Thursday, 28 May 2015

The Danger of Texting while Driving

Do you assign value to the tasks that you do each day? Do you have goals for your life? What value do you assign to life itself?

Some people like to think they are super human, perhaps invincible and so, hearing that there are rules to follow in life are rejected, laughed at and more. One area of daily function that became very important to me from my first job as an occupational therapist, is that of prevention and promotion of health. While I valued having a job in a large teaching hospital, more and more I felt my heart sink when hearing reason for admission for such a high percentage of the patients discussed on ward round. Many of them were referred to occupational therapy, many we needed to educate the team as to the role of OT in order to motivate for a referral and then many others would not even be referred as their medical condition did not stabilize enough to begin OT intervention.

Some of these certainly would have benefited from Health and Wellness to develop a healthy lifestyle that could prevent illnesses such as heart disease, strokes etc, many needed other intervention. For many, developing an attitude of absolute respect for life that includes habits that promote life, could be the difference between life and the opposite. Some like to tell me I exaggerate or am too dramatic. I wish I were.

Imagine going on a ward round and seeing in a bed in ICU, a young lady or guy, could be a student, could be newly working, could be still at school, could be a bit older. There are tubes, leads and machines all over and all around the bed. The person is hardly recognizable with swollen face, bandages, raccoon eyes (which means bruising all around the eye), plaster cast, bed frames, traction and all kinds of other apparatus. Doctors talk of injuries, possible prognosis and, of course, cause of injury. All too often the cause is an unnecessary accident. It is these unnecessary accidents that upset me the most.

Please watch this video and take note of a simple habit that can be altered. You might know the line "don't drink and drive". Now there is a new one, "Don't text and drive" That is not only for the one driving but for the friend or relative sending messages. If you know your friend is driving, hold off on texting. Keep that mobile phone in your handbag or on a hands free set and keep hands and eyes away from the phone and on the road.

I was once in the car with a taxi driver who believed that everything is in the hands of Heaven and if one is supposed to have an accident then it will happen anyway. While everything is in the hands of Heaven, you do not have to be the Shaliach for damage to another. Torah teaches us to be careful to put a fence on the roof to avoid potential injury. We are taught to be careful with our animals that they do not wander off into the property of another to cause damage to another or their property. From these two examples, we see that we have a responsibility not to cause harm to ourselves or to others. Avoiding appropriate habits or taking responsibility for our actions by saying everything is up to Hashem, is not appropriate thinking. What is appropriate, is developing the lifestyle, routine and habits that promote health and life.

Let us learn a powerful lesson presented by AT&T

Monday, 25 May 2015

Book Review of The Magic Tree by Michal Y Noah

The story of "The Magic Tree" by Michal Y. Noah, PhD  is written in the form of a poem, providing a gentle manner for children to receive some powerful life lessons. Illustrated with beautiful, gentle, happy artwork helps to make the message of the story come alive.

Through the story, children learn that everyone has their own unique role and contribution to offer the world. Everyone is important, even though we are all different. Through our daily life, days turn into nights, seasons come and go and with the passage of time, the important people and friends in our lives come and go too.

This special little book enables children to learn to appreciate nature, friends and seasons. Children learn that by understanding what we have to contribute they develop a healthy self-esteem and tools to withstand the storms or the difficulties in life.

A powerful message presented in a beautiful format. This book is of benefit for children to read on their own or for parents, teachers and therapists to use as a platform to help children to develop these skills in their own lives too.

Recommended by Shoshanah Shear, 
occupational therapist and co-author of "Tuvia Finds His Freedom"

Friday, 22 May 2015

Progress on Book 2

The next book that I am working on, I had actually completed quite a few years ago and submitted to a number of publishing companies. All my efforts were rejected for one reason or another, mostly due to the need for an agent. I shelved the book for quite a while and then last year began to revisit it. There was something about the book that troubled me but I could not figure out a good solution to it. Eventually I began to edit the book and today I am really grateful that I am doing so.

As a result of editing the book, I began inviting other occupational therapists to share their comments and experiences and am very much enjoying the amazing therapists that I am meeting. It is so inspiring to be in touch with each of them, to hear their professional experience and professional opinions.

There are times when the negativity of those who do not understand what occupational therapy is gets too much and I wonder why I continue with a profession that is so mis-understood. Then I interact with a fellow occupational therapist and am reminded how incredible the profession is.

