Posted by: otstoryteller | July 10, 2016

Open Questions about US Society Today

I ask forgiveness/tolerance in advance – this post is tangential to this blog. I just needed to express these thoughts.

  • Have we lost touch with reality? Or are we just too insular to realize that reality differs depending upon who we are, where we live, and what we invest in ourselves?
  • Have we totally lost the concept of personal responsibility?
  • Do we no longer believe that the work we do results in the life we live?
  • Have so many of our schools been starved that we no longer educate all of our citizenry so that they can think critically about how the present affects the future?
  • Are people so brainwashed by television and other media that they do not see the bigger picture of what makes a responsible life?

I fear that too many of our children have not had an education that enables them to think independently (and that this has been happening for decades, so many adults cannot/do not think deeply and independently).

I know that too many of us have no idea how people different from ourselves actually live and what challenges they face.

I know that the media (all of it) portrays ways of living that most of us cannot even aspire to, yet that way appears to be THE way to want to live.

Yes, I believe the economics in this country are terribly skewed and need to be repaired.

I believe that people deserve an education and healthcare.

I believe people need to live their own lives by civil standards, but may not impose their values upon others who are living by their own civil standards.

I believe that we must recognize that the constitution was a document written in a specific period of time and must be interpreted in that light (as Ginsburg and Warren have each pointed out).

I believe that Congress needs to strip the ability to tack on amendments to resolutions so that issues can be dealt with directly. I also believe elected positions should have term limits, the same healthcare as the public, and no retirement benefits beyond those accrued during the time served (similar to any other regular job, and yes, knowing that many regular jobs do not offer any retirement benefits).

I sincerely hope we can find the means to increase dialog to resolve our challenges.

Posted by: otstoryteller | June 1, 2015

Reminiscence of Change

I’ve been reading about clinical reasoning today. I remember when occupational therapists first started using the term. It was a confusing time; anxiety-provoking – what was this new concept??  Then we realized that it was something we had been doing for a long time, but now it had a name.  Of course, it changed a lot over the next thirty years and is still being tweaked regarding what we call it now, how we describe it, how we teach it…

Then there was Evidence Based Practice. Another “new” concept that was not so new, but had a new name. Similar horror reaction to needing to learn about this new concept and then similar accommodation when discovering it was not as strange as initially thought.

I’m sure there are other concepts that fit this profile (sensory integration?).

I wonder what the next will be.

Posted by: otstoryteller | June 1, 2015

Personal Challenge

Once more time has vanished and my resolve to post regularly failed; though not as severely as in the past (months, not years). This post is more personal than professional (if you want to skip it).

Some challenges had come up for me that had me saying: “You never outgrow the chance to make poor decisions” (or something to that effect.  I used it for a few weeks and then realized it was terrible self-talk, so stopped repeating it.

I recall marveling at a fieldwork student (decades ago) who had such positive, natural communication with school children – it was a kind of talk I had heard of in personal growth workshops, but had not experienced a lot of personally. Hence, the marvel that it could be done so easily and by one so young. It still takes conscious effort to keep my general talk, and self-talk, universally positive. I suppose I should just accept that fact, just as I still need to force myself to exercise despite the lofty goal of a fit body. I guess it is similar to any other habit…just got to do it long enough to make it natural. I just fall back on the thought that positive thoughts make so much more sense than negative, why aren’t they the natural way for me by now.

I should (and here I hear the voice that says “Don’t should on yourself”) think of myself as in Recovery – from negative thoughts – and that Recovery is a journey, not a destination.  That takes a lot of the burden off.  Glad I came back to post.

Posted by: otstoryteller | January 25, 2015


I find this so true – even in higher education (though with contextual differences):

The Hard Part

Especially so when combined with memory-overload intensified by stress.  It is challenging to be a therapist for yourself as you are employed full time to be a therapist/educator for so many others. It requires some therapeutic intervention to stay on top of all of our responsibilities and attempt to maintain balance within our lives.

Posted by: otstoryteller | December 21, 2014


No sooner did I post on habits, then this post came along (beginning with a post on Creativity – also intriguing) and I thought, sleep is a domain of occupational therapy, why not post this link?  So, enjoy:

Posted by: otstoryteller | December 21, 2014


Habit is an area of focus within occupational therapy. It forms a subset of the Model of Human Occupation and is found within other models of practice, as well as our Occupational Therapy Practice Framework. Kielhofner wrote about habits in 1982; and in 2011 there was a blogpost on habits by , in which she cited an AJOT article that addressed habits (from 2005). Historically, occupational therapists’ intervention early in the 1900s was referred to as Habit Training. Yet apparently, there is little current published attention to habit (at least according to a quick Google search). Is this becoming one more of “our” domains that is being commandeered by others? Or, has occupational therapy merely adopted a public domain as one of its own?

‘Internet Evidence’ from a variety of popular sources has it that habit formation takes approximately 21-30 days. Some claim this duration to develop a new habit (with another 30 days to reinforce it). But this is disputed. James Clear, a blogger I recently stumbled across, has a small book and a blogpost on this topic that makes sense. I appreciate his work/searching in this area. I am just disappointed that he is not an occupational therapist sharing this with the world.

