Welcome to the American Occupational Therapy Association's Checking the Pulse blog. Written by Stephanie Yamkovenko, AOTA's digital editor.
Here you will find news about occupational therapy, current health news, and more. I regularly blog about apps that clinicians can use in practice, autism issues, managing chronic conditions, wounded warriors, and more.
AOTA members receive the biweekly OT Practice Pulse e-newsletter where we share resources and news from AOTA and other sources that directly affect occupational therapy practice—curated just for members! Here on the Checking the Pulse blog, I will share even more relevant and interesting news, videos, blogs, and more.
I read hundreds of articles about health, wellness, and policy every week to find the most engaging and enlightening content for you. Blog readers can stay in the know, go beyond the news, and find out how the latest health news affect occupational therapy.
Found a story worth sharing? Send it to us today! Or send me a tweet @AOTAInc.
We asked a bunch of occupational therapy bloggers to share the best thing they’ve read all year. If you have some time off now or are traveling you can spend it reading through these 15 books and articles on this list (or you can bookmark it for later).
If you use Pocket, you can download our Pocket list of all of these titles.
7 Things You Did for Your Baby That Your Child Still Needs by Lindsey Lieneck [Blog post]
“I love this article because it's so conversational and approachable. Lindsey is great at making information digestible for all readers. She offers lots of practical take-aways in this blog post that people can apply immediately with their children to promote self-regulation and development.”-Claire Heffron of The Inspired Treehouse
On the Move: A Life by Oliver Sacks [Book]
“The best thing I’ve read all year is neurologist Oliver Sacks’ memoir On the Move: A Life. I am so inspired by his creative and zealous approach to his clinical work, and his insistence on seeing the whole context of a patient’s life rather than focusing on just the clinical details. I found it very relevant to the occupational therapy frame of reference.”-Cheryl Crow of The Enthusiastic Life
7 Signs You’re Meant to Be an Entrepreneur by Don Scalco [Web article]
“I came across this article recently and it really helped validate to me why I keep going day after day, sometimes in what seems an uphill battle, to share about my company MindStart (which helps people with dementia to live a better life through activity). I think OT’s possess many of the qualities needed to be a successful entrepreneur that this article talks about, such as passion, creative thinking, and people skills. If you have an idea, go for it—just as you would encourage your patients—one step at a time!”-Monica Heltemes of MindStart
Different and the Same by Carrie Cariello [Blog post]
This blog is written by a mom in my school district. She blogs every Monday about her son Jack and how their family handles his autism. It is heartfelt and honest and messy at times, but this last post made me cry (well a lot of her posts make me cry). She always gives a shout out to the therapists and teachers who work with Jack!-Marie Toole, contributor to Go to For OT
Composing a Life by Mary Catherine Bateson [Book]
“My favorite read of the year was Mary Catherine Bateson’s Composing a Life. This book is an insightful exploration of place, temporality, social participation, and identity.-Joy Springer of OT in Motion
Why and How Do Pediatric Occupational Therapists Play Games? by Cheryl Crow [Blog Post]
This blog post was written by my OT name twin, Cheryl Crow. She did such a terrific job of breaking down the clinical reasoning that goes into an activity selection for a treatment. I think this is a great piece for giving insight into OT. -Cheryl Morris of OT Notes
Evaluation in everyday occupational therapy practice: Should we be thinking about treatment fidelity? by Jenna Breckenridge and Derek Jones [BJOT article]
“This article was very informative, and it provided a nice reminder of the importance of treatment fidelity in everyday OT practice.”-Anne Zachry of Pediatric Occupational Therapy Tips
Editor’s note: AOTA members can read the full text of BJOT by going here and logging in with your AOTA web login. The article ran in the May 2015 issue of BJOT.
The Science of Mom: A research-based guide to your baby's first year by Alice Green Callahan [Book]
“I loved how this book took an evidence-based look at some of the most confusing and controversial decisions that expectant and new parents have to make during their baby's first year of life (even from the first minute after birth!). As a pediatric OT, I felt the author provided solid information that was educational as well as fascinating, and I've already passed it along to a friend of mine who is expecting her first baby in a few short months!”-Christie Kiley of Mama OT
Editor’s note: Read Christie’s Q&A with the author.
Uniting Practice and Theory in an Occupational Framework by Anne G. Fisher [Slagle Lecture]
“Anne Fisher’s Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lecture speaks to the foundational core of occupational therapy as she urges us to focus on occupational performance rather than impairments, using the person’s perspective toward learning and change to guide our therapy services.”-Katherine Collmer of Handwriting With Katherine
The Price of Relief: Why American’s Can’t Kick It’s Painkiller Problem by Massimo Calabresi [TIME magazine article]
“This article is on the epidemic of pain addiction and how many people come to heroin use from prescribed medications. This piece very clearly demonstrates how the overuse of prescription medications are further creating problems for many people’s health and illustrates how our health care system needs other approaches to help people with pain and stress. As occupational therapists, we can be on the forefront not only with rehab, but with prevention, and health & wellness to help people with efficacy-based holistic stress and pain reduction techniques to improve function and quality of life.” Article available to TIME subscribers here.-Emmy Vadnais of Holistic OT
The Healing Heart by John Carlova [Book]
"The book is about an OT named Ora Ruggles. It's a powerful story about the origins of OT in military history and the development of our profession over several decades, and it was what inspired me to begin pursuing OT a few years ago! Read a free ebook version.-Lauren Jones of Gotta Be OT
31 Days of Occupational Therapy With Free Materials by Colleen Beck [Blog Post]
One of my favorite articles this year is actually a series by a fellow OT blogger, it's 31 Days of Occupational Therapy with Free Materials. It has so many great suggestions for home and for therapists that may not have the budgets for equipment while working in pediatrics. -Heather Greutman of Growing Hands-On Kids
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. [Book]
“With four kids, a blog that has evolved into a work-at-home business, and all of the needs of life, I felt very overwhelmed. Realizing the power of de-cluttering made a huge difference in my home this year. Not only do I feel less overwhelmed, but I'm feeling more together and ready to tackle all of the items on my to-do list. This is a book that has helped me to shed the excess baggage in all areas of my life (affiliate link). It really is like magic!”-Colleen Beck of Sugar Aunts
Why You Always Know Where Your Nose Is by Eben Bein [web article]
“The OT nerd in me loved the science behind Why You Always Know Where Your Nose Is, from The Atlantic (Dec 16, 2015). As a school OT, I talk about Proprioceptors all the time, and this article discussing the identification of the key molecule that governs proprioception is amazingly interesting. But the poor mice used in the study...yikes!”-Stacy Turke, contributor to Go to For OT
Man Hands by Rose Eveleth [web article]
I read a lot of articles about health and science as part of my job as AOTA's digital editor. This deep dive article on Motherboard Vice about prosthetic devices for women was fascinating (and infuriating). Because men make up 70% of amputees, many companies don't even design prosthetics for women. This means women not only have to deal with ugly devices (hence the man hands title), they also struggle to even find ones that fit and feel right. -Stephanie Yamkovenko, AOTA's Checking the Pulse
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So much useful material. I would like to add another book related to OT work - Life is What You Make it, by Preety Shenoy. www.amazon.com/.../ref=sr_1_2;ie=UTF8&qid=1451347643&sr=1-2&keywords=life+is+what+you+make+it
This book has a great indirect description of how an OT perspective might help a person.
I would like to suggest a 'good read'.