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Friday, December 31, 2010

A Use for all those Holiday Cards

I have used clothespins in many different ways. but this video reminds me that kids who don't quite have that pincer coordination yet can first work on squeezing to release the papers.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Recycling Stereogram

Stare at this until you see the details in 3D! This is a great way to relax the eyes and force them to work together. It helps if you hold your head close to the picture and slowly move it away. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010

License plate bowls

License plate bowls

Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L author of, The Recycling Occupational Therapist

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Jessica's Bracelet

I really like this bracelet my niece Jessica made. she painted on a piece of her mother's paint canvass and added a snap.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

This article may help parents choose appropriate toys for children on the autism spectrum:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Basketball Net

I was originally planning on making another bag to carry groceries but the opening seemed too large. Then I discovered that it would make an excellent basketball net and the rim that I cut from the dollar store wash basin fit perfectly to create a  rim in the new basket. I punched holes into the plastic rim and sticched it in place with yarn. I just need to figure out how to position this to use during hippotherapy. I will either attach it to the horse so that children can thow objects into it at close range or attach it to a post. At this time there is no basketball stand at my new facility at Stone Ridge Farm in Haverhill, Mass, so this will be very useful.   

By the way, I knit this out of supermarket grocery bags. Its a great free craft that makes useful products and keeps me from munching on junk food while watching movies.   

Monday, October 11, 2010

The boy Who Harnessed the wind

The book "The boy Who Harnessed the Wind" was fantastic. It might be of interest to occupational therapists as a case study of ingenuity, the drive toward purposeful activity and overcoming adversity. the boy William Kamkwamba from Malawi Africa was born to be a scientist despite living in a culture that believes in magic, struggled against famine and required students to pay fees in order to attend school. Instead of becoming hopeless when his family could no longer pay the school fees and driven to improve life he reads science books in the library and learns about how to turn wind energy into electricity that can bring electric lighting and irrigation to his family's home and farm.
As the recycling occupational therapist it was exciting to read that he found almost all the materials to make the wind mill in the junk yards, spending countless hours searching through broken machinery to find the needed parts. Being poor he even made makeshift tools such as a screwdriver by flattening out wire and compensated for the wrench being the wrong size by wrapping a bicycle spoke inside the hole to strip off rusted nuts in the scrapyard. It is hard to read about the government corruption, famine and hunger but the reader can be assured that since this book did get written, William succeeded and has the academic support he so much deserves.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Make Your Own Books

Gretchen Hanser's article "Making Simple Books" in OT Practice has some fun activities. I love the "fluffers" used to make turning pages easier. She descirbes these on her web site:
The article also describes how to make books out of food boxes and pages filled with plastic bags of materials such as dried peas to feel and view. As Hanser concludes: "students with disabilities need access to a wealth of books-no different than students without disabilities. Occupational therapy practitioners can make books thatr not only meet student's sensorimotor needs, but also their literacy needs."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ghost Lacing Boards

I made these lacing boards a couple of years ago out of large plastic orange juice containers....  I taped chocolate kisses where the nose goes......The candy is optonal since some parents may prefer a small toy instead of a sweet. .....

Source: DIY Fine- Motor Activities for Toddlers by RecyclingOT

Monday, September 6, 2010

Finding Toys

One aspect of being the RecyclingOT is being good at finding free toys or materials to use for work. I took a walk this morning and came across boxes of free toys on the street. Obviously, someone was cleaning house. I was wearing a day pack since I had just dropped some books off at the library and was able to load up on plastic animals and a few other items including a Pony memory game. They all survived a run in the washer. I am planning to place the larger animals on the hippotherapy trail and use smaller animals for insertion activities.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Visual Perception and Illusions with Spools

The background picture is made up entirely of spools of thread. When I held up the glass globe the image was reversed so that the girl's face appeared correct. Pretty amazing! I saw this at the "The Eye Spy" exhibit at the Essex Peabody Museum in Salem, Massachusetts

Monday, August 2, 2010

I think that this is a rather clever activity to make out of those extra pipe cleaners that are lying around.....

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Making a Scare Crow

I came across this pediatric web site filled with resources. Check out the slide show at:
Miss Sue's OT Classroom

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Grocery Bag

I finally finished knitting this grocery bag out of the supermarket bags and it is extremely strong and comfortable to carry. I made the handle by dropping stitches for a couple of inches then when I came to the same spot again I added stictches. I am not a very experienced knitter but somehow it worked out.


Source: Make-Your-Own Yarn for Plastic Bag Knitting by RecyclingOT

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sensory Symptoms & Ocd | LIVESTRONG.COM

Sensory Symptoms & Ocd. Obsessive-compulsive disorder OCD is considered an anxiety disorder. According to psychologists Padmal de Silva, a clinical psychologist at the University of London, and Stanley...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Adhd & Vision | LIVESTRONG.COM

Adhd & Vision. Children with attention deficit disorder, or ADD, may have visual problems that are structural, functional or related to how the brain interprets or perceives visual information. H...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What Are The Benefits Of Dmg For Autism? | LIVESTRONG.COM

What Are The Benefits Of Dmg For Autism?. Dimethylglycine DMG is technically classified as a nutrient found in small amounts in brown rice, liver and other foods. According to the Autism Research Institute, DMG is chemic...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Great Visual Closure Activity

I love this activity that can make very good use of old calendar pages.