Thank you to all the wonderful OTs who take the time to interact and share their experience and expertise. Thank you to all the wonderful OTs who do such wonderful work and make a positive impact in the world.

I look forward to my final polished version of my book being complete. In the meantime, I am very much enjoying the wonderful connections being made and doors opening just from the process of editing a work I thought I was going to just leave on the shelf. I suppose the saying is true, for everything there is it's time and perhaps the time is right to finally complete this book and bring it to print. 

This post is prepared by 
Occupational Therapist, Healing Facilitator
Artist, Photographer

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Occupational Therapy and Disability Prevention

It never ceases to amaze me how adamant people can be that they know the profession of Occupational Therapy better than someone with a degree in the profession. I recently received a challenge that OT has nothing to do with accident and disability prevention. Though some might think this is the truth, let us take a look at the profession for some insight.

In the 1980's, occupational therapist Carolyn M. Baum spoke about the need for occupational therapists to work in the area of prevention in her Eleanor Clark Slagle Lecture. Who was Eleanor Clark Slagle? She was one of the pioneers of the profession and assisted to found what we know today as the American Occupational Therapy Association or AOTA in 1917. Every year an award is given known as the Eleanor Clark Slagle Award for OT's who excel in the areas of research, education and clinical practice. Those receiving this award then present a lecture known as the Eleanor Clark Slagle Lecture at the AOTA's annual convention. With this snippet of background, we get some idea as to how important the area of prevention was already in the 1980's. I need to do some research to determine in what way it might have been important prior to the 1980's but certainly this lecture was an important one in the history of OT.

I was going to list articles written on the topic, but this will require some research. Perhaps I will do so in a later post. For now, here are some areas of health care that occupational therapists are involved in which assist to prevent injury, to prevent complications, to prevent deterioration and more

- Ergonomics and 
- Fall prevention for the elderly
- Safety in the home, especially after an injury or surgery
- Safety in the workplace
- Prevention of construction falls
- Accident and disability prevention in the workplace. This can include working with safety committees or education of employees
- Industrial Occupational Preventative Practice
- Lifestyle redesign including education on healthy lifestyle habits such as principles of   back protection.
- Education in parenting skills to advance the development of one's child is also a part of prevention and promotion of health.

These are just a few areas that come to mind and all are areas that the OT is involved in. 

I took the question as to whether OT has anything to do with disability prevention to an online group and received about 8 replies so far. I am waiting for permission to share the comments as each one is beautifully expressed and covers a different area of daily living or a different age group.

In short, occupational therapists analyze occupations that clients are involved in and modify where necessary or provide education and training on different techniques, different location or method to carry out the task, adaptations of the environment and more all aimed to assist the client to function as optimally as possible. This includes ensuring the person will be safe in what s/he is doing, after all, if one spends hours assisting a person to carry out an activity only to have the person injure themselves, is that optimal functioning?

Related to road traffic accidents, where one's habits or level of functioning can result in an accident for the person concerned or another, yes, OT's are involved too. This can include evaluation and training in safe driving e.g. for the elderly or after an injury. It can involve training a disabled person in how to use an adapted vehicle. It can include improving concentration, problem solving, perception and more in order to increase safety. It can be interwoven into parenting workshops to ensure that parents teach their children road safety and awareness.  In today's time, it can also include looking at habits with use of technology such as mobile phones, ipads etc to make sure that drivers and pedestrians refrain from texting or talking on the phone when involved in crossing the street or driving. This comes back to healthy habits, developing self-discipline and more. It could require assisting a person to increase self-esteem or self-confidence where courage is required to admit one might be late rather than risk an accident by running in front of on-coming traffic. 

As you see, there are many variables involved. Yes an aspect of accident prevention related to road traffic accidents is the area of the traffic department, however, there are times that OT's develop a working relationship with the traffic department to increase appropriate education. OT's might also work with disabled persons to help to educate on accident and disability prevention.

There is quite a bit more that I can add to this topic. I hope this post gives a little food for thought. Have you worked with an OT? Are you an OT? Are you aware of another area of intervention related to prevention that an OT is involved in?

