Pawprint - May 2015
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Southpaw Thanks You!

Last month was Occupational Therapy Month, but we know that OT is important all year around.  The work that therapists do every day helps change the lives of those around them forever.  Southpaw would like to thank each and every one of you for your efforts to help others participate in activities that they want and need to do in their life.
Therapist's Corner
Deanna Maciole
Living Life As An Occupational Therapist
Deanna Macioce, MS, OTR/L

What do you want to be when you grow up?  A question that we are asked as early as our toddler years, and if you think back to what you answered in preschool, most often it is very different than what you are doing today.  With the season of Spring comes the season of graduations.  Some are moving from high school to college, while others are leaving the education environment to enter the workforce.  How did you decide what you wanted to be and how has it shaped who you are today?  

I am an Occupational Therapist (OT)...and it is not just what I am doing now that I am grown up, it is part of who I am.  So much of what I have learned shapes my everyday thinking with my children, family, friends, and community.  In turn, as an OT, I am able to bring in who I am to the people I work with.  

For me, I knew what I wanted to be my sophomore year in high school.  I had an older sister who just started college and was considering entering OT school.  As I began researching her major, I was convinced that is what I wanted to do.  I wanted to do something that would help people, had a presence working with children, and that I could easily do while raising a family. I was sold from that point on.

So, now 14 years later, I can still say I love being an occupational therapist.  My perspective comes from the pediatric realm, as that is where I have concentrated and spent my time.  Although the face of OT is dynamic and always changing, it still holds true to its fundamental core, treating the whole person in order to encourage functionality, independence and a better quality of life.  

My job, no matter what type of arena I work in allows me to help people.  Whether it is getting an infant to roll for the first time, a toddler to tolerate a sensory input without a meltdown, a school-aged child to write, a teenage boy to have the courage to do something with peers, or a hug to a parent, I get to make a difference.  As an OT, I get to connect with people, have fun and help them find a confidence they didn't know they had.

As a pediatric OT, I often say I get paid to play because a child's occupation is "play", so what better way to integrate treatment then through play.  This means that treatment planning and the carryout are more time consuming, individualized, and utilize a lot of energy.  I may have obstacle course set up for the day, but with each child it is designed to their interests and developmental needs.  For one child it may be a pirate treasure hunt, while for another it is the path to saving a lost pet.   For children to be willing to "work" and be successful, OT needs to fun and creative.

Being an OT has allowed me to develop into a problem solver.  Whether I am  working with children or adults, I am always thinking, trying to adapt the environment, utilize a tool, or come up with a way to help someone be successful.  In turn, I am always learning.  Although my education was a basis of knowledge, learning continues to take place with new treatment ideas, modalities, diagnoses, and perspectives.  With the use of technology, I have found that it is easier to continue the learning process with greater ease.

Occupational therapists help people, but truthfully, we are on a piece of the puzzle.  I am a team player, and the team is always changing.  Whether I am in a clinic, school, or the community, the team members are different.   However, I know I am making a difference, but my one-hour a week, or 120 minutes a month is not the component leading to the gains, growth and success for the children I work with it.  It is all the pieces coming to together and connecting for the child.  Therefore, I cannot do my job alone.  No matter how creative, fun, and dynamic my treatments are, a child will not be successful without everyone else on his or her team.

Which in turns leads me to the most important skill I use...therapeutic use of self, in common words "connection".  As a therapist, I know that I have to connect with my child and families, where they are.  I need to know what is important to them, not me.  And I need to make that the cornerstone of our treatment.  In today's age of insurance companies and metrics this may be difficult, but this makes OTs unique, special, and successful.  It keeps the clients, child, patients, or residents wanting to come to treatment.  For me, I let my children know that there is no "right or wrong during our time and they are always safe to be who they are, they just need to try their best."  

I am Occupational Therapist, and I am happy that is what I grew up to be.

Helpful...Fun...Creative....Problem Solver...Team Player...Connection

Product Spotlight
Why I Love the Weighted Hoodie

As a sensory seeker my whole life I've enjoyed playing sports, exercising, recess time and doing heavy work play based activities. When I wasn't able to do movement I would make my own weighted vests or place heavy stuffed animals on my lap. Since many families have fast paced lives and minimal time to get their special needs child's heavy work exercises in throughout the day you need to ramp up the intensity of the sensory input with the weighted hoodie. It's super soft fleece, nice snug fit, made with pockets around the neck for weights that are removable. By having the child or adult wear a weighted hoodie it gives passive input during the "Sensory Diet" (high intensity heavy work for 8-12 minutes multiple times a day). I love how the weights are placed on the shoulder which compresses the spine and give that deep sustained pressure affect like someone pushing down on your shoulders for comfort and security.  I recommend a wearing schedule of no more then 20-30 minutes 3-5 x's a day. Also it can be on the way to and from school which may increase organization of the Central Nervous System which may decrease meltdowns and negative behaviors. This is a great buy for any sensory seeker that loves big hugs, crashing, tight clothes, wiggling or dark hideouts.

Find more information about the Southpaw Weighted Hoodie here.

Alexander Lopiccolo, COTA/L, CPT, NC
Owner of
Southpaw Products
Steamroller Deluxe
Steamroller Deluxe

Some children crave deep pressure, and the Southpaw Steamroller is a fun way to get it! Your children will love the challenge of crawling between the rollers and being flattened by the Steamroller.

Large Marvelous Marble Panel
Large Marvelous Marble Panel

Sometimes bigger is better. Our Large Marvelous Marble Panel provides the same visual, tactile and aural sensory input as the original, with over 2,000 iridescent marbles in a steel grid on a panel that is illuminated by diffused lighting.