A therapeutic gift from a friend!

by Kathryn Murphy, MSPT

My name is Kathryn and I am a Physical Therapist at Bucks. With all of the virtual services going on now, I do not have all of the tools at my home that I need for my sessions. I had a friend of mine, Mike, come to my rescue. I met Mike a few years ago at the indoor rock climbing gym where I climb. He recently purchased 3-D printer. He printed me a red shaker and even did a non-contact drop off!

This shaker filled with rice will help me:

  • Get the visual attention of my students with decreased vision.
  • As a teaching aide for parents. I can now show them exactly where to place a toy with their child when working on gross motor skills. I use a doll to help teach parents and now I have a toy!
  • Get the attention of the student using their hearing.
  • Cheer for my students in a fun way when they do something great!
  • Participate in music class with Ms. Amanda 😉

 

THANK YOU MIKE!

 

Navigating Teletherapy

by Adrienne Krysiuk MS, OTR/L

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My first day of work and I was super excited to see my kiddos since it has been a few weeks since I saw them last. I was also super nervous and anxious about doing teletherapy. I kept asking the questions, how was I going to manage a caseload of 17 plus kids and manage my own five year old? Most importantly, I could not understand how I was going to effectively provide occupational therapy intervention with preschoolers who have Autism Spectrum Disorder through a little screen. As the 2019-2020 school year already had its own set of challenges, not one of us could figure out how to do this type of hands off interaction with our Easterseals kids through this platform. As we reflected, the slew of emails arrived and we really started to panic. We all started going to online trainings, reading blogs and asking questions, conducted team meetings and practice runs with our colleagues. We all became computer experts in zoom and GoTo Meeting, we connected with colleagues and families throughout the day, sitting for longer than any of us are used to and then we became the minority of people who are still part of the workforce.

Since practicing teleintervention for a few weeks now, I am still trying to manage a hectic schedule between work and family. My son at this moment is trying to lay low because he knows he is getting away with watching way too much TV and no one has been after him to do his school work for awhile. The overall challenge of teletherapy has been a good learning experience and now familiar. In fact, at this point in time, I am a proponent of teleintervention and I feel this could be offered as part of the IEP plan. Of course I would rather be working directly with my kids and coworkers, but we (the school team) have always discussed how beneficial it would be to have a better way to follow up at home. When you are working on certain skills, such as managing challenging behaviors or carrying over potty training, it would be very helpful to coach the parent more directly in the child’s home environment; to really bridge the gap between home and school and further support our kiddos success. This unfortunate pandemic event has been that opportunity, possibly causing positive change and providing more options and choices for our families.

It has been an adjustment period for the parents to say the least and I give a shout out to all of our special needs parents out there, we see you and you are doing a great job, so hang in there, we got your back. Again, looking on the bright side through this unique time, I also find myself appreciating the small things that help me get through the day, one benefit I enjoy, I know many people share this with me, is illustrated in the picture. I cannot complain about the reduction of my now nonexistent commute, being able to get ready for work in 15 minutes or even caring if my comfy uniform matches or represents the correct season; dressed in my Easterseals teletherapy uniform.

 

Communication Board for Home

Visual supports can be an important tool in helping to facilitate communication. Throughout our centers, these visual supports are everywhere. They help children understand schedules and behavior expectations. They allow children to communicate with family, teachers and therapists about their needs and feelings.

The Assistive Technology team has created a visual communication board for families to use at home. This board contains vocabulary that is most relevant to preschoolers.

We hope you find this helpful! Stay tuned for middle school and high school versions.

Covid Communication Board

 

Here is a pdf version as well

Covid Communication Board

Virtual Friendship Academy

by Patricia Formicola

The best part of social distancing is every day at 9:30am I get to see my students and teaching assistant, Ms. Sonia for our Morning Meeting Circle Time! It brings an instant smile to my face as each child arrives to our Go-To-Meeting room. We count and take attendance each day and have up to 12 students at a time. We do our Good Morning song and our Positive Behavior Support song. This song is lead by my Teacher Assistant, Ms. Sonia. We then have a structured routine each day so the students know what to expect. It is the same schedule we used in our classroom at Easterseals  Friendship Academy in Levittown, PA.

We talk about the weather of the day. I call on a student who uses her talker (speaking device) to tell us if it is sunny, rainy, cloudy, or snowing. We move to our calendar, days of the week, special days of the month etc…Each student is called on to answer different questions like , what is the month, day, year and someone chooses the background for the calendar whether its a spring background, Earth day background, or rainy one for April showers. Then we watch a shapes and a number song video from YouTube using the split screen as a visual.

Afterwards we talk about the letter of the week, the sound it makes, and what words begin with this letter. Students then use items in their house to do a Show and Tell. This week was the letter “W” and students took turns showing me their water bottles, watches, Woody dolls, a whale stuffed toy and one student who is 3 years old even showed us a picture of Washington’s Crossing. W for Washington. His mom prompted him asking him what river and he knew it was the Delaware River that Washington crossed! He was excited to answer this question and we felt his excitement!

After the letter of the week, we do a read aloud book picking different authors. This week we are reading all Eric Carl books. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Lonely Firefly, Head to Toe, 10 Rubber Ducks, and The Mixed-up Chameleon. We make connections to each book as Eric Carl is the author and illustrator so you see similar pictures of the sun, moon, different animals etc.. His books also teach letters, numbers, shapes, days of the week, animals etc…

For the last part of our morning meeting we end with 100 exercises. I show a Jack Hartmann, Let’s Get Fit ….Count to 100 video. Every set of 10 we do different exercises including, arm circles, touch your toes, jogging, and clap your hands over your head.

Then we say our Good-byes to everyone! Students call out the names of their friends saying Good-bye to each person and see you tomorrow!