This post is prepared for you by 
Occupational Therapist, Healing Facilitator
Certified Infant Massage Instructor

The Use of Kelocote for Treatment of Scars

In the unfortunate situation where you or a relative has a scar that is red, raised and in need of treatment, an excellent product to help with healing and to reduce the scar is Kelocote. Kelocote contains silicone amongst other ingredients which is excellent for the treatment of scars.

Here is an excellent, short video on how and when to apply Kelocote. If you have any questions, consult with your physician or pharmacist. The Kelocote company is also very helpful.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

What OTs are saying about Books versus Technology

We have a discussion going on a group for Occupational Therapists who work with children, especially school based therapists, regarding the topic of books versus technology. Here are a few of the recent comments made. 

"My children use both books and kindle, but when asked what they prefer, they adamantly state books! The smell, the feel, the texture and just 'lifting the flaps', or turning the pages. This seems to out way any technology advantage. My children are also very art orientated, and enjoy the pictures, looking and copying the animations, illustrating their own books! Interesting discussion though, perhaps you will end up doing both?" Mel Walsh, Occupational Therapist.

"Screen time adds a component of eye strain typically absent from book reading so I would minimize screen time. I will also mention that as a school-based OT I have had to imbed cutting, coloring and like activities within my whole class time with children as the focus has turned sharply to reading and math :(. I had a 6th grade teacher cringe when she saw the results of a cutting activity as it looked more like 1st grade work. It's frustrating for students and teachers alike." by Wendy Sweeney Occupational Therapist.

"I think nothing compares for young readers like holding a REAL book in your hand and turning the pages. There is something sensory -gratifying about real books, real drawing and real paper and real feedback for how much you have read and how much more to go. Some things are not better through technology." by Susan Orloff Occupational Therapist for children who learn differently.

What are your thoughts of print books versus reading via technology.

Please post your comment below. 

If you are in Israel and your child is experiencing difficulty with reading, writing or fine motor skills, do be in touch with Shoshanah for Occupational Therapy

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Books versus Tech

Here are some things for the Book VS Tech (example tablets)

Printed Books:

  - Pro's - Printed books provide children with the opportunity for:
  • physical contact 
  • increased social learning 
  • visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory stimulation, 
  • crossing mid-line
  • usually there are many pictures in a book that the parent can discuss with the child at any age
  • reading out loud will lead to a child repeating words and an opportunity for discussion
  • much more Bilateral Upper Extremity movement

- Con's - Printed books can provide the following problems
  • Some kids are allergic to dust mites , mold, and books contain these. 
  • Pages rip / tear
  • potential of paper cuts. 
  • books are hard to sterilize.
  • books would be hard for some diagnosis to hold / handle. Examples of these are Burns , MS, Parkinsons Arthritics, CVA's (Strokes), some CP, quadriplegics and so on. 
  • If there are pictures, the imagination is limited to what the child sees.

The TABLET / Kindle

Pro's -
  • Easy to handle by many people with CVA's MS, Parkinsons and so on
  •  Can be sterilized, 
  • No mold or dust mites
  •  Increased sequencing in getting to the book on line and steps to turn pages

  • Some parents would be quick to just let the child entertain them selves with it. This is fine on trips, or other times when tablets are appropriate, but limits development if this is the main form of reading.
  • No midline crossing to speak of
These are just a quick few. I'm sure if I spent an hour or two on it I would fill the page.
Maybe you could put this up for discussion to see what others say about the pros and cons on each and the therapeutic benefit of each.

Thanks for getting my brain to work for a little bit.
Thanks for the opportunity to share. I love it !

This post is prepared by Claudia Williams
Occupational Therapist with 37 years experience

This post is in response to previous posts on the topic:
Pondering the problems of a technological world
Do You Prefer Printed Books or Kindle Books?

Please share your thoughts by posting a comment below or sending a post to Shoshanah to be uploaded to the blog.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Pondering the Problems of a Technological World

In my previous blogpost I asked an important question: "do you prefer printed books or Kindle version?" Today I came across an article that highlights the difficulties arising in the area of health and child development due to an increase in technology. 

An important point raised was the fact that children need to spend time running, skipping, jumping, climbing, playing, exploring and creating. This is crucial for healthy development. The increase in technology is having an impact both on family interaction and on the amount of time that children spend in physical activity. 

This brings me back to the question as to whether we are helping our children or putting a stumbling block in their path by providing books in a technological format.

