Showing posts from 2011

2011 Pushback against Fad OT Interventions

Another significant theme in my 2011 forum conversations was pushing back against fad OT interventions. I think that it is an important enough topic to be re-posted here.

Some of the fad and pseudoscientific interventions that I discussed in forums this year included therapeutic listening and other auditory interventions, deep pressure protocols (brushing programs), weighted vests, and Brain Gym.

Fad interventions were relatively common in health care until research came along - and now we have mechanisms to test and see if people's 'ideas' about something hold up to any scrutiny. One posting asked about the validity of 'astronaut training' which is something that I get phone calls about in my private practice. I tried running database searches on 'astronaut training' and 'vestibular-visual protocol' and several other iterations that I hoped would capture this protocol and as usual for this kind of fad intervention I was unable to find any research…

The 2011 Social Justice Debates in occupational therapy

I wondered this morning how much writing I have done on various OT message boards and I started thinking that an awful lot of my opinions are probably documented all over the Internet. I visited the forums on the AOTA website and found the equivalent of over 40 single spaced pages of my writing! Then I thought it might be interesting to see what motivated me to post on professional forums this year. Here is a summary of one interesting forum conversation:

The Social Justice Debates

Early this year there was a motion to rescind part of newly adopted AOTA ethics statements; the concern was that they unnecessarily referenced social justice concepts and that the existing ethics statements already covered that conceptual material and did so without politically charged terms like 'social justice.' The new ethics documents includes:

Principle 4. Occupational therapy personnel shall provide services in a fair and equitable manner.

Social justice, also called distributi…

"It's going to be very, very exciting." Not.

I don't mince words, mostly because I lack time to do so and secondarily because I lack interest in political correctness. Let's talk straight about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.

For some background and additional reading on the debacles that occur when government intrudes into health care decision making click on the 'health insurance' topics in this blog.

At the 2010 Legislative Conference for National Association of Counties, Nancy Pelosi made her now famous remarks
You've heard about the controversies within the bill, the process about the bill, one or the other. But I don't know if you have heard that it is legislation for the future, not just about health care for America, but about a healthier America, where preventive care is not something that you have to pay a deductible for or out of pocket. Prevention, prevention, prevention -- it's about diet, not diabetes. It's going to be very, very exciting. But we have to p…

The role of the occupational therapist in carpet cleaning

Jimmy was especially active and his mom was having a really difficult time keeping him occupied while she filled out his intake paperwork. His mom was a little frazzled as Jimmy darted around the room, jumped onto the chairs, pulled on the curtains (pulling them off the rod!), and banged on the windows. I intervened at the window banging for safety reasons and as I gently redirected Jimmy he lunged for his mom's coffee, and with a spray of cappuchino across the carpeted waiting room he finally paused.

"Oops," he said, as his mom gave him The Stare. Jimmy froze.

Mom froze too, and after surveying the mess she excused herself to the bathroom. I stayed with Jimmy who suddenly realized he was supposed to be sitting quietly.

Mom returned with some paper towels. The unfinished paperwork sat on the chair, and she cried as she dabbed at the rug. Jimmy knew enough to stare straight ahead at the toy on the child sized table and play quietly.

His mom was upset about the rug and w…

Thoughts about use of weighted vests to promote attending behaviors in children

Please reference an entry earlier this year about seat cushions.

I am essentially re-posting that earlier entry but replacing 'seat cushions' with 'weighted vests.' Let me start this post with congratulations for Amy Collins and Rosalind J. Dworkin who wrote an excellent article in this month's American Journal of Occupational Therapy.

Here comes some mildly edited cutting and pasting from the previous entry - and I will take the liberty of copying my own writing because the issue is identical and this entry will likely be searched separately than the seat cushion entry!

I encourage everyone to open up the current American Journal of Occupational Therapy and read 'Pilot Study of the Effectiveness of Weighted Vests.' This is a fantastic article that looks at the issue of whether or not weighted vests were effective at promoting attending behavior.

I think this is a fantastic study because it take a very common OT intervention and puts it to the test. For…

The end product associated with a decided lack of true productivity

We have a lion in my office that was left by a child several years ago. Here is his picture:

I placed him on my cable modem in plain view of everyone who came into the office hoping that someone would claim him. No one ever did, and I felt sad about it because he is a Webkinz and they were rather popular for a while and I am sure that some child was very happy at one time to have this toy. Anyway, I leave him on top of my cable modem just in case his owner ever makes a claim. He is our office mascot, and I have come to enjoy his company every day.

Today I was cleaning and organizing because I couldn't settle myself into documentation. I found a bunch of stray toys. I found the following:

1. a yellow clothespin that goes to a full set
2. an orange sheep that is matched to a full set of parent/baby animals
3. a green peg that goes to a pegboard activity
4. blue and yellow blocks that are part of a construction set
5. a peg from the BOT-2 (a motor test)
6. scissors
7. an ant from Ants i…

Product Review: The PenAgain

I was recently contacted by Baumgartens who sent several PenAgain products to my office and asked if I would write a review on my blog. I told the company that I only provide unvarnished reviews and I don't accept any compensation for my reviews - and since they agreed to those terms I was willing to take a look at their products.

My first impression when I saw these pens and pencils was "So, how exactly are you supposed to hold the PenAgain?"

The product doesn't come with any specific instructions so I looked at the packaging to see if that offered any hints. The picture on the package seems to show a person holding the pen in full pronation of the forearm so that there is very little to no ulnar contact with the writing surface. Use of the PenAgain in this position is supported by a few YouTube videos as well - although I don't know if the person who made these how-to videos has any relationship to the manufacturer. The idea of full pronation and the weight …

Annual obligatory rant about health insurance premiums

Background reading:



Well this year the annual increase to our health insurance costs are only 19% but the plan has a higher out of pocket maximum and slightly fewer covered benefits so it isn't exactly the same plan. I thought I would be clever and call my Provider reps for the different plans and tell them that I would be shopping and purchasing based on information they could give me regarding 2012 fee schedules. Historically, even though the cost for these plans goes up exponentially the amount of increase that any provider might see is just a tiny fraction (and often even ZERO PERCENT) of that increase. Also, what happens each year is that the co-pays are increased so even though allowable fees might go up the costs are passed entirely to the consumer with higher deductibles and higher co-pays. In other words, the insurance company's objective is to put all of YOUR skin in the game and as little of their own as possible.

The mechanisms that allow this to happen a…

When writing gives you the willies: Reconsidering 'tactile defensiveness'

For as long as I can recall most therapists talk about tactile defensiveness as being an oversensitivity to touch - and that it includes a sympathetic nervous system response that is allegedly 'out of proportion' to the incoming stimulus. The result of this characterization is that most people start looking AT the sense of touch as the primary culprit of the problem. This is why you then see therapists struggling to describe what textures a child tolerates and does not tolerate. This structural understanding of the problem is reinforced by sensory integration theory which posits that children are not able to process incoming sensory information accurately.

In the real world this model is poorly described and subsequently notoriously unreliable - and again you will hear therapists explain the inconsistency in sensitivity as a "sensory modulation" problem because sometimes certain kinds of touch will be tolerated and other times it will not be tolerated. Still, the…