Finding Your Community: 2019 AOTA Recap


Episode Summary

A few weeks ago, OT 4 Lyfe attended the 2019 American Occupational Therapy Association conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. This episode runs through some of the highlights from the conference, including things I did and people I got to meet.

Show Notes

Sarah shares:

  • Arriving and checking in early to avoid lines
  • Attending the SIS Networking Reception
  • Developmental Disabilities, Academic Education, Children & Youth, Productive Aging, Home & Community Health, Mental – Health, Rehabilitation & Disability, Sensory Integration & Processing, Work & Industry
  • For more information about SIS: https://www.aota.org/Practice/Manage/SIS.aspx
  • Making plans, but not sticking to them
  • Making the most out of your time at conference
  • Attending the International Breakfast and other World Federation of OT events

The Keynote Address and Opening Ceremony

Tweet Up

IG Meet Up

Meeting other OT Podcasters

Meeting up past podcast guests

Expo hall

Investing in yourself

Mark your calendar for next year March 26-29, 2020

Helping Kids with Autism Learn, Play and Thrive with Meg Proctor


Episode Summary

Many kids with autism have significantly delayed play skills, as well as they have difficulty learning new skills and expanding upon the skills they already have. More often than not therapists find themselves trying to teach children with autism how to play through imitation, but these children often have major difficulty with the imitation of others. Combine that with poor engagement and visual regard for others and learning to play for a child with autism can be daunting task. In this episode, we bring on Meg Proctor MS, OTL/R who is an expert in working with children with autism and who loves teaching therapists strategies to put in their tool belt. Meg and Sarah chat about all things autism and play.

Show Notes

Meg and Sarah discuss:

  • Common misconceptions about autism
  • Looking at the broader picture of children with autism
  • Utilizing the right tools for each individual child
  • Importance of evaluation and re-evaluation
  • Meg’s journey into specializing in autism
  • Finding the right mentor who aligns with your purpose and values
  • Working in early intervention and how that shaped Meg’s current work
  • Common questions from other therapists about autism and play
  • Selecting the right goals for working on play skills with children with autism
  • Identifying play skill goals versus social play goals and when to use them
  • Using simple activities to increase generalization from during therapy to the child’s daily routine
  • Utilizing a balance between using resources within the client’s homes and bringing a therapy bag
  • Use of naturalistic strategies to get them to start imitating
  • Scaffolding up or down to adjust the strategies to teach them skills, especially when they are rigid
  • How to structure you sessions
  • Meg’s company Learn Play Thrive

Contact her:

http://www.learnplaythrive.com

Coupon Code for OT 4 Lyfe Listeners: OT4Lyfe25

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OTandAutism/

Email: meg@learnplaythrive.com

Double Timing Documentation with Jason Gonzales


Episode Summary

Documentation. It is something that all therapists are faced with and unfortunately, it is something that tends to take up a lot of our time. While some of it is very important stuff that we need to include, there are other parts of documentation that are just time sucks. It is commonplace that most reports take between 2-3 hours (or more) to write and that is outside of completing the necessary observations, interviews, standardized tests, scoring and interpreting results, etc. Jason Gonzales OTR/L, the Co-Founder and CEO of Double Time Docs comes on the show today to share how his experience within a variety of school districts, led him to creating a product to help therapist write reports efficiently and easily.

Show Notes

Jason and Sarah discuss:

  • Concepts such as efficiency, time management, prioritization, and redundancy
  • Learning in different ways
  • Lack of consistency in school-based reports
  • Common problems and complaints when writing reports
  • His personal experience and OT journey
  • How he identifies problems and then does something about it
  • What led him to develop Double Tim Docs and what it is
  • Tips for therapists to improve their own documentation process

You can find out more about Double Time Docs here: www.doubletimedocs.com

You can contact Jason here:

Project: Sensory with Rachel Harrington and Jessica Hill


Episode Summary

Sensory processing is a complex entity with lots of intricacies and is often times overlooked and misunderstood. As occupational therapists, it is our job to uncover underlying sensory processing and sensory modulation problems within our clients and then educate and provide tips and strategies to help them learn to integrate the information for success and optimal function within their daily lives. Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC and Jessica Hill, COTA/L come on the show to cover a broad overview of what sensory processing is, what it looks like, and some of their favorite activities to address sensory concerns.

