Tag Archives: occupational therapy

How About Another?


It’s not like I don’t have plenty to do. Actually, I live in Plenty to Do. I know everyone there.

In the center of Plenty to Do lives a tiny little voice named ‘But.’

But, and her best friends, ‘Lemme,’ ‘Justdothis,’ and ‘Onemorething’ have been nagging me quite a lot lately. In fact, they kept me up too late several times this past week, looking at photos to crop, laughing over background colors and arguing over which WordPress theme would let them get their job done best.

I finally got fed up with their noise and decided, “Why not? Might as well have another!” I went on over to help them out today. I missed lunch and some paperwork of my own, but now maybe I’ll get some sleep.

At least until it’s time to get the next post ready!

Want to see what these gals from the land of Plenty to Do came up with? It’s a brand new blog, a forum for interacting about health, functioning well, recovering from injuries and disabilities, raising children with special needs, and the like. It’s a forum for people–patients, families, therapists, teachers, anyone interested in these things. Here, I’ll be writing more about what I know: Occupational Therapy. Here, I’ll be hosting other bloggers who are therapists, health care professionals, parents of kids with special needs, adults with spouses or parents with special needs, and such! There will be interviews, re-blogs and links to great resources.

Sound good?

Then come on, join the fun!

OT Interactions



Joan T Warren



Child Mental Health Day


Remember twirling around on the swing set out back? Tummy on the swing, arms and legs hanging down,  you’d walk in circles to wind the suspended chains around one another, like a rubber band wound up to fly a toy plane, and then lift your feet up, and zoom! Off you’d spin, around and around again, until the swing came to a brief suspension and then spun the other way. Read the rest of this entry

April is National OT Month and Poetry Month


Note: some posts deserve a second life. Here’s a repost from last April; what do you think, worthy?

April: Not a month for fools! Pull a prank on the first, but the rest of the month is National Poetry Month and National OT Month.

Most of us know what poetry is, but what is OT? An occupational therapist myself, I can say a little something about that!

Let’s start with some spring cleaning and air out the room with what occupational therapy is NOT:

Read the rest of this entry

More Than Words


Pen in hand, released to the floor; chicken scratch.

“I. . . I. . . I. . ,” sputtered Vera, summoning strength from the tips of her toes and fingers, as they squeezed the foot and armrest of her wheelchair. A polite and apologetic smile took backstage. Vera forced her thoughts and intentions out of her eyes to the kind woman sitting across from her, giving her all.

“It’s okay, I know you’re in there. I know you’re having a hard time getting your words out. I’ll try to ask questions so you can nod yes or no.”

Vera settled and wiped a tear. She nodded yes.

Tessa breathed in, out, and laid her clipboard aside. This occupational therapy evaluation won’t be as easy as checking the boxes. None are. She quickly regrouped. “Is it okay with you if I ask your husband about things that are important to you so I can make our therapy sessions as meaningful as possible?”

Vera shook her head no. Then her eyes opened widely, she reached for Tessa’s hand and nodded yes. “Yah. . . no. . . . yes.” Eyebrows burrowed in at the sides and raised in the center, she looked pleadingly at Tessa, as if to say, “I can’t even control my yes and no answers!”

It was a left cerebral infarction with expressive aphasia. Tessa understood Vera’s condition from the textbook. Vera’s stroke spared her ability to understand language, but blocked her ability to speak–and to write. Now it was time to understand it from the eyes of a dear woman looking pleadingly to her for help.

Vera understood her condition from the textbook as well. Forty-five years a speech-language pathologist, now it was her time to understand it from the inside, reaching out.

Borrowed from gradydoctor.com

Photo borrowed from gradydoctor.com



In honor of National Occupational Therapy Month and in response to WordPress’ Weekly Writing Challenge (Flash Fiction: 300 words or less)

Joan T Warren

Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters


image For the back story, check out this poem about OT:

April is National OT Month and Poetry Month


Oh, and thanks, WordPress, for this week’s challenge. Check out other responses here:


Joan T. Warren

April is National OT Month and Poetry Month


April: Not a month for fools! Pull a prank on the first, but the rest of the month is National Poetry Month and National OT Month.

