Last week, the Boston Ability Center had a wonderful time connecting with other professionals and families at the Special Education Conference and 8th Annual School Fair. We look forward to participating again next year!
Over the last few months, Jess Wilson, writer of “Diary of a Mom”, has presented the BAC staff with a five-part lecture series. Jess stimulated thought provoking discussion among clinicians and provided a multitude of resources for our occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech-language pathologists. Through lecture, readings, and discussion, Jess helped staff to integrate ideas surrounding inclusion for those with disabilities into our current therapy practice. She offered a unique perspective as both a mother and friend to individuals with disabilities. Topics have included neuropsychological evaluations, language surrounding professional feedback to families and caregivers, as well as specific treatment suggestions. Jess provided the BAC with exceptional understanding, awareness, and insight. Our staff is incredibly thankful to have learned from her!
A few weeks ago, BAC staff participated in CPR training. This is a training that all staff participate in every year to retain their skills and ensure that they are prepared if anything was to take place. We recognize the importance of being educated CPR and First Aid.
Ways to find a locations to learn CPR:
Anna Gray, physical therapist, recently attended the Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy Annual Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“It was a wonderful opportunity to get the latest evidence based techniques and treatments. She had the opportunity to take courses on hypermobility syndromes, toe walking, cerebral palsy, congenital muscular torticollis and much, much more. Anna was able to connect with physical therapists around the country!” (Anna)
We look forward to Anna bringing new research back to BAC and continuing to pride top quality care for her patients she serves.
Every Wednesday BAC staff participate in a staff meeting in which we discuss new research, recently attended presentations/lectures, and case studies.
This Wednesday we are very fortunate to have Jess Wilson present a five part staff meeting series for us! She is the voice behind Diary of a Mom, a community of over 330,000 dedicated, highly engaged members who are as passionate as she is about making the world a more inclusive, welcoming place for those with disabilities. She has taken her message everywhere from her local school board meetings to college lecture halls and even the White House, amplifying the voices of those whose lived experiences drive her work.
Jess lives in Boston with her husband, Luau, their two teenage daughters, Katie and Brooke, and their dogs, Winston and Lucy.
On Monday, October 23, 2017, an enthusiastic group of preschool teachers and directors met at the Carter Center for Children in Needham, MA for a workshop. Lauren Alves, Co-Director at the Carter Center organized the evening workshop which was titled From Here to There: Transitions Throughout the School Day. Clinicians, Janet Schmidt, MA, CCC-SLP, Speech and Language Pathologist and Elvira Fulchino, MS. OTR/L, MSW, LICSW, Occupational Therapist, from the Boston Ability Center conducted the workshop.
The focus of the workshop was for the participants to identify and plan for successful transitions in order to facilitate the children’s success throughout their school day. The impact of individual factors on successful transitions, such as, changes in the child’s schedule, routine, sleep difficulty, sensory sensitivities, physical limitations, and language difficulties were also addressed. Interventions such as, using First/Then language, Visual supports, Zones of Regulation and Whole Body Listening strategies to facilitate coping skills in young children were introduced.
The format allowed for large and small group discussion which provided the opportunity for the participants to ask questions, view materials and learn more about specific strategies.
See below for a link to an article on transitions and additional references:
References: Dewdney, Anna, Llama Llama Misses Mama, 2009, Scholastic Inc. www.scholastic.com
Kuypers, Leah M. Ed. OTR/L, The Zones of Regulation, 2011, Think Social Publishing, Inc. www.zonesofregulation.com S’cool Moves, I Can Calm Myself, S’cool Moves, Inc. www.schoolmoves.com
Wilson, Kristen, Sautter, Elizabeth, Whole Body Listening Larry at home, Whole Body Listening Larry at school, Second Edition, 2016. www.socialthinking.com
On Friday, October 13, 2017an in-service teacher training was provided to Temple Beth Avodah Early Learning Center by Occupational Therapist, Elvira Fulchino, MS. OTR/L, MSW, LICSW of the Boston Ability Center. The topic, Handwriting Without Tears program, was selected by the Director of the Preschool Program, Heidi Baker, and was attended by the preschool teachers who offered many comments and asked a variety of questions. The teachers have familiarity with this program and a lively discussion occurred where many ideas for activities were exchanged.
The program included discussion of the stages of grasp development, the impact of core strength on sitting posture and the role of attention. Additional information was provided on introducing Fine Motor activities into the classroom to encourage the correct grasp and materials to support handwriting development.
The specifics of the Handwriting Without Tears program were covered, such as, workbooks for Preschool, Get Set for School, and Kindergarten, Letters and Numbers for Me. Essential to the program is the progression from beginner skills, (to hold, place and move a crayon) to printing upper case letters, numbers and lower-case letters. Wooden pieces (lines and curves) form the letters which are divided into groups based on their components (vertical, horizontal lines, big and little curves, diagonals).
The program was developed by Jan Olsen,OTR, Occupational Therapist, and the workbooks were co-created with Emily Knapton, Occupational Therapist. The Boston Ability Center and many school districts use the Handwriting Without Tears program.
Olsen, Jan Z., Get Set for School, Handwriting Without Tears, 2003, First Edition
Olsen, Jan Z. Letters and Numbers for Me, Handwriting Without Tears, 2003, Ninth Edition