A fellow author recently mentioned that she is noticing an increase in numbers of kids in the book section of stores and in libraries. Is it perhaps time to listen to our children and provide them with the activities and learning environments that are conducive to their healthy development? 

These thoughts apply to the able bodied child. The child who lack trunk control and upper limb movement would benefit from reading via technology, this is a different topic and falls into assistive technology. 

This post is prepared for you by Shoshanah Shear
Occupational Therapist, Healing Facilitator
Certified Infant Massage Instructor
Certified Kallah Teacher
Artist and Photographer

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Do You Prefer Printed Books or Kindle Version

I often find myself pondering the concept of printed books versus eBooks or books on Kindle. Personally I prefer the printed book. There is nothing quite like holding a book in one's hands, feeling the pages, smelling the paper or ink, turning the pages. Reading is a very different experience when holding a book to when holding a piece of technology.

While many adults are shifting to read most of their books online, for little children I still prefer books, printed books, physical items with pages and colour, print and design. 

Recently someone requested that our new kids book for 5-7 year olds can be available on Kindle and so we began to explore responses of others. What do you prefer for your children? At what age do you introduce technology to your child?

I have noticed some women on the bus think that giving their child a cell phone to play with is a good way to keep them entertained on the bus. Is it? We'll take a look at that in a moment.

Some responded in a few forums that since we are becoming more and more a cyber world, that it is a good idea to make sure that quality books are available for children to read whether in book form or in eBook form. 

While I hear the benefit to profits of having one's book available in both, I still question reading a book to small children via Kindle rather than an actual printed book.

Here are my issues with reading via technology:

- technology has caused an increase in radiation or microwaves which have a negative effect on our health. We just have to look at the increase in conditions such as cancers, debilitating neurological conditions, sensory processing disorders from mild through to the Autistic Spectrum to see that effects to our health are real.

- reading via technology, though it has a place, also leads to strain on the eyes, headaches and problems such as addiction to technology. 

- reading from a book where a parent, carer or sibling can have the child sit on their lap or next to them and have quiet time to hug or cuddle, feel the pages, turn the pages etc, is a grounding, calming and bonding experience. I question whether the same experience is possible with technology. 

- in addition to development, occupational therapists are concerned about a persons ability to function effectively throughout their day and this includes adequate and effective sleep. In order to develop a good routine that will support healthy sleep, which is crucial for healthy living, most advocate to refrain from use of technology at night and especially about an hour before bedtime. For those who wish to read bedtime stories to their children, using eBooks in whatever format they are read will not be following this recommendation. Consequently children can have a difficulty getting to sleep or sleeping effectively.

When might eBooks be beneficial? Most are saying when on a trip or waiting e.g. in an airport. Having a few books on Kindle or tablet enables a person to carry more items with less weight. 

These are some thoughts to consider. I'd love to hear which you prefer and why. If you are an expert in development of the child, health of the child, vision therapy, remedial education, I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

This post is prepared by:
Occupational Therapist, Healing Facilitator
Certified Infant Massage Instructor
Certified Kallah Teacher
Artist, Author and Photographer

Monday, 4 May 2015

Progress of Our New Book

It is amazing how much there is to do in order to get the word out about one's new book. We are excited to chart the progress thus far.

Tuvia Finds His Freedom came out onto the CreateSpace eStore. A few days later it came onto and Today we discovered it is available on which is of course Canada. It has not yet reached Australia. Let us know if you are interested in purchasing from Australia and we can look into it going there too.

In the meantime, we have our first book review written by Nedivah Devorah Rottenberg.

We have also had a request for the book to be made available on Kindle. What are your thoughts of a kids book for 5-7 year olds to be on Kindle? Do you prefer printed books or Kindle? Please share your thoughts below and any reasons. We'd love to hear your preference to help us decide whether to work on a Kindle version or not. 

Next, my Authors page on Amazon is taking shape. Check it out.

Yes, we do have much more on the go. Lots happening behind the scenes. More creativity and progress on other books. 

In the meantime, we'd love to hear your opinion on printed versus eBook? 

This blogpost is prepared for you by
Shoshanah Shear
Occupational Therapist, Healing Facilitator
Artist, Photographer, Writer
Certified Kallah Teacher
Certified Infant Massage Instructor

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