Most of us know what poetry is, but what is OT? An occupational therapist myself, I can say a little something about that!

Let’s start with some spring cleaning and air out the room with what occupational therapy is NOT:

  • OT is not helping a person find a job and get back to work (though it could include that)
  • OT is not physical therapy (though it includes physical rehabilitation and exercise)
  • OT is not weaving baskets (though we started that way, helping injured Civil War soldiers find their usefulness again)
  • OT is not playing with children (though, if we are doing our job well, it feels like play to the child!)
  • OT is not making crafts in the psych ward (there is a method to their madness!)
  • OT is not a therapist prescribing activities you must do to get better (if it feels that way, we missed the mark)

Misconceptions aside, let’s focus on celebrating the awesomeness!

Occupational therapy IS a health profession that skillfully employs meaningful activities to create and support functional participation for people with challenging conditions. We work in hospitals, physical rehabilitation centers, homes, schools, daycare and mental health centers. We facilitate all facets of health with persons, families, companies, communities. . . even societies. As an occupational therapist, I freely, openly and unabashedly admit that I love occupational therapy!

To celebrate National Poetry and Occupational Therapy Month, I offer this, my poem about occupational therapy! As you will soon see, I am more OT than poet.


Occupational Therapy


An artful blend

of science

and simplicity,




Buoyed by heritage,

research, and college:

Intense preparation,

foundational knowledge~


There’s anatomy,


neurology, too.



technology, woo!

development and human ecology,

and a little pharmacology, who knew?


A touch of gerontology,

anthropology, yes.

Micro- to macro- sociology,

a bit of theology,  God bless.


There’s structure

and function,

identity, process,

abilities, unction.


There are roles and habits

to assess,

routines and interests

to address.


There’s history, framework

and principled theories,

Models and practice,

and, lest you grow weary:


Consider relationships,

values, beliefs,

cognition, attention,

caregiver relief.


Assessing environment,

ergonomics and means,

selecting equipment,

for elders or teens.


We modify, formulate

and make adaptations.

We codify, delegate

and give adulations.


All of this knowledge concealed from your view,

we come alongside and spend time with you.

We share in your struggle,

engage your connection;

we want to do more than facilitate function.

For joy, and purpose,

and efficacy too,

are the pillars supporting what humans can do.


We’re primed for the NICU,

the preemie-pound baby;

to nestle him, swaddle her,

give hope for what may be.

Teach parents and nurses

to grade stimulation:

his stress signs, her turning. . .

reduce light, sound and touch,

like a womb, for the learning.

Chin tuck, cheek support,

respect gaze aversion;

promoting connection,

’til infant can burgeon.


Then, later on,

tummy time,

feeding and play,

motor skills,


into something all day.


Sensory processing,

modulation and then,

integration for ease

of all systems to blend.

Bringing the just-right challenge,

we grow–

producing responses

in beautiful flow.


Developing handwriting,

visual perception,

peer interactions

and social connection.


Teens needing special consideration,

peer groups and identity,

with little oration.

Any splint that we form,

or device that we craft

better suit the teen norm

so they won’t feel outcast.


On to adulthood,

where the great inclination–

to establish and master,

with keen inspiration,

independence and skill

in the face of impairment.

We come alongside,

being tough, with endearment.

Empowering patience,

setting goals for today,

equipping the wounded

with a will and a way.


You’ll find us with elders

wherever the need;

healing with basics

from bathing and dressing, to pulling a weed.

It may seem we’re playing when we bring you your putter,

but we’re really ensuring your balance is better.

“I can cook this at home,”

you may say with assurance.

“Teach me how,” we implore,

(for your safety, endurance).

Whether cooking or eating,

standing or seating,

playing piano, or maybe just listening,

balancing checkbooks

or just reminiscing;

we’re facilitating

what matters to you,

showing your value

whether just be, or do.