High-function Autism Symptoms | LIVESTRONG.COM

High-function Autism Symptoms. Autism is a neurological disorder that presents with widely diverse symptoms. As with all forms of autism, those with the high-functioning type experience difficulties with communi...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Lost Art Of Building With Your Hands

I found an article in today's Boston Globe Parade section fascinating. Its about a boy named William Kamkwamba from Malawi who was too poor to go to school but went to a junkyard where he gathered a bicycle rim, PVC pipe, and an old tractor fan and made a windmill that was able to power a light bulb.

Barbara Smith, M.S. OTR/l

Friday, April 30, 2010

Stretch Toy for Body Awareness

Attaching stretchy spandex like material between two handles provides a great motor planning activity that increases body awareness because it provides proprioceptive feedback. I ask children to do this while riding a horse and work on following directions such as- hold arms up high, turn to the left or touch the head with it. Here are some other tips for increasing body awareness:

Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Objectives For Treating Sensory Processing Disorder | LIVESTRONG.COM

Objectives For Treating Sensory Processing Disorder. Sensory processing disorder SPD impacts a persons abilities to interpret sensory information such as touch, movement or whether or not two shapes look the same. Individuals with...

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Recycling OT is now on Facebook

Ok, how is having a Facebook business different than having a blog? Not sure at all, but am trying it out The Recycling Occupational Therapist on Facebook.

Disorders Similar To Sensory Integration Disorder | LIVESTRONG.COM

Disorders Similar To Sensory Integration Disorder. Dysfunction in sensory integration DSI impacts the brains ability to organize information from the sense organs -- such as the skin and muscles -- and use it to interact with th...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Vestibular Activities For Sensory Integration Disorder | LIVESTRONG.COM

Vestibular Activities For Sensory Integration Disorder. The vestibular sense---also called the balance sense--tells your body how to shift your weight when your center of gravity changes. This is seen when a person responds to a stumble...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I will be sharing my recycling ideas at this conference:

Designing Low-Cost FUN Activities to Energize Your Therapy Practice

Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L, author of, The Recycling Occupational Therapist

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Stretchy Rings

This activity is so inexpensive, easy to make and therapeutic, I can't believe I lived all these years without it! I cut off the legs on an old pair of stockings, filled each one with a bunch of scrunched up super market bags and then stitched the end closed. It stretches, feels good inside the hands when squeezed and promote bilateral hand use during a placement activity because it is so nice and flimsy.
Toady I also used it to work on motor planning while the children sat on the horse. I pulled it over their heads so it rested on their hips. But first I had myself, the volunteers and even a parent do the same thing. Then we each took a turn taking it off and placing it over the cone (shown at left). (Note everything is rather dirty because this is a horse arena).
I know that there will be lots of other uses for the stretchy rings and I wish I could patent it- but just go ahead an enjoy :)

Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L, author of, The Recycling Occupational Therapist

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Anxiety Treatments For Autism | LIVESTRONG.COM

"There are so many home made activities to add to the sensory diet including: balloon stress balls filled with old play dough, pieces of stretchy fabric to pull and fidget with and socks filled with sand. "
Anxiety Treatments For Autism. Individuals with autism are challenged to communicate effectively, overcome poor motor skills, process a constant flow of sensory information and fit into a world that expects mult...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Recycling Starts Young

I came across this funny picture of my family when my son was little. I guess I got him into laundry bottles at a very young age.

He made this jewelry stand for me- all his own design- when he was around 12 years of age. I think you can see how the earrings are on the front of the bottle and the side flaps create a stand.

He still loves to work with his hands..........

Shown below:David at glass blowing class, Salem State College

Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L, author of, The Recycling Occupational Therapist

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Activities for Sensory Integration Disorder

Activities for Sensory Integration Disorders
Its an incredible challenge to write a short article on such a complex subject, but I hope I did it justice.

Monday, February 1, 2010

First Signs Of Autism In A Baby | LIVESTRONG.COM

First Signs Of Autism In A Baby. Autism is a disorder characterized by difficulties with communication, sensory processing and social skills. Although a baby cannot speak, he can communicate with body language and...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fine Motor Activities For Autism | LIVESTRONG.COM

Fine Motor Activities For Autism. The best fine-motor activities for children with autism will be developmentally just right so that they are both challenging and successful. Because many children with autism hav...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Here's a nice article about Making art out of Recycled Jennifer Claerr

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sensory Stimulation Activities For Autism | LIVESTRONG.COM

Sensory Stimulation Activities For Autism. It is challenging to know which sensory activities are best for a child with autism. Basically, the goal is to help children achieve an optimal state of alertness so that they are...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

An Adaptive Handle that Helps Children with Spasticity Stabilize

Adaptive Equipment: An Example for Improving Fine-motor Skills in Students with Spasticity

Monday, January 11, 2010

Help Children With Cerebral Palsy | LIVESTRONG.COM

Help Children With Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral palsy causes abnormal motor development that makes it challenging to achieve motor milestones such as lifting the head, rolling over, sitting and walking. Children may be...