Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I just signed up for a workshop on using iPads in the classroom....

....for learning support and special education (information here). I'm really excited about it. It will be great to have up to date information on good apps when I take the next round of OT students back into the school. It's looking like I will be returning to the same school as last time, which is good too. Now that I've done the hard yards getting to know the teachers, it will (hopefully) be much easier to get into the classrooms and work with them. I'd really love for us to be able to do lots more performance analysis in situ this time, looking at the kids doing a task in class and doing some joint problem solving to address difficulties in a more "on the spot" way, rather than withdrawing the kids to work at the side of the room, or in the library like we did last time. It would be great to think we could leave the teachers with some skills so that they feel like they can take some steps to address kids' difficulties themselves, rather than relying on the therapists for a quick fix (and it's very rarely a quick fix, by the way....sadly, we don't possess any magic bullets here).

So now we just need to buy the iPad and I'll be all set to go.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

And we've been reading too....

We've all been doing plenty of reading here over the school holidays. The hammock has had plenty of use as the kids all take turns reading in it. I even caught one of them in there with one of the dogs during the week....


It's been a bit quiet in here lately. I just don't feel like I've had a lot to say. So I've been enjoying everyone else's posts for a while.

I haven't been super busy doing other things. Although I have tried to take a bit of time out from the internet over the past few days. It's been good to enjoy getting out into the beautiful weather we're having here at the moment.

I did order myself a beginner's knitting kit earlier in the week. It arrived yesterday so I've started knitting myself a scarf. After it arrived, I realised that I had actually learned the basics of knitting many years ago, so it wasn't too hard to pick it up again. Now I'm worried I'll get bored doing the same thing over and over again for so many rows. But it feels good to be doing something a little bit crafty.

I'd love to be able to knit toys one day. Or tea cosies. The one in the picture looks cute. I'm not so much into knitting things to wear. I'm hoping the scarf will be a good way to get myself going again. It's a gorgeous navy blue colour (my favourite) so that is highly motivating. I'm also keen to get it done so I can wear it this winter!

Image from here.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Nineteen assignments marked

Image from here.

And I am finally finished. The last one I did was one of the best papers I have ever read on the topic of roles, activities and occupations. Such a lovely way to finish marking after having to push through some complete rubbish during the past fortnight.

Just a tiny bit of final checking and some whole group feedback to complete tomorrow, and then I am going to read a book, edit some photos I took at a very enjoyable first birthday party this afternoon, and hopefully sort out the three year old's poo refusal dramas.

No rest for the wicked here.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Something I've been thinking about today

Yesterday, a couple of students in my tutorial group disclosed to me that they have Asperger's Syndrome. It got me thinking about whether someone with Asperger's could make a good health professional. The ability to take the other person's perspective, and empathise with another's situation, is often not great among this population. I've noticed that one of these students can become quite argumentative when I've challenged or questioned them about a point they've made. I thought at the time that teamwork might be a bit of an issue for this person in the future.

I suppose the answer to my question is that it depends. On the person, where they end up working (some OT jobs are quite structured, a person with AS could probably cope in that kind of setting), on how flexible they can be and whether they can learn to cope with change.

I'm still not sure though. I think they could get through the OT course. They might even make it through a job interview. But I think they might struggle in an actual workplace. One of the things I love about OT is that every day is different. There might be some people with AS who would find that very difficult to deal with.

So...we're really all the same, aren't we?

Here's a direct quote from the essay I've just been marking:

"Most of us in Queensland do similar daily activities due to our culture, background, economic position, personal interests, values, the climate and lifestyle."

Well, I'm glad I no longer live on the Queensland side of the border then.

Considering this essay is supposed to be about individual differences in interpretations of people's occupational roles and activities, I actually found it rather funny.

This person hadn't referenced the above statement, so my comment on it was that they needed to provide a source to back it up. But I also said that I didn't believe it was true.

Ah, first year Uni students of the "just out of high school" variety. So little life experience, so much of the world they have yet to discover...

Making my own chicken stock...and a few other cooking adventures

I've never bothered to make it before. It's rare that I have a spare three to four hours on a cool wet day to let it simmer on the stove. But today I had those spare hours, and a chicken carcass sitting in the fridge as well. So the stock is currently doing its thing on the stove. It smells fantastic.

When it's finished cooking, I'm going to use it to make bacon, leek and pearl barley soup for dinner tonight.  

And since I'm busy using up stuff from the fridge, I'll also be baking a rhubarb and yoghurt cake for dessert this evening. 

I've never made the bacon and leek soup or the rhubarb cake before either. So it's a trifecta of new recipes that I have on the go here today.

Hmmm....I think cooking could be becoming my new form of assignment marking avoidance. When I was writing my Masters thesis a few years ago, I used to clean the house when I was procrastinating about sitting down at the computer to write. Never before (or since) had my house been so clean. 

But cooking is heaps more fun as a procrastination strategy. Anyone else cooking anything yummy today?

Image from here.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

This quote SO describes me!

Or even a pile of half finished books that I was meaning to get finished...

Sunday, April 7, 2013

It's a little bit lonely here this week...

My husband flew to Adelaide today for four days of health conferencing. He doesn't get back until Friday afternoon.