And then, in the workplace,

the healthcare machine–

equipped here to manage,

so much to convene:

Keeping ethics, best practice

and excellence as key,

we do billing and coding,

document properly.

For without reimbursement,

we could not continue

to make such a difference

For someone–like you.


So, in all walks of life

there is some occupation;

we therapists share

this one aspiration:

To be about

the work of imbuing

The beauty of

human beings, doing.


Did I mention that I love occupational therapy? 😉

Everyone knows someone who needs to hear about OT. Link up, pingback, spread the word! Please, all of you OT’s out there, add a stanza or two and tell us what you do.


©Joan T. Warren


Pope Francis: A Consumerist’s Confession


This is not one of my humor pieces.

This is serious:  I have a confession to make.

It is  extremely difficult to admit. I feel ashamed of myself and I want to change, and though I’m not Catholic, Pope Francis has something to do with it.

What are you thinking? Is it akin to what’s-his-name texting naked chest pictures? Lying, cheating, adultery? Plagiarism? Greed, avarice?

Actually, its worse:   Read the rest of this entry

Attention, please!


Both in my work as a pediatric occupational therapist and in my personal life, the issue of attention surfaces daily.

I attend to all aspects of the children I work with as we engage in therapeutic activities. I attend to their physical status, such as muscle atrophy, spasticity,  joint alignment, sensorimotor responses, coordination and endurance. I attend to their emotional status through each activity–is the baby grimacing, averting her gaze or engaging and approaching with interest? Is the toddler afraid, uncomfortable, shy, angry, tired. . . or happily attempting the challenge I’m bringing? The environment gets my attention as well: Is the room too noisy, cold, hot, visually distracting? Does the environment support or hinder the child’s performance? I notice the posture and position of the child, the furnishings, lighting, sound level, scents, and features of the materials we’re working with. All of this, and more, either support or hinder a child’s success. My attention to these details can help the child attend to the activity that, in turn, helps them meet developmental goals.
The child lives in a family. The family also needs attention. When working with children who have special health care needs, I’ve yet to meet a family member who didn’t need some special attention. Families need help as they adjust to, cope with and grow through parenting their special child. If I come into a home to provide therapy for a child and fail to attend to the family’s status that day, I have missed an opportunity to not only help the family member, but also to better help their child. A family member who is overwhelmed, tired, lonely, afraid, or depressed is better able to connect with, enjoy and help their child when their personal concerns are addressed. A family member excited about their child’s new achievement enjoys having someone to share the good news with. If a parent feels uneasy with anything I’m doing with their child, their concerns merit my attention. If I ignore or slight their concerns, I’ve failed to respect the child’s greatest support system in life, the parent. If I give parents the attention they need, we can work as a team. The child benefits from this teamwork as much as we do.
At home, there is more to attend to. Each family member needs attention. The house, the yard, the dog, the laundry, the dishes, the food supply, the mail, the . . . what have I forgotten? . . . all need attention. I need attention too! I need to attend to balancing work, rest and play, tomake time to exercise, socialize, reflect and create (all things that rejuvenate me). Sometimes I get so caught up in noticing and attending to all the needs around me that I neglect my own needs. When self-neglect persists, it renders me incapable of helping others.
So, I’ve been thinking about this need for attention. The word attend finds its origin in the Latin attendere, which means to notice, to bend to. Sensory systems are designed to notice. Peripheral vision reacts to a flutter of movement: What was that? Notice. Tiny hairs respond to light touch with fight or flight reaction: Was that a bug on me? Notice. Auditory systems translate  sound wave vibrations: Was that my child’s cry? Notice. Bend to: Living things bend toward that which sustains life. Tender shoots grow through rocks and bend toward light. Grandparents bend to greet grandchildren, arms open wide. Lovers bend on one knee, to plead ‘be mine.’ Worshippers bend in adoration and appreciation for spirit revival. To attend, to notice, to bend to, is a natural and life-sustaining act. I would venture to guess that most of us feel emotionally nourished when someone notices and pays attention to us. Needing attention is not a fault, it is human.
Why, then, do we view the need for attention in a negative light? Read the rest of this entry