Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 14, 2012 by Ina

There are so many cute ideas for Valentines floating around the web, but I decided to keep it pretty simple. I found these adorable mailboxes for a dollar each at Target, and bought stickers for Dylan to decorate them. I also cut a simple heart-shaped card out of cardstock, and Dylan enjoyed painting them.

Decorated mini mailboxes

Hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day today!

Painted heart

What is OT?

January 3, 2012 by Ina

So I was talking with my cousin and excitedly telling her about this new blog I was planning to write called OT Mom. Her first question was, what is OT?

Whoops. I guess not everybody knows what OT stands for, much less knows what it means.

OT is Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy is such a broad profession that sometimes it becomes a little bit hard to quickly define. There is an official definition, but basically, an occupational therapist uses therapeutic activities to help people master their occupations.  The first thing you might think of when you hear the word occupation is work. And whatever you do for work is definitely an occupation, but an occupation is also anything meaningful that occupies your time. This includes things like eating, dressing, taking care of yourself, driving, and even sleeping!

For kids, occupations include playing, going to school, dressing, doing homework, and the like. As a pediatric occupational therapist, I help kids with special needs become successful at these occupations, and I work with their parents in providing support and activities at home.

Playing with blocks

I have been working as an OT for 10 years. Even after all this time, I’m still passionate about what I do for a living. I’ve also launched OT Mom’s sister blog called Pediatric OT Info. I’m making it into a resource for pediatric occupational therapy, but you’re more than welcome to come take a look if you’d like.

OT Mom – A Parenting Blog

January 1, 2012 by Ina

OT Mom & Dylan

Hello! Welcome to OT Mom, my new blog! I’ve been blogging since 2002 on my personal blog, but lately I’ve been feeling a pull to create a new blog focusing on parenting. Let me tell you a little bit of my story.

I’m an occupational therapist and I work with children with special needs and their parents. For the first seven years of my practice, I had been giving the parents I worked with some advice on how to raise their kids. Well, not exactly how to raise them, but how to work with them and teach them, activities to do with them, and sometimes, how to handle their child’s behavior. But everything changed when I had my own son, two years ago.

I cringe inwardly as I try to recall what well-intentioned but impractical advice I may have doled out over the years. In fairness, I was always aware of the irony of a young childless therapist teaching experienced parents, but I did the best I could as part of my job. Now that I have Dylan, I’ve realized that it’s a whole different ball game from what I had thought.

Becoming a mother has changed me completely. It has changed who I am as a person. It has also changed who I am as a therapist. I has always been easy for me to relate with kids and be playful with them. But lately I’ve found myself taking that to a different level, and starting to treat the kids I work with like I treat my own. I also find myself relating to the parents more, and I think about the context of the parent’s life when giving them activities to do at home, or techniques to try with their child. I draw from my own experiences as a mother when I collaborate with them.

At the same time, being an OT also influences who I am as a mother. I can’t help but apply my knowledge and skills that I use as a therapist to raising my son. Motherhood doesn’t come with an instruction manual. But as I started raising Dylan, I realized that I was lucky to already have several tricks and ideas in my parenting bag. It has been easy for me to teach him certain skills, since I’ve done that countless times with the kids I work with. Choosing toys and activities for Dylan that are developmentally appropriate and stimulating comes very naturally to me.

But there is still a lot about parenting that I am learning about. Being consistent with a child for an hour-long therapy session is a lot different than being consistent with a child 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And often it’s easy to brainstorm and come up with ideas than to actually find time to implement them and put them in place.

This blog is about my journey as a mother and as an occupational therapist, and sharing what I’m learning along the way. I hope you’ll join me and share your own experiences as we travel this parenting road together.