when @OTNotes on twitter linked to a story about the benefits of hammocks on sleep. Hammocks have always been part of my dream house. When I was little my favorite part of going to the park was the swings. Not to mention that hammocks just reek of summer and relaxation. The story was about a Swiss research project where participants fell asleep faster and had a deeper sleep when they were in a hammock. Unfortunately, the article does not link to the paper or cite it. This is one of my biggest pet peeve when mainstream media reviews journal articles. It makes it really hard for me to delve deeper into the study or critically analyzing it myself. In the comments, some people brought up some of the negatives of sleeping in a hammock especially in the long term.

This week is the 4th of July and I hope you enjoy it. Right after it I have another camp for children with challenges. I still haven't determined what terminology I prefer to designate the population. Any suggestions? It is going to be hot here in Atlanta and if it is anything like this week humid too. This week my goal is to paint my dresser and bookshelf for the new place. I got a high quality coffee table today too. Luckily it is perfect as is. Goodwill is very quickly becoming my favorite store. I better make sure there is one close to where I am moving.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Best Technology for Students

So I am excited today to say I have made some major progress of unpacking all the stuff I brought from school to my parents' for the summer and progress repacking it in a way that makes sense. One good thing about having school during the summer is it is one less move for me.

This week I have had some time to clean out the computer and put some things on the hard drive. One of the great programs I love is OneNote. Most people who buy Microsoft Office (yep I am a PC user and proud of it) also have it. This program allows you to cut pictures, text, tables, etc. easily. But my favorite feature is I can create journals with tabs and the tabs can have more tabs. I love having things organized and it is easy to move sections and pages. That is what I hate about actual journals, that it is hard to move stuff around. Often in class I am given the lessons in pieces and then the big picture comes together later, usually after a few lessons. When I see the big picture I often want to move things around. This program would make it easy for that to happen. I would love to use this to keep my school notes, but when I bring my laptop to class I just get too distracted. I see new e-mails or end up working on a different paper or something. I could re-type my notes into the program, but we will see. What I do use the program for is ideas I find on the internet. I find gadgets and activities all over that can be used for occupational therapy or decorating ideas or recipes that I want to keep.

Another great piece of technology to keep track of activities and things is Pintrest. This is a website that allows you to tag items you find from all over the internet and tack them onto a virtual bulletin board. It keeps the original URL, so instead of having an overflowing bookmark folder you can just visit this nifty website. Currently, you have to ask to join, but just submit your e-mail address and you will usually get invited in a week. I also like it because you can follow other people's board or scan the recently pinned items. If you join make sure to follow my OT board!

The last website is a little different. It is Mint. This website can track your spending and create budgets. You may sync up your credit cards and bank accounts. It seems safe and I have been using it for over a year without issue, but always be careful when divulging your information. As a student becoming financially independent for the first time I feel like this website is going to be a tool that will help me stay on track.

On a sidenote, earlier this week I had jury duty. It seems so much cooler on T.V. I did get to start reading again though. My list of books to read is growing quickly as I use Your Next Read. I think most of the recommendations are just based on Amazon's recommendations, but if you join you can create a bookshelf. They have a really cool feature where they take all the books on your bookshelf to make better recommendations. I really love the visual aspect of it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Working with Others

I just finished my second week of camp. This location was different than the previous week. This time my group was almost all girls. The group was much calmer and smaller, which made it easier to control. I really felt like everything was in place to have an incredible week at camp, but the volunteers at this location were horrible. They would not stay at their assigned station, they were always on the phone, and they were more interested in flirting and bullying each other than being with the kids. Also when they were with the kids they would only play with the "cute" ones and never force the necessary work and activities.

Working with others is one thing that is pretty consistent throughout occupational therapy, and it is definitely a skill of mine that can be improved. The main technique I used to help harness the help of my volunteers was to assign them to very specific tasks. Volunteer A can you use hand over hand with Camper B to help complete the craft. The hardest thing to remember was most of the volunteers did not have experience and were terrified of forcing the movements. I have to say I was the same way just a few years ago. I tried to show clapping and drawing because those were some of the most common movements. The hardest part was I would repeat myself a hundred times. It is just frustrating, but I have a feeling it is going to happen again. I will try to work on my communication skills and hopefully these instances will be less common.