Show Notes

Sensory processing is a complex entity with lots of intricacies and is often times overlooked and misunderstood. As occupational therapists, it is our job to uncover underlying sensory processing and sensory modulation problems within our clients and then educate and provide tips and strategies to help them learn to integrate the information for success and optimal function within their daily lives. Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC and Jessica Hill, COTA/L come on the show to cover a broad overview of what sensory processing is, what it looks like, and some of their favorite activities to address sensory concerns.

Sarah, Rachel, and Jessica discuss:

  • Common misconceptions of sensory processing
  • What sensory processing and sensory integration is
  • An overview of the sensory systems
  • The fine line between typical sensory functioning and dysfunction
  • How they got into and interested in sensory integration
  • What the Sensory Project is and how it started

Their favorite sensory activities and equipment: The Hammock Swing

Sensory resources for therapists:

Find them:

The Ins and Outs of the AOTA Conference


Episode Summary

Attending conferences is a great way to learn new things and connect with people within the occupational therapy community. And one of the biggest events each year within the United States is the American Occupational Therapy Association conference. This episode details specifics about what the AOTA conference looks like, how to prepare, and tips on how to make for successful conference experience.

Show Notes

What it looks like?

  • Four days (Thursday, Friday, Saturday are full days, Sunday is a half day)
  • Pre-Conference institutes on Wednesday
  • Workshops, Short Courses, Research presentations, Conversations that Matter, Posters, Expo Hall, Alumni receptions
  • Presidential Address, Eleanor Clark Slagle Lecture, First Timer’s orientation, Fitness Events
  • Blood Drive and Book Drive this year

Benefits of going as a practitioner:

  • Continuing education units (up to 24)
  • Exposure to new research/ practice areas
  • Networking/ meeting like minded people
  • Inspiration and motivation

Attending as a student:

  • Some schools offer a conference scholarship
  • Student specific courses and presentations
  • Networking with other students and practitioners
  • Winning a free NBCOT exam

My favorite parts:

  • International Breakfast
  • Opening Ceremony
  • Keynote address
  • Grand Opening of the Expo Hall
  • Tweet Up
  • Meeting new friends and reconnecting with old friends

Tips to Prepare:

  • Business cards
  • Notebook and pen or notepad on phone to write down notes/ contact info for people you meet
  • Water bottle
  • Extra battery & charging cords for phones/ computers
  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Bring a sweater or coat
  • If going with a group, split up for courses and then share notes
  • Connect with people online beforehand
  • Be prepared that you can’t do it all

Other Resources:

If you have questions or comments, hit me up on social media:

The Business Side of Occupational Therapy with Brandon Seigel


Episode Summary

Understanding the business side of occupational therapy is pivotal for any therapist and practice owner to know. In order to be successful within our profession, we must be aware of the state of healthcare and be solid within our purpose as a clinician.  Our guest today, Brandon Seigel, is a private practice business consultant and executive director of Wellness Works Management Partners with years of experience helping practitioners start, run, and advance their practices to the next level.

Brandon recently published a book called The Private Practice Survival Guide, outlining highly useful information for therapists and practice owners alike.  He presents all over the country at local and state conferences and has an online course and private practice podcast launching soon. His goal is to help therapists in creating a business model that ultimately helps them excel both on a business side and on a clinical side.

Show Notes

Brandon and Sarah discuss:

  • Brandon’s current professional life
  • Wellness Work Management Partners- Consulting Firm
  • Works with private practices all over the country and internationally (OT, PT, SLP & physician)
  • Consultation services and management services
  • Executive Director at Every Child Achieves in Southern California
  • Speaking all over the country, including 3 courses at American Occupational Therapy Association
  • New book just released called The Private Practice Survival Guide
  • Creating a new private practice podcast
  • Importance of prioritization
  • Why he does what he does
  • His start business and then how occupational therapy came into play
  • Struggles in school as a child and how that played a role in his desire to help others
  • Going to community college, then the University of Southern California, and graduating from California State University Northridge
  • Starting the workforce after college with entrepreneurs and managing other companies and multimillion dollar projects
  • His company was moving to a different state as he was marrying an occupational therapist whose mother had a successful therapy practice which needed some business support
  • Revolutionized that company and then branched out to start his own consulting company
  • Always felt a calling to purpose
  • His willingness to help his clients at any time and any day
  • How Brandon and Sarah met
  • Power of clinical integrity
  • Our current state of healthcare
  • The most asked question that he gets from private practice owners
  • Recognizing a therapist’s cost to a company
  • Shifting the employee mindset
  • Knowing the responsibilities of the employer and of the employees
  • Tips for therapists to stand out when being considered for a job
  • Resume building strategies
  • Importance of writing a cover letter and quickly responding to any correspondence for a job that you apply for
  • Self-awareness and his biggest perceived weakness is something that is not self-aware
  • Be specific in your skills and attributes
  • Discussing financials upfront
  • How to cut ties with an employee?
  • Upcoming online course coming in 2019