It's hard not having anyone except the kids to talk to at home. Not that they're awful to talk to, but you reach a point (quite quickly, I've discovered...) where you really want to have a conversation with another adult. I don't know how single parents manage without having another adult in the house to talk to.

So you might see me commenting lots on blogs over the coming week in my desperation to find adult company. Part of it is assignment marking avoidance which I need to get over, but if you could humour me by responding to a comment or two, then I might feel a bit less isolated over here....

Friday, April 5, 2013

It's assignment marking season again

The less said about that, the better. It's going to be an awful week or two while I try to sort out people's weird logic on what occupations, roles and activities are. Not to mention their unusual referencing skills.

On the bright side, my new job started well. Because I've never done rehab before, no one really expects me to know anything. So I can watch other therapists and learn from them, something that I haven't done for ages. My first client was a 96 year old, a bit of a change from all the little people I'm used to seeing!

It also seems to be a pretty relaxed environment, although at present the ward isn't particularly busy. I guess if it filled up, it might seem more stressful. But I'm noticing that in rehab, they're happy for everything to take a long time. Most of my experience working with adults has been in acute hospital wards, where the pressure is on to get everyone home as quickly as possible.

The other good news is that the two occupational therapists I'm working with there are both Christians. One of them is moving on to a different caseload in a few weeks' time, but for the next week or two it will be good to be able to talk to them about church stuff without feeling too awkward.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Rehab...here I come!

Well, sort of.

Tomorrow, I'm starting a new short term contract at work for a few weeks until the next student supervision round starts up in another school in June.

So it's off to work in adult rehabilitation I go. After fifteen years working almost exclusively in paediatrics, I'm a little bit nervous. Even when I did work with adults many moons ago, I didn't ever have a physical rehabilitation caseload. So it's all going to be brand new.

I keep telling myself the process isn't much different. Assess, set goals with client, treat, work on getting them back into their own environment and performing everyday activities safely. I can do that. How hard could it be? Hopefully I'll be able to work shadow someone for a couple of days so I can get the hang of it.

And it's in Murwillumbah. It's a very pleasant commute to get there and back home again. Some nice little cafes to have lunch in once I feel like I know what's happening. And it's looking like my next school job may be there as well, so it will be good to get a bit of a vibe for the place. So far my experience of Murbah consists of shopping in the main street (some quirky little shops to explore down there!) and taking the kids to the pool a few times. Watching the kids perform with their school class in the local eisteddfod. We've had one visit to the library. I've enjoyed it so far. I hope that working there won't change that.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Today we went for a walk on the beach

All of us, that is. Two adults, four kids, two pugs. It's one of those activities I saw ourselves doing as a family and having a lovely time together. Other families I've seen walking their dogs always look like they're having fun.

We were greeted on our arrival by the local rangers who had received complaints about dogs being let off their leads on a part of the beach that wasn't a leash-free area. They wanted to remind us that the leash-free part of the beach started 200 metres further down from where we were parked. As it turned out, we didn't let the dogs off their leads for the whole walk (except for one time when one of them escaped while Rosie was holding the lead). I think the complaint was probably directed at the owners of two enormous dogs (off their leashes) that the rangers couldn't see, but who we spotted hiding in the trees beside the walkway to the beach. It was a bit tempting to dob them in but we were kind and decided not to.

We forgot to check the tide times before we went and discovered we'd timed our arrival right on high tide. There were places where there wasn't a lot of beach left to walk on. The dogs weren't too keen on getting wet. They're pretty old dogs so they struggle to walk very far as well. I thought I might try and get them to move a bit faster so I started jogging (I didn't go out walking this morning so I wanted to jog a bit so I could feel like I'd done at least a few minutes of the moderate intensity exercise thing). The dog I was with at the time managed to jog for about ten metres before giving up. Towing him behind me didn't work too well because he just couldn't manage to move any faster. There went the jogging ambitions.

We probably tried to go just a little bit too far for the toddlers to cope with. One of them was riding on Daddy's shoulders. He hadn't had a morning sleep but he really needed one. For the last two hundred metres of our walk, his yelling was louder than the sound of the pounding waves. The other one whinged about wanting to go home for most of the way, although to give her some credit, she did stop and cheer up a little by the end of the walk, just as the one on Daddy's shoulders was getting started.

We've discovered that whenever we take them out, both our dogs like nothing more than finding the nearest patch of soft grass so they can get busy doing their business. One did it at the start of the walk. The other one did it as we were arriving back. Such a lovely way to start and end our family fun together. At least we remembered the plastic bags for the clean up. We've been caught without them before, but we know now that bags are a must have accessory to attach to the leash whenever we take them anywhere. As we were getting ready to drive home, I did mention to my husband that I wished we could get the dogs to go to the toilet before we leave home, the way you can get the kids to go. I might give it a go next time. They sometimes will go on command. But not very consistently.

All in all, it probably wasn't one of those beautiful moments of family fun that I'd visualised. It was okay. Maybe it will get better if we do it more often.

Here's a boring way to spend an evening

I'm looking for a YouTube video of a preschool or early school aged child putting on their shoes and socks. You'd think it would be pretty easy to find one. Sadly, that's not proving to be true.