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Trauma and the role of the school-based occupational therapist.

OT’s working in mental health know that trauma impacts on so many aspects of everyday life, making it the business of OT’s practicing across a range of settings.

This article Trauma and the role of the school-based occupational therapist” by Colleen Whiting is about the role school-based OT’s can play in addressing trauma, using a sensory-based approach, to support participation and engagement in education.

This is Colleen’s second article, her earlier article; School Performance of Children who Have Experienced Maltreatment can be found if you click here.

“An occupational therapist’s role in the public school is to support the occupation of the student, which includes their education, social interactions, and play. All of these areas have been identified as affected by trauma. Due to their unique training and focus on function, occupational therapists are in an ideal position to help children in school who have experienced maltreatment”

Whiting, 2002

To read her full article you will need access via an Athens account or similar

 

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School children who lose break times, are often the ones who need it most.

water play

This article from the New York Times talks about the importance of break time and free play to school children. Children often lose break time because they haven’t completed work or as a consequence for an undesired behaviour.

“…Recess also plays an important role in the ability to maintain self-control during class time. Self-control is not an unlimited resource, and by the time unstructured play rolls around, most children have depleted their reserves. They have had to resist the temptation to wiggle, eat the piece of cookie someone left on the carpet or talk to their friends in favor of focusing on math facts…”

To read the full article click here

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Half Term Help!

Needing a bit of quiet time?  There is nothing like a new book for half term.  These two will also provide some activities to keep your kids engaged longer.

superkids bookFor Big KidsThe Superkids Activity Guide to Conquering Every Day by Dayna Abraham.  It’s promise?  To show you how to conquer your day like a rock star, every day!

Contains: table of contents, superkids manifesto, how to use this book, resources and templates and an index.  Chapters for rocking morning routines, magical mealtime solutions, whizz-bang waiting hacks, stellar learning secrets, incredible play ideas, maxin’ and relaxin’ night-time rituals.

My ten-year-old road tested this book with me.  He gave it an 8 out of 10.  Here are our favourite parts.

  • This book tells older children about ALL of their senses with pronounciation guides for each sense, which is really helpful when a book introduces your proprioceptive, vestibular and interoceptive senses.  Each activity is designed to help you get into a “just right” speed.
  • Each activity tells you how to train your adult to see the benefits you will get from using it

The activity that we started using right away: animal walks for rocking morning routines

The first activity we will start making: a magnetic morning routines chart with a to do column for your routine and a done column where you can move your magnet when its activity is done.

DIY ABC

For Little KidsDIY ABC by Eleanora Marton.  It promises a new take on the alphabet format and a four year old friend shared their copy with me.

Each letter has a page and an activity.

My favourite part?  G is for gardening!  Who wouldn’t like the page that allows you to trim the strips of green grass.  Drawing ants to add to the anthill also provided some fun.  This book also has:

  • Flaps
  • Stickers
  • A page for kisses that you can add a kiss to with a lip print in lipstick or chapstick
  • A page with space for a picture of your family

Happy Half Term!!!

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Developing self-regulation is important

Many children may have difficulties with self-regulation, especially those who have had tricky starts; including from traumatic illness, accident, trauma or neglect.

Increasingly OT’s are using Ayres’ Sensory Integration in combination with CBT( Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), adapted DBT (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy) and Attachment based approaches in CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental health Services) and other paediatric roles to assess and provide intervention.

These two books are a valuable additions to the bookshelf, with great ideas to inform practice and support time between therapy sessions.

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What happens to attachment when nurturing is not as it should be?

As OT’s using Ayres’ Sensory Integration, we are mindful of her early work which reminded us of the importance of sensory input in developing the mother-infant bond, a building block which she saw as essential for emotional stability alongside sensory-motor and sensory-perceptual skills that underpin our ability to engage in purposeful activity.

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Ayres’ recognised the importance of being able to take in, process and integrate sensory input not just for activity and praxis but also for future health and well-being, including the development of self-esteem, self-control, and self-confidence.

I am constantly amazed by her vision and insight, and how she built on the seminal and emerging neuroscience of her peers, how she valued this work of others and built on it, leaving a legacy that has continued to be developed and researched by others since her.

A lovely article “The Neurobiology of Attachment to Nurturing and Abusive Caregivers” by Regina Sullivan summarises more recent literature and helps remind us about and understand more why positive experiences or nurture from the primary caregiver are essential. This nurture is experienced through the senses, and when what is experienced is not as it should be, in early phases of critical development, it irrevocably changes the brain.

” a mother’s sensory stimulation of the infant is  the hidden regulator of the infant’s physiology and behavior”

Myron Hofner 1994

To read the full article please click here