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Friday, January 24, 2014

Adapting my New Toaster Oven

The indicator line on the dial of my new toaster oven is the same black as the dial and oven and I can barely feel it. this is difficult for anyone to use even if the person does not have low vision. Adding a dab of orange nail polish is an easy adaptation. The photo below shows the toaster setting clearly.....


Friday, January 17, 2014

Activating Switches

I have long had an interest in using switches to activate sensory materials and was thrilled to recently see the arrival of many new products at my job.  One young lady knew immediately how to keep her hand on the yellow switch to make the pillow vibrate. she is nonverbal but laughed to indicate she enjoyed controlling the activation.

This young man is blind and I didn't know if he would like the fan or not (he did). It is harmless to touch the blades but I still wanted him to learn to avoid touching it, but tricky since he can't see. For the first time using this I brought out a cat bed I had adapted for a different purpose. I sewed a cloth bag to the bottom of the cat bed and filled it with a heavy bag of sand. At first he was confused but then seemed to like the feeling of having it tucked around his lap. Then I was able to stabilize the fan with a sock filled with sand. First I put the switch on the arm of the chair, then I moved it inside so that he only needed to feel the round boundary to sense what was sitting on top of him. I set this up with an on/off  switch so that he needed to press it only once to turn it on or off rather than having to continuously press to activate. He clearly wanted it on!!!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Relaxing Sensory Play

One of the staff at the wonderful adult services program I work at is very creative and understands the sensory needs of people who frequently get overstimulated-leading to maladaptive behaviors.

 These photos show 2 sensory set ups he created where a person can roll their hands over ping pong balls with option of putting objects in or out of the crate and manipulating bottle caps.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Left Neglected

I became a fan of author, Lisa Genova several years ago when writing my book "Still Giving Kisses: A Guide to Helping and Enjoying the Alzheimer's Victim You Love. She is a neuroscientist with an uncanny ability to give insight into the character's soul. We accompanied Alice on the depressing but insightful journey as she regressed through the stages of early onset Alzheimer's disease. Alice was fictional but the impact on family, friends of her rapidly changing world was all too real and familiar as I watched my mother lose functional skills. Fortunately for me my mom always knew who I was, even when nonverbal.... she was still puckering her lips to kiss my cheek.

In Left Neglected, Sarah is a super type A, brilliant, Harvard educated mother of 3 with a talent for multi-tasking and loving, humorous personality that enabled her to survive her modern marriage of equality and stress. Then one day fatigue and distraction caused a car accident that left her with right brain damage and left neglect. Anyone interested in a book filled with neuroscience 101, cute children, overcoming adversity and a happy ending will love this book. As an occupational therapist who has never worked with a brain injured adult with left neglect I was fascinated with the descriptions of PT and OT sessions and the adaptations Sarah used. Much was familiar to me since I worked with vision impaired adults- like placing orange tape on walls to increase awareness and training to turn her head left to scan the left side of the room with her right eye.

Sarah wore jingly jewelry to increase left side awareness and used the same reading guide her young son with a learning disability used to focus on small sections of print and move the eyes all the way to the left border of the page. Left Neglected was in my pile of holiday vacation reading and was amazed that even though I flew to Florida for a week of sunshine and an OT break, I enjoyed learning about Sarah, left neglect and why she gave up skiing to snow board.
Happy New Years !!!