Find his book here: The Private Practice Survival Guide

Contact Him:

Email: brandon@wellnessworksmp.com

Web: http://www.wellnessworksmp.com

Twitter: @wellnessworksmp

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wellnessworksmp

The Power of Play in Clinic Based Therapy with Francesca Avalli


Episode Summary

We all discover occupational therapy through different ways and it is always fascinating to hear how each therapist is first introduced into this wonderful profession. Our guest today is the whole reason that our host Sarah became an occupational therapist in the first place after meeting her while she worked at a local preschool. Francesca Avalli, MS, OTR/L has a wealth of knowledge from her years working in pediatrics, both in the school and clinic setting, and has a passion for the profession of occupational therapy that is undeniable. She runs her own pediatric clinic in Los Angeles, California and created an awesome product called Handee Band to facilitate her client’s strength and growth.

Show Notes

We all discover occupational therapy through different ways and it is always fascinating to hear how each therapist is first introduced into this wonderful profession. Our guest today is the whole reason that our host Sarah became an occupational therapist in the first place after meeting her while she worked at a local preschool. Francesca Avalli, MS, OTR/L has a wealth of knowledge from her years working in pediatrics, both in the school and clinic setting, and has a passion for the profession of occupational therapy that is undeniable. She runs her own pediatric clinic in Los Angeles, California and created an awesome product called Handee Band to facilitate her client’s strength and growth.

Francesca and Sarah discuss:

  • Francesca’s current OT life
  • How her professional life has shifted since having a child
  • Working in the clinic setting
  • Starting a pediatric private practice
  • Her goal of mentoring and teaching newer occupational therapists
  • How Sarah and Francesca met
  • How Francesca inspired Sarah to become an occupational therapist
  • The difference between working for yourself and working for a company
  • The power of saying no and realizing boundaries as a therapist
  • Playing within the clinic setting
  • Her favorite treatment strategies and pieces of equipment
  • Teaching confidence to kids
  • Multiple uses of lycra within the clinic setting
  • Her most memorable moment as an OT
  • Managing client/parent relationships
  • How and why she created Handee Band
  • Who Handee Band can be used with

Find Handee Bands Here: Handee Bands

Email: ot@therapyworksla.com

http://www.handeeband.com

Twitter: https://Twitter.com/handeeband

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/handeeband/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/handeeband

Exploring the Country Through Travel Therapy with Emily Ann Becker


Episode Summary

Travel therapy is a unique practice area that consists of traveling to different parts of the United States in order to provide therapy services to places in need. Usually, rotations last about 13 weeks and then the therapist moves on to another placement. Sometimes there can be a potential to sign on for additional time if the services continue to be needed. Emily Ann Becker, OTR/L, is a travel occupational therapist who is currently licensed in 6 states and works in a variety of different settings, including skilled nursing facilities and home health. She discusses the best and worst parts of working in travel therapy and how flexibility is essential. Throughout our discussion she sheds light on the complexities and opportunities that being a travel therapist provides, as well as her passion for helping to inspire others.

Show Notes

Travel therapy is a unique practice area that consists of traveling to different parts of the United States in order to provide therapy services to places in need. Usually, rotations last about 13 weeks and then the therapist moves on to another placement. Sometimes there can be a potential to sign on for additional time if the services continue to be needed. Emily Ann Becker, OTR/L, is a travel occupational therapist who is currently licensed in 6 states and works in a variety of different settings, including skilled nursing facilities and home health. She discusses the best and worst parts of working in travel therapy and how flexibility is essential. Throughout our discussion she sheds light on the complexities and opportunities that being a travel therapist provides, as well as her passion for helping to inspire others.