On the occupational school front I just ordered my books off Amazon. The nice thing was since the program is small and everybody is taking the same set of classes the professors due their best to limit the amount of books for all the courses by using the same book when applicable. The school recommended buying the books (vs renting) because we are starting to build our professional libraries. I tend to believe that is good advice. My books cost a little over $300 this year. Hopefully they were a worthwhile investment. I am going to find a good fun book to read because I have jury duty tomorrow. Hope it goes quickly.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Inspiring Tattoo


So here is an awe-inspiring tattoo I discovered at http://sawb.soup.io. Something to motivate you to study anatomy. I wonder how long it took to get done. I have always wanted to get a tattoo because some of them are absolutely beautiful. On the other hand, I am terrified I wouldn't like it in a few years.

This past week of camp was great and exhausting. I came home on Friday and passed out. I will miss my campers and I hope to see them again. I got some medical information about the kiddos and I have never seen so many abbreviations. I guess that is just a peek at my future. Another week of camp this week, so I better finish my homework (longest chapter so far of course)and get some sleep.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Real World Lessons

This week many exciting things have been happening. First, I have started one of my camps for kids with special needs, but before I go on and on about it I am going to tell you about a lesson that I learned this week that I think it is going to be important to keep in mind as an occupational therapist. I have started to furniture shop for the apartment I am moving into for occupational therapy school. The biggest worry was a couch because I cannot put together a couch and my car certainly cannot fit a couch into it. I did my research and determined Craig's List was my best bet for a couch and I was going to have to pay $100-150. I did checked out a few couches and I was disappointed, and it was finally suggested that I check out Goodwill, which is 10 minutes from my house. It is my new favorite store for at the very least housewares. I got a nice couch (for a college kid) for less than $40. That means I can get a chair now! I learned that you may think you have done your research and discovered the best way, but there are always things you did not think of or that you underestimated.

Okay now onto camp and some more lessons. I am with 8 5-7 year olds and three other volunteers. I was warned about two of the campers being a particular handful. I was excited that I had three typical children that could lend a helping hand,and that one of the volunteers had done the camp last year and knew what was going on. I am happy to say that those two "trouble" campers have been not been the biggest handful. The biggest handfuls are the typical kids because they have a full range of movement and always have a counselor tied up literally. The staff and the counselors have been trying to encourage them to help, but they just want to have fun and we want them to have that too so it is a weird balance that I have not quite figured out yet. The challenges that you thought would be hard can be not an issue, while the non-issues can become hurdles.

One of the most interesting challenges was a child with autism came in and would not sit by everyone because they were weird. He was not trying to mean, but he was overwhelmed and did not know how to process everything. I told him that everybody was just being themselves because it was true that the situation was weird. He did end up integrating into the group; however, he still avoids the less functioning children. Progress is being made though. His mother was so horrified when I told her about his original behavior and took action by talking to him and having him apologize the next day. It was nice to see a parent not let child slide by due the child's own challenges, which I might have done.

One more quick story and I will sign off and maybe do some real homework. In one of the hippotherapy sessions, the therapist had a child lay out a Special Olympics course. As a natural reaction, I asked if he was competing this year. His mother was so appalled. I was shocked that a family member of someone with special needs could find the idea degrading. On the other hand, I do understand from where she is coming from. Everyday I am learning something new and I am so happy that I am having this experiences even before I enter school. I having a feeling this experiences will be quite valuable. I might not post for a while because camp wears me out, but keep looking because I am sure there are more stories to come.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Kinesiology and Online Classes

So this month I have to take Kinesiology as a pre-req for my Occupational Therapy program. The class itself is interesting and from my shadowing I can already see much of the information is actually applicable to my future career. That is a good feeling. I don't enjoy taking a class over the summer, but it is good to keep my mind working and it is only a month so I still have a lot of summer to enjoy.

This is my first strictly online class. So far I feel like I am still learning most of the information. I typically read my textbooks anyway, but I am worried that the information will not stick as well since I am only receiving the information one way. I was told by another occupational therapy student to really pay attention to the material because it will be used in other classes.

Stuff has gotten moving to make occupational therapy school real. I went looking for a place to live last week and I found some decent places. The place I am trying to get into has a pool, which is a real plus especially since I was looking in 90+ degree temperatures and it was only May. Now I just got start hunting down some cheap furniture.

I also got a tentative schedule for my first semester in occupational therapy school. I thought there would be more hours of class, but we warned that a good portion of our time should be reserved to work on projects. The nice thing is there are no choices of classes to take, so they are scheduled together with a lunch break. I will no longer have to fill an awkward two hours. I am going to have to find new recipes for packed lunches. I am not a fan of sandwiches. The classes I will be taking in my first semester are a research class, something called OT Models of Reasoning, Lifespan, Professional Foundations, and Wellness and Illness. Hopefully, they do not demand expensive books, but that may be asking too much. Well to pay for those books I better finish my scholarship application and start reading my chapter for class. Only three weeks left.