Thursday, October 13, 2016

The StayPut Mat Stabilizes Paper for Writing!

Do you know a child who is unable to stabilize the paper when writing? I’ve worked with a number of clients with hemiplegia who struggled with this issue. We tried a variety of approaches, including using a paper weight, taping the paper down,  and using a clip board, but none of these options were ideal. Fortunately, there’s a solution! The StayPut Mat!

When your client is unable to stabilize the paper when writing, try the StayPut Mat!  This is a non-slip drawing mat that stabilizes letter-sized paper for writing.  It’s has lightweight magnetic frame, and it’s durable, portable, and easy to use.  I love mine!  It's the perfect tool to add to your therapy bag!

For more information, visit, or you can purchase one by clicking HERE!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Is Creativity on the Decline Because Young People Don't Daydream Enough?

Daydreaming plays an important role in the creative process, and research reveals that creativity has been on the decline in recent decades.  To learn how to promote creativity in children (and adults), click HERE to watch my TEDx talk!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Make Your Own Magnificent Maze

Do you want to make a Magnificent Maze?  This is a great activity for bilateral coordination, visual motor skills!

Draw the outline of a maze on a firm piece of foam board or cardboard. Make it simple or more difficult, based on what you feel will be a "just right challenge" for the child.  Leave enough space in the pathways for the ball to travel through.  Lay the straws out on top of the maze lines and cut them to the appropriate length (see photo above).  Use colorful duct tape to hold the straws in place.  Now instruct the child to navigate the ball through the maze.  Have fun!

The project above was completed by one of our Master's of Occupational Therapy students at 
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center and posted with permission.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Delivery of the Wilbarger Protocol: A Survey of Pediatric Occupational Therapy Practitioners

Our recently published article!


The Wilbarger Therapressure Program is a commonly used treatment approach utilized by occupational therapy professionals for the treatment of sensory defensiveness. The purpose of the current study was to investigate occupational therapy practitioners’ sources of training in the administration of Wilbarger Therapressure Program, the uniformity of administration in practice, and the diagnoses for which therapists recommend this treatment approach. Occupational therapists from across the United States participated in an online survey investigating specifics related to training and implementation of the brushing protocol. A total of 153 respondents reported using the Wilbarger Therapressure Program in practice. Almost half of the respondents received their education on the Therapressure program by attending the workshop offered by the Wilbargers. Forty eight percent of survey participants reported learning how to administer the Therapressure program by participating in hands-on training provided by another occupational therapy practitioner, 39% by attending the course taught by the Wilbargers, 7% by information obtained through word of mouth from another occupational therapy practitioner, 3% by information obtained through online research, and 3% by other means. The results of this study reveal that a variety of approaches exist related to the training and implementation of the protocol. It is the responsibility of all occupational therapy practitioners to obtain the proper training prior to recommending and implementing the Therapressure program. Because a standardized protocol for implementation of the protocol has not been published, the optimal means of training is for practitioners to attend the Wilbarger workshop.

KEYWORDS: Assistive technology, special education, sensory processing, occupational therapy, paediatrics,

Friday, August 5, 2016

TEDx Memphis Event Coming Soon!

I am so excited to have this amazing opportunity to speak at the TEDx Memphis event on August 27th, 2016.  Check out the Facebook Page @

Friday, July 15, 2016

Promoting Generalization in Children with Autism
How often have you provided therapy to a child with autism, and after the therapy session, the child has difficulty generalizing skills that seem to be mastered?  This is not uncommon.  Children with autism often have challenges performing a newly learned skill across a variety of settings with different people.  This is called generalization.  For example, a child may master lacing on a practice shoe during therapy, but at home, he is unable to lace his own shoes, or he can write his name in a therapy session, but not in the classroom.  It’s important to note that a controlled therapy session is not reality, and generalization is critical for increased function in real life!

Here are some teaching tips for promoting generalization in children with autism.
  • Teach the concept or skill using a variety of approaches and materials.  For example, when a child is learning about cows, show him a photograph of a cow, a drawing of a cow, and a video of a cow.  It’s also important to vary the instructions.  For example, ask questions in different ways such as, “What’s your name?” and “Who are you?”
  •  Teach the concept or skill across a number of different settings, such as at home, at school and in the community.  If your child is able to count money at school, that’s great, but can she count her money at the grocery store?
  •  Teach the concept or skill with different people.  Have different individuals work with the child on the skill, such as a family friend, sibling, or grandparent.
  •  Provide reinforcement when the child successfully generalizes a skill, then gradually decrease the frequency of the rewards.
  • Use a variety prompts and fade the prompts as soon as possible. The various ways to prompt include physical, visual, verbal.  In order to increase independence, the sooner that you are able to eliminate the prompts, the better.
Most importantly, keep in mine that every encounter and experience is an opportunity for the child to learn and generalize!  More learning experiences lead to increased success and independence.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

DIY Plant Holder: A Therapy Activity

This is a great therapy activity for fine motor skills!  An adult can provide assistance as needed.  It's a perfect gift for a child to give their mom as a birthday or Mother's Day gift!  


Cord/String, Plastic straws, Lightweight pot for plant, Metal O-ring, Plant, Beads


Scissors and Measuring tape


1.     Cut your straws to size: cut off the bendy end of the straw, then cut the longer portion that is left into four equal size lengths.  You will need a total of sixteen pieces of straw this length. Cut the bendy end portion of the straw in half.  We will need a total of four pieces of straw that length.

2.     Cut four pieces of cord six feet long each

3.     Loop all four pieces of cord through the o-ring so the o-ring is in the middle of the cords.

4.     Tie a single knot in all four cords close to the o-ring.  There will now be eight strands of cord hanging from the knotted o-ring.

5.     About two feet from the knot, take two strands of cord that are close to each other and tie a knot. Repeat this step with the remaining strings. There will be four knots total with two cords each all knotted together the same distance from the top.

6.     Take eight of the longer pieces of straw that we previously cut and slide them over each cord strand.

7.     Now group the cords in four sets of two again, making sure that the cords are not grouped as they were before.  Tie knots in these new four sets of two cords as close to the straws as possible.

8.     Take eight of the longer pieces of straw that we previously cut and slide them over each cord strand.

9.     Take the four sets of cords that are already grouped together and tie another knot in each set below the straws.

10.  Now, take eight of the shorter pieces of straw that we previously cut and slide them over each cord strand.

11.  Tie all eight of the cord strands together in one big knot close to the small straw pieces.

12.  (Optional) Slide beads on each cord strand and tie a knot to secure the beads.

13.  Cut all of the remaining hanging cords to the same length to make a tassel.

14.  Place the potted plant inside the hanger. Hang using the o-ring.

15.  Enjoy!
The project above was completed by one of our Master's of Occupational Therapy students at 
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center and posted with permission.