How I Explain Occupational Therapy.

Posted by: Nikita Posted on: July 27, 2021 Comments: 0

Most times when I’m out and about, someone will ask me what I do for a living. I tell them I’m an occupational therapy assistant for kids. Then come the inevitable questions: So you’re like a career counselor? Kids don’t have jobs though… Do you give kids jobs? Short answer, no. After years of giving bumbling answers, I’ve found the most concise yet informative way to  explain what it is…

What Is a Sensory Diet and How Do I Use One?

Posted by: Nikita Posted on: July 2, 2021 Comments: 1

Contrary to what it may sound like, a sensory diet doesn’t have to do with eating.  The term “sensory diet” was coined by Patricia Wilbarger, MA, OTR. It’s a program of specific sensory activities put into a schedule according to a child’s individual sensory needs. According to Wilbarger, sensory diets should include: A schedule of the day’s events Sensory activities A transition strategy I’ve seen some disconnect when it comes…

Why Don’t More Police Know About Autism?

Posted by: Nikita Posted on: June 26, 2020 Comments: 0

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 routine of hours-long scrolling, I saw this: Seeing this image led me down a rabbit…

The Benefits of Flexible Seating

Posted by: Nikita Posted on: March 11, 2020 Comments: 1

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 more than 20 minutes. My body starts to shift around and my attention starts to…

The Vagus Nerve and Emotions

Posted by: Nikita Posted on: February 24, 2020 Comments: 0

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 to “rest and digest”. When you feel scared or anxious, your body responds by doing…

Interoception: A Look Inside

Posted by: Nikita Posted on: February 17, 2020 Comments: 0

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 signals, and sends back responses to your body. They manifest as things like fear, pain,…

Learning Styles (and strategies!)

Posted by: Nikita Posted on: February 10, 2020 Comments: 1

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 images and all the important words jumping off the page for me to retain any…

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

Posted by: Nikita Posted on: February 3, 2020 Comments: 1

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 (the OT) tells you exactly what to do and how to do it and you…

Vestibular: A Deeper Look

Posted by: Nikita Posted on: January 27, 2020 Comments: 0

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 with fluid. Each fluid-filled canal is responsible for letting your brain know where your head…

The Importance of Building Rapport

Posted by: Nikita Posted on: January 20, 2020 Comments: 0

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 be successful. Think about when you were a kid. Actually go even younger, imagine being…