Why Don’t More Police Know About Autism?

In today’s world, we’ve (finally) begun to have in-depth conversations about the realities of police brutality and racism. We’ve become flooded with information, from history lessons we never knew to personal stories in real-time. You can’t scroll down a social media feed without coming across them. As I was doing what is now my quarantine…

The Benefits of Flexible Seating

Let’s face it, it’s much harder to focus when your body isn’t ready. If you can’t sit still in a chair, or if the chair isn’t the right size for you, it makes it so much more difficult to pay attention in general. I have a hard time sitting in an uncomfortable classroom chair for…

The Vagus Nerve and Emotions

Did you know that there’s a nerve that runs from your brain through your face and upper body that helps regulate your emotions? It’s called the vagus nerve. It communicates motor and sensory signals to every single organ in your body. It’s what controls your “fight or flight” response, and tells you when it’s okay…

Interoception: A Look Inside

So now that you all know what interoception is (and if you don’t, no worries, click here or here for a refresher), let’s dive a little deeper. How does this system work exactly? Well, you have sensory receptors all over and throughout your body. They send signals to your brain, which makes sense of those…

Learning Styles (and strategies!)

When I take notes in class, you would think I was trying to make a comic book. There are doodles everywhere, different lettering, and a rainbow of colors splashed across each page. No, I’m not an aspiring artist, I’m a visual learner (also kinesthetic, but we’ll get to that in a minute). I need eye-catching…

The Case for COTAs: We’re Just As Important!

As you all know (and if you don’t know, now you know), I am a COTA: a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. In my opinion, having the word “assistant” in the job title has been a huge disservice to me and my colleagues. When you hear the word “assistant”, you typically think Oh, okay. Your boss…

Vestibular: A Deeper Look

The vestibular system is one of the more powerful senses in the body (10-20 minutes of intense vestibular input can have effects for up to 8 hours!). So what actually happens in your body when given vestibular input? First, we have to look inside your ear. You have three canals in your ear, all filled…

The Importance of Building Rapport

I always thought that was a strange word, rapport. What does it mean? The dictionary says rapport is “a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well”. As a therapist, rapport is a crucial element to have if you want your sessions to…

Proprioception: What is it and why is it so calming?

Your proprioceptive system is one of the most organizing and regulating system in our bodies. Case in point, Temple Grandin’s squeeze machine, “a device that delivers deep touch pressure to help her learn to tolerate touching and to reduce anxiety and nervousness”. When I think about things that are relaxing to most people, I think…

Person-First or Identity-First?

One of the very first things we learned when I was in my first semester of OTA school was to use “person-first” language rather than “identity-first” when referring to our patients. We were told that to use “identity-first” (identifying a person by their disability first, as in “an autistic person”) was insensitive and demeaning to…