Emily and Sarah discuss:

  • Being licensed in multiple states and the differences in state law.
  • The trials and tribulations of being a travel OT
  • The variety of settings that travel therapy provides
  • The ability to specify the new jobs you are presented
  • The best and worst parts of being a travel therapist
  • How much the placement companies help you with your placements
  • The personality that you need to be a travel therapist
  • The importance of self-care
  • Tips to becoming a travel OT
  • Tax implications of travel OT placements
  • Possibilities of international travel therapy
  • Choosing one word as a focus for the year

Email: ebecker815@gmail.com

Instagram: @emilyann815

How Deep is Your Love For OT with Michael Roberts


Episode Summary

Dr. Michael Roberts, OTD, OTR/L, is the founder and current program director of the master’s degree program in Occupational Therapy at Regis College, in Boston Massachusetts. He has a strong passion for all things occupational therapy, as well as educating and empowering current occupational therapy students. His clinical background focused on adult physical dysfunction (inpatient, outpatient, and home care) with a specialty in oncology rehabilitation. He has completed research in fieldwork performance and next generation gaming consoles (Nintendo Wii) for health and wellness purposes, as well as presented at numerous state and national conferences, and independent oncology rehabilitation seminars. Dr. Roberts is the creator and host of the “I Love OT Podcast”, a show that highlights what is special, exciting, unique, and rewarding about the field of occupational therapy. His dedication and excitement for our profession pours out through his words as he shares wonderful stories and insightful wisdom from his OT experiences.

Show Notes

Dr. Michael Roberts, OTD, OTR/L, is the founder and current program director of the master’s degree program in Occupational Therapy at Regis College, in Boston Massachusetts. He has a strong passion for all things occupational therapy, as well as educating and empowering current occupational therapy students. His clinical background focused on adult physical dysfunction (inpatient, outpatient, and home care) with a specialty in oncology rehabilitation. He has completed research in fieldwork performance and next generation gaming consoles (Nintendo Wii) for health and wellness purposes, as well as presented at numerous state and national conferences, and independent oncology rehabilitation seminars. Dr. Roberts is the creator and host of the “I Love OT Podcast”, a show that highlights what is special, exciting, unique, and rewarding about the field of occupational therapy. His dedication and excitement for our profession pours out through his words as he shares wonderful stories and insightful wisdom from his OT experiences.

Sarah and Michael discuss:

  • Michael’s current OT life
  • Scope of working as a clinician vs being an educator
  • His journey from clinical OT to being in academia
  • Working in the home environment with children and adults
  • The importance of being a fieldwork educator and what it provides for students, practitioners, and clients
  • His research in fieldwork education
  • Setting up an open communicate and a reflective process during the fieldwork process
  • How student’s own ideas and activities foster the therapeutic process
  • Thinking outside the box for each individual client
  • Importance of occupation based practice within the natural environment
  • Challenging aspects of OT/ getting knee deep in our client’s lives
  • Memorable stories from the field
  • How OTs have keen observation skills within their practice and in their personal lives
  • Why Michael got into podcasting
  • What he loves about OT
  • Staying curious and continuing to learn within our profession

Find the I Love OT podcast here: http://iloveotpodcast.libsyn.com/

Twitter: @otdaddy

Instagram: @realotdaddy

Crafting Your Life for Success with Intention and Purpose with Andy Nielsen from OT Growth


Episode Summary

Andy Nielsen, OTS, is a current OT student at A.T. Still University in Mesa, Arizona who comes to our profession after many years in tech sales and business. He has designed his life with purpose and intention in order to maintain a family-friendly lifestyle, as well as to serve others and contribute to society in a meaningful way. Over the years he has developed a strong passion for entrepreneurship by creating things to help others and assisting people achieve success. Currently, he runs OT Growth, a website aimed at helping pre-OT students, current OT students, and OT practitioners succeed within the career.

Show Notes

Andy Nielsen, OTS is an business innovator having founded products like the patented 8Scape folder and a Facebook advertising company called Big Ocean Commerce. He currently attends A.T. Still University in Mesa, Arizona and is completing his masters in occupational therapy. Integrating his background in business and his holistic approach to healthcare, Andy started OT Growth, a website aimed at helping pre-OT students, current OT students, and OT practitioners succeed within the career. He is a family man who strives to lead a balanced life serving others and contributing to society in meaningful ways.

Sarah and Andy discuss:

  • Andrew’s early life as an entrepreneur
  • “Just Start” cause there is always more to learn
  • The book “The Power of Starting Something Stupid” by Richie Norton
  • Using OT’s creative skills to develop life changing ideas
  • Finding your calling in your life
  • Taking risks to find what keeps you engaged
  • Changing your mindset to handle failures
  • Setting up your life to prioritize your time
  • Considering the worst case scenario
  • Pushing through adversity to get to your goals
  • Setting yourself apart for your applications
  • The importance of advocating for OT

He graciously created a list of resources just for the OT 4 Lyfe Tribe, which can be found here: https://otgrowth.com/ot4lyfe

Link to the Design Your Freedom video

Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyknielsen

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andyknielsen/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andy.nielsen.355