My seeking information on habits was reinforced recently by prompts a question about what is required to break/change an existing habit. According to Clear, it involves a system that will replace the old habit – that one cannot just break a habit – it leaves a vacuum.  This makes total sense, especially to an OT. The task becomes finding the right replacement.

If there are any budding pre-PhD/OTD readers stopping by, it might be beneficial to investigate this area as a potential focus of research.

Posted by: otstoryteller | December 7, 2014

Rules for Being Human (source unknown)

Many years ago I encountered a small set of Rules for Being Human (and if you know the true source, please let me know – it does come up on multiple web pages (with variations) and is available as a poster) which I will list below.  I keep a small framed copy of them in my office. Over the years I have shared these with students when they feel overwhelmed by OT school.

What brought the Rules to mind just now is how the last two rules are ever-present in my life, whether being human (me) or being an educator: I am forever in the throws of #10 – I forget a lot; at least in my surface awareness. I suspect my memory is impaired by stress and overload (what adult memory isn’t?) – and #11 does occasionally come to my rescue, especially when attending faculty development workshops or talking with colleagues. There are many moments when I remember that I know how to set up relevant educational experiences, I just sometimes get too lost in the day to day stuff of life to actually do the prep work (or leave enough time to do that prep work well). So, instead of beating myself up over it, it is good to re-read the Rules, and remember that I am not alone. I will state that #4 can be a real annoyance; especially when the feedback is limited. But I do believe attitude is incredibly important and keeping a positive one helps a great deal.

The Rules For Being Human

  1. You will receive a body.

You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period of this time around.

  1. You will learn lessons.

You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called Life. Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant and stupid.

  1. There are no mistakes, only lessons.

Growth is a process of trial and error: Experimentation. The “failed” experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately “works.”

  1. A lesson is repeated until learned.

A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can then go on to the next lesson.

  1. Learning lessons does not end.

There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.

  1. “There” is no better than “here.”

When your “there” has become a “here,” you will simply obtain another “there” that will again look better than “here.”

  1. Others are merely mirrors of you.

You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.

  1. What you make of your life is up to you.

You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.

  1. Your answers lie inside you.

The answers to Life’s questions lie inside you. All you need to do is look, listen and trust.

  1. You will forget all this.
  2. You can remember it whenever you want.
Posted by: otstoryteller | November 22, 2014

Will technology change re-invention of ideas?

I attended a conference on Children’s Mental Health with a session on Universal Design for Learning (UDL). The speaker mentioned a learning strategy that he used that has since been adopted by others under a different name…which got me to wondering. I have been confused for years by the question of why multiple approaches (especially in Early Intervention) that appear to have the same elements, are all called by different names. (A partial answer seems to be territoriality – each method has its own guru/name). So the current question is: could differences between methods become more coordinated by way of the Internet?

The speaker used an example from architecture: that they had to incorporate the principles of universal design or get dismissed. Will this happen in education? The difference between architecture and education at this time is that the ADA for building design was a Federal Law; even though we have Federal Law for education, there is no federal law for UDL. UDL is definitely an area that is ripe for OT, and while there are OTs who are using it and writing about it, there could so easily be more of them.

Posted by: otstoryteller | October 31, 2014

Boost yourself, boost the profession

I am passionate about TED Talks – for saying what I agree with clearly; for opening my mind to ideas I never considered; for the variety of learning it offers.  This is one of my current favorites:  

Posted by: otstoryteller | October 29, 2014

Soapbox issue: Politic$

A report on NPR this afternoon quoted the astronomical amount of money being spent (particularly by private groups) on the current election in the USA. Couldn’t that money be put to much better use for the public good than bombarding people with advertisements? I realize the issue is who will get to choose how money is spent over the next 2-6 years, yet Congress does not appear to be making any headway in the actual governance of this country. The reduction in funding of public education and the pitiful amounts we pay our public education teachers is leading this country further down a path of decline in intellectual abilities within our citizenry and ultimately this will harm the country as a whole. Else, our fate will be left more securely in the hands of the wealthy few who go into government leadership positions for their own agendas and never leave office because their only objectives are to attain and then maintain their positions in power.

History might warn that the kinds of economic discrepancies currently found in this country would prompt revolution. Yet, the advent of television and the destruction of actual intellectual educational opportunities have undermined our ability to think, act, and protect ourselves from the political lifers.

I do not have a lot of background in history nor government, but I believe that Congress is long overdue for an overhaul of how it does business – hasn’t technology progressed far enough to allow bills to stand on their own without a lot of amendments disrupting a simple process? Why is it so unfeasible to enact term limits for what was originally a public service profession? Is it at all possible at this point in time to bring government back to be representative of the people?

Where did these thoughts come from, you may well ask. From my anger / disappointment in the current educational system that has produced (at least a moderate percentage of those representatives that I have encountered) graduate students who do not read textbooks, who start out poorly skilled in critical thinking, and who are so overburdened financially that they cannot devote themselves full time to studying.  Much of this comes from an inadequate primary/secondary school systems, compounded by the inequity of personal finance in our society. These are broad public policy issues that need to be addressed sooner rather than later.

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