Occupational Therapy

Remote Learning During COVID-19: How Strategies from Occupational Therapy Can Help

by Sarah Ohana, OT Reg. (Ont.) & Paula Riczker, OT Reg. (Ont.), The Possibilities Clinic COVID-19 as a rapidly evolving situation; we hear that every day. What has evolved for you, as parents, are more responsibilities, more concerns, more stressors, and more unknowns in a time of great uncertainty. We imagine you are wearing multiple hats right now. At least three come to mind: parent, teacher, tutor (not to mention cook, cleaner, washer of dishes and clothes, and the list goes on). It’s normal to feel overwhelmed right now. These are unprecedented times for everyone. And for children and adults with ADD or ADHD, many challenges have intensified. Routines have changed, and on-line learning and remote work are new expectations.  As Occupational Therapists, we’re hearing lots of concerns from families about remote learning. How can you support your child or teen with this new reality? Here are some common questions we’ve been answering, and strategies we hope you find helpful.  How can I get remote learning started at home?  Collaborate with your child to determine the most helpful organizational system for assignments and deadlines (e.g., Google Docs, a smartphone, an agenda, a whiteboard?).Leave one browser open on a computer—or as few as possible—to minimize visual distractions and support attention. Model self-talk and discuss...

Sensory Diets

When people hear the word “diet” they think about better eating habits and a healthy lifestyle. Similar to food based diets, where one eats specific kinds of foods at specific times of the day, a sensory diet incorporates special activities throughout the day to help a child with sensory, attentional and/ or self-regulation issues manage better. Consider people who shake their legs while sitting at their work stations or university students who exercise as a break from studying- they are engaging in sensory activities to either stay awake or to calm down. Depending on a child’s nervous system and sensory needs, they too may benefit from a sensory diet; a diet of activities and/or equipment used throughout the day to help them function at school and at home.  A sensory diet includes individualized sensory activities that are intended to be used throughout the day to help children focus.  It may include inputs, such as deep pressure (e.g. massage), movement (e.g. jumping), touch (e.g. fidget toy), sound (e.g. music), visual stimulation (e.g. lava lamps), and smell/taste (e.g. peppermint candies), in addition to changes to the environment (e.g. quiet room). A Sensory Diet can assist your child: To manage their attention, organization, and self-regulation To better tolerate...

Five Ways To Fit Mindfulness Into A Busy Routine

For kids with ADHD/ADD, it’s easy for their minds to wander to other things, especially when completing tasks they find challenging or less interesting. Mindfulness is a great tool that parents and kids can have in their toolbox. It can help bring our attention to the present moment and help cope with difficult feelings and the challenges of day to day life. Mindfulness has all sorts of benefits, but one roadblock can be fitting in time to practice mindfulness during a busy daily routine. Good news - mindfulness isn’t just about sitting quietly, picturing a calm place, or doing yoga. Mindful moments can happen anywhere and anytime - really! Let’s have a look at 5 ways parents and children can fit mindfulness into a busy daily routine: 1. 4-3-2-1 Game The 4-3-2-1 game is simple: Ask your child, what are four things you see? What are three things you hear? What are 2 things you feel? What’s one thing you smell? Attending to what’s in our environment, right here and right now, can help orient kids to the present moment and to what they are experiencing. Another benefit of this game is getting distractions out of the way before settling down to the task...